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All comments by Morris Jones
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I could but I won't say “Say it ain't so, Jim!” Except I just did. :) Have fun!
Oct. 9
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I had no problem dealing with BBO for this, don't know why you might be.

Here's what you need to do though: Go ahead and create the accounts you'll need.

You need at least three: one for East, one for West, and one for the Director.

Accounts are free to create, so you don't need their help for that.

Once you've created the accounts, send BBO a note with the names of the accounts you created. What they will do is enable them for their best robots for free, and turn a switch so they don't display ads while playing.

I've been hoping that BBO would improve the experience by doing things like supporting PBN files instead of requiring LIN, and add some capabilities for making the board order match the movement more easily.

TheCommonGame has some good services for priming board sets to fit your movement, but they take a little practice and time you generally don't have right at the beginning of your game.
Sept. 26
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When I took the TAP course in 1995 (from Jerry Helms), you were taught how to teach the ACBL Club Series, which is what I did for a dozen years or so. I ran through a refresher in 2009 to discover that they only offered a smorgasbord of available curricula.

The main suggestion of “what to teach” comes in the form of the written bidding test that's still given before the BPT workshop. This is based on the ACBL Yellow Card, which somehow became the base target for students. (I fear I had something to do with that. http://mojo.whiteoaks.com/2010/09/27/how-sayc-happened/ )

I took the BPT workshop in Las Vegas this year and enjoyed it. I saw a number of candidates who badly needed the techniques they were learning and practicing. In that sense it was a good thing.

I also met a teaching candidate who lives relatively nearby, and am actively working with her to create teaching practice and opportunities.

The BPT workshop will not turn someone into a bridge teacher, but it's not a bad starting point.

A newly pinned Best Practices teacher has a lot of work ahead reviewing and studying available bridge material, finding or creating classes, then diving in brazenly not knowing how much they don't know – sort of like the game itself.

When I got out of my first TAP class, I wrote a proposal to a local community college extension program, and they accepted it. That's where I really learned how to teach bridge, and with only myself for supervision.

I've never dreamed that I had enough technical expertise to write my own bridge curriculum. I heavily rely on experts. These days I teach Audrey Grant's Better Bridge series, but I also have the credentials for Easybridge, and Learn Bridge in a Day.

I watch bridge teachers as often as I can and brazenly steal their best stuff. :)
Sept. 22
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As I was directing District 23's first NAP Unit Final last weekend, I overheard at a Flight C table the declaring South player asked to see the trick again, and her opponents refused with a bit of attitude.

South was taken aback, naturally. Since I was floating nearby, I gave her a smile and a shrug and said, “unfortunately he's right.” I think I made a friend by softening the blow.
Sept. 20
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Let me just say …

It's really hard for me to refuse when an opponent says, “Can I see that trick again?” after quitting their played card.

First I want to say, “You mean ‘may I?’” then I bite my tongue and show them my card.
Sept. 20
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Well now here's part of the problem. If a player asked you to point to the rule about announcing partner's notrump range, would you be able to show it to them?

The alert procedure is not in the Laws of Bridge, it's in the ACBL Alert Chart found here https://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.acbl.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/AlertChart.pdf

If you're a new player, it's really quite difficult to discover and study all of the places that have the Rules that we play by.

Besides the alert chart referenced above, let's consider the newly-revised Convention Charts, the General Conditions of Contest, plus any specific Conditions of Contest that might have been adopted by a local club.

Just for good measure, let's throw in the ACBL Codification (renamed since 2015, it used to be the Handbook). It guides the awarding of masterpoints and the entire organization of sanctioned bridge games. https://www.acbl.org/about-acbl/administration/acbl-codification/
Sept. 20
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If you're one of Audrey's teachers, she has an excellent teacher's manual to go with the book on betterbridgeteachers.com. It makes an excellent six week class. Four weeks go through the four chapters of the book, and two weeks of practice hands. (Same pattern as the better bridge series.)
Sept. 7
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I clean my Dealer4 between every couple of board sets. Some cards leave more dust than others. Sometimes I have to clean the feed roller mid-set. The new ACBL plastic cards seem to be the cleanest I've used, and I don't have to clean the machine as often.

I've never had to reset individual bridgemates between sessions. I do a “long press” on the server button to shut it down after each game.
Aug. 17
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I don't get it. You can't expect beginners to use judgment to decide how high to bid. You prefer to leave them with no evaluation tools at all? What do you suggest?
Aug. 11
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What Jeff said. :)
Aug. 7
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I believe the club help line is already staffed by a number of people working off site or from home, especially during evenings and weekends.
July 18
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Snipping tool is a good idea – takes an image of the screen and puts that up. Instead of that I've been doing “select all” “copy” and “paste” the text of the results into a Notepad window. Then I can change the font size, and so on.
July 16
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Well shoot, I was looking forward to meeting you here. :/
July 16
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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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