Photo of the book Advanced Play at Bridge by Hugh Kelsey

"Hugh Walter Kelsey (1926–1995) was a Scottish bridge player and writer, best known for advanced books on the play of the cards. ... He wrote some fifty books on the game, mostly aimed at intermediate to advanced players. It is a measure of their quality that many of them were still in print more than a decade after his death. Two of his books, Killing Defence at Bridge and Advanced Play at Bridge, were listed by the Official Encyclopedia of Bridge as 'mandatory requirements for a modern technical bridge library'." - from (22 Mar 2017).

One might wonder if Advanced Play at Bridge, a book first published in 1968, could still be relevant to a bridge player today almost fifty years later. I would like to answer strongly that it is.

Unlike bidding conventions and style, the play at bridge is a relatively unchanging art and science - and Kelsey's analysis remains as relevant to today's bridge player as it was five decades ago. 

This intermediate level book is solely concerned with declarer play. This is a core skill for any bridge player, and one that a player can endeavour to improve without having to involve his or her partners.

The 192 page book presents and discusses declarer play skills using more than a hundred challenge hands in the process. You can see some of them in the Challenge hand section of our website.

Kelsey's style is very readable and the language doesn't appear dated - though he does refer to knaves rather than jacks, and vulnerability is described in terms such as "Love all" or "Game all".

Most of the book assumes rubber bridge or IMP style scoring used in most teams and Swiss Pairs events, though the final chapter explicitly addresses matchpoint scoring as is typically used in club duplicates. So for most of the book his goal is to make his contract with the most safety rather than seek overtricks. Nonetheless the skills he teaches are largely separate from the goals and will be useful to all declarers.

This book is one of many gems that can be found in the Peninsula Bridge Club library - available for borrowing by any member wishing to improve their game.