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All comments by Morris Jones
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Here you go …

New players usually have trouble finding takeout doubles when the opponents open the bidding. Clearly the double is the first thing to look for.

So I made a “checklist” to use when the opponents have opened the bidding. Go down the list in order.

First look for a double. If you don't have the shape and strength for a double, maybe overall a 5-card suit. With no 5-card suit, but 15-18 with a stopper in their suit, overcall notrump. If none of those fit, then pass.

So here's the list:

Double, Overcall, NT, Pass

or …

DONT PASS
June 30
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For the past several years I've only offered classes, not a club game. I leveraged the reach of the local community college by offering “bridge” through their extension program.

Twice a year the college would mail a course catalog to a fair chunk of the local population, and in the catalog were offerings for bridge classes. I was usually able to sell out the space I had available.

There are down sides to this:

The classes have to be taught on the campus, not in a private club. The college actually uses rooms in a nearby high school in the evenings. We found a history teacher at the high school who uses circular tables instead of traditional square desks. I have room for 24 students, and can occasionally shoehorn in 28.

The instructor fee is not very much. The college pays me just enough to say I'm paid. ($25 per class hour.)

None of that matters, because what I get in exchange is students and eventually players. They volunteer their email addresses, and want to hear from me. My retention rate is very high, and during the summer quarter I would often set up extra courses in my own (better) rented space, charge the same rate as the community college, and make some good money in return.

Last year I leveraged my email list into a weekly shortened novice game that had between 11-15 tables every Monday evening using space at a local masonic lodge.

This year my club and classes are closed while I'm on a retirement sabbatical.

So this is a long play, but it works very well. It includes word-of-mouth and the cache of being in the college extension catalog.

Next year I'm researching opening a full-time bridge club, but my plan is to preserve the extension program as most likely my only required outreach. The budget is $0.
May 18
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Intentionally starting from scratch, yes. We’ll talk in Las Vegas.
April 24
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I'm planning to build and open a full-time club next year in Pasadena, with lots of classes and a youth bridge program. I'm doing the research and planning this year, dropping in on Honors, Robson, Oxford, Laguna Woods, InTempo, and as many world-class bridge clubs as I can travel to. I'm in a market that's under served (IMO). I want to build a club that's not a dump, and see if I can replicate some of what SiVY is doing up north. For gosh sake, I'm in the home of Caltech and JPL. I'll start looking for locations early next year.
April 23
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Alas I can't find Alan's post and I'd love to see it. Mike do you have a hint that would help me find it?
April 23
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Face-to-face changes and improves the dynamic. I approve, and I'd like to attend.
April 22
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I have a suggestion that I'm planning to offer at my next bridge club (2020).

Offer a game with “shuffle, deal, play.”

Collect the boards either after or during the game as they pass through the movement. Feed the cards into the Dealer4 (or your machine of choice) using the “Read” option.

Generate a PBN file, open it in BridgeComposer, do double dummy analysis, add hand statistics, and create a hand record.

If you use TheCommonGame, you can upload this hand record as a PBN and a PDF along with your game file and BWS file, and uncheck the “This game is participating in The Common Game” box.

The results will go through ACBLmerge as always, and have a great result display on the site with the hand records.

Then challenge anyone to see if they can tell a difference after a while. Of course they'll see differences, because there are always differences. Brains are wired to find patterns. :)
April 11
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With a tiny sample of bridge hands (26) out of the possible universe of them the hands are virtually guaranteed to be biased in some way. So they're right! :)
April 11
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… or run web movements. :)
April 11
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(1) Big Deal is the generator to use (as Richard mentioned). Link it up to Bridge Composer so it will use it to generate hands and create hand records.

This article on BridgeMojo has links to the sources for each of those.

https://bridgemojo.com/game/where-do-the-hands-come-from

As for (2), the problem isn't with the generated deals, it's with shuffling. Hand shuffled decks are more frequently not shuffled well enough to be truly randomized. The result is more flat distributions than should be found.

As for (3), that will be the scourge of every bridge club from here to eternity.
April 10
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I personally find this very attractive. I hope you try it and let us know.
March 20
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I asked Dave White, “At what point do you allow a partner to correct a mistake?”

His answer was, “when it's obvious to everyone at the table.” That description seems to fit this situation.

Luckily no penalties required in this instance.
March 19
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I think if you offer a social game (a la Honors club), you need to think of it as a separate product with a separate market from the duplicate game. You're likely to see very little crossover from those players who don't, won't, can't, couldn't possibly, hate even the concept.

But as a product that gets people playing bridge, it's not a bad one. Comfortable surroundings, coffee, friends, a little intellectual challenge – it beats solving the daily Jumble.

My philosophy for the competitive game is to produce an offering that's as attractive as I can make it, let people (students) know it's there, and offer a little incentive to try it. Those who are drawn to that can't stay away. As I tell my students, “with anything addictive, the first one is free.”

Once you've built the comfortable surroundings, and created a culture of polite competition, the game will be what attracts the people who are drawn to it. “Zero tolerance” of bad behavior is part of the comfortable surroundings.
March 11
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Indeed part of the problem with my friend's existing computer is that it's an old XP machine, and can't be upgraded. It's also painfully slow.
Nov. 30, 2018
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What Jeff said. Drop Mary a note.
Nov. 27, 2018
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1. Have helpers at the game.

