BBO Discussion Forums: Starting from scratch - BBO Discussion Forums

Jump to content

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Starting from scratch opinions please

#1 User is offline   sceptic 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,343
  • Joined: 2004-January-03

Posted 2004-October-22, 05:52

Hi All,

When I first learnt bridge, I played in Yahoo beginners lounge, where 20 - 50 like minded individuals played, I stayed there for 4 weeks and decided it was very frustrating.

I went to Yahoo social lounge and table hopped for a few weeks, until I met my first cyber friend (we still keep in touch and we have even meet in real life).

I played for fun for over 3 years, I have made some great friends and I have even run a meeting where about 25 meet for a whole weekend, I have had loads more smaller ones at my house.

One thing I learnt when I came to BBO after 3 and a bit years playing bridge, was that I could not play bridge, I was so far away from being an reasonable bridge player it defies belief.

My point here is not to complain about my wasted years, because they were not wasted, I have made some great friends and I have had so much fun playing bridge.

My point is not to thank Shep (who probably does not realise the difference she made to my out look for this game, she was the first person I had seen teach bridge and all of a sudden I realised that I was a pure novice), nor is it to Thank Fred and co for providing what I can only describe as the Number 1 place for bridge in cyber land (at no mean cost to themelves).

Nor is it to thank 5th Chair foundation for getting me what can only be described as a great mentor, someone that has made me open my mind to learn and has the patience of a saint, haha Thx Paul.

Anyway enough ramblings from me. I want to design a website for a complete novice to the game

What I would like, are opinions from beginners, novices, intermediates, as to what I should have in there. i.e. what basics, what helped you to understand certain basic principles, who helped you and how they did it. I really want to keep this simple and interesting for newbies, but I want it to be helpful.

Does anyone here think I should leave this to the experts????????????

Does anyone think this is already covered???????????????

Tell me what you struggled to come to terms with and why when you first started, what was the hardest area you came across. (please don't put Lebensohl down here LOL).

Also I have an idea to go to Maureen (BIL) with, but I would like some internmediates only to volunteer here, are there any of you that can set an hour a week aside to sit with a total newbie to sit and play with them, one of the things I hated when I first started, was having someone sit with me and after I made it obvious that I could not play the game they just upped and dissappeared.

Not to teach just to partner them for an hour a week to help them gain confidence.

your thought swill be appreciated all of them
0

#2 User is offline   inquiry 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Admin
  • Posts: 14,563
  • Joined: 2003-February-13
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Amelia Island, FL
  • Interests:Bridge, what else?

Posted 2004-October-22, 06:52

The phenomena you describe, where ureka, you learn there is more to the game than you imagined is not rare at all. In fact, the vast majority of people who list themselves as "expert" on BBO (and who we all rail against as being the simpliest of beginners when it comes to skill level) are people who just, as of yet, don't grasp what it is they don't know about bridge. They actually believe they are experts... perhaps because is some small village with four bridge players where they live, they always win when they play.. so they think they must be expert.

I remember before I went to college, I was a cocky bridige player, I could rip up all the "adults". I remember in college, discovering duplicate and finding players who always seemed to win, even beating me. That is when I really discovered books on bridge. After a few dozen books, I thought finally, now I know everything there is to know about bridge... and at college and in local sectionals, I ruled. But somehow when I went to regionals, I would get section tops, or seconds, but never finish high in the money.

Then I got a partner for the first time who knew more about the game than I did, despite my reading. And I discovered yet again, taht there is a lot I ddidn't know abou this game. With new found energy, I strived to improve. Now working more on psychology of the game, and finer points of imps versus matchpoint strategeis. Now I was winning even the occassional regional events.

Then I discovered Robson/Segal book on competitive bidding. This was an eyeopenre for me. Up until then, I had mastered card play, counting, signalling, and what I thought bidding (I spent thousands of hours developing precsion system, nearly as complexed as keylime precision). But Robson/Segal exposed me to theories of four handed bridge, that I not only hadn't understood before reading their book, I didn't realize despite my years of experiences, existed.

Now at last I thought I knew everything and was ready to be a world beater... Then I discovered internet bridge where you could identify and kibitz the really good players. I found that as I watched them, sometimes they would make a bid or more often NOT MAKE A BID that seemed so clearly obvioius. I noticed that while most players took an obvioius line, the really good players often did not. I strive hard to figure out why. Sometimes, I still think they just made a mistake.. but if the "mistake" turns out to be a winner, I re-evaluate it until either I figure out why they palyed this way and it wasn't a mistake, or I ask them. But it is the bidding I find most interesting. Why do they balance on absolutely flattish hands and virutally no values sometiems where everyone else passes, and why they pass in balancing position with good shape and fair values when everyone esle is bidding. Even if their judgement is wrong, it is worth figuring out why they did it.. what influenced them.

