The play and learn session tomorrow will not be at The Trout, as usual, but instead at the Jacobs Inn, a few hundred yards away in Wolvercote village. There is parking there too and a fair deal of space – lighter and less cramped than the room at The Trout we had last week. Kick off as normal is formally at 9.45, finishing at 12.30 or so, but if you get there earlier and want to start playing a few randomly dealt hands that is fine too. I shall be there from 9.30. Sorry for the change in venue, but we are in peak tourist season, with the end of the University term thrown in as well. Here is a link to the new venue.
Category Archives: The Trout in Godstow
Because of the Bank Holiday the Essential Extra course will restart on Monday week (June 3rd). On Tuesday morning (May 28th) there will be supervised play as normal at The Trout, in the capable hands of Annabel and Peter Finbow this time, as I am coming back from Wales that day – please treat them kindly! Wednesday morning sees our first play and learn session in Charlbury, at The Bull, starting at 9.45am. Anyone who lives locally and wants to taste bridge the Robson way is very welcome to come, as of course is anyone who has already been to The Trout or Islip, and/or taken one of our courses. There has been a lot of interest already in Charlbury as a venue, including several enthusiasts who cannot make next week because of half term but have promised to come thereafter. When I get back I shall be publishing some dates for our “summer specials”, a series of single topic seminars similar to those which proved popular during the Easter holidays. Watch this space!
Tuesday morning sessions at The Trout will continue throughout May and June, starting at 9.45am and finishing at 12.45pm. There will be no bridge in Islip tomorrow (May 3rd) but there will be another supervised play session there on Friday May 10th. More dates for single topic seminars will be published shortly – subjects include the Jacoby 2 No Trump convention and a series on two-suited bids (Michaels, Landy and the Unusual Trump). I am also looking at a number of different locations around the county for regular supervised play sessions. If you live within reach of Charlbury, in particular, please let me know if you would be interested in a regular supervised play session there, probably on Wednesdays. I am also keen to hear from anyone willing to join a four-session beginners course, to make up the numbers with an existing group.
As promised we are ready to try some additional times and venues for our play and learn sessions. The popular morning sessions at The Trout will continue, starting at 10am every Tuesday. On the morning of Friday March 8th we will be holding our first trial morning session in the Terrace Room at Islip Village Hall, starting at 10am. This is one of the best venues that I have come across, spacious, comfortable and well-appointed, and ideally suited to playing bridge. It is just a couple of minutes drive from the A34 north of Oxford, and also accessible from the ring road. There is plenty of free parking. Postcode OX5 2TH.
We are offering a three hour play session with supervision available from myself and Annabel on a series of pre-dealt hands (hand records available at the end). As the Tuesday morning sessions have shown, these play and learn sessions combine an element of real life competition with the chance to meet new people and practise what you know or have learnt so far in a friendly atmosphere.
As with the Tuesday sessions, the simplest way to book a place is to make a bank transfer quoting Islip March 8th as a reference. Alternatively send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com) declaring your intention to play and we will provide the bank details by return. All sessions cost £15 and refreshments will be available. While it is possible to turn up unannounced, we will try – but cannot absolutely guarantee – to find you a table.
We now have two new Doodle polls running for you to indicate which dates in March you might be able to make, one for The Trout on Tuesday mornings and the second for Islip on a Friday morning. These polls don’t commit you to play, of course, but are helpful for planning purposes. Once the current crop of teaching courses has ended, we may be able to work in opportunities to play on other days of the week as well, including our first duplicate sessions.
These are the links:
We held the first of what will become our regular weekly play sessions at The Trout on Tuesday this week and it turned out to be both popular and, I believe from the immediate feedback, a great success. The cold weather was a bit of a negative when the roaring log fire went out without anybody immediately noticing (too absorbed in their cards perhaps?), but that is something we can readily fix on future occasions.
The next Tuesday morning sessions, which starts next Tuesday (February 5th) at 10am, has attracted even more potential interest than the first one, so I am expecting an even bigger turnout. It is not too late to book a place however – the more the merrier. I will only be totting up the final numbers on Sunday evening, so do please put your name down before then if you would like to come.
