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CV19 - Bridge Clubs

#21 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-May-15, 09:47

Way back in the mists of time (like, before TV even!), everyone played bridge at their kitchen table. It was just something you saw your parents do (or group of mothers, in the afternoon), and they dragged you into being a fourth as you got older. These games still exist, and I am told for every duplicate player affiliated with a NBO, there are about 10 of these people. Note that the game isn't necessarily the important thing here, it's the way to socialize for the afternoon.

It used to be that one of the foursome said "I went to this game down at the lodge, and it was really fun! Want to come with me next time?" and that's how new duplicate players were born (those that liked it. Those that didn't - for any of a number of reasons - stayed away in droves).

A lot of those games (or the equivalent ones at the pub/club/union hall) were played for "reasonable" stakes (less reasonable the more men were in the game, but whatever). Those games still exist as well. Some of those players became duplicate players, and realizing how crazy rubber actually is (and how badly their beautiful bidding systems crack under "1NT is game, partner") moved to Chicago scoring (it's also higher action than rubber, which appealed to some of the gamblers). Those games still exist, as well. Please note, I am excepting the "rubber bridge clubs" like TGR's or Regal in Toronto from this - that's a whole other world as well.

I'm not denigrating that - the more people playing bridge, the more likely I get to in 20 years. But!

- I played in our church's bridge game for the first few weeks. Each hand took 10 minutes, and was always played to 13 tricks. I gave up after I opened (22-24, remember) 2NT, got raised to 3 on a flat 12 count, and after the squeeze worked for 7, got the response "should I have invited?" This person had been playing "kitchen table" bridge for decades.
- There's a private club in town that one of my friends sometimes plays at. He's a reasonable A player (only). I don't know what the stakes are, but he comes out of there up $20-50 every time, just by pushing cards. I'm sure these people have been playing for decades as well.

So, yeah, the average duplicate club plays 3 levels better than the average "kitchen bridge" player. That's not a criticism, just a fact.

I think Vampyr's comment is basically "we have to ensure the people moving into more competitive bridge from the kitchen learn, as well as better bridge, the ethics of the game, and hopefully why." My comment was "I don't think everybody's memory from 1970 about new duplicate players = kitchen bridge players holds any more; we're not getting new people from the kitchen. We're getting them from seniors centres where newly retired folks looking for something to do see a 'learn to play bridge' sign in the hall, remember having played it in university 40 years ago, or at mom's table once or twice, and decide to give it a shot." Again, not denigrating the kitchen table games - just explaining the reality.

And I apologize, but there are "those players" - those that know the rules and just don't care, or at least are in the "if you're not pushin', you're not playin'" camp or the sledgers. Yeah, I'm denigrating them. They're the reason for lot of the kitchen bridge players who tried duplicate once and will never go back. If we get rid of one of those, the quality of the game will go down, but we'll get a table of nice people, one of whom will learn to be a good player, in exchange.
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#22 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-May-15, 22:41

View Postmycroft, on 2020-May-15, 09:47, said:

- I played in our church's bridge game for the first few weeks. Each hand took 10 minutes, and was always played to 13 tricks. I gave up after I opened (22-24, remember) 2NT, got raised to 3 on a flat 12 count, and after the squeeze worked for 7, got the response "should I have invited?" This person had been playing "kitchen table" bridge for decades.

At a company I worked at years ago, I once sat into a lunchtime bridge game. I had a decent 14 count and 5 hearts so I opened 1. In this game, I knew double jumps in a suit were the old fashioned ~13-16 raise.


Dummy came down with 5 hearts and around 17 HCP. Needless to say, 6 had 12 runners, so I inquired why partner had jumped to 4 with such a strong hand. My partner, the 2 opponents, and a kibitzer assured me that 4 was stronger than 3 because it was a game bid. That was the last time I played in that game.
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#23 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-May-16, 10:36

View Postmycroft, on 2020-May-14, 16:23, said:

One of my "side hobbies" is looking to find the players and pairs for whom the novice game is doing nothing more than teaching them bad habits any more, and suggesting they move up, even though they're still matchpoint eligible. The ones that are happy where they are, and probably will never get any better (or, frankly, get enough points to age out) - as long as they follow Wil Wheaton's Rule, more power to them. I don't want to play that game, but it's not for me.

