Archive for January, 2009

Tricks out of nothing.

Round two of the NOT our team was already struggling, having managed a modest win in the first round. This round didn’t look like it was going to be better, I thought, as I gloomily perused my dummy on one board. I was in 3C doubled, which was 3 off, no escaping that. To make matters worse it looked like our teammates might well be in 6 hearts and as they were 5-0, well, it was all too depressing for words.

Dummy had Jxxxx in hearts and LHO had AKQxx. To my amazement, in the middle of the hand, she shifted to a low one letting my jack score while RHO still had to follow suit. Things were looking up, I thought, -300 and -50, not so bad. In fact really rather good, that -300, as Warren Lazer made 6H in the other room despite the bad trump break.

Later on in the event I held this combination again. It was a side suit in a major suit game. Jxxxx in dummy opposite x in hand. A trick or two into the hand I led the jack from dummy – and it held. Please, may I hold this combination more often!

I don’t know if there is a moral to the story, but I did find the reactions of each pair interesting. The first pair had a bit of a barney. When the jack held against the second pair BOTH of them apologised. I’m sure it is just a coincidence that it was the second pair who got to the finals….

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January 26, 2009 at 1:18 am Leave a comment

The NOT 2009

As I write Helen Horwitz is in the NOT semi-final and well on her way to retaining the title her team won last year.

I can’t help thinking, it is just as well she doesn’t sort her cards like she sorts her yarn….

Helen Horwitz in a break during the NOT finals.

Helen Horwitz in a break during the NOT finals.

January 25, 2009 at 6:11 am 1 comment

Did God have a hand in bridge? So to speak.

Yesterday, round one of the NOT, I picked up 2254 24 HCP with AKQ10x in diamonds. I butchered the bidding and instead of getting to our cold 6D we played 3NT making 11 tricks.

Maybe God likes to give us a second chance in life. Later in the day, round 3 and I pick up 2452 24 HCP with AKQ10x in diamonds. This time I found another way to bid it badly, though at least we ended up in 3NT making, right contract.

How many more times do I need to be dealt this hand in order to figure out how to bid it???

I feel like paraphasing Jack Nicholson as he stands in a church (he was talking about women) ‘Bridge. A terrible accident, or did he do it to us on purpose?’

January 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

How long does it take to learn to play bridge?

How long did it take you to learn to play bridge?

When I look at sites like the ACBL and their many teaching programs, I can’t help wondering if they are making a mountain out of a molehill. It looks to me like kids take about 28 weeks to learn to play. They start of with bits of bridge, other bits are added slowly and the whole thing takes forever.

I learnt bridge when I was at primary school. I didn’t know what Stayman was. I could do no more than navigate myself through a game legally. I learnt it just like I learnt Snap, Switch, Scrabble, all the games one learns as a kid. Or did. Still, I had no recollection at all of the process of learning, which made me think it must have been a simple painless process. None of my siblings could recall learning either, only playing. So I asked my mother how long it took to teach us. She replied ‘If it had taken longer than about half an hour we wouldn’t have bothered teaching you’. There you go.

Why not teach kids in that way? Why not have them playing a proper game of bridge (and by proper I mean legal, rather than good) in 30 minutes and let the relationship between the game and the kids develop from there. Some of them will want to learn what Jacoby transfers are and some of them won’t. But if our society was full of people who knew the legal basis of a game of bridge this would be the best promotion the game could possibly have.

If you make bridge a thing that takes half a year to learn, you will automatically lose a huge number of people who might learn to play if it took a few minutes. I fail to see the logic of discouraging those other people from playing.

I wonder, though, if it isn’t all about the teacher? The more lessons the better for the employment rate of teachers. Is that the point of making a mountain out of a molehill???

January 8, 2009 at 1:58 am 6 comments


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