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Medi-bridge

#1 User is offline   Jinksy 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 09:09

I'm spending a week with a few friends, very smart people who've never played bridge, and teaching a handful of them the game.

The difficulty is going to be familiar to most people here - they're nodding along as I explain tricks, contracts and trumps, then their faces fall as I start trying to explain the bidding, and all the exceptions.

I've had a look online for bidding cheat sheets, but honestly all the ones I've found are basically awful. They include stuff like Stayman (maybe transfers), and all sorts of nuances about bidding majors rather than raising partner's minor, doing things to probe for 3N when we've found a minor suit fit vs just blasting 4M.

One of them, who I'd started teaching slightly earlier than the others, came up with what I thought was an excellent suggest for a bridging (no pun intended) game between minibridge and actual bridge - to wit, just playing a version of bridge where 'anything from 3N upwards is game' (obviously we can also do without vulnerability and full scoring at this stage).

This has allowed me to make a substantially more simplified version of the bidding system, where we don't have any special treatments for majors, and just give basically very consistently patterned instructions for raising with 12-14, 15-17, and 18-19 point hands (which obviously at this stage are as partitioned as I want to make them).

Was wondering if anyone else had tried this, or come up with any other pseudo bridge variant that seemed particularly effective for beginners?
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#2 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 09:58

View PostJinksy, on 2018-October-19, 09:09, said:

Was wondering if anyone else had tried this, or come up with any other pseudo bridge variant that seemed particularly effective for beginners?

View Postnullve, on 2017-July-14, 07:31, said:

After, or instead of, minibridge, how about teaching the small children a game just like bridge, but with simplified scoring and a two-staged auction phase, e.g.

North: "clubs"
East: "diamonds"
South: "spades"
West: "diamonds" [ends EW's discussion about which denomination to play in]
North: "hearts"
South: "spades"
North: "notrump"
South: "notrump" [ends NS's discussion about which denomination to play in]

followed by

North: "five" [North is willing to contract for five tricks in notrump]
East: "six"
South: "eight"
West: "nine"
North: "pass"
East: "pass"
South: "double"
West: "pass"
North: "pass"
East: "pass"

?

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#3 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 11:11

I've read several articles by people who have faced the same problem, both with adults and children. The consensus seemed to be that the best route was to explain the scoring system as it really is (no need to memorise it, just look at a table or the back of bidding box cards) and to outline some very simple bidding scheme - say strong clubs, natural suit bids and jumps to game: no NT openings or conventions. They will want to spend most of the time playing not bidding, so keep it simple and fast. If there isn't time to get them bidding real auctions (or to give a bit of variety) then let both partnerships see their respective hands together and decide their best contract, or ask each other any 4 questions ("how many hearts do you have?") and then decide. Nullve's scheme would work well too, although with adults I would get them used to bidding boxes and thus also contracts of 1 to 7 (rather than 7 to 13 tricks which is more logical) right away.
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#4 User is offline   kuhchung 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 11:17

Just let them play and don't give them any rules for bidding

After a few disastrous hands where they keep bidding more and more NT maybe they'll be curious and they'll come to you

The last thing I'd want to do is give someone an entire guidebook to bidding (which they will have trouble understanding!) and they'll wonder why they have to memorize this or search in the doc every time they have to bid before they can play a game

Seriously, things like 5-9 HCP 5+M can be too difficult to parse if you've never seen the game before. Or not understanding that responding 1N is different from opening 1N, etc
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#5 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 11:57

View PostJinksy, on 2018-October-19, 09:09, said:

I'm spending a week with a few friends, very smart people who've never played bridge, and teaching a handful of them the game.

The difficulty is going to be familiar to most people here - they're nodding along as I explain tricks, contracts and trumps, then their faces fall as I start trying to explain the bidding, and all the exceptions.

I've had a look online for bidding cheat sheets, but honestly all the ones I've found are basically awful. They include stuff like Stayman (maybe transfers), and all sorts of nuances about bidding majors rather than raising partner's minor, doing things to probe for 3N when we've found a minor suit fit vs just blasting 4M.

One of them, who I'd started teaching slightly earlier than the others, came up with what I thought was an excellent suggest for a bridging (no pun intended) game between minibridge and actual bridge - to wit, just playing a version of bridge where 'anything from 3N upwards is game' (obviously we can also do without vulnerability and full scoring at this stage).

This has allowed me to make a substantially more simplified version of the bidding system, where we don't have any special treatments for majors, and just give basically very consistently patterned instructions for raising with 12-14, 15-17, and 18-19 point hands (which obviously at this stage are as partitioned as I want to make them).

