Online bridge update 18

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.

Online bridge update 17

The seminar this week (July 20th) will continue the playing No Trump contracts theme of last week, with a further series of example hands and discussion of avoidance play and card placing. Those who came last week seem to be enjoying the benefits already, as the number of 3 No Trump contracts being bid (and made) has already gone up….. 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. Advance warning: please note that there will be no seminar on Monday August 3rd and no Tuesday morning play session on August 4th as I will be away. A revised list of topics for the seminars will be posted shortly. I look forward to seeing you as normal for the next two weeks.

Online bridge upate 16

The easing of lockdown restrictions has finally begun, allowing many social activities to resume, but for now at least face to face bridge will not be one of them. So the new world of online bridge to which we have all become accustomed continues, with our regular Tuesday morning supervised play session and all the group coaching sessions running as normal next week. You can sign up and pay for next week’s sessions by using the payment button in the sidebar of the website.

July 28th Tuesday play session

Our regular Tuesday morning supervised play session, combining the play of real life randomly dealt hands and friendly chat via a Zoom video call for each table, with supervision by Jonathan and Annabel. From 9.30 to 12.30.

£15.00

If for any reason you miss the chance to book a place on the Tuesday morning club session ahead of time, it may be worth dropping me an email the day before, when I will be checking the final numbers and can let you know if there is still room to make up another table (although I cannot absolutely guarantee you a place). Tuesday mornings are a great opportunity to practise with regular partners and chat to other like-minded players at your table. We now have an opportunity to expand the number of tables, so please do give that consideration.

July 27th seminar: slams review

A review of slam bidding and play, with new hands, with interactive Q and A and a full set of slides. Taught by Jonathan Davis.

£20.00

As promised the next seminar on July 13th will be on the play of No Trump contracts. It is surprising how many people new to bridge say that they find No Trump contracts more difficult to play. In this seminar I will be explaining the basic techniques required to play a No Trump contract and how to balance the search for extra tricks with precautions against allowing the defenders to win too many of theirs. Please look at the seminar page for the latest details on future sessions. In response to demand I will be bringing forward a seminar on negative doubles (such a useful bidding tool) and dealing with intervention over One No Trump.

Online bridge upate 15

The easing of lockdown restrictions will allow many social activities to resume, but for now at least face to face bridge will not be one of them. So the new world of online bridge to which we have all become accustomed continues, with our regular Tuesday morning supervised play session and all the group coaching sessions running as normal next week. If for any reason you miss the chance to book a place on the Tuesday morning club session ahead of time, it may be worth dropping me an email the day before, when I will be checking the final numbers and can let you know if there is still room to make up another table, although I cannot absolutely guarantee you a place. Tuesday mornings are a great opportunity to practise with regular partners and chat to other like-minded players at your table.

July 7th 2020 play session

Our normal regular Tuesday morning session from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

£15.00

As promised the next seminar on July 6th will be on trial bids, the final element of the slam bidding methods we have been discussing for the last few weeks. Trial bids may not sound that exciting but they are an integral part of Andrew Robson’s methods and dovetail nicely with cue bids and Key Card Blackwood. After that we will be going back to topics involving the play of the hands, starting with No Trump contracts. Further along the line I plan to offer a review session on slam bidding to help you review and practice all the different elements of slam bidding that we have covered. It is very encouraging how many more of you are already taking what you have learnt and putting it into practice. One of the highlights of the week has been seeing one of my fastest improving students bidding and making a grand slam for the first time. You could be next…..

July 6th 2020 seminar (trial bids)

Our regular two-hour Monday morning seminar on bidding and play techniques: two hours with slides, sample hands and Q and A, from 9.30am.

£20.00

Online bridge upate 14

The heatwave goes on as I write this note, and some of you I know will be taking advantage before too long of the relaxation of the lockdown rules to start venturing out into distant climes. I am not going anywhere however, at least for the next week or two, and so the normal Tuesday morning supervised play and all the group coaching sessions will continue next week. If for any reason you miss the chance to book a place on Tuesday mornings ahead of time, it may be worth dropping me an email the day before, when I will be checking the final numbers and can let you know if there is still room to make up another table, although it is not guaranteed.

