Coronavirus update

Given the latest advice from the Government, it is inevitable that our regular bridge sessions will soon have to be postponed until the epidemic is properly contained. Thanks to those of you who have already told me that they no longer feel able to come to classes or play and learn sessions. I fully understand and support your decision. I was already planning on suspending most of our events even before the latest announcements. This is the BBC News analysis as of 4.30pm today (link here) – Sunday March 15th.

While the Health Secretary says that it is not yet the right time to urge anyone over 70 or those with health issues to self-isolate, that decision will be coming shortly. The peak of the epidemic is not currently expected to occur for around 10 weeks. It seems inevitable however that most people, whether or not they are in the highest risk category, will decide to take matters into their own hands sooner rather than later to try and minimise the risk of infection.

Bridge events as we organise them currently are particularly risky as sources of infection, given the use of playing cards and bidding boxes. We can minimise that risk to some extent by dispensing with boards that move round the room, replacing them with packs of cards that are not used at any other table and are thrown away at the end of each session, and also by stopping using bidding boxes. However there is no way to enable social distancing, which requires people to stay six feet away from each other, or to eliminate the risk of transmission through the atmosphere.

The English Bridge Union has today cancelled all its national events over the next few months and  issued new guidance to bridge clubs that do decide to stay open, urging members who are vulnerable to stay away, and clubs that are still open to consider carefully whether their arrangements are still appropriate.  Some of us already know somebody who has been infected and it is inevitable that the number of cases is going to continue to grow rapidly for a few weeks.

In these circumstances, I am proposing the following. The seminar tomorrow (on overcalling and the Unassuming Cue Bid) is going ahead, but the series will not continue after that until further notice. I have asked those who have indicated interest in attending to let me know if they are coming or not tomorrow.

The Tuesday play and learn session and Thursday morning refresher course will also not continue after this week, and will this week only operate on the basis set out above – no bidding boxes and no boards travelling around the room. I have created a new Doodle poll for the Tuesday Wytham session to replace the existing one. You can find it here. I would be grateful if you could complete it. I will be contacting those who have been coming to the Thursday refresher course directly with a similar message.

While sessions are suspended, I will be offering the option of online lessons and also a regular online tournament as well. If you are interested in either of those options, please let me know – playing online may not always be as much fun as playing in a social setting, but this could be a chance to work on your game so as to come back even better and stronger than before when the virus threat has subsided. If you unfortunately find yourself among those who have to self-isolate, this may also be one good way to while away the time.

There is, finally, the possibility of holding smaller private group lessons as well, in particular cases where everyone involved is not in the primary risk category, understands and is happy with the risks and suitable playing conditions can be created. For the moment I am monitoring developments closely and will only offer that on demand and in the light of prevailing medical advice.

I very much hope that those of you who have been regular or occasional participants in any of the classes or play and learn sessions will let me know what your thoughts are on all the above. I shall provide further updates on the website and by email so that we do not lose touch. If you have not already signed up to receive emails from this website, it would be very helpful if you could do so now, by adding your email in the box to the right of the page.

This is obviously a very difficult set of circumstances, particularly so as the lessons and sessions we run have been growing in popularity and I know how many of you have been enjoying the chance to play and learn with our convivial and growing group of participants. However it is obvious that we must do everything we can to minimise the risk of infection over the next few trying weeks and protect those who are at risk. I hope that we will all be back at the bridge table sooner rather than later.

Thank you finally for all your emails and messages. Please keep them coming!




15 thoughts on “Coronavirus update

  1. Dear Jonathan

    THANKYOU for your very helpful message. Martin my husband has retreated to bed this afternoon – hopefully only a normal cold but as a precaution I will not be coming to the session on Tuesday at Wytham and being over 70 likely to get isolation orders next week anyway. However over the next weeks would definitely be keen to try some on line lessons – please keep me in the loop And keep well yourself! Best wishes Deborah


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Thank you for this carefully thought-out information. If you decide to offer online lessons I would definitely be interested. With best wishes Lucille

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Dear Jonathan

    Thank you so much for your email – my meeting has been cancelled on the 25th (horray) so if you do run your lesson on that date , David and I would love to be included.

    also very I interested in the online tournament and lessons- I have copied David in so please do include him going forward.

    Such a worrying time – Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes Rachel

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Dear Jonathan

    Your proposals seem entirely sensible given the rapidly changing health situation. I would be interested in small group private sessions should you be prepared to run these in the interim and circumstances permitting so please bear me in mind.

    Best wishes Angela

    From: Andrew Robson Bridge in Oxford Reply-To: Andrew Robson Bridge in Oxford Date: Sunday, 15 March 2020 at 20:15 To: Angela Crean Subject: [New post] Coronavirus update Jonathan Davis posted: “Given the latest advice from the Government, it is inevitable that our regular bridge sessions will soon have to be postponed until the epidemic is properly contained. Thanks to those of you who have already told me that they no longer feel able to come t”

  5. Dear Jonathan

    That sounds a wise decision particularly as Oxford seems to be a hotspot.

    Catherine and I were discussing just before your email arrived. I am stuck in hospital (Barts in London) for another 2-3 weeks and after that will be recovering slowly and amongst the vulnerable category. So no chance of playing for the foreseeable future. What a pity it is such good fun.

    Your online options sound interesting – please tell me more



  6. Hi JonathonWhat a bore all this is. Our club is wrestling with closing completely, so my partner and I thought we might take the opportunity to do some training.How much do you charge for private lessons?CheersLesleySent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

  7. Dear Jonathan Thank you for this comprehensive account if the current situation. I’m planning to come to Wytham tomorrow. I would be very interested in online lessons etc and maybe even small group lessons if I can think of a way to organise it. Best wishes Stella

    Sent from my iPhone


  8. Thanks Jonathan for your up date. It is a time to be sensible and minimise risk but who likes to be sensible. However given the risk of catching the beastly Coronavirus it is best to err on the side of caution. Please keep me in the loop. We have just returned from 4 weeks in India and having passed through 2 busy airports we are trying to self isolate. Apologies for not making it to the final session at Wytham. I ended up in A and E having tripped over the dog!!!
    Best Wishes,
    Sally Simpson

  9. Hi Jonthan,

    It was good to see you this time last week in Rose Hill for what we might look back on as the last hurray for a large gathering of Oxfordshire bridge for some while. What a fun and spoiling way to spend a day.

    I am sure the momentum you have shown with bridge in Oxfordshire will fire back up once we can all play in public again.

    Thanks for the update and we may well be on for some small gathering of bridge. I say hunker down and play bridge!

    All good wishes Nicola



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