Was wondering if anyone else had tried this, or come up with any other pseudo bridge variant that seemed particularly effective for beginners?

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#6 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 12:08

View Postpescetom, on 2018-October-19, 11:11, said:

with adults I would get them used to bidding boxes and thus also contracts of 1 to 7 (rather than 7 to 13 tricks which is more logical) right away.

Maybe BBO could provide a special interface to small children, with bids/contracts from 7 to 13NT?
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#7 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 12:19

A 12/14 is opened 1C,15/17 as 1D,18/20 as 1H,21/24 as 1S and 25+ as 1NT.A 1D response show 0 to 7 HCP .a 1H/S response shows 810 HCP and a 4+ named suit. A 1NT response on 1C/D/H/S shows game HCP.and a 2C response is Blackwood.i think that is enough.
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#8 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 12:19

duplicated post
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#9 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 14:46

Do yourself a favour, Jinksy. Tell these smart people to learn bridge in a bridge club. Why lumber yourself? So instead of bridge, let's say that you want to teach them quantum mechanics, for example. Any easier? I have had a number of people say to me 'can you teach me bridge'. I say no, not because I am selfish, but because it is a difficult skill to learn, especially for middle-aged people or older, even for intelligent people. To me you are just making a rod for your back. Criticise me as much as you want, but i'll rather be honest. It's surprising how many people when you suggest that it is better to learn bridge in a bridge club do not take up the offer. That's human nature as when you offer something for nothing there's always takers.
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#10 User is offline   gszes 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 15:57

why not just begin with opening 1n (15 17) and slowly work in the variations jacoby/texas transfers and stayman. This will give them a firm ground to stand one once they start to conceptualize weak invitational and game forcing concepts. A little depth in a narrow area is much better than trying to spread them out all over the place. You can also work on their play of the hand and it will give them a chance to see how well (or poorly) their chosen path of bidding was.
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#11 User is offline   kuhchung 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 16:02

View PostThe_Badger, on 2018-October-19, 14:46, said:

Do yourself a favour, Jinksy. Tell these smart people to learn bridge in a bridge club. Why lumber yourself? So instead of bridge, let's say that you want to teach them quantum mechanics, for example. Any easier? I have had a number of people say to me 'can you teach me bridge'. I say no, not because I am selfish, but because it is a difficult skill to learn, especially for middle-aged people or older, even for intelligent people. To me you are just making a rod for your back. Criticise me as much as you want, but i'll rather be honest. It's surprising how many people when you suggest that it is better to learn bridge in a bridge club do not take up the offer. That's human nature as when you offer something for nothing there's always takers.


If my friends asked me to teach them bridge, I would jump at the opportunity. You want to send people who are interested in our game AWAY?

My friend shows interest in something I love and wants to spend time with me on it; nah, they should go pay for it in a class.
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#12 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2018-October-19, 20:22

View Postkuhchung, on 2018-October-19, 16:02, said:

If my friends asked me to teach them bridge, I would jump at the opportunity. You want to send people who are interested in our game AWAY?

My friend shows interest in something I love and wants to spend time with me on it; nah, they should go pay for it in a class.



Yes I would! It's actually a skill to teach people bridge, and if they are smart and intelligent people they should have the means to learn the game in the company of other likeminded people at a recognised bridge club with an accredited teacher. They also get to learn the game in the environment that, hopefully, they will use in the future, meet other likeminded people, and will also help the bridge club stay afloat given that numbers are dwindling at many clubs.

I have no problem with helping to some degree once a player has learnt the basics. If I had a pound or dollar for the number of times that people, including friends, have said "I always wanted to play bridge, or, I used to play (usually around the kitchen table with my folks) and I want to learn the game properly." Most of the people who say this are a similar age to me and have had ample opportunity in their lifetime to learn the game, and human nature being what it is, because I play and comment on bridge here and they know this, it piques their interest at that very moment and they think that I will devote endless hours passing on my knowledge for free. Why should I?

My attitude might sound curmudgeonly, bordering on severe, but it is born of experience of teaching people chess, a game that in my opinion is easier to learn than bridge, and seeing these players learn the game and not make any effort beyond that of trying to improve their game.

I recognise that many players want to play only at a social level, be it bridge or chess, but there is a competent level of attainment that all players should aspire to in any pastime or sport. Can that be done around the kitchen table? Probably not. University students have to go to lectures, read books, visit libraries, to learn material for their degrees, and whilst I wouldn't expect a novice bridge player to devote the same amount of time to master the intricacies of bridge, I would expect them to at least have a few lessons. And what is better than having a few lessons in a bridge club at the very beginning?
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#13 User is offline   PhilG007 

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Posted 2018-October-20, 05:45

View PostJinksy, on 2018-October-19, 09:09, said:

I'm spending a week with a few friends, very smart people who've never played bridge, and teaching a handful of them the game.

