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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

xxxxxx

Menu 2

Tuna, mushroom, leek and red pepper tart

Roast chicken with three veg

Mixed fruit crumble

xxxxxx

Menu 3

Cheese tart

Tagliatelli puttanesca

Kiwi tart 

xxxxxx

Menu 4

Leek and potato soup with stilton

Steak and kidney pie with 3 veg

Fruit salad

xxxxxx

Menu 5

Melon and cured Iberian ham

Salmon and potato bake

Lemon tart

Menu 6

xxxxxx

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.

Schools bridge projects
It`s SERIOUS STUFF at SCHOOL Regional Finals
It`s SERIOUS STUFF at SCHOOL Regional Finals
SCHOOL PROJECTS

How to get STARTED

 

This extract from a discussion taking place on the BRIDGEWINNERS site nicely highlights a frustrating common problem: 

"...Getting bridge included in the curriculum, however, is an entirely different undertaking. I think California's requirements are quite similar to what Peg describes for Minnesota. We have a few people involved who might qualify, but very few.

The problem with after-school programs is that the kids don't play often enough to retain what they learn. (My high school bridge club meets at most every two weeks, often only once every three weeks.) Thus, they don't progress, and they eventually lose interest.

No solutions seem obvious to me. We have managed to introduce quite a large number of kids to bridge, through after-school bridge classes and monthly pizza parties. The number who are still playing the game three or four years later, though, is fairly small."
 

And here is what I was prompted to post in response:

"Lynn hit the nail right on the head. Not enough children or qualified teachers to keep the practise sessions regular - and often miles from a bridge club or from each other. But there is in fact a solution which I tried successfully in a community of only 70,000. An island where not one of the locals had ever heard of the game of bridge, let alone played it. 

I started by persuading a friendly headmaster to let me give a demonstration for ALL children 5 to 11 (in turns) at school. The school then sent out a mail to all the parents of those students to expound the academic benefits of bridge. Meanwhile, I had picked out the mathematically minded (which requires only a five minute test with a pack of cards and a bidding box!) during the initial taster sessions, and gave them a voluntary four week crash course in the lunchbreaks. Never more than 30 minutes per session. A total of no more than 5 hours bridge tuition each. Their rapid progress in that short time was monitored by the school and gained more publicity than I had bargained for. Word got round the entire island that bridge is better than maths in school. To the extent that two other schools asked me to do the same for them. I was ovrwhelmed with young students.

All the ones who started playing bridge saw dramatic improvements in their exam results. Particularly in Maths, but in most other subjects as well. Mainly due to the fact that they are forced to concentrate to retain a competitive edge at the bridge table. In turn, improved concentration, discipline and powers of logic gives them more time to successfully complete their exam papers. 

Where possible, I make sure all new pupils (both young and old) have at least four lessons within two weeks of being introduced to the sport of bridge. Enough time to fully outline the entire game. If the kiddies are very young, I show the parents at the same time. Get them through that critical first fortnight, and then you shouldn't lose any students thereafter" 

 

In the second phase of the project – after the cream of the kids were invited to the World Schools Championships in France – I decided to change tack. I taught less at the schools because the popularity of the game meant there was no  longer the risk of talented youngsters giving up the game

The ones that were able to, could come to the new ACES club to practise and play competitions alongside the adults in the newly established club. For the others who were isolated, I spent a few hours a day travelling to different parts of the island to teach pupils in their own homes after school. In groups of three or four in the same neighbourhood. This particular routine was effectively a

 

MOBILE bridge school

 

It was worth the effort. Because it meant that the parents took an active interest in the game and appreciated its educational benefits.

 

They would help their kiddies practise at home after I left

 

And that is where school projects usually fail. i.e. where parents are not invoved or don`t want to be involved. Needless to say,

 

the mums and dads enjoyed playing the game with their children so much,

they often then joined the club as well

 

The CHAMPIONS at CHUMPHON
The CHAMPIONS at CHUMPHON

 

TIPS for TEACHERS and their helpers

 

1. Do not assume that a helper who is an experienced bridge player will be able to empathise with youngsters. Do not assume either that helpers can be relied on to attend! 

2. You cannot have two teachers giving children different advice that confuses them. Keep an ear and eye on what they are being told at the other tables.

3. Show humility. If  you are one of those superhuman players who never makes a bidding or playing error, then it is time you did. Make a mistake to prove that you are human. Thereby reinforcing the theory that your novices should be patient - and wait for their opponents to give an early Christmas present.

4. Do NOT give them any instruction sheets until they - or their parents - ask for them. After all, you can't reprimand them for not studying non curricular lessons. So what's the point. In any event, they learn far quicker by making errors at the bridge table. Instil in them the philosophy that noone makes the same mistake twice.

5. Do NOT use a blackboard. Sports teachers don't very often use blackboards and bridge is a...SPORT. It is the competitive (sporting) side of bridge that attracts youngsters, so get them out of classroom mode. 

6. Get them warmed up like you would any sports stars at a training session. Start the lesson with a 5 minute CONCENTRATION and MEMORY test in the form of a fun competition. To get their brains tuned in to bridge - and to take their minds off mobile phones, cartoons and pizzas! My usual routine is to throw cards on the table and ask them to add up the points. The first child to get the correct number is given a card. Then they can earn more cards quicker as I name three, four or five bidding cards which they must take out the bidding boxes. But they cannot start taking them out till I have repeated the denominations twice. If your students are of different ages or academic standards, put them into teams to even up the odds of victory. 

7. As soon as they are capable, get them to score the results of a board on the traveller. Explain the vagaries of the scoring system to give them a head start over the adults. Given the prevalence of team events, it baffles me that so few regular bridge players know that 2 spades plus 4 doubled (12 tricks) scores more than 4 spades plus 3 doubled (despite making all 13 tricks). 

8. Build up their CONFIDENCE early in the lesson. And simultaneously silence the (rare) one who thinks he or she is better than the rest of the group. The bidding box test above can be used for that purpose: Give a less confident pupil four cards in sequence to take out (1C, 2D, 3H, 4S) and then give the overconfident child four cards to remember which are out of sequence (e.g. 2S, 1D, 5H and 3NT). Then ask them to put their bids back in the box as quickly as possible for a bonus card! Tricky when they are out of sequence!

9. When the time comes to be able to introduce one of the very few essential conventions, make sure the pupil understands exactly why he is being asked to make a non natural bid. To reinforce my philosophy that all bridge bids should be logical. The best example is the Jacoby transfer. So often club players tell adult beginners that they must use it simply so that the weaker hand goes on the table. That explanation won't hold water when your 8 year old partner has more points than opener! Give the whole story. Explain that it allows you to stop the bidding at the 2 level. Demonstrate also how you can invariably make two more tricks by bidding one level higher - even with zero points. 

10. Don't complicate a simple game for the little ones. Minimal conventions = no misunderstandings = ZERO ZEROES

11. Finally a suggestion that you teach them before they reach the ripe old age of eleven. There are too many other distractions later on. Girlfriends, extra homework, and other sports etc. In my experience, an intelligent and enthusiastic 8 year old is just as capable of getting to grips with all the bridge basics as an 13 year old anyway. Teaching bridge to receptive youngsters is actually mentally rewarding - and great fun for the tutor as well.

GOOD LUCK