So I can say, without a doubt, now I know everything there is to know about bridge, that is.. up until the very next hand when no doubt, something new will come along to puzzle me. I think you had best get use to this feeling... It will be a very sad day for me if I every get to the point where I don't learn something new about the game constantly.

Ben
--Ben--

#3 User is offline   ArcLight 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,341
  • Joined: 2004-July-02
  • Location:Millburn, New Jersey
  • Interests:Rowing. Wargaming. Military history.

Posted 2004-October-22, 07:52

>Anyway enough ramblings from me. I want to design a website for a complete novice to the game

>What I would like, are opinions from beginners, novices, intermediates, as to what I should have in there. i.e. what basics, what helped you to understand certain basic principles, who helped you and how they did it. I really want to keep this simple and interesting for newbie's, but I want it to be helpful.

The sad thing is it takes a lot of study (as opposed to playing)to improve. Most people are not willing to do that.
I'd try and help the novices by directing them to good sources, and perhaps listing some basics.

The first thing a novice needs is to get a rough understanding of the bidding.
Examples help. I started with the free ACBL bidding software (Learn to Play Bridge by Fred Gitleman, or at least his software). This is free, so no one can complain about the price. But it takes some discipline to go through, and you have to take notes.

Having a web page with MANY examples of bidding, illustrating the different responses, would be useful.
Example:
Opener has a min, med, max, 1NT, 2NT, 2C opener.
Responder has a 0-5, 6-10, 11-12, 13-15, 16-18 response.
Make a matrix, with a few examples.
Show some Reverses.
Show some preempts.
This is a lot, but its easier to comprehend something when you see it, rather than just read about it.

The next thing a novice needs is to understand how to declare and defend.
This takes a lot of work. Just having a few pages on a website is better than nothing, but the short answer is: You must study if you want to improve

1) Read How to Play a Bridge Hand and How to Defend a Bridge Hand by William S Root.

2) Bridge Master (easy editions - Audrey Grant) is great because it shows you and makes you play the lesson, rather than just reading it.

3) Do Mike Lawrence's software: Counting at Bridge.
Private Lessons 1&2 and Defense are excellent, but a beginner may be overwhelmed.

I would suggest not teaching many conventions at the start, limiting it to:

1) Stayman (and down the road Jacoby [plus Texas transfers and Smolen!])

2) Blackwood

3) Slam cue bidding (when they are a little more comfortable)

4) ??? perhaps how bid over the opponents NT (maybe D.O.N.T. against strong NT).

Eventually Takeout Doubles and Negative Doubles, and maybe Michaels cue bid (its much more important than the Unusual 2NT).

Just don't overwhelm them.


I think most people are just flat out not willing to invest the time studying to improve. They want a fast solution. And I don't see that with defense or declarer play.


The way I improve is to read GOOD books [time consuming!], and then playing, keeping in mind what I've learned. Then going back and rereading the book again. When I started playing I made many poor leads. I read Robert Ewens book, and played a while. Then I read Mike Lawrence's "OPENING LEADS", and I try and apply that. I always look at what the successful and bad leads were in the replays. I plan on rereading his Opening Leads again in a couple of years. No one absorbs all of what they read on the first pass, even if it all makes sense.

There are a huge number of Bridge articles out there, some are quite good, many are ok but nothing special. You can easily spend all your free time reading different Bridge articles. What I've learned over the past 10 months is to focus my reading on the works by the best authors. I have all of Mike Lawrence's books and software and I'm gradually going thru them.

I think some basics for Novices (as listed above), and then a bibliography of books for beginner and intermediate players. Reading a few good books in the beginning will be of enormous benefit to a new player. Focus them on learning the basics from a good source.

A web page that tries to reproduce what's already presented very well will be:
1) huge
2) time consuming to create
3) redundant
0

#4 User is offline   myfish 

  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 46
  • Joined: 2004-March-26

Posted 2004-October-22, 09:10

i believe that bidding is important for new player......but i think the scoring method in bridge is most important.

I learn bridge in my school and some schoolmates introduce bridge to me.
We try to play but unfortunately...we thought that all contract that makes is a game.......so the bidding would always be like that 1(13HCP+ which is from the books :lol: ),-,-1,-,-1,-,-1,-,-2,-,-................something like that.......

Not that we don't see the book............but we don't understand what the book said

as the books using duplicate bridge,so every hand make is a game(while we are playing rubber.....)

wait until i go to BBO and play.........i understand what happened B)
0

#5 User is offline   Laird 

  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 131
  • Joined: 2003-March-03

Posted 2004-October-22, 11:22

Hi Steve

..what you say is valid and I am sure that if say 6 intermediates took it up to befriend 6 newbies then say an hour every week in the BIL could be allocated to introductory 'fun' bridge, where newcomers could be introduced to the game.

