Online bridge update 39

Sorry for the late notice but I am afraid that there will be no two-hour Monday morning seminar this week but the second part of the opening lead session – what to lead against trump contracts – will be on 1st February instead, with the normal series of illustrative hands. The level is intermediate. You can sign up in the usual way either from this email or with the payment button in the sidebar of the website.

Pay for seminar

1st February 2021 from 9.30am

£20.00

The normal Tuesday morning supervised play session will be running again this week (26th January), starting at 9.30am. I shall look forward to seeing you all. Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideally by early Monday event as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away. The maximum number we can currently handle is 16.

Tuesday supervised play

26th January 2021 from 9.30am

£15.00

The group coaching sessions continue as normal this week. I am juggling a couple of groups. Thank you for making them so enjoyable.

Jonathan

Online bridge update 38

The two-hour Monday morning seminar will focus this week on the hardest part of bridge, the opening lead. On average you will be giving away a trick on every second hand you defend. Even the very best professionals get only 80% of their opening leads right. It is that difficult. You have to learn to listen to the bidding and draw both positive and negative inferences from what you hear. The level is intermediate. You can sign up in the usual way either from this email or with the payment button in the sidebar of the website.

Pay for seminar

18th January 2021 from 9.30am

£20.00

The normal Tuesday morning supervised play session will be running again this week (12th January), starting at 9.30am. I shall look forward to seeing you all. Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideally by early Monday event as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away. The maximum number we can currently handle is 16.

Tuesday supervised play

19th January 2021 from 9.30am

£15.00

The group coaching sessions return as normal this week. In order to avoid me having to chase you for payment, it will very helpful if you can make your bank transfer payment in advance. Many thanks again for all your support and I look forward to more fruitful bridge play this year. The competition for most improved player 2021 is up and running!

Jonathan

Online bridge update 37

The two-hour Monday morning seminar will focus on the play of the cards with a particular focus on finessing – when to take a finesse and when not. There will also be lessons to be learnt from the bidding as well. Then as usual we will follow that up by a series of randomly dealt hands that I have not seen before. The level is intermediate. You can sign up in the usual way either from this email or with the payment button in the sidebar of the website. Suggestions for topics always welcome.

Pay for seminar

11th January 2021 from 9.30am

£20.00

The normal Tuesday morning supervised play session will however be running again this week (12th January), starting at 9.30am. I shall look forward to seeing you all. Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideally by early Monday event as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away.

Tuesday supervised play

12th January 2021 from 9.30am

£15.00

The group coaching sessions will also resume as normal this week. In order to avoid me having to chase you for payment, it will very helpful if you can make your bank transfer payment in advance. Many thanks again for all your support and I look forward to more fruitful bridge play this year. The competition for most improved player 2021 is up and running!

Jonathan

Online bridge update 36

We are back! Welcome to 2021, the year when we all hope that face to face bridge may return, although it would be foolish to predict it happening with any confidence. I hope that you have all enjoyed as good a Christmas as circumstances allowed and are now ready to get back to the virtual card table and see those lockdown blues.

The first two-hour Monday morning seminar will not be kicking off until tomorrow week (January 11th). Continuing with the format we had before Christmas, each session will start with half a dozen hands around a common theme, followed by a series of randomly dealt hands that I have not seen before. The first few seminar themes I expect to be devoted to the play of the cards, although the bidding of each hand will also of course be reviewed. The level is intermediate. You can sign up in the usual way either from this email or with the payment button in the sidebar of the website. Suggestions for topics always welcome.

Pay for seminar

11th January 2021 from 9.30am

£20.00

The normal Tuesday morning supervised play session will however be starting again this week (5th January), starting at 9.30am. I shall look forward to seeing you all. Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideally by early Monday event as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away.

Tuesday supervised play

5th January 2021 from 9.30am

£15.00

Our popular group coaching sessions will also resume as normal this week. Please let me know if for any reason you think that your group may not wish to continue with their regular session. There is always more demand for these slots than I have capacity for, so knowing in advance whether you expect to make them is helpful. I still have some other professional commitments to fit in during the week as well, so all the more reason to confirm your regular slot if you can……

Here’s hoping again for a better 2021.

Jonathan

PS It looks like my grandson and his parents are going to be completing on the purchase of a house in Charlbury soon, so that opens up the possibility of resuming bridge lessons there, as well as in Wytham, as and when the ability to play face to face resumes. Fingers crossed!

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

Online bridge update 34

The two-hour Monday morning seminar tomorrow (December 14th) will be a mixture of a single topic and another Play These Hands With Me session. Last week was a run through of the play of several hands from the annual Portland Club duplicate competition, in which my partner and I were narrowly pipped for the top spot. To sign up for this and Tuesday bridge there are Paypal payment buttons in this post and also in the sidebar of most pages on the website.

Pay for seminar

14th December 2020 from 9.30am

£20.00

There will be the normal Tuesday morning supervised play session again this week (15th December), starting at 9.30am. Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideally by early Monday event as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away. Annabel will be back this week, so we should be able to run the full four-table session as normal.

