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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.