Happy Dummy Month! What's that about, you say? Well, my friends, in the Christian liturgical calendar, November is devoted to the deceased, and this is why it is dubbed “Month of the Dead”. It also turns out that the French word for dummy is “le mort” – this translate as “the dead”. So let's devote this month to treating our dummy with even more respect and care than usual - manage your entries, pause and think before calling that first card, think how your precious dummy can help you reach your goal.
Speaking of reaching goals, oh boy, what is it with us and bridge. Over the last several weeks, I have heard from players and potential students the following "I am afraid of letting my partner down", "We had a 44% game, I am so embarrassed", "I am not sure if I should learn this game. I don't have a very good memory". I have been thinking that there doesn't seem to be that many other things in life where we experience such a sense of shame when things go wrong or such a sense of dread at trying something new. My first (and second and third) attempt at making sourdough bread left much to be desired. So did the first (and second and third) attempt at knitting a sweater. Did I carry this with me through the night? Did I experience such a sense of shame, I was considering taking on a new identity? Nope. I have had a few 36% in my days, times where I wanted to call Lee and ask him to change my name on the results page. When being hard on yourself for a "failure" (btw notice how your brain doesn't spend half as much time celebrating your wonderful accomplishments), just ask yourself if this will define how you will be remembered. Will it read something like "Here lies Josée who got a 36% result on September 15th 2008, still can't bake bread or knit a sweater, may she rest in peace". I know I still remember the date! But I don't remember the date where I got a 73%. Interesting huh? :)
For some personal news, the 12th of October, our family was blessed with more grand babies to love and cuddle. Meet fraternal twin boys Tobin and Mackenzie born 3 weeks early at 6 lbs 7 on and 6 lbs 3 on respectively. Here you see them on their 2nd week birthday out “mushrooming” with my son Chris and daughter in law Nicole. Mackenzie (on the left) has a broad forehead and looks like he is already busy solving all the problems of the world. Tobin, is much more "chill". Very calm and quiet but he is having a bit of a rougher start to life and has made a couple brief trips to the hospital. Nothing serious but tough on everyone. Maddie almost 10 months old is excited to have cousins! During my last visit, I brought her a musical bath toy. We played with the toy for all of 12 seconds. But the wrapping…oh my - that was 5 minutes of entertainment at least! At one point she looked like she trying to read the label!
My husband received some very good news during a follow up visit with his neurologist. Doctor to Bob "I don’t need to see you again. Your condition is stable. Continue your exercises, keep up with the good healthy diet and make sure you go south this Winter." Bob grumbled at how difficult it was for him to move, get on a plane, bla bla bla. The neurologist turned to me, and asked if I wanted to go South. Of course I do I said. So that was how it was left. Until I read the specialist report online, and right there in the report it reads: “Recommended going south this winter. Wife wants to go South”. Bob still thinks I paid the doctor to say this! 😊 Florida here we come! Doctor's orders!
Well that is it for family news. Let’s talk bridge. There is much below for you: lessons, games, travels, listening, reading. Don’t skip anything. It is all with the ultimate goal of making you better bridge players while also having fun!
To quote Zia Mahmood, a professional bridge player and expert, who spoke to us at a Teachers' Bridge Convention in 2017, "When playing bridge (or golf) use the Four Fs:
- FUN - if you are not having fun then you are playing in the wrong environment.
- FOCUS - on the hand and problem in front of you
- FORGET - You can't change the past. You can't replay that previous hand. There are no do over. Leave it in the past for now.
- If all else fails, then go outside and use the F word.
Two 4-Day Courses On Zoom
In January and February, I will be offering two 4-week courses aimed primarily at a very gentle level. These are for quite new players. Do tell your friends.
The courses are Introduction to Declarer Play and Introduction to Defence.
Both courses will come with the Eddie Kantar Book of the same Title (recently Revised and Updated by Barbara Seagram). Lessons are recorded and unlimited access granted once registered and paid for the course.