Tuesday supervised play

15th December from 9.30am

£15.00

Most of the group sessions also continue as normal this week, although some of you are already rowing back ahead of the unusual Christmas break we are all facing this year. Looking ahead, my plan is to take the week off running up to Christmas Day, so there will be no bridge lessons or sessions that week. The week after Christmas there may well be some bridge available. Will send out more details of that next week.

On a less festive note I shall be going through my records as the year end approaches and checking whether everyone has paid up to date. The great majority of you have done so, but there may been or two who are inadvertently a little behind. I can only thank you all for your support this year and very glad that we have been able to keep bridge going, despite not having played a face to face hand since the dark days of March.

Here’s hoping for a better 2021.

Jonathan

Online bridge update 33

The two-hour Monday morning seminar tomorrow (December 7th) will be a mixture of a single topic and another Play These Hands With Me session. I am happy to say that the technical problems that blighted the seminar two weeks ago were temporary (apparently caused by problems with Virgin Media’s network) and last week’s went ahead successfully without incident. To sign up for this and Tuesday bridge there are Paypal payment buttons in this post and also in the sidebar of most pages on the website.

Pay for seminar

7th December 2020 from 9.30am

£20.00

There will be the normal Tuesday morning supervised play session again this week (8th December), starting at 9.30am. Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideally by early Monday event as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away. Annabel will be back this week, so we should be able to run the full four-table session as normal.

The ten group sessions also continue as normal this week. Looking ahead, some of you will be taking breaks in the run up to Christmas, so it would be helpful if you could give me some notice if you know you are going to miss one of those sessions, so I can arrange substitutes, if necessary. My current plan is to offer some sessions in the week after Christmas, but reduce those in the week immediately running up to Christmas Day, which is on a Friday this year.

Tuesday supervised play

8th December from 9.30am

£15.00

I am playing in the final of the Portland Club annual member and guest pairs competition tomorrow – a fun event involving a lot of untried partnerships – and if there are any interesting hands I will bring them up on Monday. This was a hand from a match last week. Do you think the West hand, with three points, should bid after his partner opened 2 No Trumps? My partner did not, but our opponents did and there was no way to prevent nine tricks being made, with hearts friendly – the defence cannot stop the fourth heart winning – and the diamond finesse also working.

Happy bridging….

Jonathan

Online bridge update 32

The two-hour Monday morning seminar tomorrow (November 30th) will be another Play These Hands With Me session, including some deals I have played recently. To sign up for this and Tuesday bridge there are Paypal payment buttons in this post and also in the sidebar of most pages on the website.

Pay for seminar

30th November 2020 from 9.30am

£20.00

There will be the normal Tuesday morning supervised play session again this week (1st December), starting at 9.30am. Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideally by early Monday event as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away. There is no Annabel this week, so it is more important than usual to get the numbers right. The ten group sessions also continue as normal.

Tuesday supervised play

1st December from 9.30am

£15.00

The answer to the question of last week “how do you bid a strong balanced hand with 25-26 High Card Points?” is: open with 2 Clubs, our strongest bid, and then rebid 3NT to show a balanced 25-26 HCPs. You just have to wait quite a long time to get an example……

Happy bridging….

Jonathan

Online bridge update 31

The two-hour Monday morning seminar tomorrow (November 23rd) will be another Play These Hands With Me session, including some deals from the international tournament I played in last week. By way an example try this hand out, the first one of the whole four-day event. How would you bid and play this slam hand (follow this link)? To sign up for this and Tuesday bridge there are Paypal payment buttons in this post and also in the sidebar of most pages on the website.

Pay for seminar

23rd November from 9.30am

£20.00

There will be the normal Tuesday morning supervised play session again this week (24th November), starting at 9.30am. Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideally by early Monday evening, as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away. The ten group sessions also continue as normal.

Tuesday supervised play

24th November from 9.30am

£15.00

Question of the week: how do you bid a strong balanced hand with 25-26 High Card Points?

Happy bridging….

Jonathan

Online bridge update 30

The two-hour Monday morning seminar tomorrow (November 16th) will be another Play These Hands With Me session, possibly including some deals from the annual Portland Club duplicate competition in which I am playing today. Thank you all for your positive comments about these session. Just as Andrew Robson likes to use the example of his 1NT doubled minus 7 experience in his classes, there can be times when you learn as much from hands that go wrong as from those that are triumphs…..

I am including Paypal payment buttons in this post again, but if you have trouble making them work you can also book your place in the seminar or for the Tuesday morning supervised play session by going to any page of the website and looking for the payment option in the right hand sidebar.

Pay for seminar

16th November 2020 from 9.30am

£20.00

There will be the normal Tuesday morning supervised play session again this week (17th November), starting at 9.30am). Please let me know as early possible that you intend to join, ideals by early Monday evening, as it makes it so much easier to arrange the tables and reduce the risk of having to turn one of you away.

Pay for Tuesday bridge

17th November 2020 Supervised play

£15.00

I may have to postpone or reschedule one or two of the group sessions this week because of other commitments, but will let those involved know separately. Meanwhile I would like to thank everyone who enrolled in the beginners bridge course yesterday and maintained their concentration so admirably for the full five and a half hour experience. There are some quick learners among them, I can tell, and I look forward to welcoming them into our group. The second part of the two-day course will be on November 28th.

Jonathan Davis

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