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Hard, Boring Work & Sneaky Tricks
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When I’m depressed at the slow pace of growth (and/or the fast pace of regression) I see in my bridge skill, I sometimes fantasize about just giving up this strange game and setting out on the path to mastering something new… For the past few years, those fantasies circle around the game of Go (aka Baduk, or Weiqi). When push comes to shove, however, I never really get anywhere with Go because the simple fact is I really would prefer to grow as a bridge player. Some people might be able to learn to play both passably or even well and get great joy from both. I’m not that person… I’m sure all I’d reap is frustration from both fields of endeavor.

Better to stick to one, I guess.

Anyway, I still have some Go channels in my YouTube feed and, while browsing the other day, I came across this video. In it, Andrew Jackson (an American Go player) is presenting some of the ideas/concepts he’s ruminating on as he tries to teach advancing Go players in Seattle. While the specific illustrations are naturally not relevant to bridge, the frameworks and concepts would be applicable to almost any subject that an adult learner might pursue.

You can watch the video or not (the good stuff starts at the 6m50s mark). The important thing is that the video got me thinking...

Winters where I live are bleak and long. And, as a southern boy transplanted into the frozen northlands, that means I only venture out to procure supplies (work) or shovel the driveway so I can go procure supplies. As a result, I had planned to make this winter the season where, after countless half-starts, I would really focus as seriously as possible on advancing my bridge game.

I’ve already started by playing hands here and there through the day, and then spending time looking at critical points in the play, defense, or auction with the help of some computer bridge software (Jack). I’ve got books that I’ve always intended to read that I really will read/study this winter – barring unforeseen disasters – by people Watson, Kelsey, and the like. The video on the previous page got me thinking about how I’d want to study that material in order to get the most benefit.

So, since this subforum was a little quiet, I thought I’d see if this spurs some discussion.

If you’re an Intermediate player looking to advance, what are you doing to improve your game? What materials and approaches have you found make the most impact on you? What would you wish that you don’t have?

If you’re an Advanced/Expert player, what did you find most helpful on your road upwards? What counsel do you give to students, or what do you wish you’d been told sooner?

Maybe, just maybe, when the spring thaw comes and we emerge from our cool, dark caves into the glorious sunshine, we’ll all have grown a bit as players thanks to sharing with one another.

Or, maybe I’ll just take up Go… Wink

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