And also 2 other special ones: Completing a Convention Card (all proceeds go to charity), and Thinking Bridge – Plan Your Moves! Be sure to check all details below!
Introduction To Declarer Play
– A 4-Week Course
Do you love playing bridge? Are you looking to do more this Winter? Still feels like Play of the Hand is puzzling at times? Then you NEED this course!
- Counting Losers
- Counting Winners
- Ruffing losers in the Dummy
- Extra Winners in the Dummy or in Declarer’s Hand
- Long Suit Establishment (aka Taking Tricks with Tiny Cards)
- When and How to take a Finesse and much more!
Dates – Wednesdays – January 5, 12, 19, 26
Times – 4 to 5:45 pm EST
Introduction To Defence
– A 4-Week Course
Have you noticed that you are defending at bridge 50% of the time? That is right! Did you know that being on Defence is the most fun you can ever have at the bridge table even when you do not have any points in your hand? Let me teach you how to have more fun and to gain respect from all players when you show them you know how to defend!
- Opening Leads against No Trump and Suit contracts
2nd hand play
3rd hand play
- Signaling against No Trump and Suit contracts
- And much, much more!!
Dates – Wednesdays – February 2, 9, 16, 23
Times – 4 to 5:45 pm EST
What you will get with each course:
· Live ZOOM lessons and unlimited access to the recordings.
· Eddie Kantar’s book (2nd edition, revised and updated by Barbara Seagram).
· PowerPoint presentations in PDF
· LIN files to practice on BBO
· Additional handouts (yours to keep).
· Also, full support by email for all of your questions.
How to register and pay for the courses
Register for one course - $155 CDN for 4 weeks. Add $5.74 if you require postage of the book.
Payment by etransfer to email@example.com or by cheque mailed to my home address – 1717 Avenue Road, Suite 418, Toronto, Ontario, M5M0A2. Cheque can also be dropped off if you are picking up the book from me.
If paying in US$ - by check US$ 135, using PayPal US$ 145, prices include postage to the US.
Register for both courses (get a 10% discount!) - $280 CDN. Add $11.48 if you require postage of the books
If paying in US$ - by check US$ 243, using Paypal US$ 261, prices already include postage to the US.
PayPal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org (or here http://bit.ly/JoseePaypal).
For your convenience, start with an email to me at email@example.com.
Let me know what course(s) you are signing up for. Include how you will pay and if you require postage of the book(s). Include your mailing address if that is the case. Then you are all set!
Individual Sessions on Zoom
Completing A Convention Card
As we return to Face-to-Face bridge, you will be expected to have with you a convention card detailing what you and your partner play (special conventions, special systems, what you lead, what your signalling system is, etc.).
Meet Jean Collins who has agreed to help you with this! Jean will guide you through all parts of the convention card, advising how to fill in each section, what the meaning of black, blue and red lettering is. If time allows, we will also go over doing the same for your BBO games.
I have known Jean many years. She is a retired high school teacher who has found great joy in being able to enjoy the fun of teaching bridge without the accompanying administrative chores of a regular job. She has taught at the Barbara Seagram bridge school, supply taught for me a number of times and also taught at several other locations. Her Convention Card presentations at tournaments and cruise ships have always been well received. So you can see why I feel you are in great hands!
When we were discussing how much to charge for the lesson, Jean suggested that I direct all the proceeds toward a charity of my choice. As a result, all proceeds earned from this lesson will be divided equally between Armour Heights Church (armourheights.org) where I rented space prior to Covid and also Arise Ministry (ariseministry.ca). ARISE Ministry empowers individuals involved in the sex trade to reclaim their lives. ARISE means Advocacy and Reclaiming Individuals involved in the Sex trade through Empowerment.
DATE: Tuesday, January 11th, 4 to 5:15 pm EST.
PRICE: $20 (all proceeds go to charity)
Thinking Bridge – Plan Your Moves!