The difficulty is going to be familiar to most people here - they're nodding along as I explain tricks, contracts and trumps, then their faces fall as I start trying to explain the bidding, and all the exceptions.

I've had a look online for bidding cheat sheets, but honestly all the ones I've found are basically awful. They include stuff like Stayman (maybe transfers), and all sorts of nuances about bidding majors rather than raising partner's minor, doing things to probe for 3N when we've found a minor suit fit vs just blasting 4M.

One of them, who I'd started teaching slightly earlier than the others, came up with what I thought was an excellent suggest for a bridging (no pun intended) game between minibridge and actual bridge - to wit, just playing a version of bridge where 'anything from 3N upwards is game' (obviously we can also do without vulnerability and full scoring at this stage).

This has allowed me to make a substantially more simplified version of the bidding system, where we don't have any special treatments for majors, and just give basically very consistently patterned instructions for raising with 12-14, 15-17, and 18-19 point hands (which obviously at this stage are as partitioned as I want to make them).

Was wondering if anyone else had tried this, or come up with any other pseudo bridge variant that seemed particularly effective for beginners?



Have you thought about using the teaching facilities here on BBO? If your friends have internet access,then arrange to have a teaching session online. Remember bridge has a lot of theory to it It's not a game you can learn overnight (!)) :) So approach it as you would teaching a language. And don't try to cram too much into a session 30 minutes per topic should quite sufficent and end each session with some hands to play. . Be sure your students thoroughly know the topic before progressing to the next one.Encourage questions.I recall I did this when a novice many moons ago.I found the best way to learn was to pick the expert's brain(!) :)
"It is not enough to be a good player, you must also play well"
- Dr Tarrasch(1862-1934)German Chess Grandmaster

Bridge is a game where you have two opponents...and often three(!)


"Any palooka can take tricks with Aces and Kings; the true expert shows his prowess
by how he handles the two's and three's" - Mollo's Hideous Hog
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#14 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-October-20, 07:25

View PostThe_Badger, on 2018-October-19, 20:22, said:

Yes I would! It's actually a skill to teach people bridge, and if they are smart and intelligent people they should have the means to learn the game in the company of other likeminded people at a recognised bridge club with an accredited teacher. They also get to learn the game in the environment that, hopefully, they will use in the future, meet other likeminded people, and will also help the bridge club stay afloat given that numbers are dwindling at many clubs.

I have no problem with helping to some degree once a player has learnt the basics. If I had a pound or dollar for the number of times that people, including friends, have said "I always wanted to play bridge, or, I used to play (usually around the kitchen table with my folks) and I want to learn the game properly." Most of the people who say this are a similar age to me and have had ample opportunity in their lifetime to learn the game, and human nature being what it is, because I play and comment on bridge here and they know this, it piques their interest at that very moment and they think that I will devote endless hours passing on my knowledge for free. Why should I?



"I used to play (usually around the kitchen table with my folks) and I want to learn the game properly" is very different from "Bridge? I've got no idea of what it is really like, but I'm happy to try". The former person should definitely head towards a club course, the second (much more common) is more likely to benefit more from something specifically structured to get total beginners playing quickly.
FWIW, the articles I mentioned were written by expert teachers of our national federation and were openly critical about the way bridge is taught in most clubs. "Bridge in an hour" was the ambititious objective of one program where curious passers by were encouraged to join a table and learn from scratch. I don't know how successful it really was but would bet it did less damage than some traditional bridge classes where after three months they are still stuck on responder's second bid.
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#15 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2018-October-20, 08:54

Perhaps start each session with all 4 hands face up dummy style. You suggest a no frills auction and throw in (just) a couple of tidbits on play (lead your partners bid suit, high from a sequence for what it tells your partner, counting winners/losers as declarer etc.).

Do a second one where they bid with coaching then move on to normal play and a post-mortem but never more than a couple of points per hand from you to start and let their questions drive it.
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#16 User is offline   amre_man 

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Posted 2018-October-20, 11:00

There are limits to the amount of information that even very smart people can absorb. There are reasons why you start with counting hcp and opening the bidding. And then move on to other Bridge 101 lessons. After each step you reemphasize the lesson with some predealt boards. If you have these sessions for 4 hours each day you can cover high card points, opening, responding, overcalls, and advancing bids. And these folks will be exhausted! And quite likely still in some level of darkness. So when they come back day 2 (if they have not killed you in your sleep) you will need to reemphasize all of day 1 stuff before getting to day 2 stuff.

