So the holiday season has finally arrived and many of you I know are already dotted around an array of exotic locations enjoying some time away from your previously locked down homes. Bridge in Oxford is no exception and I am going to taking a break from the regular cycle of seminars and online coaching for most of August. I am glad that we have been able to help keep you playing – and learning – for so many weeks since the pandemic forced an end to our enjoyable face to face sessions in Wytham.
This week will therefore be the last week for the seminar series. The series will however resume on August 31st with a host of new topics. You are to welcome to send me suggestions for other topics you would like to see covered (or revised). This Monday’s seminar will be a wrap up/review session of slam bidding, including bidding a slam in the minor suits, with a series of hands for you to bid through and play with me (no use bidding them if you cannot make them!). To sign up please use the payment buttons in the sidebar of the website, or email if you have difficulty in doing so.
The Tuesday morning play session also continues this week as normal. There will be definitely be no Tuesday morning play session the following week, and at most one more in August (details to be confirmed). I hope that you will continue playing amongst yourselves so that we can all resume at the end of August refreshed and ready for more regular play in September. By then who knows it may be possible to reintroduce face to face play in some form in Wytham, although it still looks unlikely at this point.
As for the group coaching sessions, they will also continue this coming week, although some have already been interrupted by holidays and other enforced absences. If you are in one of these groups, I will be contacting you separately to see what if any dates might be possible until we resume full-time in September. I would like to say that these sessions have been hugely enjoyable for me and the general view seems to be that they are a successful and efficient way to practice and get better.
I rather suspect that the online format we have adopted for group coaching will remain popular even when face to face bridge resumes. I know of at least one group which is about to start playing together (suitably distanced) using ipads and Bridgebase Online instead of cards. That would make it very easy for me to continue offering advice via Zoom in group sessions without the need to travel around the county to be at the table, agreeable though that experience has been.
If so it will be a good example of how the pandemic, for all its other distressing effects, will change the way that we lead our lives. Playing bridge face to face at a card table in good company will always be the best form of the game, as far as I am concerned, but for teaching the game the Zoom + BBO format has undoubtedly been a positive breakthrough. The group coaching sessions will definitely therefore be resuming in a few short weeks, so make sure to let me know if you want to continue, as there are not enough slots to satisfy everyone who wants to be part of one.
There will be another post next week before I sign off for the holidays.