Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Reflecting on filling in the gaps

So many of us learn most of our bridge in a willy nilly sort of fashion.  Maybe once we took some lessons or in my case read a few books including the famous Charles Goren’s Point Count Bidding.  But most of it we learned from here and there, in no organized fashion.

Some years ago I decided to learn 2/1.  I had been away from bridge a long time and I was playing with some new women partners who all wanted to play that.  At the time I couldn’t find a really good book that explained all its ins and outs.  I learned some of it from my partners and some of it from books and a lot of it by trial and error.  It was a little embarrassing sometimes.  I didn’t realize that in a 2/1 auction that jumping in your major as in 1H-2C-3H showed a solid suit.  It was never mentioned until it happened. 

In working with Kathie who has played bridge for many years after a while I recommended that she get a hold of a copy of Barbara Seagram’s Beginning Bridge.  The title is a bit off putting.  This sounds like a book for a brand new player and it is.  So I realized that when Kathie saw the book she might wonder what I was doing.  Here is the answer for you, Kathie.  You just kept asking questions that were described in the book and the book explained it better with examples and practice exercises.

For example, I tried to describe to you and someone who happened to be at our practice table how to count your losers and make a plan.  And there it is in the book.  There is a discussion about notrump bidding with Stayman and transfers, just what we have been practicing and so on.  So I hope you will like the book and it will help you even if the name is beginning bridge.

I remember when Paul Thurston published Bridge 25 Steps to Learning 2/1.  I read it as soon as it was published and I realized that even though I had been playing 2/1 for a while by then, it still filled in some of the gaps!  I guess we all have to go back to the basics some of the time.


JudyFebruary 11th, 2009 at 3:43 pm


You are so on target about how we learned bridge. It came in dribs and drabs, reading one book after another — wherever we could latch onto something that would make it easier and more effective — especially in the area of bidding. However, I think the best way to fortify one’s bridge skills and system involves a luxury which is relatively impossible to maintain. It presents itself in the form of repetition. That is the ongoing experience and continuing adventures with one partner, especially to reinforce auction agreements and to avoid mixups which are always on the horizon. Another logical alternative would be to play the identical system with all of your partners — but impractical as everyone has their personal preferences and no one likes to be bullied. You can read books on play and defense, but developing a fine partnership takes practice, practice, practice!

Since my absence from the Nationals, I play locally with just two people (Bobby and a terrific gal who plays quite well) — but after most calls, I find myself gazing across the table, trying to remember if I treat it the same as with Bobby or whether it means something else. Many a tournament has been lost (even at the top level) because of a mixup or confusion dealing with the meaning of a specific bid.

I am amazed to observe at the local duplicates the variety of partners each one has — solely determined by the calendar day. It reminds me of the old flick, “If It’s Tuesday, it’s Belgium.” Variety is said to be the spice of life — but I’m too set in my ways and too old to roll with all the new punches — though I admire those who can. Switching gears is difficult so I guess I’ll go to my grave — still enjoying the comfort of my security blanket!

lindaFebruary 22nd, 2009 at 4:10 am

I love playing with the a consistent partner because we can really work on our understandings and if both of you know your system then much less memory work.

But it is always an adventure to play with a new people. They teach me new ideas so I guess each has an advantage.

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