My club offered 6 one hour sessions, Mondays and Thursdays for 3 weeks, for brand new players. Lesson # 1 - If you are not comfortable with failure, you will not like this game. Cuz you will be overwhelmed with failure for quite some time!

This was followed by 10 weeks of 2 play and review games on Mondays and Thursdays. An experienced mentor looking over their shoulders, questions asked and answered during bidding and play. Mentors did not provide specific bids but rather explained what point requirements were for next bid, did you have it? Well, then say something! Comment about bidding and play after the hand is complete. Be constructive, be firm, be kind. There were still players that would not overcall without an opening hand. Or open 4 card majors. But they have all successfully joined our 499er game.

It will even more difficult for people that have never played a trick taking game, with or without wild cards.

In answer to your questions...

4 people at a card tables. Deal the cards face down. Explain the point system and ask each player to count and announce their hcp, make sure it totals 40. :blink: The pair with the highest hcp is declarer. Trump is whatever suit is 5/3 or 4/4 and let them play a few hands. Make sure each player gets to play a contract.

Move on to 5 card majors and whatever your minor opener system is with required points. Each player bids a hand or 2. They can play them out or not.
Move on to responses with opps being silent. Each person in each pair bids a hand or 2.
Overcalls......
Advancers......
Balanced hands....
NT openers...
etc, etc.... You are already on day 2 if not 3.

All these things require predealt hands.

Keep it light, laugh with them, and hope that they will be interested enough to continue their studies.

Some will take to it like a duck to water. Others would prefer a root canal than play another hand.

Good luck!
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#17 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-October-20, 13:11

View Postamre_man, on 2018-October-20, 11:00, said:

It will even more difficult for people that have never played a trick taking game, with or without wild cards.

I have witnessed normally intelligent people learn to follow the rules of whist and make some effective plays in much less than an hour.

View Postamre_man, on 2018-October-20, 11:00, said:

4 people at a card tables. Deal the cards face down. Explain the point system and ask each player to count and announce their hcp, make sure it totals 40. :blink: The pair with the highest hcp is declarer. Trump is whatever suit is 5/3 or 4/4 and let them play a few hands. Make sure each player gets to play a contract.

I like this a lot.
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#18 User is offline   tturnips99 

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Posted 2018-October-21, 04:46

Hi,

You are so right that bidding is the most difficult aspect for beginners to understand.

For teaching a group of beginners you really should use one of Audrey Grant’s books. She has a four part series for teaching bridge. The others (defense, play of the hand, etc.) are okay, but the bidding is a must. It’s not too light nor too heavy.

Best wishes.

Tommy
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Posted 2018-October-21, 22:38

View PostJinksy, on 2018-October-19, 09:09, said:

I'm spending a week with a few friends, very smart people who've never played bridge, and teaching a handful of them the game.

The difficulty is going to be familiar to most people here - they're nodding along as I explain tricks, contracts and trumps, then their faces fall as I start trying to explain the bidding, and all the exceptions.

Was wondering if anyone else had tried this, or come up with any other pseudo bridge variant that seemed particularly effective for beginners?


A lot depends on your friends here. If they are systems thinkers its a lot easier. My observations:

Go with a simple but aggressive opening system (EHAA is my preferred here). My rationale is: People tend to enjoy bidding, and the high level problems with no support or guidance EHAA gives you are awesome because they don't require you to teach anyone anything by rote! 'What should I be doing here? I dunno, maybe double?' The other advantage EHAA has is that the openings and overcalls are the same, so less for people to remember. (Maybe get them to play a strong NT instead of weak overcalls.. or don't! Whatever). This is very easy to remember - you you can teach someone all the opening bids very quickly and the qucik reference card is very simple.

You might even want to skate over that you shouldn't open your 4441 12 count with 1NT to make it even simpler.

If they are systems thinkers, teach them some very basic principles: open your longest suit if two are tied so you can make the cheaper rebid later, you are looking for 8 card fits, 25 points is enough to bid 3NT or 4 something, how you limit your hand (by making a raise or bidding NT), a new suit by an unlimited responder is forcing, and slow arrival so 1H-2H is somehting, 1H-3H is more, and 1H-4H is even more)

Then let people go for it. They will have a bunch of crap auctions, but don't worry about it. Don't bother with the exceptions and everything else. You need to get people through 24 hands at most, of which half they won't even have the balance of the points so most of the junk won't come up. I wouldn't even bother with Stayman.
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