July 7th 2020 play session

Our normal regular Tuesday morning session from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

£15.00

The last seminar on Ace-showing cue bids attracted a record attendance. Thank you all for your support. I look forward to seeing you at the next one, which is on the Jacoby Two No Trump convention on Monday 29th at the normal time of 9.30am. The following week I will be covering trial bids, to complete the suite of slam bidding tools, after which we will be going back to topics involving the play of the hands. Trial bids may not sound that exciting but they are an integral part of Andrew Robson’s methods and dovetail nicely with cue bids and Key Card Blackwood. Further along the line I plan to offer a review session on slam bidding to help you review and practice all the different elements of slam bidding that we have covered.

July 6th 2020 seminar (trial bids)

Our regular two-hour Monday morning seminar on bidding and play techniques: two hours with slides, sample hands and Q and A, from 9.30am.

£20.00

Online bridge upate 13

I can see that the normal weekly email did not go out as planned at the weekend. This post is therefore merely to remind you that the normal Tuesday morning supervised play session is going ahead as normal tomorrow (June 23rd) and again at the same time next week. If for any reason you missed the chance to book a place please drop me an email in the morning, when I will be checking the final numbers and can let you know if there is room.

July 7th 2020 play session

Our normal regular Tuesday morning session from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

£15.00

The turnout at this morning’s seminar on Ace-showing cue bids as well attended. Thanks you all for attending and I look forward to seeing you at the next one, which is on the Jacoby Two No Trump convention, next Monday at the normal time of 9.30am. The following week I will be covering trial bids, to complete the suite of slam bidding tools, and following that we will be going back to play topics.

July 6th 2020 seminar (trial bids)

Our regular two-hour Monday morning seminar on bidding and play techniques: two hours with slides, sample hands and Q and A, from 9.30am.

£20.00

Online bridge update no 12

I am sorry to say that the Monday morning bridge seminar series is going to have to skip a week. There will be no seminar this Monday (June 15th) on trial bidding, because of a second professional commitment of mine, which unfortunately I cannot change. I apologise for the break in service, which is rare, but sometimes unavoidable. There are after all few more important things than a regular bridge commitment…….

The series will resume on Monday week with Ace-showing cue bids, followed by the Jacoby Two No Trump convention, two more essential additions to your game and slam bidding methods. The session on trial bidding will be rescheduled for a later date. Anyone who has already booked for this Monday will be automatically rolled over to the next date unless you advise me otherwise.

The next three topics in the series will be as follows:

  1. Ace-showing cue bids: June 22nd
  2. Jacoby 2 No Trump convention: June 29th
  3. Playing No Trump hands: July 6th.

The good news is that it will be back to business as normal on Tuesday morning with our regular social game (“Wytham online”). I will assume that those of you who booked for last week’s cancelled session are coming this Tuesday unless you tell me otherwise; there will be no need to book again in that case.

As an experiment, and in the interest of continuous improvement, rather than using Eventbrite, I am inviting you to pay directly from the website. Simply click on the button below and you should be able to pay by debit or credit card. If you have any problems please let me know. I am keen to know whether this method is simpler or more difficult to use than alternatives. If so I may use it for the Monday seminars as well.

Tuesday play 23rd June

Our regular social bridge session every Tuesday morning

£15.00

All the online coaching groups continue as normal. I have had a number of enquiries about a beginners class in bridge and I am willing to offer this if there are enough takers. If you have not already done so please feel free to let me know if you are interested in this, or know anyone who might be. In the latter case please ask them to email me with their details.

In the meantime happy bridging!

 

 

 

Online bridge update no 11

Tomorrow’s Monday morning bridge seminar continues our sequence of invaluable conventions, this time focusing in on splinters. A splinter bid tells your partner about a shortage in your hand once you have agreed a trump suit. it dovetails nicely with the other tools you will need to become an expert game and slam bidder. As with the others in the series once you have mastered splinters, you won’t want to leave home without one.

As normal the seminar begins at 9.30 and will include a series of example hands and teaching notes that are emailed to you after the event. You can book a place by following this link to the Eventbrite page, or email me to pay by bank transfer if your computer won’t let you use Eventbrite (you might need to change your browser).

