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All comments by Jeff Bayone
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This is why one size does not fit all. NYC does not have to compete with country clubs. But if I did, I would try to offer something they couldn't. Master points of course. But good instruction with the social bridge would be made available. So would guaranteeing a house player or two.
Aug. 18
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You know how I feel.
Aug. 17
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Social players can be put under the heading of “Supervised Play”. That way it is part of the teaching program. Always have an instructor in the room and maybe a volunteer or two. We charge the same for SP as we do for duplicate.
The range for the duplicate game depends on whether you have existing players that you intend on adding to the raw recruits. If not 0 - 5 makes sense. I like a Newplicate format where students can ask for help once or twice a session. We give a 15 minute pre-lecture. To start, they should play about 12 hands. That goes up as the group advances, as does the upper limit of the game. Two to two and a half hours of playing time is more than enough. Their concentration levels fit that range best.
Aug. 17
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My friend Roberta recently took a beginner series of tennis lessons. Six in all. They met once a week. Now tennis is a lot like bridge. There are so many parts to it. The trick is putting them all together. There is the serve, the forehand, the backhand, top spin, under spin, the volley, movement, court coverage, strategy, tactics. Then there is that crazy scoring system to deal with. After six hour-and-a-half lessons, Roberta got through the forehand, and a little on the backhand. The instructor then informed the class that the following week they'd be playing in a tournament and if they did well they would earn ranking points toward the pro circuit.

Are we, as a bridge teaching community, stark raving mad? It appears so. This emphasis on getting beginners into duplicate is nuts. Get them into bridge. As Alan Graves has pointed out, at its height, in the 50's and 60's, 40 million people played bridge socially. 165,000 played duplicate. At Honors we have ten social games a week and two Novice duplicates. That feels about right. Where did the novice duplicate players come from? From the social bridge games. Duh. When they were ready…when they wanted a more competitive experience. Some do, many don't. They want to come to the club, have lunch with friends, spend the afternoon in play, catching up on the latest, comparing notes on new books, movies, restaurants. You know, stuff friends do. That's what a bridge “club” MUST offer.
Points smoints.
Don't put the cart before the horse. These new players are your kids and your future. Bring them along. Nurture them. They can't be discouraged if they came for a good time and that's exactly what they had. They'll get better by simply hitting enough tennis balls. A few will go over the net. They'll make a few contracts. So they made four, cold for seven. They made four! And never had to find out that that was BAD.
Bad, poor result, bottom, wrong. All turn offs.
Want to chase away those students you worked so hard to teach? It's easy. Duplicate bridge, before they are ready, should do the trick.
Aug. 17
Jeff Bayone edited this comment Aug. 17
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Sounds reasonable.
Aug. 16
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My bad…even worse 5 weeks to winning bridge is more like 5 years today.
Just updated it.
TY
Aug. 16
Jeff Bayone edited this comment Aug. 16
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I haven't been allowed to sit in on Best Practices, that is, not unless I sign up and pay for the course. No matter that I was asked, and volunteered, my time and expertise, along with many others, in helping design the program in the first place.

Since I have not sat through a session, I can't speak to its effectiveness as a way to teach the methodology of teaching bridge. I often dropped in on TAP classes. They kind of liked that. Something about bringing real life experiences to the discussion at hand. Perhaps contrary to public opinion, I found TAP worthwhile and effective. I know the criticism, but to me, and Jeff L., it appears they threw the baby out with the bath water. To not recommend course material, specific books, programs, lesson notes, hands, you know, the tools of the teaching trade, is ludicrous. I tried telling them that from the start. To no avail. I do not know if this exists to this day. I believe it does.

Here is my take on BP: Teach players how to teach (any subject under the sun). Then present them with a table load of bridge material and tell them to pick from that, or from any where else, that which they feel comfortable using. I believe “5 Weeks” was on the table. My favorite. But for today's incoming classes, 50 weeks would be more like 5 years.

Am I missing something? What in their background gives these newly minted “teachers” the ability to make this decision? They've never taught a class in their lives and they are to be entrusted with content and presentation? Beyond comprehension.

Note: Please correct me if this is no longer the case.

A task force should have been formed at the same time as BP charged with developing material that was recommended specifically for teaching absolute beginners. Best would be a very narrow list. What books, what programs, what teacher notes, what specific hands, how much time on each lesson, etc, etc, etc….
Aug. 16
Jeff Bayone edited this comment Aug. 16
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Even changing just two symbols can be disconcerting. Ever try winning a queen with a knave?
Aug. 16
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TK JI RGNVD
Jeff
Aug. 16
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Correct. More like ten to twenty.
Aug. 16
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Sorry to beat a dead horse…But aren't these exactly the type of events we should be promoting? Non bridge players see bridge in the catalog, and, for once, not as a game for the LoL crowd, but as a SPORT!
Aug. 16
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How would you play?
AK96 AQ765 3 K42 opposite QJ5 K4 A987 AQJ5?
Can you see that this will produce 12 or all 13 tricks?

Now try this:

Substitute different letters of the alphabet for each of the thirteen cards:
AKQJT98765432 becomes
QVSABEFYMPUCN

Now it will look like this:

QVEM QSYMP C VUN opposite SAP VU QEFY QSAP

Same hand. Can you see 12 or 13 tricks now?

I imagine that's the way a bridge hand might look to someone who has never played cards before.
Aug. 16
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Perfect way to teach kids. The one time I tried, I did it just that way. The toughest kid in the class, and strangely the one that everyone seemed to follow, when he saw that it was about winning tricks, especially the trumping part, just lit up. He was totally into it and the whole class followed his lead. Sadly the program folded after just a few sessions even though their teacher was on board.
Aug. 16
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Spot on.
Aug. 16
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That's the right way to teach in a private setting with plenty of time to work your way into bridge. Sadly, in a commercial setting, actual bridge has to be played a lot sooner or the students will be asking for their money back by the third session.
Aug. 16
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That's our first six 2-hour lesson series. So you're right about the formula and about the speed being the key. It takes a lot longer to get new players started than long time bridge players, who have not done much teaching, would expect.
Aug. 16
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Paul,
Sadly we are seeing fewer and fewer people who have played card games of any sort. You are right though. If they played trick taking games, half the battle's won.
Aug. 16
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John,
Few players come to us with a background in trick taking card games.
If I was to name the single biggest “problem” facing recruitment today it would be that there is no longer a point of reference to build on.
“Bridge is just like War, only better.” Doesn't work when your new students never even played War as a kid.
Aug. 16
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Sadly while this might work in a social setting, and while I am in complete agreement with the concept, in a commercial environment you do not have the luxury of devoting that much time “fooling around” with these fun games. The students expect bridge to be taught. So while, in theory, a few months of Oh Hell, Spades, Hearts, Pinochle, and Hool should be played and enjoyed, the best we can do, in a club setting, is some form of mini-bridge for a few, way too short, hours scattered over the first two sessions.
Aug. 16
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Arithmetic.
Aug. 16
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