Perhaps someone looking over their shoulder to help with the bidding would help.

If I can be of use I'm happy to assist when available.

The problem is again timing ...perhaps 6 volunteers from each time zone. .. ie Europe, down - under, America etc.

I think you have to keep it very simple to start and just play cards until it gradually sinks in ?

Maureen and Co would surely be glad of such assistance?

Having some kind of simple structured plan to follow such as is available from varius Bridge Unions ( ACBL English/ Scottish etc) and found on E-Cats ..may be worth a look.

John
UDCA...'You take the High Road an I'll take the Low Road'...
0

#6 User is offline   Chamaco 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,902
  • Joined: 2003-December-02
  • Location:Rimini-Bologna (Italy)
  • Interests:Chess, Bridge, Jazz, European Cinema, Motorbiking, Tango dancing

Posted 2004-October-22, 11:55

Just my 2 cents here.

There is a lot of material out there for a novice to learn the basics.
There are books, web sites and more.
Probably the best is Fred's "Learn to play bridge" (LTPB).

This does not mean that replicating some basic concepts will be bad.
Just that they already have some sources from which to study if they are willing to.

However, here I want to point out an area which is REALLY poorly documented for a novice. An area where even a serious student has very little material to study from, and the little study material available is usually too complicated or simply too much (e.g. Robson/Segal or Better bidding w/ Bergen ot Contested auctions by Lawrence)

The topic I am referring to is responding to an opener after opponents interfere.
Of course the overall contested bidding is more complicated than uncontested bidding (the latter well explained in LTPB).

Yet, at least the first response should be well understood by a novice, since nowadays there will hardly be many uncontested auctions.

I remember being a novice and wondering everytime something like "Here I would know what to bid if they did not interfere, but what now ? Is it the same as if they did not bid ?"

And I had no book to check whether there was the "right bid". I felt lost.

Similar problems are encountered when responding to pard's overcall.

I suppose this whole set of topics should revolve on:
- the use of negative doubles
- the use of cuebids
- the stopper requirements for bidding NoTrump and for asking stoppers.
"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
0

#7 User is offline   EricK 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,294
  • Joined: 2003-February-14
  • Location:England

Posted 2004-October-22, 13:00

In my opinion, far too much emphasis is put on bidding and not nearly enough on card play.

Beginners should start by learning how to play the hand, then move onto defence and only then bidding.

Good bidding involves good hand evaluation and this, in essence, involves imagining the play of the hand. They can't possibly do that until they have experience of playing the hand. When beginners concentrate more on bidding they tend to bid according to inflexible rules, and once this gets ingrained it is very difficult for them to get out of the habit.

Eric
0

#8 User is offline   jtfanclub 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 3,937
  • Joined: 2004-June-05

Posted 2004-October-22, 13:28

EricK, on Oct 22 2004, 02:00 PM, said:

Beginners should start by learning how to play the hand, then move onto defence and only then bidding.

I know this sounds backwards, but I think I want them to learn leads and signalling before defending.

The reason is because defending the hand is so very difficult. If you want to master defense, you'll never even get to bidding. But signalling is fairly straightforward, and if you watch WHAT your partner and WHY your partner is signalling, you can pick up when you should signal and how. Things as simple as what leads are worth signalling positive attidude and which negative is a big deal, and once you know that it helps your defensive play.

Laird: How about...an unclocked BIL tourney, in which we have one Advanced+ player (who would hopefully be a yellow), who would hop from table to table and give advice and answer questions. If a player doesn't know what a bid would mean or how to signal or whatever, he could ask the good player and find out. I think there's a lot of players on BIL who aren't advanced enough yet to follow the post-mortem tourneys. They can understand that they did something wrong, but they don't understand why from a classroom environment.

I wonder if we could use TOP FLIGHT hands, if they would mind? Take 8 boards of yesterday's tourney and use them as practice for the beginners. That would give the good player a 'base' to work with...you wouldn't have to evaluate on the fly, you could see what the experts did and modify your advice accordingly. For the more aggressive of them, they could look at the play of the hand by the experts after the tourney was over and see how the experts made the contract when they didn't. In fact, if the good player had played in the top flight tourney, then the hands would be doubly familiar to him, so he would be able to give advice better.

