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DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

It was certainly a very happy birthday yesterday for Valentina.

Despite her physical handicap, she made it to my party to celebrate her own big day. By her own admission she is a crazy Rumanian lady.

I can certainly go along with that self assessment after partnering her at the club the past two weeks. 

But, with equal certainty, I can say that she is a very good bridge player.

Trevor 1838 on 22/7/21

Your QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Online or Face to Face. Where does bridge go from here?

How can we play competitive F2F bridge NOW?

Will bridge clubs survive?

Will table fees increase when clubs reopen?

When will “clinically vulnerable players” be able to safely return to the bridge table?

In the perceived absence of any sensible and useful guidance from bridge administrators, I endeavour to reassure players via my diagnoses and prescriptiona for resolving common concerns. You can read my analyses on the “Keep Bridge Alive” page.

Trevor 22h40 on 10/1/21

Update 23/2/21.
Update 23/2/21.

The ACES mobile club - and especially the bridge school - is now in full swing. Last week it was the French connection when Irish and English were invited to join Thierry at his home in Santa Cruz. Yesterday it was the turn of our friends in Palmmar. This time it was Gaby and Juergen from Hamburg honouring us with their presence.

Trevor 15h00 23/2/21

DINNER DATES in Tenerife

Life goes on at ACES with the ever popular Bridge (or Rummikub) sessions with dinner. For 4 persons only, they are afternoon games played outdoors starting at 3pm. Dinner is likewise served on the terrace. Charge inclusive of table fee plus 3 course dinner with drinks is E12 p.p.

Here are the home-made menus available:

Menu 1

Cream of spinach soup

Duck in orange sauce

Lemon or Chocolate Cheesecake

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Menu 2

Tuna, mushroom, leek and red pepper tart

Roast chicken with three veg

Mixed fruit crumble

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Menu 3

Cheese tart

Tagliatelli puttanesca

Kiwi tart 

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Menu 4

Leek and potato soup with stilton

Steak and kidney pie with 3 veg

Fruit salad

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Menu 5

Melon and cured Iberian ham

Salmon and potato bake

Lemon tart

Menu 6

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Fish soup

Albondigas in tomato sauce

Apple pie and ice cream

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Dinner dates can be enjoyed as much by beginners as by experienced players in search of competitive bridge. 

You will need to provide evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that you are not a carrier of the virus. To protect the existing members of the “ACES bubble” of which several are, like me, categorised as “clinically extremely vulnerable”. That assessment will be subjective and based on my experience over several decades of working with severely ill cystic fibrosis sufferers. They necessarily had to avoid close contact at all costs with anybody suffering from even the most innocuous of viruses (such as the common cold) which could prove fatal to CF sufferers. 

Trevor 00h05 on 20/7/21

Los GIGANTES, Tenerife
Los GIGANTES, Tenerife

An ACES bridge star finds serenity at the foot of the giant cliffs from which this coastal resort gets its name

TMW 12/2/21.

LEGO & Mr BEAN
TEACHING TECHNIQUES
TEACHING  TECHNIQUES

Below you will find all you need to know to be a successful bridge teacher. Starting with the very young and ending with my advice for when the students are mostly geriatrics. Like yours truly

The essential "must haves"  teaching kids of nursery age

a giant sackful of LEGO and a Mr BEAN video

Watching the Youtube videos featuring the 6 year old on page 3 of this website, I am reminded of how I introduced the young man to the bidding box. His father first brought him to the club to play chess. He had just celebrated his fifth birthday when the above picture was taken and he could give his dad a good game of chess even at that tender age. When he had had enough of the board game, I gave him a bidding box and made up a game where he had to correctly take out bids - and then put them all back in the bidding box in the right order. He loved the challenge. The concentration powers he showed were extraordinary. But like any toddler he would get bored. So, whilst his dad carried on playing chess with the other club members, the youngster was more than happy to spend hours building cars, trucks and heliports with the sackful of lego donated by generous members. For the slightly older youngsters, it was the Mr Bean and Fawlty Towers videos that kept them amused whilst the parents had a serious game of bridge or chess.