2. Scoring manually empowers them to hold their own team matches at home – and it's still how the ACBL tournaments are run.
Nov. 27, 2018
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At my non-Life Master club BridgeMojo I've held three Swiss Teams events this year. (It's our first year.)

We play a shortened game on Monday evenings, usually 14 boards. So for the Swiss Team games, I planned to play three five-board matches. Nearly all of my players had never played a Swiss Team game before.

For the first game, hardly any of the regular partnerships had teammates. Before the game I collected all of the partnerships who wanted to play, and the day of the game I generated a random number sequence and formed teams. I knew if I got involved in matching up partnerships I might have some ‘splainin’ to do. https://www.random.org/sequences/

For my first game I had 11 teams. I thought I could handle having one round-robin. It worked fairly well, but I knew the third match was going to be dicey since I couldn't play a two-match round-robin. I tried running two three-board matches for the third-round round-robin. It was sort of okay since the bottom three teams were there, but it was a bit of a mess. My second game had 10 teams, third had 8, and they all learned more about what's really going on.

Before the first match, I tried to project a score sheet and walk people through the mechanics of keeping score. It was useful, but it also seemed to be “too much information.” I'm not sure how else to do it though. Keep it as simple as you can. (Forget strategy.)

All in all I managed to hold three games, got results, and most everyone had fun. Let me see if I can summarize some of the points I learned over the process.

* Make the event “reservations only” and do the best you can to have an even number of teams play. Anything you can do to avoid round-robins will pay off at this level. If possible, have some standby pairs or players.

* GET HELP – have three or four experienced team players on hand to guide players to their tables, and help with the scoring comparison. Having another person to post scores and new assignments on the white board is really handy.

* Emphasize that in a team match EVERYONE KEEPS SCORE. When they arrive at the tables for the game I suggest having four Team Score sheets on every table, one in each position.

* Before the first match, with everyone at their home tables, make this announcement: “Everyone, write your team number in the box in the upper right.” Then invite the E/W pairs to cross to the other section.

* After the first crossover, advise them to ask their opponents for their team number, and make note of it on their score card. (If they can find the “Vs.___” field, so much the better.)

* As the match winds down, remind them to confirm the recorded scores with their opponents before returning to their teammates.

* It's a good idea to have Instant Scorers on hand at every table, and remind people that there are instant scorers on the back of the table markers, and the bid-box cards.

* Don't start your team numbers with 1. Players don't understand that their team number is 4, and their table assignment for the first match is B2. You'll hear “we're team B2.” At my last game I helped separate these two things cognitively by assigning my first team as team #41, and up from there. ACBLScore handles this.

* Here's a big one that took me way too long to figure out: I thought I would save time by directing people to their next match the way they do at tournaments: “North-South go to A4, East-West go to B4.” No. That doesn't work. When the new assignments are up, tell all of the players to go to their newly-assigned table with their teammates. Once everyone is at their table, seated, say, “Now, east-west pairs cross over to the other section.” Honestly – it saves time!

* You might consider not using a timer for the first game. It's okay, but it's going to take a while. Consider going with three six-board matches the first time. Having helpers becomes important.

To address your specific questions … I think I covered #1 …

2. Keep it low-tech – that's part of the charm of playing Swiss Teams. It also matches what they'll find at the tournaments. Use one set of boards, 1-7 on table 1, 8-14 on table 2, 15-21 table 3, 22-28, table 4, and you're done. Shuffle deal and play. It's very charming, and emphasizes to the players, “Hey, we could do this at home!”

3. Don't use Bridgemates. Even if you wanted to, you'd have to find a third-party program to do Bridgemate Swiss Teams. ACBLScore doesn't support it. I put out tournament-standard reporting slips and have the winning captain bring them to the desk. I try to keep everything the way they'll see it done at a Sectional.

4. You can tell ACBLScore to do Win/Loss, or victory points, and have it pair, or give it pairings. I did victory points, and had ACBLScore do the pairings. I DID NOT EXPLAIN what was going on. People were mostly content not knowing. If someone asked about the points on the results, I could explain to them privately. It does have the advantage of matching what they'll see at the tournaments.

We just had our third game, and it went fairly smoothly: https://results.bridgemojo.com/ See here: https://results.bridgemojo.com/181119E/181119E.TXT

Good luck!
Nov. 27, 2018
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In Audrey Grant's Bridge Basics 1 you play a few hands of whist before advancing to Auction Bridge. It manages to include all of the things you mention: long suits, sequences, and so on.
Nov. 1, 2018
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If people are buying bridge tables, bidding boxes, cards, and books, I'm tickled pink. Like the author said, the game “sucks you in.”
Oct. 26, 2018
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Mike, it's true that you can register a domain name, and when someone types it in (or uses it as a link) you can redirect to bridgewebs. But the location that appears in the browser, the bookmark that's saved, and the link that appears in a Google search is not your domain name – it's bridgewebs.com/something. I know I'm being nerdy about it, but that's a point of pride to me. :)

If I were running bridgewebs, I would build in virtual hosting so a club manager or ACBL district could refer their domain name to my server and use my web app and keep their branding in place. It would provide real value to their customers (or at least the geeky ones like me).
Oct. 5, 2018
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