Join Bridge Winners
Referring to newbies as "Novices"

Should we be making common use of the word “NOVICE” in our Bridge circles? The question came up in a recent BW’s thread on limiting conventions.


A number of comments were made:

The way the word "novice" is thrown around by the "mature" reflects a lack of sensitivity and understanding about how that term "makes you feel”Novice as used here is to account for a huge number of players .... novice as defined by the player of himself is having played less than 5 duplicate games ... thereafter in their own eyes they are something else .... "NOVICE" is an insulting term and needs to be removed from the official language of the Bridge Intelligencia .... "newbie" would be a far better term

NOVICE as used here is the name of someone who needs protection from that which does not exist except in the minds of the protector….


Definition of “novice”: (from

A person new to and inexperienced in a job or situation.Origin, Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin novicius, from novus ‘new’…. Why would anyone who is actually a new player take offense at that?


Its all the conotaion not the denotation if you know the difference .... negro and black have very similar denotations and very different connotaions

People don't mind being called rookies .... I don't know anyone who responds well to being called a novice….


What would you think if I called you an amateur? How would that make you feel? Any different than a new player being called a Novice? A Novitiate, from whence the term derives, is someone who is entering a convent, to prepare to become a nun. An amateur doesn't imply lack of experience; it just says that your payment for your ability is zero (my definition.)

Why do people want to categorize other players? Because then there is a hierarchy and someone is worse than the person doing the comparing…..

My experience is that first year players do not give up on Bridge because bidding around them is too complicated ...they usually just ignore it and just bid their own hand when they can

what they don't like, and this is not just the rookies, is "alert", "alert", "alert", "alert", "alert", "alert", "alert" .... it tests everyone's patience especially if it is a slow hesitating relay

Why rookies give up I think comes from hryper competitive attitudes and behaviors .... and rookies are easily freaked by director calls .... it is 100% tone of voice .... they are out for some fun, challenge and social companionship ... if they have to deal with pirannas, they often phone in their regrets to their few new friends and move on to some other chalenge ... I have never heard once it was about the convention chart, system or advanced bid and play of their opponents ... many are even fascinated or envious about certain expert sequences

By and large they prefer to be in their own "weight class" because they think they have a better chance of getting a good or at least competitive score.

Playing against experts can be ambassadorially pleasant or obnoxiously dismissive ... and nobody wants to be "dissed"…..



This a great post and for me hits the nail right on the head. Earlier I really liked suggested scale of Charts which I will repeat here for convenience, as they say:

0-20 MP games: Limited chart or new chart #1N-499 MP games: General chart or new char #2 (which we haven't seen yet)Zonal championships, trials for zonal chanpionships, trials for international championships: Superchart or new chart # 4 (also not yet seen).Everything else: Midchart or new chart # 3

OTOH he doesn't think the term 'Novice' has an element of disparagement. Except in someone's first three months or so I think it does, and it should only be used by the player about themselves, not by other commentators. The term 'improver' has a more aspirational feel to it and can be used beyond someone' rookie year.

Limited Chart events should be promoted as just that, and anyone should be eligible to enter, just like a single class sailing race or motor race….

What I said was that "novice" is not insulting. That's a bit more than "an element of disparagement". I do think that any negative feeling attached to the word is more often on the one to whom it's applied rather than on the one applying it — though I do recognize that some do use it disparagingly, and sometimes even insultingly.



To me, "improver" sounds like entirely too much political correctness.….


So those are some initial thougths about the political correctness of using the term NOVICE these days.


How do you feel about using the word NOVICE?

It’s condescending and insulting (or at least possibly counter-productive) …. We need a better term
It might be slightly controversial but not worth the effort of finding a new term,
It is just fine …. There is no real sensitivity to it (much adieu about nothing)
It might be worth exploring on a little deeper leel … I am not sure if it’s a turn-off or not
Other, please explain

Sorry, to answer polls. Registered users can vote in polls, and can also browse other users' public votes! and participate in the discussion.

Getting results...
Getting Comments... loading...

Bottom Home Top