The next three topics in the series will be as follows:

  1. Trial bidding: June 15th
  2. Ace-showing cue bids: June 22nd
  3. Jacoby 2 No Trump convention: June 29th

And now for the bad news. I am afraid that I am going to have to cancel, exceptionally, our regular Tuesday morning social bridge gathering (“Wytham online”) because of a change in the time of the monthly investment committee to which I belong. This change has been foisted on me and I am sorry that there is nothing I can do at this late stage, and apologise for the late notification. Anybody who has booked for the Tuesday session already will be given a rollover to the following Tuesday when we will resume as normal.  If I can find an alternative time this week I will let you know.

All the online coaching groups continue as normal. As I noted last week, as the lockdown eases it may be that some of you may need to drop out of these groups, and I would appreciate some early warning if you think that might be the case as it will give me time to find suitable substitutes. Of course I recognise  that many of you will have become so hooked on your weekly bridge coaching session that you will want to reschedule your work and family life to make it a fixture indefinitely…….! In the meantime enjoy the sunshine and keep safe.

 

 

 

 

 

Online bridge update no 10

The topic for tomorrow’s Monday morning bridge seminar is a wonderful convention that you should definitely aspire to adding to your bidding armoury as you improve. Roman Key Card Blackwood is the upmarket version of the better known  Blackwood convention, when a bid of Four No Trumps after a suit has been agreed is asking for the number Aces your partner has. Roman Key Card Blackwood, so named because it was developed in Italy, extends the enquiry to include the King of Trumps as well as the four Aces and also enables you to ask about the Queen of trumps as well – often the crucial information you need to go slamming.

As normal the seminar begins at 9.30 and will include a series of example hands and teaching notes that are emailed to you after the event. You can book a place by following this link to the Eventbrite page, or email me to pay by bank transfer if your computer won’t let you use Eventbrite (you might need to change your browser). This seminar dovetails nicely with the Losing Trick Count we discussed last week and the next four seminars as well. These will be as follows:

  1. Splinter bids; June 8th
  2. Trial bidding: June 15th
  3. Ace-showing cue bids: June 22nd
  4. Jacoby 2 No Trump convention: June 29th

Our regular Tuesday morning social bridge gathering (“Wytham online”) continues as normal, starting at 9.30 and also can be booked on Eventbrite. Follow this link. As always I shall be arranging the tables on Monday evening so please do try and book up in advance so that I know the numbers and it also helps if you can log in to the Zoom call around 9.25 for best results and a prompt start. All the online coaching groups continue too.

As the lockdown eases it may be that some of you may need to drop out of these groups, and I would appreciate some early warning if you think that might be the case as it will give me time to find suitable substitutes. Of course I recognise  that many of you will have become so hooked on your weekly bridge coaching session that you will want to reschedule your work and family life to make it a fixture indefinitely…….! In the meantime enjoy the sunshine and keep safe.

 

 

 

Online bridge update no 9

The topic this week in the Monday morning seminar series is the Losing Trick Count, one of the must have tools in improving your bidding judgment. Learn how to use the Losing Trick Count to help value your hand – how to count your losers, how to support your partner to the right level and when (and when not) to use this popular valuation technique. As usual the seminar starts at 9.30am and finishes around 11.30pm.

Along the way we will show a series of example hands and go through a set of slides that will also be emailed to those joining the seminar after the seminar has concluded. You an book a place via Eventbrite (link here) or if that proves difficult (as sometimes happens) send me an email to register your interest.  Coming up in the following weeks are seminars on other powerful bidding conventions – the Jacoby Two No Trump convention, Splinters and Roman Key Card Blackwood among them.

Places at our regular Tuesday morning sessions are also available to book on Eventbrite (start time also 9.30am) and all 12 of the regular small group coaching sessions are also continuing as normal. You should get an invitation to join the related Zoom session for all our events shortly before the start. Payment for the group sessions is by bank transfer and it is very gratifying that so many of you are paying promptly without having to be reminded – thank you for that!

I see a lot of progress in all the groups, whatever the level, which is great to see, and just as importantly everyone is enjoying the game and its many subtleties. Keep up the good work……

 

 

 

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