Education

INTRODUCTION TO BRIDGE:

We have been offering two introduction to bridge type courses. First, in late Summer (usually mid to late August) and after the New Year (usually February to March) we try to offer Easybridge! 1 a 15 week course (using Easybridge 1, the Comic Book by Edith McMullin – written in the late 1990s). It is designed for novice players, people who haven’t played bridge in many years, AND those who don’t know bridge at all. For students with bridge experience who have previously earned Masterpoints, you must have under 20 total points. Masterpoints are the “currency” of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) – a means of recognizing players for doing well. The first four lessons are completely free. The first 3 lessons will be no longer than 2 hours long. Starting on week 4, students compete for Masterpoints – at that point for the remainder of the course lessons will be 2 1/2 hours long. Starting on week 5, the cost is $3 per student to cover our “table fees” to the ACBL and to allow students to continue to compete for Masterpoints.

Day/Time: TBD
Presenters: Steve Powers, Carol Gammell & Kathy Bradshaw

Secondly, we also offer a course based upon Jim Ricker’s Beginning Bridge Using 2 Over 1. This 17 lesson course is also designed for people new to bridge, novice players and players who have been away from bridge for many years. It offers many of the same bidding topics offered in the EasyBridge! 1 class, but is a bit more in-depth and it transitions into the 2 Over 1 Game Force bidding system used by many players throughout North America.

Day/Time: TBD
Instructor: Bronze Life Master Barbara Gardner

INTERMEDIATE BRIDGE: 

Intermediate lessons are offered Mondays at 11 AM by Ruby Life Master Barbara Holloway. $5 per class

Beyond Beginning Bridge Using 2 Over 1. This course is a follow-on based on Jim Ricker’s 2nd book.

Day/Time: Saturdays 11:45 AM
Instructor: Bronze Life Master Barbara Gardner

INTERMEDIATE BRIDGE Topics:
Diamond Life Master Dr Ray Zekauskas offers free presentations on various topics on Mondays at 5:30 PM and Fridays at 10 AM.

Resources for New Players:

We suggest that you begin with Audrey Grant.  Her books are considered by many to be the “gold standard” for beginning players.  They are incredibly clear, well written, and with subsequent material building upon concepts which are presented in earlier chapters and books.  She has a really nice, structured approach.  There is no humor but the clarity and organization and easy to read format more than compensate.  Each book contains 5 chapters and has an identical format.   The first four chapters cover specific topics; the fifth chapter contains 16 practice deals which further expand upon the concepts presented in the first four chapters.  Each of the first four chapters contains very easy to follow descriptions filled with explanatory examples plus a chapter summary to recap the main points, quizzes to test your knowledge (the answers are annotated so you understand why one specific answer is better than another), and 4 practice deals which illustrate bidding, declarer play and defense.  While the books are focused on bidding, Audrey puts the bidding in context via real hands with commentary on the best line of play and best defense in the practice deals.  The books are based on the Standard American system of bidding.  

Audrey Grant currently has 5 beginner books in print:

  • Bridge Basics 1:  An Introduction (a nice, easy intro to the basics as well as opening bids in NT, major and minor suits)
  • Bridge Basics 2:  Competitive Bidding (preempts, overcalls and advances, take out doubles, the competitive auction); this material may be more challenging for those who first learned via party bridge
  • Bridge Basics 3:  Conventions (Stayman, Jacoby transfers, strong 2 bids, Blackwood/Gerber, i.e. the basic beginner conventions)
  • Improving Your Judgement 1:  Opening the Bidding (opening at the 1 level in 1st and 2nd position, opening at the 1 level in 3rd and 4th position, obstructive opening bids, strong opening bids).  This material may be quite new even for experienced party bridge players who might not have previously considered seat position before bidding. 
  • Improving Your Judgement 2: Doubles (take out doubles, advancing the takeout double, rebid and the subsequent auction, balancing and other doubles).

Audrey also co-authored (with Eric Rodwell) a more advanced book on 2/1 bidding. There is an accompanying pamphlet, “Bridge at a Glance” which shows bids and rebids.  It is essentially a color-coded summary, with 2 pages for each major topic (e.g. opening the bidding, responding to 1 of a minor, responding to 1 of a major, responding to NT, weak 2s, etc.) graphically showing bids, requirements in terms of point count and suit length, and whether the bid is forcing, invitational, or signoff.  For example, in response to an opening bid of 1H, responder will pass with 0 to 5 points (shown in red as sign off), bid 1S holding 4+ spades with 6+ points (shown in green as forcing for one round), bid 2H invitational (shown in yellow) holding 3+ hearts and 6 to 10 points, etc.

Larry Cohen also has several very good books designed for beginners. His web site (https://www.larryco.com/) has a “Learning Center” with dozens of topics, although most of them are aimed at intermediate and advanced players.

Karen Walker’s “Bridge Library” (http://kwbridge.com/) is another source of information, ranging beginner to advanced topics. The site is very well organized and the topics are easy to read.

The ACBL web site (acbl.org) also has some learning tools. Click on the “Learn Bridge” link (Learn • American Contract Bridge League (acbl.org). Opportunities also exist to practice (solo) on their site to hone your skills without worrying about embarrassing yourself in public. 😃 Click on the “Play Bridge” link Play Bridge • American Contract Bridge League (acbl.org).