A new course will be starting in October on Wednesday after noons or Monday evening. Brochure
Fast Track Bridge is a course for complete beginners who want to learn to play and get started quickly. It will also suit people who have learnt before but need to refresh their knowledge and anyone who cannot commit to a longer course of weekly lessons. The pace is more intensive than my longer beginners courses so it may suit faster learners.
Fast Track is a new course which is part of the National Learning Programme of English Bridge Education and Development CIO*. (which the *charitable organisation for bridge education)
For more details see http://www.bridgeclassbristol.
In mid 1950's Graham Griffith, John Spielman, Stephen Thomas and W. Morley Burry used to play bridge in a house on 41 Oakfield Road, just off Whiteladies Road. It was run by a lady as a business. She was charging them too much for the use of the premises. So they moved, with many others, to Aces Bridge Club.
Graham Griffith was the driving force behind the BBC being formed. He, John Spielman, Stephen Thomas and others loaned or donated money to the new club and subsequently bought the lease for the new premises on The Promenade in Clifton (close to the Mayor's residence) and registered it as Bristol Bridge Club. Graham was the first chairman of the club 1958-1960.
In the early 80's, they were approached by the landlords to see if they would sell the lease as they had a buyer for the whole building. The lease still had 7 years to run so they were in a strong position to get a good deal. After finding new premises it was put to the members at an EGM. Only a few did not like the idea mainly because it was "Hotwells " and not Clifton. They raised extra money by way of loans/ gifts from members and a bank loan.
After many months searching for new premises and further negotiations, they bought the lease of the present building in March 1981. Many members gave their time to get the building in shape. It took around six month to get the place ready to be used as Bridge Club. So in November 1981 they moved from The Promenade to Grenville Hall, Oldfield Road, our present premises (this was done over one weekend).
This building was previously used as a printing works, and store for printing materials.
Bristol Bridge Club aims to provide facilities and opportunities for all its members to enjoy playing and learning bridge, no matter at what level. Beginner or international.
We are a large club and are able to offer playing sessions that suit all levels of ability. Non-members are always welcome.
The club has its own premises and we are situated near the centre of Bristol in Hotwells. The club consists of a large playing room with a smaller area for classes and a licensed bar that also offers light refreshments.
The club plays duplicate bridge on most days of the week, usually with a qualified director.
BRISTOL BRIDGE CLUB is a charity and it has been entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1167959.
There is car parking close by.
For directions and map, click here.
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There are two main scoring methods in bridge.
Matchpoint Pairs where you score 2 points for each pair you outscore irrespective of whether the difference is 10 points or 1000. Therefore overtricks take on great importance as does playing in no trumps and major suit contracts rather than safer minor suits. It is also necessary to double the opposition in certain situations where you set the contract by only 1 trick in order to protect your score where for example they bid 3s over your 3h and you turn +100 into +200 when you would score +140 playing in 3h.
Imp scoring used in Teams Events and for Butler Pairs. Here it is the size of the difference which is crucial so overtricks and undoubled undertricks are not important but the game bonus is much sought after so one bids game much more aggressively than in match point pairs and plays in safe contracts and do not make tight doubles. It is a more conservative in some areas and more aggressive in the game area.
One aspect of teams scoring which is different to pairs is the principle of taking out insurance in close situations where both sides have a good fit.
I will give an example from my Monday afternoon session.
It is love all and you hold this pair of hands. It is teams type scoring. The bidding goes
2h -p-4h by the opposition to the hand which is 6-0-5-2 shape. 2h is weak.
Is 4s too dangerous or not?
The other hands are
4h is cold if declarer gets the trumps right since the club suit can be established.
How does 4s play? It has 3 top losers (2 trumps and CA) and if the defence find their diamond ruff it goes 1 off if not it makes.
So the motto here playing teams scoring is you must bid 4s since there are two situations where you will be right.
1 If 4h is cold and 4s is 1 or 2 light when it will be a good save.
2 If 4s is also makeable.
You are only wrong when both contracts fail and if both are each only 1 off then the "insurance action” at this form of scoring is to bid 4s over 4h since it represents only a very small loss at imps.
Playing pairs with match point scoring one would be prepared to back ones judgement and defend 4h some of the time if you thought 1 off for each contract was probable because small differences matter at this form of scoring.
In many respects teams is an easier game because the aims are much clearer whereas match points pairs requires a deeper assessment of the hand in terms of the probable outcome across the room as a whole.
This week I thought I would discuss some of the principles regarding the choice of opening lead.
The opening lead is the most important card played on many bridge hands and one must consider the bidding carefully before making your lead .It is not therefore entirely surprising that in high level bridge pairs have sought ways of providing illegal information to partner about this most important card.
A general point which players sometimes forget is that if one is defending a low level contract such as two of a suit or 1nt you will nearly always get a second or third chance to find the optimum defence so an attacking lead is unnecessary and passivity is fine (by passive I mean leading from 3 or 4 small or maybe leading a doubleton against a low level suit contract and by active we mean leading from a holding including an honour or honours). On the other hand if defending a game or slam contracts it is often imperative that we lead the correct suit in order to establish a winner or winners before they are discarded elsewhere.
Defending against a suit contract there are broadly five strategies which are up for consideration.
1 Try to establish a trick or tricks in a side suit.
2 Try for a ruff by leading a shortage.
3 Lead trumps in order to prevent ruffs to declarer. There are 3 common situations where this is correct :- if we think declarer may be able to take ruffs in the short trump hand say if playing in a 5/3 fit, if our side has the balance of power and we have doubled the opposition, where a cross ruff is threatened.
4 Play a forcing game. This is where we hold 4 goodish trumps and opponents are in say a 5/3 fit. Rather than lead from shortage we lead from length to force the long trump hand to ruff with the resultant loss of control which such a defence may produce.
5 None of the above; which is typically a passive lead to get the ball into play and then decide what to do thereafter.
A careful listening to the bidding will often provide the answer.
Against no trump contracts on the overwhelming number of hands we lead from our length in order to set up winners but there is a different style which is often right when defending against 1nt.
I will give an example from a recent event
1nt all pass. Many simply led a low heart and as it happened this proved to be dreadful. The alternatives are SQ or CJ. To my mind both are better and I will try to explain why.
In leading from length we seek to establish a number of winners which is why a 5 card or longer suit should nearly always be led. 4 card suits by definition generate fewer winners and in defending against a low level NT contract where we are bound to get a second chance we do not need to stake everything on a heart lead therefore leading from the spade or club holding is perfectly reasonable. Even a lead from three small is often better than leading from a broken four card suit.
The bidding is the key so take for example 3nt contracts. If the opposition have not looked for a fit in a major we much prefer to lead one over a minor suit but if the bidding has gone 1nt 2c 2s 3nt a major is unattractive since spades are on the right and hearts on the left.
Weeks 2 and 1
Sunday 23rd - ACBA Handicapped Pairs and AGM
Thursday 4th - BBC AGM & Bernard Shannon Trophy