Whatever seat you are in, you have to be planning your moves. Let’s spend these sessions where we explore what it feels like to sit in any and all 4 seats, and think like an expert. Only time you will be allowed to relax will be when in the dummy’s seat 😊
· Wednesday, January 19th, 10-11:45 am EST
· Wednesday, February 16th, 10-11:45 am EST
More dates to be added in March and April.
PRICE: $25 per session
- Lessons are recorded and will include a PDF of all the hands demonstrated on BBO, including commentary on bidding, opening lead, declarer’s strategy and defensive moves.
To register, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Payment by etransfer to email@example.com or by cheque mailed to my home address – 1717 Avenue Road, Suite 418, Toronto, Ontario, M5M0A2.
PayPal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org (or here http://bit.ly/JoseePaypal).
Looking forward to seeing you in January and February!
Travel with Barbara Seagram!
Copenhagen to London
Baltic Bridge Cruise
August 11 - 23, 2022
(12 night sailing)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager with Barbara Seagram, Alex Kornel & Patti Lee
Copenhagen, Riga (Latvia), Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia) x 2 days, Klaipeda (Lithuania), Gdansk (Poland).
PRICES START AT CAT G: $ 13,999.00 USD / $ 18,349.00 CAD per person double occupancy. Everything included: Shore excursions & Business class air
ALL CABINS ON THIS SHIP ARE VERANDAH SUITES
To book, contact Paola Shaw at 905-873-8070 or toll-free at
1-800-263-5575 #1228 - email@example.com
E-mail Barbara with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbados Sun Sea & Slams:
February 13 - 20, 2022
ACBL SECTIONAL BRIDGE TOURNAMENT
AWARDING SILVER MASTER POINTS
SEVEN NIGHTS ACCOMMODATION INCLUDING ALL YOUR MEALS & DRINKS. USD $1,155.00 PER PERSON (DBL. OCC.) $1,470.00 SINGLE OCCUPANCY
Come early or stayover to tour this lovely island.
Barbara Seagram & Alex Kornel will be attending the tournament in 2022. There will be TWO free seminars given by Barbara while there. Alex will also be available to go over hands anytime.
TO BOOK: Contact Reservations Department at Barbados Beach Club 1-246-428-9900 or email email@example.com
BOOKING CODE IS BRIDGE 2022
COMING IN 2022 TO A BRIDGE TABLE NEAR YOU!
For all of you novice players in Toronto, please know that Doug and I have been looking at resuming our face to face supervised games at Armour Heights Church.
Some of you will remember the fun you all had when we held the games at the beginning of 2020.
A lot of you are familiar with Doug through his coaching, and as my co-host for many of my lesson series. His gentle, kind manner makes him perfect for this role.
Details (day, time, safety protocols, etc) are being discussed as we speak. I hope to have all this in place in a matter of a few weeks. Stay tuned!
GAMES FOR 0-20 MP PLAYERS AT LEE'S BRIDGE CLUB
Games every Wednesday evening at 7:15 pm and Saturday at 12 pm.
This is one of the best opportunities for those of you would like to play bridge, but are just starting and are a bit nervous. You will be playing in a friendly, welcoming environment and learn at the same time. This is a no stress zone! Lee is the most wonderful bridge director around. He is very caring and patient. On top of that if you have a question on any of the professional sports being played right now and the rankings, Lee is the guy for you!
Here is what Lee wrote to one of my students when she was quite distressed over their results : This is a game that has an almost endless learning curve. At this point in your learning you are standing on the shore looking out at an endless ocean. That is how vast the knowledge is that exists but that is beyond your reach at the moment. Every time you play you learn something new, a new layer of knowledge. And as you build those layers of knowledge you will become more comfortable and more confident with the many situations that arise at the table.
If you would like to join these games or know of someone starting their duplicate bridge journey, email Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fun time guaranteed!