I would be happy to direct or play in such a tourney, though I'm not good enough to give advice.
0

#9 User is offline   Chamaco 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,902
  • Joined: 2003-December-02
  • Location:Rimini-Bologna (Italy)
  • Interests:Chess, Bridge, Jazz, European Cinema, Motorbiking, Tango dancing

Posted 2004-October-22, 13:36

EricK, on Oct 22 2004, 07:00 PM, said:

Beginners should start by learning how to play the hand, then move onto defence and only then bidding.

In my opinion it is a feedback process.

One should first learn the fundamental mechanics of the play.
So yes, card play.

Yet, in order to develop card play skills, you have to be in a cointract which makes sense.
You won't improve card play if you play partscores with overtricks when you have a slam available, of if you set opps contract undoubled when they stole the hand.

So you cannot improve card play skills there unless you bid reasonably, since you are not playing the hand at a limit where you have to overcome difficulties.

So, the paradox is that learning card play is the highest priority, but in order to do that you have to bid reasonably.

And in order to bid reasonably you have to at least be able to survive a competitive auction without endoing in 3 clubs when 3NT or four of a major is cold.

Obviously, after having reached a decent level of bidding, amn improving players concentrates even more on his card play techniques and realizes how many things he/she still has to improve, and a new learning cycle begins...
And this may be going on and on, much in a similar way described by Ben in his post in this thread....

-----

Furthermore, my post was directed towards a topic that is not well covered for a beginner, at least in my opinion.

There are piles of excellent books on card plays out there, but not on contested bidding for novices.

As the post by sceptic was asking on suggestion about what to put on a web site for bridge beginners, I suggested something which would cover a neglected area.

But, again, I agree with you that card play technique is an underrated topic.
"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
0

#10 User is offline   hallway 

  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 314
  • Joined: 2003-February-13
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:New Zealand
  • Interests:Founder/Manager - Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL) on BBO

Posted 2004-October-22, 14:14

Any initiative that can be seen to help newcomers to bridge will get my full support :)

At present every new member who joins the BIL receives a welcome letter and in it they are directed to the BIL- CLUBNEWS which is accessible to them 24/7. In particular they are encouraged to :

Study the Helpful Hints section that guides them through learning to make the most out of using the site and therefore the benefits that the BIL provides.

They are encouraged to read BBO's Bridge Library and in particular to download Learn to Play Bridge 1 and 2 .

They are encouraged to purchase Bridgemaster 2000 (either edition as suited to their level)

They are directed to a Recommended Books page (my thanks to Inquiry for his advice in compiling that).

There is a Links page to the BIL teacher's websites and other links that members (thank you Sceptic) have found helpful.

They are invited to make contact with the Host/ess from their region. The BIL is fortunate to already have some dozen volunteer members speaking an even greater number of languages (members now come from 78 countries) who do set up tables in the BIL from time to time simply to do as has been suggested in this thread - play with the newcomers (not teach, just play) and to be of help in translating .

However, the more upper intermediates who are willing to do this the better and even more useful if they can commit to a regular time that can be advertised .

Sadly the Clubnews is limited in size and I am using it to the max. My bright idea to 'acquire' the unused space that other Private Clubs do not use is not possible - Uday would have if he could have .

So any initiatives that will make it possible to do more, especially for the BEGINNERS, will be most welcome . The BIL does btw have a beginners section - which of course only the beginners have access to :rolleyes:

Oh and I haven't forgotten to direct all new members to BBForums :D
Maureen
Founder/Manager
Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL) on BBO
Join on BIL Bridge
0

#11 User is offline   luke warm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 6,951
  • Joined: 2003-September-07
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Bridge, poker, politics

Posted 2004-October-22, 16:18

yet another plug for a great (tho for some reason not universally accepted as such, at least on these forums) book for beginners... if you want someone to learn, buy them watson's 'play of the hand'... if a person started there, imo she'd be FAR ahead of others who start at the same time but with from a different direction

i think your idea of a webpage is a wonderful idea, maybe something you might want to coordinate with others who hold the same promotional interests
"Paul Krugman is a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like." Newt Gingrich (paraphrased)
0

#12 User is offline   hallway 

  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 314
  • Joined: 2003-February-13
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:New Zealand
  • Interests:Founder/Manager - Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL) on BBO

Posted 2004-October-23, 21:13

Already on the BIL's Recommended Book List Luke - thx anyway
Maureen
Founder/Manager
Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL) on BBO
Join on BIL Bridge
0

#13 User is offline   hotShot 

  • Axxx Axx Axx Axx
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,976
  • Joined: 2003-August-31
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2004-October-24, 03:40

EricK is right. You should start to play as soon as possible. This way you have declarer play and defence from the first moment on. Naturally leads, and cardplay follow next. Then bidding is the next step.

This approach is very well supported by Minibridge.

Take a look at the Minibridge leaflet (pdf)

BBO supports Minibridge in the MBC.
0

Share this topic:


Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users