New Year plans

I am busy putting the final touches to the schedule for the coming three months. For logistical reasons I have had to make changes to the timing and venue of some courses. The Essential course begins as scheduled on Monday January 21st at 9.45am. The starting time for the Improver course on Thursdays (starting on January 24th at the North Oxford Association) is being brought forward by an hour and a half to 10.00am. The Next Step course on Thursdays is being rescheduled. I will be contacting anyone affected by these changes directly in a separate email.

In response to demand I am also adding the Improver Plus course which will  take place on Tuesday afternoons, starting at 2.30 pm. There has also been interest in a course devoted entirely to defence and one devoted to conventions suitable for duplicate competition. If you would also be interested in either of these please let me know and I will see when and how these might be organised.

After further investigation of suitable venues, I am proposing to hold the first play and learn session of 2019 on Tuesday January 29th in the agreeable surroundings of The Trout at Godstow. As most of you will now, this is a well-known pub beside the river in North Oxford, featured in episodes of Inspector Morse, readily accessible from both the A34 (via Wytham) and the northern ring road (from the Wolvercote roundabout). There is plenty of parking.

The plan is for the session to start promptly at 10am and run until lunchtime when a buffet lunch will be available for those who want to stay. It will feature a series of pre-dealt boards that can be played and scored, with a chance to call for help during play, and to ask questions about specific hands at the end. Hand records will be available to study once the session has ended and you will have a chance, but only if you so wish, to compare your results against those who played the hands when they were originally played (in a  competition). I will also provide a bridge tip and refresher note for the day.

This way I hope these sessions will appeal to both those with a competitive urge and those who primarily value the social and learning aspects of this great game. There will be an opportunity to play against different opponents during the course of the morning, but if you simply want to come with your own group of four, simply to practise and learn, that too we can cater for. Tea and coffee will be available and there will be a modest charge for the buffet lunch if you choose to stay for that.

To gauge demand I will be sending out a “Doodle poll” shortly to find out which of the available dates over the next month you might in principle be keen to join – fill in as many of the dates as you like and if you have a partner add them as well (let me have their names and emails so I can add them to the poll). The two options currently available at The Trout are Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings, and I will also include Friday mornings at the St Hugh’s Centre in Woodstock. Dates and venues will be finalised once I have had a chance to review the results. My hope is that there will be at least one regular session every week from February onwards.

A Doodle poll is a simple online method of sampling demand for a range of different dates and options. You simply have to click on the link provided in the email and register which of the various dates you would be interested in attending (feel free to pick more than one). I am looking forward to hearing your views. I will send out a separate poll in due course to try and narrow down how many of you are specifically interested in duplicate sessions.

I do hope that as many as you as possible will come to one of these sessions once the poll is completed. The regular weekly sessions will evolve as I find out more precisely where the most demand is. They provide an opportunity to meet all the others who like the sound of Robson bridge. In the meantime I would like to wish you a Happy New Year and hope that all your bids and finesses continue to prosper.


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