If you have a regular partner to bring they will be very welcome, and if you are on your own we should be able to fit you in provided only that we have produce a final number count 24 hours in advance. With the help of my colleague Annabel we can cope with most combinations, but the one really difficult one is if we have a multiple of four plus one turning up; in that case (and that case alone), we will have to ask one person to sit out on for just one hand in the course of the morning. I don’t think that sitting out for one hand in a three hour session should be a major hardship, but it is only fair to advise you that it is a possibility in that one particular case.
As this week, next Tuesday’s session will allow you to play a number of pre-dealt hands under supervision. I bring 32 such hands to each session and from now on they will be carefully selected to make sure that the most interesting ones are divided equally between the two sides of each table. That means everyone will get a chance to declare a number of contracts, while also being able to practise their defence the rest of the time. (There were at least six potential slam hands this week, incidentally, even though the deals were randomly generated).
We will typically aim to get through between a half and two thirds of those 32 pre-dealt hands in the three hours available. It is up to each table to decide how long they want to spend reviewing the hand they have just played. Annabel and I are both on hand to answer queries and offer advice as and when required. Experience suggests that you cannot fail to improve by practising the bidding and play tips you have picked up in lessons or your earlier bridge life. It was also hugely encouraging to see the friendly spirit in which all the hands were played – definitely part of the Robson bridge experience – and I heard a lot of spirited and amicable chat as well.
The success of the Tuesday morning session should ensure that it becomes a regular weekly event. Support for the other two options I canvassed (Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings) means that they too may be able to start quite soon. I am keeping open the Doodle poll for all three sessions – the link to the poll is here – and hope that you will be encouraged to sign up for one or more of those if you think that is of interest to you. When the teaching term ends in March, I also hope to offer alternative days of the week for play sessions. A number of you who cannot come to a weekday event have expressed interest in a half or full day weekend session and that will also be scheduled shortly.
There is a good chance that the first Friday morning session will start running next week or the week after. Please watch this space for further confirmation. I can only apologise to those who have expressed interest for a session that has not yet taken place. I can assure you that a wider choice of sessions will be happening as soon as the timetable and numbers allow. In the meantime I look forward to seeing you as many of you as possible next Tuesday morning at The Trout.
If you want to book a place for a Tuesday morning session at The Trout the simplest way is to sign up on the Doodle poll and send an email (to firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know that you are definitely coming, and – if you are bringing others – who they are. You will then need to book your place by transferring £15 to the ARB Oxford bank account, giving the venue and date as the reference (e.g. Trout 5th Feb for next Tuesday’s event). We much prefer that to taking cash on the day, although we can do that as well if there is no alternative. I can send the bank details to anyone who asks me for them or does not yet have them.
PS It is always helpful if you can add your contact phone number to any email so that I can add that to our database of interested players. It makes it easier to find out where your interests lie – and for me to schedule things – if we have the option of calling you directly.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent poll to assess your interest in play and learn sessions. I am happy to confirm that the first two of these sessions will be held at The Trout in Godstow on Tuesday January 29th and February 5th, both starting at 10 am. All those who have already expressed an interest have been notified and will be asked shortly to confirm their availability.
The Tuesday morning option has proved to be the most popular and so we will start with those. The other two options I have canvassed – Wednesday evenings at The Trout and Friday mornings in Woodstock – have also attracted support, though not to quite the same extent, and I will be following up on those shortly.
It is not too late to express your interest in a range of dates over the next month at these two venues. This is the link to The Trout poll and this is the link to the Woodstock poll. The first two play and learn sessions are also live on the Eventbrite website, although it will save you a couple of pounds to email me your intention to take part by emailing me directly (email@example.com) and paying by direct bank transfer. There is plenty of parking at both venues.
I am confident that these sessions can become a regular weekly event for all those who want to put what they know (or have learnt) about bridge into practice in a friendly and co-operative environment with like-minded enthusiasts. This is how Andrew’s club in London started and it has gone from strength to strength ever since. We are on the way to creating what I hope will be a similar success here in Oxford….