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playing bridge by gut feeling/instinct.

#21 User is offline   Natali_ 

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Posted 2017-July-21, 10:08

I think that by using your intuition and experience for a long time you will come to the finish line on those rules that you can read now. You will spend a lot of time on what you can take faster.
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#22 User is offline   miamijd 

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Posted 2017-July-21, 10:18

Sure, it's theoretically possible. Jeff Meckstroth used to claim that the only bridge book he ever read was a portion of "Five Weeks to Winning Bridge." Then again, his parents were decent players back in Columbus and taught him to play as a young pup. Then again, very few of us have as natural a feel for the game as Jeff did and does.

Different people learn in different ways. Some people learn best by reading. Some learn best by hearing others talk about something. Some learn best by observing. Some learn best by "doing." Some need a combination of the above.

And different phases of the game can be learned differently. You can certainly improve your declarer play by playing tourneys against the robots. Probably your defense, too. But reading is especially good for bidding theory.

If I were starting out and wanted to become an excellent player in a short period of time, I would (A) read some basic stuff on bidding and play; (B) play F2F in the toughest games I could find; © play in BBO robot tourneys a lot and (D) then hire a really good teaching pro for a while.

Cheers,
mike
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#23 User is offline   amre_man 

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Posted 2017-July-21, 11:20

I first learned bridge the way you suggest. I did print out select novice instruction from an online website. And played that way for 15 years, always online. And then I joined the ACBL and played at a local club only to find that I was making select illegal bidding. At the same time I learned about something called a convention card!?!?!?! HA! I had to relearn many conventions that I already 'knew'.

Self teaching has its benefits and its limitations. While you can learn much from experimentation and frequent play, you must do minimal reading to verify that you know the appropriate responses for stayman, transfers and the like.

If your goal is to learn and improve your game, playing and/or kibbing can only go so far.

You also must remember that is a partnership game. It is all about agreeing to selected conventions and which variations thereof you agree to follow.

I've now been playing for 25+ years and it is a rare week that goes by that I do not find something else to understand.

Good luck!
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#24 User is offline   maartenxq 

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Posted 2017-July-21, 13:23

Terence Reese, one of the great writers of the game and expert player in competition and money games, comments on your intention as follows.

Ï never read a book. I bid by inspection and play by experience' one of his opponents remarked. Reese: 'I can see'.

Maarten Baltussen
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#25 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2017-July-21, 13:56

Some more popular quotes

"He who undertakes to be his own teacher has a fool for a pupil."

"Experience is the best teacher, but a fool will learn from no other" - Ben Franklin

"Wise men learn by others men’s mistakes; fools by their own."

Hmmm, lots of references to "fool" in those quotes. Still, you could be exception and succeed on your own.

There's also a famous saying, "Practice makes perfect". In the golf world, the saying is modified along the lines of "practice makes permanent, not perfect". If you aren't practicing the right technique, you are just ingraining bad techniques which make it even harder to get better.
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#26 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2017-July-21, 16:30

The best method for becoming a good bridge player is a combination of study and play. As others have pointed out, you might make some progress by solely playing, but it may take a long time to do so, or, what you think you may be discerning as basic principles of bidding and play aren't really so. Then you may be stuck at some point in time at trying unlearn bad habits which is not so easy.

OTOH, if you simply study, you don't automatically become a good bridge player either because playing experience is necessary to learn to apply the concepts and principles you learn from study. It some time takes a while, but sooner or later a hand or hands will pop up where you recognize something you've studied applies and you know what to do. Often, such moments may initially occur after the fact, but then at some point they become apparent as you play when you can use them and you have made a step forward.

Something study does do is present concepts, principles and ways of thinking about hands and playing that are not so obvious to a newer player. Your main task as a newer player is to learn these fundamentals and learn them well. If you do so, you will be far ahead of many other bridge players and able to compete against almost anyone. Fundamentally sound bridge players are always tough opponents.

Some new players to competitive bridge who are partners got some free copies of a bridge book on fundamentals of play at a bridge book giveaway at our local club. They asked about how good the book was and how to use it to help them improve. I suggested that it was excellent and that they carefully study the first half of the book on fundamentals, play for several months, and then reread the sections on fundamentals. It's been my experience that going over the fundamentals a second time helps players cement them a lot more firmly in their minds.

