Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Kevin O'Brien
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Perhaps a forum on Directing Bridge Games?
Aug. 9, 2014
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The most challenging competition in Bridge remains the Individual – and it remains cut down to .75 while pairs is now upped to 1.25. What a shame! Most challenging event, least award/reward, why would anyone play in it? Why is the Masterpoint system set to discourage play in the most challenging event?

My second gripe is the reduction of Masterpoint awards for just about everything played in clubs – including STaC. Is ACBL trying to kill the club games now? For truth in advertising, will they rename the event “Ninety Percent STaC?”
Aug. 7, 2014
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The merry-go-round broke down. Here's an appropriate topic-ender from another famous WB:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBzJGckMYO4
July 4, 2014
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Is the topic really beyond the beginner's level? I don't think so, and the beginners appreciate the pointers and the practice!
June 14, 2014
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Larry,

You say “I wouldn't say there is anything for beginners on my site – but maybe we are defining “beginner” differently. I do wish all the thousands of hours of work I put into the site would get more use – it is all there for teachers to use and students to read. For free.”

Here's an example of how I use your site in my weekly e-mail to my club players.

Useful Internet Bridge Link – Counting
This week's Bridge Link is from 26-time ACBL Champion and renowned author and teacher Larry Cohen, and comes from his web site. Here's what Larry says about counting:
This topic separates the amateurs from the experts.
There is no shortcut.
It takes lots of concentration and experience.
Larry lists five main areas for Declarer's focus, including the expert's method of counting trumps. Then comes the bonus – four practice deals! For the full article, see http://www.larryco.com/BridgeArticles/ArticlePrint.aspx?articleID=675
If you have a Useful Internet Bridge Link, please send it in and I'll publish it and give you credit.
June 14, 2014
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Larry,

Your KISS approach to conventions is something even beginners can appreciate – and something to curb their “more conventions will make me a better player faster” fantasies. Your teaching on SAYC-included topics including but not limited to Jacoby 2NT and Weak 2's can also be grasped and understood by beginners. Thanks again for the site!

And do let me know when you're going to be in the DC area!
June 13, 2014
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Hi Larry,

Your Web site is a huge resource of useful teaching for beginners as well as intermediate players; I've used it in teaching and frequently quote you (including the URL to the page) in my weekly e-mail to my club players.

Many of your replies here in the Well will find their way into the weekly e-mail in the near future.

It would be a real coup – and a great learning opportunity for our non-expert club players – to have you visit the club and speak for a few minutes before our weekly game . . . but it's a very small club (average attendance is steadily growing, but still less than six tables).

Short of winning the LOTTO to provide a suitable honorarium, I don't know how I could make such a visit worth your while. Any chance you'll drop by some Monday night when you are in the Washington DC area just because I asked?
June 13, 2014
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Benoit, when you say “your only explanation of why you did it is ‘x’, why not use use the technical term ”cranial flatulence?"
April 14, 2014
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Hi Gavin,

I'll follow Brian Zaugg's example, in two different directions.

1. For a fun club game, everyone gets a card and the first pair to BINGO gets two free plays for a future game.

2. For a Charity club game, any pair can BUY a card for $5. Sixty percent of the pot goes to the Charity, 40% to the first BINGO. No BINGO? 100% to the Charity! I better check to see that this is legal first, though.

I'm glad I found this, thanks to you for the initial post and to Brian for converting from BBO ‘bots on the Internet to an at-the-table club game. My players will really have fun with it, and charities will benefit too.

