Online bridge update 35

So this is it – the first time in months that I am going to have to say “sorry, but there are no bridge sessions this week”. Bridge in Oxford is taking a break to enjoy….well, not a lot, if truth be told. With most of the country in one kind of lockdown or another, and Christmas cancelled for many, this week is certainly going to be a quiet one, a chance to do some boring admin (ugh), reflect on the year just gone and make some plans for next year.

Everything will be back to normal in the first week of the New Year and it may be, given recent events, that I can fit in some bridge sessions in the week after Christmas. If so, I will notify you accordingly. I shall be disappointed if some at least of you don’t find the time to play some bridge over the holiday period. In 2021 I expect to investigate using a different bridge website for the Tuesday morning sessions and maybe some of the coaching sessions as well.

As some you will know, away from the bridge table I edit and publish an annual handbook about investment trusts which finally appeared this week, so I have been busy some interviews and podcasts to help promote the latest edition, which I’m happy to say is selling well. I am however planning to find the time to play in a couple of tournaments – including one this weekend which is being held to help the international campaign against cheating in online events (you would be surprised how widespread this has been) – and hope to add to my growing stock of interesting hands to play through on Mondays in the weeks ahead.

I do want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been able to join us this year for a seminar, Tuesday morning group play or one of the dozen or so group coaching sessions that have been running for something like 40 weeks now. Starting the coaching sessions was a spur of the moment idea, designed to be a temporary fix when face to face bridge sessions had to be halted back in March.

I never imagined we would still be doing them nine months later. As it turns out, they have proved to be a great way to learn and improve your game, as well as a nice way for close friends to stay in touch and newcomers to make new acquaintances. From my perspective, the sessions have enabled me to get to know a lot of you much better, down to and including an insight into the way you decorate your homes……Most encouraging of all, I have been able to observe the tremendous improvement that every one of you has made as a bridge player with the help of these regular training sessions.

The contest for most improved player has been intense all year, and I am afraid that I have been unable to pick a winner from the many strong candidates. (Thank you, Phil, for the offer of a bribe, but nothing has yet arrived – probably delayed in the post). As I have told you many times, bridge is a game where everyone can be a winner – but the most important thing is never to lose sight of the fact that it is a game, something to be amused and entertained by, to add to its proven qualities as a source of mental health and wellbeing.

Instead of a Christmas card, I would like to leave you with a couple of images from our sessions in Wytham Village Hall and express the wish that you all have as good a Christmas as circumstances allow, and that at some point next year we will be able to have our first face to face bridge session for what has been a long time. In the meantime, many thanks again for your support and may your suits always split and your finesses succeed.

Here’s hoping for a better 2021.

Jonathan

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