At some point when you get the fundamentals down, you should be able to play reasonably satisfying bridge. Then the game opens up as even more fascinating. You can then go as far as you want to take it by further study and play.

I might add that I still go back and reread that fundamental book from time to time and am still learning from it.
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#27 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2017-July-21, 21:52

What book is that?
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#28 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2017-July-22, 06:27

View Postpolarmatt, on 2017-July-20, 03:36, said:

Can someone play good bridge solely by playing a ton (like 12 hours a day) and not reading any books on the subject? basically just playing by instinct.
I'm planning on doing this.


Curiously, playing by instinct is something that gets developed after you've trained yourself and after you've been playing for a number of years. But this only occurs after you have put thousands of hours into intense study.

But if you are serious about the game and do not mind working 12 hours a day at it, why would you go about it this way? It's horribly inefficient..

Playing bridge is a function of three things;

1 counting. This is an area that you can develop by playing a lot. As a matter of fact, I'd argue you cannot become a good counter any other way.

2.themes. You need to recognize various themes to be a good player. 'Instinctively' it won't feel right to refuse tricks, But there are many situations where you need to. Now, I suppose if you played a hand and went down and studied the record and GIB said to duck a trick, you might figure out why. Or not. However, by reading, or at least talking about bridge with people that have read, you'll get these concepts down quicker.

3. Execution.This is all of the other areas that are necessary to be good and to excel. Being a good partner (you did realize you needed one of these, right), playing in time limits, etc.

You don't need to understand conventions to become competent. You need them for a top level partnership, however,
Winner - BBO Challenge bracket #6 - February, 2017.
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#29 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2017-July-22, 10:12

View PostVampyr, on 2017-July-21, 21:52, said:

What book is that?

Watson's Classic Book on the Play of the Hand at Bridge by Louis Watson.

But any good basic book on card play should suffice -- Card Play Technique by Gardiner & ?, Bill Root's books, and many others.

The important thing is that the more grounded you are in the fundamentals, the more solid a player you are. If you never execute a trump coup, endplay, or squeeze, but can consistently play excellent fundamental bridge, you'll win against most opposition.

When you study a book the first time, you never pick up everything important that's there. So revisiting a book after playing for a while helps you pick up and gain better understanding of what the book was teaching.


Oh, and the first time I read Watson as a teenager eons ago was a copy available from my local public library.
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#30 User is offline   ncohen 

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Posted 2017-July-22, 13:30

I agree with most of the players that learning by experience alone is tremendously inefficient and will never get you as far. You would have to be pretty amazing to figure out a holdup play on your own, or an inner finesse, or (unless you're good at math) how to do probability calculations when playing card combinations. And, lots of needless errors on the way. I still remember in high school, playing duplicate with a high school partner, that he lead 4th best from his longest and strongest suit versus NT. All very well, except that he held KQJ2, and declarer held A10x.
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#31 User is offline   RD350LC 

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Posted 2017-July-22, 19:57

View Postrmnka447, on 2017-July-22, 10:12, said:

Watson's Classic Book on the Play of the Hand at Bridge by Louis Watson.

But any good basic book on card play should suffice -- Card Play Technique by Gardiner & ?, Bill Root's books, and many others.

The important thing is that the more grounded you are in the fundamentals, the more solid a player you are. If you never execute a trump coup, endplay, or squeeze, but can consistently play excellent fundamental bridge, you'll win against most opposition.

When you study a book the first time, you never pick up everything important that's there. So revisiting a book after playing for a while helps you pick up and gain better understanding of what the book was teaching.


Oh, and the first time I read Watson as a teenager eons ago was a copy available from my local public library.

I have to agree. Watson's classic book is a very good book-it starts at the very basics, and continues on to intermediate and then advanced play.
Another very good book is Hugh Kelsey's "Killing Defence". If you make it through that one, you will become a very tough player. Be warned, this is not an easy book to go through.
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#32 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-July-22, 23:52

Watson is so dry to read though. Much prefer Root's books, Gardener/Mollo card play technique mentioned earlier. Same stuff for the most part, more easily digestible.

I agree Kelsey Killing Defense is great but is I think for post intermediate level, not for beginners.
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