Maybe your Mom’s club could use the idea, too?
March 9, 2014
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Sam,
It's been almost two years now. How has your club progressed? How have your initial plans been modified over time? What has worked best, what has not worked well at all? Congratulations on making it this far!
March 4, 2014
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Levin-Weinstein! A popular choice to add to a team with a winning tradition. Best of luck continuing to establish your winning tradition … or should I say best of luck maintaining your now-established winning tradition!
June 12, 2013
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Excellent information. Thanks! :)
Aug. 2, 2012
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Another solution – a different carding agreement. Try A asks for count, K asks for attitude (partner likes the suit ONLY holding A or Q).
April 19, 2012
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seven losers, Heart K discounted. 2 losing Diamonds, I'm hoping to learn something from comments from players with more experience and success than I have so far.
April 8, 2012
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Vanderbilt Knockout Teams: ACBL President Sharon Anderson presenting the trophy to: Joe Grue, captain Les Amoils, Darren Wolpert, Curtis Cheek, Ishmael Delmonte and Thomas Bessis.

Jacoby Open Swiss Teams: front, Larry Kozlove, Gaylor Kasle and Peter Boyd; rear, Steve Robinson, Fred Stewart and Kit Woolsey.

Machlin Women’s Swiss Teams: front, Lynn Deas; rear, Irina Levitina, Barbara Sonsini, Kerri Sanborn and Beth Palmer. Not pictured is Judi Radin.

North American Pairs, Flight B: Joseph Rice and Bjorgvin Kristinsson of District 14.

Names taken from under same photos (black & white, cropped) in March 26, 2012 Daily Bulletin at http://www.acbl.org/nabc/2012/01/bulletins/db11.pdf
March 26, 2012
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Lots of good ideas above … also, take a look at chess!

About half of the members of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) are juniors. From their web site, “every year, several hundred thousand boys and girls take part in local competitions, and tens of thousands of them participate in officially rated tournaments or matches sanctioned by USCF.”(http://main.uschess.org/content/blogsection/27/131/) USCF holds national tournaments for schoolchildren; hundreds attend. There are annual, separate, K-6, K-9, and K-12 championships. Individuals can enter, and schools can enter teams. There is an annual Junior Chess Congress, with separate sections by age group starting with 6 & under up to 20 & under. (http://main.uschess.org/content/view/11650/654) Many state chess federations hold state scholastic championships. Most if not all of these tournaments charge entry fees; most if not all offer no prize money – just trophies.

There are four Amateur Team Championships annually (North, South, East, and West), usually held over Washington's Birthday weekend, and each offers trophies to top school teams – college, high school, middle school, elementary school, or a separate scholastic team event at the same time and site.

USCF has a sponsored Junior Grand Prix (http://main.uschess.org/datapage/JGP-standings2.php). The 2011 First Prize includes $1000 cash stipend to attend the summer United States Open chess tournament; prizes are awarded to the top 50 finishers and the top finisher in each state. 5990 junior players earned points in 509 separate events in 2011. Standings are published each month in USCF's Chess Life magazine, and on their web site.

Ask your children or grandchildren if there are books teaching Chess in their school library. You'll probably find there are, even in elementary schools. Then ask if there are any books about Bridge.

At the summer United States Open Chess tournament, there is a satellite tournament of state High School Champions. (http://main.uschess.org/content/view/7867/131/) This High School Champions tournament is endowed and has prizes for the top five finishers. The University of Texas at Dallas (http://www.utdallas.edu/chess/) offers a full-ride scholarship to the winner.

Each year between Christmas and New Year's Day the Pan-American Intercollegiate Tournament is held (http://main.uschess.org/content/view/11543/646/); some colleges and universities enter multiple teams. The fiercest competitors are UTD and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), which also has scholarships offered to excellent chess players (http://www.umbc.edu/studentlife/orgs/chess//). The Final Four from this tournament play off for the Collegiate Championship in the spring.

Former World Woman's Champion Susan Polgar runs the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence at Texas Tech University (http://www.depts.ttu.edu/spice/).

The University of Texas at Brownsville offers a Chess Academy this spring (http://www.utb.edu/sa/chess/Pages/UTBChessAcademy.aspx), a summer chess camp (http://www.utb.edu/sa/chess/Pages/default.aspx#) and also offers chess scholarships (http://www.utb.edu/sa/chess/Pages/Scholarships.aspx).

