Join Bridge Winners
The Setting Trick: Bob Hamman

A threshold concept is a door through which any learner must pass on the road to mastery. A friend of mine who teaches at the UVa Medical School first introduced this to me. One of the struggles, that I find in teaching bridge to the advancing player, or beginner, is understanding where they are and not belittling their desire for insight into matters which appear simple to me.

A master at Woodberry Forest School, my alma mater, is helping me to start a bridge club there. I suggested he watch the trailer for Double Dummy. When we sat down afterwards to discuss the mechanics of the game, I could tell that he was noticeably intimidated by the bidding boxes. This man had played bridge previously, but only around the kitchen table years ago.

In the past, I might have said something like, "oh those are simple," which might have been a mistake. Instead, I calmly and clearly answered each one of his questions and appreciated his genuine interest and curiosity. It might have been the difference between turning him off of or back onto the game.

Bob Hamman is a legend of the game and therefore needs no introduction. One of the things which impressed me during our time together, in addition to his being a great storyteller, is how easily he spoke about teaching a beginner. His expansive knowledge of the game does not serve as a burden in explaining its most elementary concept: trick taking. And Bob appreciates how fundamental it is to get that across. I for one learned some new ideas about how to approach presenting bridge in its simplest and best possible light.

Enjoy episode two of The Setting Trick!

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