Online bridge update (again)

(Updated 4th April 2020)

Following feedback about the online sessions we have organised so far, I am proposing to make the following changes, effective from this coming week. I will be continuing the regular Monday morning topic seminars (two hours with presentation slides and direct Q and A participation via Zoom). The next one, on April 6th, covers penalty doubles and redoubling. You can book a place on the Monday seminars by following this link.

On Tuesday mornings the usual 2.5 hour play and learn session (“Wytham online for short”) will continue as normal, subject to a maximum of four or five tables. It may be possible to organise different rooms on Zoom so that the talk at one table does not disturb those at others. You can book a place for the Tuesday sessions by following this link. I will continue to allocate you to suitable tables.

For the rest of the week I am proposing to offer any group of four players (more if some are happy to spectate) the chance to have a 60 or 90 minute supervised play and learn session with me at almost any time during the day during the week. I have already got at least four groups ready for this single table format, which will allow me to give undivided attention to every bid and play you make in that time, again with voice interaction on Zoom. Thursday mornings and late Tuesday afternoon are proving popular, but other days are freer as it stands.

Revised calendar 4th April 2020

Please email me if you have a group that is interested and want to book a regular slot. To the extent that time allows, I am happy also to match up those with others of the same levels of experience into a group, so that they too can benefit from this. I have amended the outline schedule for next week, starting on Monday morning (6th April). Exceptionally there are no slots this Wednesday, as I have other work commitments that day. Late Friday afternoons will also be out for a similar reason (I am recording a podcast about investment trusts – please tell your friends or family if they happen to have an interest in that subject). Other than that, just take your pick!

What it will cost

To keep it as simple as possible I am proposing a simple tariff for any sessions you book, as follows, per player. Monday topic seminars: £20 each. Tuesday mornings (“Wytham online”) £15. Small one table group sessions £15 for 60 minutes and £20 for 90 minutes. Anything longer: ask and I will try to come up with something reasonable.  Experience suggests that most of you find 90 minutes about the most you want to spend on direct supervision before your concentration goes, but there is nothing to stop you playing on with your table without supervision either before or after my involvement. That way you get both some uninterrupted play and some tuition, the best of both worlds. It also means I can help a greater number of different groups each week. Some evenings may also be possible. To minimise the time I have to spend checking payments it would be helpful if you could pay in advance as soon as your booking is confirmed.  There will soon be an easy online booking option here.

Introduction to BBO

All these lessons will take place on Bridge Base Online, the biggest and best online bridge website. It is free to join. All you need to do is create a username and password. I will use the usernames to invite you to the relevant “table”. Here is a link to a short video introduction to what you will see at a BBO bridge teaching table, for those who have not tried it before. (There is one small error in the video which I have not had time to correct: it is possible to remove the annoying sounds you get every time you make a bid or play a card by going to the Account/Settings page and disabling the “sounds on” button). You can also access the video directly from this page (click on the white arrow). Andrew Robson Bridge Club in London has also produced some helpful You Tube videos about playing on BBO. More videos from me to follow as well just as soon as I get the rest of this all organised.

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