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Why do people make learning this game so hard?

#21 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-14, 03:28

View PostAL78, on 2019-October-14, 02:03, said:


The main problem with duplicate bridge as I see it, it that it is optimised for retired people, and very sub-optimal for younger people with day jobs and children/babies. The problem is the rigid structure. You HAVE to turn up at a specific time, once there you HAVE to stay there for a minimum of three hours, there is no turning up and departing when convenient for you (e.g. when I played badminton, I could turn up any time during hours of play and leave when I'd had enough). This means someone who has a day job, doesn't get home until 6:30 or 7 pm doesn't have time for a proper meal if they wanted to play bridge in the evening. If I want to play bridge on a working day, I pretty much have to take a full days food supply with me. Then there is the issue with childcare in the evening, their partner might resent being left holding the baby if they wanted to go out as well.



Bridge in the evening?

Almost all the evening games are dead and gone...
Alderaan delenda est
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#22 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-14, 10:38

View PostMaxHayden, on 2019-September-06, 23:55, said:

Bridge needs to be accessible, right now it isn't. Why is that? Why isn't there a Culbertson or a Goren bringing in a ton of social players?

Board game night is a popular thing. People spend tons of money on Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and the rest. Bridge is a fun game. But no one ever says, "let's play a few rubbers tonight". And hell would freeze over before someone said, "I bought this nice box set at the game store and liked the concept. Let's take 15 minutes to get the basics and try it out."

I learned bridge on board game night because my college friends couldn't agree on spades or euchre. So someone suggested we do bridge and taught us how. And as we got into the game and ran into problems, we got taught more stuff or someone went out and looked it up in a book and taught the rest of us. I.e. Exactly like the way people get into other games. Someone new can join, and the randomness makes winning possible even though skill and reasoning is a big part. And you can go online or buy a book if you want to get good. And you can go to conventions and do tournaments if you get serious.

But bridge doesn't do that. It's damned near impossible for someone to buy a pamphlet and learn to play with their friends like you could back in the day. And there are no attractive "sets" of stuff to buy that make the game attractive or remotely marketable.

No one says, "you can learn the game in less time than it takes to read the typical board game rules and it's every bit as fun and challenging!" We have classes and interminablely slow software. And we don't even teach anything remotely modern. So you can't even appreciate the higher levels of tournament play. And even a local duplicate tournament is intimidating as hell and a huge jump from social play.

I'd have never gotten into this if it weren't for a friend group that liked playing the game til 2am over drinks. It's hella fun, to the point that "board game night" turned into "bridge night with some board games thrown in."

I love the game, but it seems like too few of the people are doing it to have fun. Those people got scared off because we told them it was hard and pure skill like chess and only the truly brilliant could even understand it let alone play.


I was introduced to the game when Goren was still an influence. I doubt I ever would have learned had he not made bridge so easy, interesting, and accessible.

I have long preached that starting with 5-card majors is a wrongheaded approach for bringing in new players - THE PLAY IS THE THING! The quicker you can get the dummy down and let newcomers start playing the cards the more interest you will develop.

Bridge could use another Goren.
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#23 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-October-14, 15:13

View PostAL78, on 2019-October-14, 02:03, said:

That is going to be very difficult to do, because elderly people ARE the dominant demograph in most bridge clubs. Telling someone it is not only for the elderly is going to fall flat on its face as soon as they step into a bridge club.

The main problem with duplicate bridge as I see it, it that it is optimised for retired people, and very sub-optimal for younger people with day jobs and children/babies. The problem is the rigid structure. You HAVE to turn up at a specific time, once there you HAVE to stay there for a minimum of three hours, there is no turning up and departing when convenient for you (e.g. when I played badminton, I could turn up any time during hours of play and leave when I'd had enough). This means someone who has a day job, doesn't get home until 6:30 or 7 pm doesn't have time for a proper meal if they wanted to play bridge in the evening. If I want to play bridge on a working day, I pretty much have to take a full days food supply with me. Then there is the issue with childcare in the evening, their partner might resent being left holding the baby if they wanted to go out as well.

If a game is structured optimally for retired people, you should not be surprised to find it dominated by retired people.