After each session, you can check your results at https://my.acbl.org/club-results/264143
This site is a tremendous site for reviewing and studying what happened, trick by trick, and board by board. You can also study what happened at the other tables in the same manner.
AND you can completely replay hands in a different way if you wish.
ETOBICOKE BRIDGE CENTRE VIRTUAL 0-20 GAME WEDNESDAYS 1:30
The Etobicoke BC is now running a 0-20 Masterpoint game every Wednesday.
The game …
- is on BBO and awards Masterpoints
- runs from 1:30 – 3:05
- consists of 12 hands, 8 minutes per hand (1 min slower than usual)
- is played by only very friendly new bridge players who make lots of mistakes
- is followed immediately by hand analysis by Steve Overholt on zoom
- costs $4 including optional complementary hand analysis
- is open to any players; you do not have to be affiliated with EBC
If you need a partner contact Steve Overholt; email@example.com or call 647.897.6179
ACBL Membership required
You need to be an ACBL member to play in any virtual club game on BBO, so make sure your ACBL membership is up to date, and your ACBL number is registered with BBO. Click here to update your ACBL number on BBO.
Not yet an ACBL Member?
No Problem - Guest Memberships Are Here!
Guest Memberships last for 120 days and are only available to brand-new members (no previous or current members).
Masterpoints will be filed as unrecorded and become permanent upon joining with a full membership. Claim your membership and join the ACBL community here: www.acbl.org/guest-join
JOSÉE’S PRE-RECORDED LESSONS
Instant Delivery - Learn on your own time!
Weak Two Bids, Strong 2 Club Bids, Slam Bidding, Cue-Bidding First Round Controls, Preempts, Unusual NT, Michaels Cuebids, Opening Light in 3rd seat, Balancing, End Plays, Cross-Ruff, Loser-on-loser play, Introduction to defence, ...and MUCH more!!
An 8-week course includes all recordings, PDF of presentations and practice hands for each week.
Price (includes postage and taxes): $245 CDN/ $197 USD if paying by check or etransfer/ $207 USD if using PayPal. If able to pick up the book from my place at 1717 Avenue Road, price is $240
Intermediate 3 is a full course on Defence and Conventions!
DEFENCE: Third Hand Play, Second Hand Play, Suit Preference Signalling, Strategy on Defence, Lead Directing Doubles, Discarding.
CONVENTIONS: Negative Doubles, Jacoby 2 NT as a forcing raise, Jacoby Transfers, Texas Transfers, Splinters, Roman Key Card Blackwood, Cue Bids, Slam Bidding and lots more!
Price (includes postage and taxes): 185 CDN/ $150 USD if paying by check or etransfer/ $160 USD if using PayPal. If able to pick up the book from my place at 1717 Avenue Road, price is $180
LEARN TO PLAY TWO OVER ONE
- Learn the system that most of North America now plays. It makes it much easier to get to a better contract, easier to find slams on fewer values and easier to know when to stop in a part score. Learn the forcing No Trump bid.
A two day course + one additional hour of practice hands.
Price (includes postage and taxes): $71 CDN/ $60 USD if paying by check or etransfer/ $66 USD if using PayPal. If able to pick up book from my place at 1717 Avenue Road, price is $65 CDN.
BID AND PLAY – THE CONVENTION SERIES
- Lesson 1 - DONT over 1NT Opening Bid
- Lesson 2 - Reverse Drury
- Lesson 3 - Jacoby 2NT and Splinters
- Lesson 4 - Reverse Bergen/Bergen Raises
- Lesson 5 - New Minor Forcing/Checkback Stayman
- Lesson 6 - Fourth Suit Forcing
- Lesson 7 - Four Way Transfers
All lessons come with recordings and PDF of practice hands.
Purchase each lesson individually $20 CDN ($15 USD by check or etransfer/ $18 USD by PayPal).
Or, buy all 7 lessons for the price of 6 - $120 CDN ($90 USD by check or etransfer/$95 USD with PayPal
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating the course, and your mailing address should you require the book mailed to you. If you wish to pay using PayPal I can provide the PayPal link at the time.
