John’s Journal

By John Grossmann, D17 President

Learn Bridge in a Day

This past summer, I participated in a “Learn Bridge in a Day” (“LBIAD”) workshop in Castle Rock, Colorado. Bravo to Curt Soloff and Rick Way! Just a few years ago there were no ACBL sanctioned games in Castle Rock, so this was a major event for a relatively new club. Using primarily word-of-mouth advertising, they generated seven tables of new faces.

LBIAD was created by Patty Tucker. ACBL promotes this program as a way to draw in folks who have never played bridge, or perhaps are long lapsed players. Participants are introduced to the basics of bidding, declarer play, and scoring over a four hour session. Visitors play about ten hands and get enough exposure to the game to determine if they want to play bridge. A key part of this program is tracking these recruits and channeling them into appropriate follow-on lessons, novice games, or supervised play.

Here is some good news: I recently signed a site license for LBIAD so that any unit or club in District 17 can participate. The program package includes a PowerPoint style set of presentation slides, a participant handbook, materials for table helpers, and the basic elements of a marketing plan.

John Wolf, Unit 363 Vice President, and I are currently developing a LBIAD “rollout” for three different venues in Northern Colorado. Our modest size cities are separated by 15-35 miles. We decided to GO BIG and run the program in Greeley, Loveland, and Fort Collins. Some of the cost for traditional newspaper and magazine advertizing will be offset by ACBL “CAP” funds. Our current players have been asked to pass a colorful postcard invitation to their friends and neighbors. We are also testing a series of 15 second “awareness spots” on the local public radio station.

By the time you read this column, Ann Parker, Unit 360 Vice President, will also have hosted a LBIAD workshop in Colorado Springs in September.

LBIAD is not just for Colorado or Unit Vice-Presidents! Contact me at (719) 233-9464 or if you are interested in tapping this membership building program.

Scoring Accuracy

D17 uses Bridge Results to provide online results for all District 17 regional tournaments. You can register and request an email to track your performance. I recently played in a two session pair game in Colorado. That evening, I got an email from Bridge Results and quickly clicked on the link to my results. These N/S hands caught my eye:

S xx

H KQ10x

D x

C Q10xxxx



S Qx

H xx

D KQJ10xx

C Kxx

Well, perhaps I should say that a pink colored box in Bridge Results, under the column ETF, caught my attention. It seems that N/S reported bidding 4S and making six. Oops! A spade contract was actually played E/W multiple times, with a common result being making four or five. Entering the wrong direction on a Bridgemate created an artificial top/bottom.

ETF in this case means Extra Trick Factor, one of the many clever features Philippe Lamoise built in to BridgeResults. Often this box is blank, which means that N/S took exactly the number of tricks predicted by Double Dummy, either declaring or defending. If N/S snagged an extra trick this box would show a green +1. A red -1 would be used if they were a trick short of Double Dummy’s prediction. On this hand the box was pink, flagging a likely scoring error.

I scanned all of the hands in the two sessions and found three other examples of the same problem. Folks are pressing “accept” on the BridgeMate without carefully checking the result. Two of the four mistakes occurred at tables with players holding over 10,000 masterpoints.

After an evening session, few linger to look at the individual scores on the sprocket printout. The correction period at tournaments can vary, but it is not uncommon for the correction window to be open for only 30 minutes. Gary Zeiger, our frequent regional DIC, emailed me that “Players involved in a hand are the ones who report scoring errors.”

The moral of this story: Don’t rush to click “accept” on a BridgeMate. Check each entry carefully; the best time to catch an error is at the table.

District 17 Website

Burke Snowden, a phenomenal teenage bridge player, has joined the D17 team to support website development.


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