Spade Heart Mansfield School of Bridge Diamond Club
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Are you a Bridge Club?

Gillian is willing to hold any of the courses at your club, subject to a minimum of 8 participants and within reasonable travelling distance from Mansfield.

Reviews from previous Novices' Classes

"Loved it - teaching, environment, participants - great !"

"Motivating, extremely well taught"                       "Thoroughly enjoyed every session"

"Excellent.  Well paced.  Well planned.  Pro-active/lots of learner involvement.  Theory and practise balanced correctly."

"The handouts are easy to understand.  Better than any bridge book I've read."

Last updated : 18th May 2016 16:29 BST
Beginner Course Overview 2018/19: Tuesdays 7.15pm-9.45pm
Beginner Course Overview 2018/19: Tuesdays 7.15pm-9.45pm

Number of students: 8-16      Course Length: 20 weeks    

18th September 2018 - 12th February 2019

Price: £160 per person

The first session gives an introduction to the many aspects of bridge.

Course Description: A fun, active approach to learning bridge in a social setting with lots of practise sessions and the opportunity to make new friends.

Learning activities include: formal instruction, group work, quizzes, practise play, discussion, practical demonstration, practical tasks, puzzles and competitions.

Homework: About 30 - 60 minutes each week reviewing the last lesson and completing quizzes and practical exercises. You are encouraged to play once a week in addition to the classes.

Monday evenings at the Club 7pm-10pm (£2.50 non-members, £2 for members) and/or Thursday mornings 10am – 12.30pm for £1.50 are your practise sessions – please come whenever you can!

Course aims: To provide you with a solid foundation of the standard English Acol playing techniques and bidding system in a supportive and relaxed atmosphere.

What does the fee cover? : Attendance on all 20 sessions.  There are no reductions for missed sessions.  The fee includes the course workbooks and all handouts.  It includes student membership of the English Bridge Union.  Attending the course gives you access to 6 weeks free use of the "No Fear Bridge" website and 25% off the annual fee should you decide to continue using the website.  Attendance on the course also provides the opportunity to continue attending on Tuesday nights during February and March, free of charge, to revise and practise.

Last updated : 4th Jul 2018 12:00 BST
Come with or without a partner

If you are relatively new to the game, or maybe you've played for a little while but would like to learn properly, you may be interested in our next beginner class which starts  in September 2018.  An overview of the course is given above.  We will be covering all aspects of the game at what the EBU calls "foundation" level.  As with any skill, building a strong foundation will lead to many enjoyable hours at the bridge table.

We will be covering the skills of bidding, of playing the cards as "declarer" and introducing the skills and techniques of working as a defence partnership. 

Bridge is very much a partnership game - from learning what your partner's bids mean and responding to them with your own bids in a clear and informative way, to deciding what is the best "contract" for the partnership to play in, or whether this time it would be better for the opposition to play.  Bridge is about earning the best score for your side which may be related to the number of tricks you make or the number of tricks you take from the opposition.  Very early in the course we cover scoring and strategy and from the very first hour you will have playing cards in your hands.

People are often surprised by how much is involved in defence play - how much you can tell your partner about the cards in your hand through the cards you play.  We call this special type of card play: opening leads, attitude signals, discard signals and suit preference signals.  In addition, there is strategy behind the card you play whether you are the second person to play to a trick or the "third hand".  All this will be covered on the course.

Perhaps having read this you are wondering whether you will be able to cope?  Well, you will have an advantage if you have played cards before, and if you've played a trick taking game such as whist it will be very helpful to you.  But plenty of people come to the game never having played before.  If you fall into this category free "absolute beginners" sessions will be available during June and July.  Just get in touch with me.  These sessions will get you comfortable with handling the cards and with the organisation of the game and what is expected of you at the playing table. 

To join in with the novice/beginner course you need to understand what is meant by "winning a trick" and also how to use a "trump" suit.  Whatever your level of experience you will be welcomed, encouraged, supported and challenged on the course.  The course is very "hands-on" and from a participant's perspective feels much more like training than being at school.  (Some reviews from previous participants are given above.)  Having said that, there are some things that you simply have to learn off by heart and you will need to do a bit of "swotting" at home - which is, after all,  good for your brain!

So what is the financial commitment?  To complete the whole course of 20 lessons you will pay a total of £160.  You do not have to pay anything until the end of the first lesson.  You can come along to the first lesson (you have to book your place!) to dip your toe in the water and see if it's right for you.  If at the end of the first lesson you don't want to continue, that's fine.  If you do want to carry on then you will be asked to pay £160.  The fee covers all the course materials and handouts and includes the course workbooks and tea/coffee.  You will only need to bring a pen and scrap paper.

What is the time commitment?  In addition to the Tuesday night sessions you will be given "homework" which may be something to read, or something to learn, or a puzzle or quiz to complete.  This will take around 45 minutes to do.  It makes sense to support your learning by also playing bridge at the club once a week if you can do so.  I'd love to see you joining in the Monday night competitions come the new year!

If you have any questions, do get in touch.




Last updated : 4th Jul 2018 11:50 BST
Beginners Course held at Mansfield Bridge and Snooker Club
Beginners Course held at Mansfield Bridge and Snooker Club

Mansfield Mechanics Bridge Club have agreed that we can continue to use their facilities on a Tuesday evening.  Our beginners will therefore have all the advantages of learning in a proper bridge room.  The bridge room is on the ground floor and the Club has it's own car park - it couldn't be easier!  Their web address is

This is probably a good place to mention that there is a novice players session on Thursday mornings from 10am to 12.30pm.  It costs just £1.50 per person and is a gentle sociable way to get some playing practise outside a formal competition.  If you fancy it, just turn up 5 minutes or so before the start time or if you prefer, telephone first so we know to expect you.



Last updated : 4th Jul 2018 11:51 BST