There are at least nine other Chess Camps offered for Juniors in the summer (http://main.uschess.org/content/view/8021/131/).

Booz Allen Hamilton will offer members of the final four teams top consideration for summer internships for which they qualify.(http://main.uschess.org/content/view/11655/654)

Yes, let's have more local efforts for bridge in schools – if not for credit, then as extracurricular activities. Let's recruit teachers or retired parents/grandparents as volunteers to get into the schools and present bridge to students. Is Reno or Atlanta any more qualified to have such programs than Podunk or your city/town? I didn't think so! Are they unwilling to share their methods with you? Of course not!

Yes, let's publicize the studies that show how learning and playing Bridge enhances academic and social skills. (Let's find some benefactors and/or invest some ACBL cash and fund some such studies!)

Yes, “Bridge is inherently a complex game that's difficult to learn,” but so are the top computer and internet-based role-playing and other games.

And yes, Fred Gitleman, let's not only make a “Learn to Play Bridge” program geared to youth, but let's also put free bridge software on every PC, Tablet, and smartphone. Do we know someone who can get Microsoft to include Bridge in the Games programs included with every Windows operating system? Maybe we do …

Hey, ACBL Tournament organizers! At your Sectional Tournament, why not include a Saturday one-session pairs event for students with less than, say, 20 Masterpoints? Why not make it free, with a local volunteer Bridge Teacher or “Expert” giving a short lesson beforehand? How about a one-session Swiss event on Sunday open only to teams from local schools?

Why doesn't your Regional hold a State High School Swiss Team championship? Ask ACBL for Junior Bridge funds to subsidize such events. even for stipends for the volunteer teacher!

Are there any ACBL members who have the clout and wherewithal to get Bridge books into school libraries? Didn't Andrew Carnegie establish a Foundation which enabled public libraries throughout the USA back in the late 1800's? Are there any ACBL members who have established Foundations in the late 1900's which are having an impact on public libraries today? Any reasons any such foundations can't get basic Bridge books into school libraries? We won't know until we ask!

Hey, ACBL BOD members and ACBL CEO Robert Hartman; how about a 2013 Spring NABC weekend event, High School Team Championship? Saturday RR Swiss, Sunday top four in Semi-Final and Final 24-board matches, prize being college scholarships (maybe $250/player for winning team, $100/player for second place – more if we take $$ from Youth Bridge funds and/or volunteers donate more). One step further – call the event the North American High School Swiss Teams Championship. Two steps further – add the North American Scholastic Open Pairs Championship held over Thanksgiving weekend at the Fall NABC.

Are you willing to go a step further and have ACBL's Junior Bridge coordinator put some time and effort (and ACBL cash) into exploring the feasibility of accelerating adoption and implementation of any of these ideas, including ACBL actively soliciting sponsors? Why can't ACBL have a Junior Bridge program as successful as USCF's Junior Chess program? Let's go for it!

Hey ACBL members who are CEO's or have influence at that level in top corporations (maybe not on the level of Microsoft or Berkshire Hathaway – but on the other hand, why not aim that high?), are you willing to create and publicize openings in your company's summer internships for top students who excel at Bridge?

Are you willing to go further and sponsor something akin to USCF's Junior Grand Prix and profit from the favorable publicity generated for you in the ACBL community?

Finally (for me for now), let's find College/University administrators who have enough influence to convince their institutions to offer scholarships to outstanding High School Senior (or, Adam Kaplan, home-schooled equivalent) bridge players – and let's find some bridge-playing Alumni who may be willing to endow such scholarships. One King or Queen of bridge is not enough – but thanks to Homer Shoop, it's a good beginning.

I'm sure people with these positions, influence, and resources exist; it's just a matter of finding them, informing them of the opportunities, and mobilizing them.
March 17, 2012
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