BRAND NEW (available after November 15th)
Bridge Basics and Intermediate I !
Bridge Basics (for brand new players)
Learn the basic elements of the game of bridge: how to take tricks, how to work with a partner, how to open the bidding in a suit and in No Trump, how to respond, how to compete and more. Opportunities to play and practice online will be provided. Lessons are recorded and can be watched on your own time. This is an 8 week program.
Price (includes postage and taxes): $245 CDN/ $197 USD if paying by check/ $207 USD if using PayPal. If able to pick up the book from my place at 1717 Avenue Road, price is $240
Intermediate I Bridge Series
For those who feel rusty and need a refresher and for those moving up from Basic lessons. Opportunities to play and practice online will be provided. Lessons are recorded and can be watched on your own time. This is a 7 week program.
Price (includes postage and taxes): $215 CDN/ $174 USD if paying by check/ $184 USD if using PayPal. If able to pick up the book from my place at 1717 Avenue Road, price is $210
Contact Barbara Seagram at email@example.com or visit her website at barbaraseagram.com
Play it Safe: Retail: $25.00 On special: $22.00
Playing party bridge or teams, declarer's objective is to make his contract -- nothing else matters. Playing it safe is of vital importance. Yet playing safe can take many forms -- it might involve simply choosing the best line of play, or keeping one opponent off lead, preserving entries, or even giving up a trick you don't have to lose, all in the cause of bringing that contract home securely. Playing matchpoints (regular duplicate bridge), there are times when safety is more important than anything else. Recognizing all these situations, and knowing what to do when you encounter them, will improve your bridge scores by leaps and bounds.
Barbara’s Bridge Tips: Retail: $25.00 On special: $22.00
WINNER OF THE 2021 BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD !!!!
Whether you have been playing for a while or you're not very experienced, this book will help you to move your game up to the next level. The tips cover all aspects of bridge - bidding, play and defense. Advice and examples are drawn from material Barbara Seagram has developed for her students over the last twenty years - it's like having your own personal bridge coach sitting beside you!
Barbara’s Quizzes: I've written this book so you have a fun way of finding out how much of modern bridge bidding fundamentals you have mastered. It is also a tool that will help you identify and improve any areas of your game that may need some work. I suspect (and am hoping) you will want to share this with your regular partner.
Quiz book special: All 3 for $39.00
- Bidding at Bridge: A Quiz Book
- Declarer Play at Bridge: A Quiz Book
- Defensive Play at Bridge: A Quiz Book
Reg. price: $15.95 + tax each
Special: All 3 for $39.00 or 2 for $28.00
Order by emailing Barbara firstname.lastname@example.org
In Canada, you may pay by etransfer to email@example.com but email Barbara so that she has all your postal and email details.
Americans, you can mail a check to Barbara Seagram, 220 Lawrence Ave East, Toronto, ON M4N 1T2 CANADA but email her first so she can get the book on the way to you.
SORRY, PARTNER – A FUN BRIDGE PODCAST
There's a new bridge podcast in town.
Hosted by bridge partners and best friends Catherine Harris and Jocelyn Startz, SORRY, PARTNER is a playful take on the game of bridge and the worldwide community of bridge players.
The weekly program is organized into two sections. It kicks off with a lively conversation between the two hosts about anything and everything from funny things that happen at the table to bridge challenges of all stripes, as well as a mailbag of listeners' bridge stories. The second part features a long-form interview with a bridge champion who shares insights and top tips.
The program is fun and interesting for players at all levels, but features tips and advice of particular use to developing students of the game. I have really chuckled at some of the stories they read during the podcast and "moments" at the table that Catherine and Jocelyn experienced.
Available on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and pretty much wherever people like to listen. Send your bridge stories to firstname.lastname@example.org or message them on Instagram @sorrypartnerpodcast.