Development opportunities for bridge students and other inexperienced players




1. This paper aims to describe the range of opportunities available at WBC to help students and other inexperienced players to develop their skills and gain the confidence to progress to one or more of the weekly duplicate sessions. The following paragraphs describe the various options. These are presented in the order in which we might expect them to be undertaken but in many cases the individual player might well wish to take advantage of more than one option each week.


Formal Tuition


2. WBC now offers two tuition opportunities. First, there are the courses delivered by Colin Smith ([email protected]). These involve weekday tuition sessions which take the newcomer to bridge through structured learning over a period of up to four years including at appropriate points advice as to the potential added value of other development opportunities. These classes may also be relevant to those who learned the game some years ago but have not played for some time and need to refresh their understanding of the basics.


3. The second option is aimed at those who cannot devote the time necessary to attend Colin’s classes, perhaps because they are in full time employment. Eileen Perrigo ([email protected]) and Nigel Utting ([email protected]) are planning to deliver a series of weekend rapid learning courses which will aim to equip the newcomer to the game with a minimum level of basic bridge knowledge. The first of these courses will be held in September 2019 and the experience gained will be used to refine the design of future courses and to help plan the further development of those attending.


Practice classes


4. These are held every Tuesday (afternoon and evening) and provide a relaxed, easy paced environment to practice with other inexperienced players. At least one experienced player is on hand to deal with your questions. Eileen Perrigo ([email protected]) is the key contact. Colin Smith also runs a tailored practice class on alternate Fridays for his students only.


Novice duplicate


5. This session is held as frequently as possible on Thursday afternoons and is the first opportunity for students and other inexperienced players to get used to the ‘mechanics’ of a duplicate session. Only a proportion of the hands used in a normal session are played to give attendees the extra time needed to grow their confidence. Again at least one experienced player is on hand to give advice and guidance and players are encouraged to involve the session director whenever they are uncertain. The Director is there to help at every session. The key contacts for these sessions are Lynda Smith ([email protected]) and Alexa Baxter ([email protected]).


Sunday ‘social’ bridge duplicate


6. This is the next stage in the duplicate ‘acclimatisation’ process. These sessions (two or three a month on Sunday afternoons) are fun, social bridge events which include a break for tea/coffee and home-made cakes. These are easy paced sessions and several experienced players are on hand to pair up with those who do not have a partner and to provide advice and guidance as required. The key contacts here are Lynda and Colin Smith (or Eileen Perrigo and Alexa Baxter if they are away) – see email addresses above. Colin and Lynda each play with one of Colin’s students to add to their confidence.


Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening duplicates


7. The next stage are these, normal paced, sessions for less experienced players where the conventions which all players are allowed to use during the bidding are restricted to EBU level 2, all of which can be readily explained at the table if required. In addition, there will be some experienced players at these sessions, providing opportunities to develop competitive ‘edge’. At these sessions players are expected to be sufficiently confident as to not need advice on the basics but the Director is always there to help with the application of the rules. In addition, a hosting system is used at these and all other weekly duplicate sessions to ensure that anyone without a partner can play. It is therefore not necessary to contact anyone in advance.




8. When the inexperienced have a few normal sessions under their belts, the club also offers mentoring sessions three times a month – first or third Thursday at 2pm for those with an NGS rating of 5 or lower and second Friday at 10am for those with NGS 6 or higher. At these sessions, an experienced player observes a table of four mentees bid and play each hand and afterwards provides advice and guidance on bidding, declarer play and defence appropriate to that hand. All of the mentors follow an agreed process aimed at ensuring consistency of advice. The key contact is Dick Wheeler ([email protected]).




9. Any questions regarding these notes may be directed to Dick Wheeler ([email protected] )





August 2019

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