I can relate to that to some extent. In other (physical) sports I am used to being able to turn up and depart with some flexibility, but for training or casual competition only (and only in a few precise hours can I rely on finding the trainer or even company). Real competition is scheduled on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings, when most people are not working or committed to family. Somehow I doubt that would work for bridge, although I agree that a lot could be done to improve things for younger players (for example, incentives for more expert players to play with them).
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#24 User is offline   suzienewbi 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 09:17

View PostHeavyDluxe, on 2019-September-10, 14:14, said:

Especially on the bidding side of things. Simple 'natural' methods is the best primer... And, after some times getting cold cards the idea/appeal of duplicate is easy to see. I'm glad I still had 'Kitchen Bridge' in my early days as a player.



This...


I am looking for a way to learn "rubber" bridge. I started out studying the duplicate bridge but then found that close friends play rubber bridge. The problem is, they play by the guidelines set out in "At the Bridge Table" by Jo Woods, copyright 1967. It is written in very short sentences or even partial sentences without much explanation. I just cannot understand so much of it. I would like to take lessons or find a GOOD book on rubber bridge, but when I search online, I come up with so many videos, etc. that just fall under the category of "bridge" without making a distinction between rubber and duplicate bridge. I am lost! Can someone point me in the direction of where I can get help learning rubber bridge?
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#25 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 10:03

I just did a quick google search on "At the Bridge Table" by Jo Woods (I had never heard of it before)

Couple quick observations

1. This dates back to at least 1957
2. There appears to be some kind of association with Goren

I am guessing that this is a summary of the old school Goren system

Your best option might be to track down something like the following

https://www.thriftbo...edition=2137906
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#26 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 12:33

View Postsuzienewbi, on 2021-July-13, 09:17, said:

I am looking for a way to learn "rubber" bridge. I started out studying the duplicate bridge but then found that close friends play rubber bridge. The problem is, they play by the guidelines set out in "At the Bridge Table" by Jo Woods, copyright 1967. It is written in very short sentences or even partial sentences without much explanation. I just cannot understand so much of it. I would like to take lessons or find a GOOD book on rubber bridge, but when I search online, I come up with so many videos, etc. that just fall under the category of "bridge" without making a distinction between rubber and duplicate bridge. I am lost! Can someone point me in the direction of where I can get help learning rubber bridge?


Search the internet for beginning bridge books written by Charles H Goren. He called himself proudly the simple Simon of bridge but won national championships too. His writing is clear and simple. Play While You Learn Bridge is one of his books you might find useful.
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#27 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 18:35

View Postsuzienewbi, on 2021-July-13, 09:17, said:

I am looking for a way to learn "rubber" bridge.

Rubber bridge isn't played much anymore.

In the other thread you mentioned that you play socially with another pair that uses very old bidding methods, so presumably they are used to play rubber bridge. I would suggest you play Total Points which works when you don't have a second table to score against, and hopefully the other pair can live with that.

The problem with Rubber (or Chicago) scoring is that the contract you need to bid to get game bonus depends on the score you have accumulated. So for example, if you just need 40 points to complete the game, you will probably just open 1NT with 20 high-card points in 3rd or 4th seat as there's no point in exploring higher contracts, partner is going to pass with 11 high-card points anyway. Who knows what a 2NT opening will show in that situation, then? This basically means that your whole bidding system goes pearshaped as soon as you already have a partscore.

For this reason, you probably won't find any book that tells you how to use a modern bidding system to play rubber bridge. It would be like a book showing how you can use pliers to patch socks.
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#28 User is offline   mikl_plkcc 

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Posted 2021-July-30, 04:57

View Postpescetom, on 2019-October-14, 15:13, said:

I can relate to that to some extent. In other (physical) sports I am used to being able to turn up and depart with some flexibility, but for training or casual competition only (and only in a few precise hours can I rely on finding the trainer or even company). Real competition is scheduled on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings, when most people are not working or committed to family. Somehow I doubt that would work for bridge, although I agree that a lot could be done to improve things for younger players (for example, incentives for more expert players to play with them).


I got into bridge when I was in high school, and I had a regular partner at that time. However, my partner didn't get good enough result in the GCSE to enter matriculation. Also, I was in the national high school programming team at that moment and playing bridge was the most common form of entertainment by then.

I continued playing bridge into university, at the university bridge club, but I no longer have a fixed partner by then, until one year after graduation when I left my job as a research assistant at university, as my interest in sports had shifted into orienteering, and then marathon swimming.

The university bridge club had open competitions which were held on a weekend, similar to the high school competitions. This is not too different to any other sports. In bridge, 4 players form a table, and get a deck of cards then you can practice.
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