The moral of this story: With the very young, don`t forget they are only children. When their concentration starts wandering, you must halt the lesson and let them play less serious games.  

Rowan and Basil will be proud of me for making bridge and chess lessons so entertaining   

TMW 15/3/19

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TEACHING  TECHNIQUES

 

Rule number one

Bridge shoulld be fun for both bridge pupils and teachers

 

Rule number two

Teaching teachers the teaching techniques should also be  fun 

Which is why we will start this article with a funny riddle

 

Can you spot the two JOKERS & two Club ACES in the picture?

 

 

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Now the serious side of bridge

TEACHING

Rule 3 

IMPROVISATION is ESSENTIAL

As with any sport, the initial challenge for a bridge coach would be to keep the pupils` enthusiasm going until they reach competition standard.  The next challenge is to to bring the best out of the pupils as quickly as possible. Impossible to generalise about the best methods. The teacher must invariably improvise after taking into account the ages, abilities and expectations of the students. But also the availabilty and capabilities of teaching staff. A point that is often overlooked.  

To illustrate the meaning of IMPROVISE, here is a description of my Pyramid system:   

The PYRAMID method

I have to admit it was more by accident and necessity that I developed a teaching method that allowed me to take on as many students as wanted to learn the game. A method that I have refined to the extent that it can be used as a template for any qualified bridge teacher to SINGLEHANDEDLY start a schools project in a bridge desert devoid of suitable coaches. Where there is potentially a need to satisfy the demands of 100 or more schoolchildren wanting to start learning at the same time.. 

Not impossible. Far from it. It actually works

 

THE  MAGIC  FORMULA:

  1. The talented pupils become teachers.
  2. The most promising and advanced pupil “teachers” then teach the teachers to create a pyramid 

 

 

It is as easy as that. Yet this simple method nevertheless has enormous advantages over conventional teaching methods viz:

  1. Very young children enjoy being taught by teachers who are only slighty older than themselves. Not least because they are less nervous of making mistakes.
  2. The extra responsibility of allowing, for example, a child of ten to mentor a child of seven encourages and improves the confidence of the 10 year old teacher. Wth the result that he/she then punches above their weight in competitions.
  3. The pupil teachers are unwittingly being asked to keep practising the basics of bridge*. Practise makes perfect. And this is the perfect way to practise without such sessions becoming boring. 
  4. No teaching manuals are required. The pupil teachers effectively replace the manuals
  5. There is no limit to the number of tiers of teachers in this pyramid. More advanced youngsters can teach the intermediate level. And, in turn, the most suitable of those can teach the beginners. 
  6. All pupils learn exactly the same system. Any player can then partner anyone else. 
  7. The pupil teachers can empathize with relative beginners who are only a couple of years younger than themselves. They all speak the same language. The same jargon. Dare I say a gifted 10 year old is usually better and more successful at explaining Jacoby transfers to an 8 year old than an experienced member of the local bridge club  

* As this Academy is in Spain, let`s take the example of a teacher coaching eight Spanish twelve year olds to a standard where they can play in adult club competitions. The bridge teacher can then take on a group of Spanish beginners to learn the game by allocating one of those experienced 12 year olds to each table of four pupils. Thus, when the time comes for the group to learn that Jacoby transfer, I can comfortably and effectively teach 32 beginners at the same time with the help of those 8 pupil teachers. Without even the need for me to have learned Spanish - provided those 12 year old helpers had been concentrating during their English lessons at school!!! 

All I have to do is move from one table to another. Helping the young teachers to give the correct instructions in the most comprehensive fashion.

 

 

BIDDING BOX CONNUNDRUM:

My teaching methods are based on the principle that pupils need a good sense of logic to master the bidding systems.  Unfortunately that principle falls at the first hurdle. The moment the student opens his bidding box.  

Can someone please explain to me why boxes contain cards that don't mean what they say. Goodness knows how much time teachers waste trying to explain to young and old alike that bidding 7NT actually means they must make 13 tricks.  

 

My bidding boxes for the beginners therefore have "PLUS SIX" indelibly marked on each card.

For every brainteaser in bridge there is, thankfully, a logical solution.