Thus, "self-select out of the [novice] game".


Got it, thanks. I too have a hobby of looking for such players and pairs and attempting to raise the bar for them in various ways. This is one thing that is proving easier online than f2f as there are more and more varied opportunities to compete outside of their usual game.
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#24 User is offline   661_Pete 

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Posted 2020-May-17, 02:52

OK, I think I understand, thanks. Perhaps it's because I haven't played social bridge for well over 40 years, one tends to forget that there are still social players just moving on to duplicate, even now.

Most of my bad habits were ironed out once I resumed bridge about 5-6 years ago when I retired. Firstly, there were the 'casual' rooms in BBO, where many 'sins' pass unremarked. Like, for example, explaining your bid to the table (including your partner!). What else can you do, when you're playing with a 'pick-up' partner who has no system written on their profile, or who categorises themself as 'expert' when they clearly aren't?!

Then there was the U3A, where the 'Chicago' section still allowed a lot of latitude. For one thing, the director/organiser (bless him!) had a lot of duties, one of which was helping the less-able players with their bidding. Not so, of course, the fortnightly duplicate, which was much more formal. That was pre-booked on a first come, first serve basis, and once the seven tables were filled (to enable a straight Mitchell movement) you couldn't join in. Frustrating!

But when I did secure a place, I learnt a few things - some of them the hard way! On one occasion, I remember, LHO was declarer after my partner had overcalled in a suit in which I happened to be void. I'd hoped he'd lead his suit and give me a ruff, but it never happened. Once declarer got in, being mindful of the ruff danger, she wasted no time in drawing trumps, then led the suit in question. Out of sheer annoyance, and without even thinking, I slammed my discard on the table more forcefully than I ought to have. We all lose our temper at times?! But it put declarer in a rage, she accused me of 'cheating'. Of course I apologised. But what upset me was, a week or two later when I found myself once again at the same table with this person, she repeated the accusation of 'cheating' - before two others who hadn't been at the table in question. That was, I think, out of order. I'd had enough: I then quit the U3A and joined a club instead.

Enough of my loathsome confessions, I think! I've learned.

The other thing I learned on resuming bridge, of course, was how much bidding has changed over the course of 50 years or so. I learnt most of my stuff, originally, from the excellent 1960s book by Terence Reese, which I still have, but it's very dated now. It says nothing of transfers, of RKCB, of Negative Doubles, of Ogust, Landy, Michaels, jacoby, UNT, etc. Those things must have emerged later. But I continued to learn!

Oh and, talking about playing out to the thirteenth trick, that's one of the things I'm diligent enough not to do! I'm often one of the first to claim, and hence one of the first to complete a round. But I know better than to rudely say "claim" when I'm dummy: my partner has to decide that!

All of this is way off topic, of course: I still have no idea about how, or whether, f2f bridge will ever start up again. I'm very despondent about this.
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#25 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-May-21, 11:17

View Postwachusett, on 2020-May-13, 14:02, said:

But ACBL is currently receiving only its normal $1 per table from regular Virtual Club games. Whats more, there currently is no way for clubs to run charity games or participate in STaCs.

ACBL is actually working on these. Look for details to come from ACBL soon.

#26 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-May-21, 14:37

View Post661_Pete, on 2020-May-17, 02:52, said:

The other thing I learned on resuming bridge, of course, was how much bidding has changed over the course of 50 years or so. I learnt most of my stuff, originally, from the excellent 1960s book by Terence Reese, which I still have, but it's very dated now. It says nothing of transfers, of RKCB, of Negative Doubles, of Ogust, Landy, Michaels, jacoby, UNT, etc. Those things must have emerged later. But I continued to learn!

You should have looked for a more up to date book 50 years ago.
My 1973 book by Terence Reese describes Jacoby and Texas transfers (p187), RKCB (p188), Negative Doubles (p194), Michaels (p196) and UNT (p192).
Alas I only found and read it in 2015 but it still proved useful, particularly in card play.
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