Paul Cronin

Lessons. lessons!

Am wondering why no bridge lessons (that I know of) take into account any of the following factors:

(i) gender – do men and women have  different approaches to the game. Why are there relatively few women listed as winners of major pairs or team events? Do men play more aggressively than women? How should bridge lessons take this into account to help overcome any differences that exist? 

(ii) type of game – bridge hands at club games and at tournaments are very different – the cards at club games tend not to get well shuffled, and produce more flatter hands than the pre-duplicated ones at tournaments. If it takes (in general) 25 HCP to make a major suit game at the club, will it still take (on average) 25 HCP to make a major suit game at a tournament? Do lessons take this difference into account?

(iii) what kind of player am I? – when I walk into a club or tournament game, what are my answers to the following questions?:

(a) are my partner and I the best bidders here?

(b) are my partner and I the best declarers here?

(c) are my partner and I the best defenders here?

If the answers to the above are “No”, then what skills do we plan to bring to the game that will enable us to overcome these weaknesses and enable us to win? If we have no winning “plan”, then we have no chance of winning. 

(iv) nature – am I a timid player? An aggressive player? Nervous? Bold? Lazy? Sharp? How can I minimize my personal weaknessess and maximize my personal strengths?

(v) partner – am I a good partner? Do I consistently try to see where    went wrong or didn’t do as much as I could to help my partner, or do I believe that I will get the best out of my partners by publicly berating them at the table. Would I recognize top players if I saw them? – players like Passell, Wold, Lair, Hamman. Do I sometimes mistake my own partners for any of these top players and wonder why they aren’t consistently making the great plays I expect of them? Do I consistently make these great plays myself?

Lessons, lessons – lessons indeed.


Judy Kay-WolffJuly 30th, 2010 at 2:07 pm


I find the above subject of lessons quite fascinating. The reason? Just because a person represents himself or herself as a ‘bridge teacher,’ there is no money-back guarantee. Some are no more qualified to teach than a director who survived the old open book test and passes himself off as a “Director.” Further, teachers who belong to a recognized teaching group are not necessarily qualified because they pay their dues and attend meetings. Many are skilled; others are not. There are TEACHERS and there are teachers. Let us begin with that premise.

All of your categories (gender; type of game; kind of player; nature; and partnership) of course are major factors to be considered. As far as “gender,” very few women are considered by the bridge gods to be on a par with men. They say Helen Sobel was as tough as any man in her day — head and shoulders in talent above Charlie Goren, her friend and sometime partner. And, I don’t think anyone can challenge that stark observation. The primary reason attributed to the disparity in success and ability seems to be narrowed down to women being far more emotional than men — certainly a major flaw in deportment and a deterrent to concentration and confidence.

The type of game (whether duplicated or unduplicated boards) really should not matter. Regardless of early teachings, it is only experience (leading to better judgment) that helps you determine whether to bid the close games (listening to the bidding, i. e. that dog that does or doesn’t bark) as well as your distribution.

As to being the best bidders, declarers or defenders at a specified game — that is strictly subjective. I know few bridge players who underrate their game. I’ve yet to meet one who thinks he or she is not better than they really are. But, confidence is a good commodity. However, the ability to recognize your shortcomings and minimize them are the secrets to improvement. The best training ground is to play against superior players and examine what they did right that you might have gotten wrong. Candid self-reflection is a great starting point. Bury the ego and start working on mental fortitude and mechanical skills.

Regarding the nature of the beast (Timid? Aggressive? Nervous? Bold? Lazy? Sharp?) — they are great mind sets to consider. If I have learned nothing else in the last fifty years, one appraisal I can make with certainty is THIS IS A BIDDER’S GAME. The more you bid, the better your overall result — never negating the possibility of going for a number — but it only hurts for a little while — and offers far more plusses than minuses!

The secret to a good and successful partnership is mutual respect. In any twosome, one partner is always better (perhaps a wee bit — or sometimes tremendously). Often there is a need for the old proverbial Chief and Indian duo. Every partnership is different (even among the lofty ones). Some are better declarers; others are better defenders. I have always believed the best way to attain greater heights is to relax after the game in the quiet privacy of one’s chosen surroundings (whether it be a home, via telephone, at a restaurant, coffee shop or bar), discuss every board in an unbiased, objective manner to make sure you don’t repeat the same mistake and seek out a better way to handling the problem should it crop up again. To me, the intimacy of these heart to hearts (if you are sincere in your desire to get better rather than assess blame) is the only way to reach a higher plateau.

Believe me, I’ve been there, done that and I have learned the hard way that humility and soul searching work better than yelling and pointing the finger. And, above all, if you feel you are in need of lessons, be sure the person taking your money is qualified. Lessons indeed!

JeanDecember 2nd, 2015 at 8:29 am

, before reofrms) and the President (Nixon) was not President anymore. There were these new machines called a microwave, a VCR, cable TV, the drinking age had changed from 18 to 21, there was disco , etc, etc.When I stepped off the bus in downtown Houston, the SOUND was overwhelmingly LOUD. The prison farm had been quiet, this was URBAN NOISE. I looked around the station and I could recognize the ex-cons, even though I didn’t know any of them we recognized each other, with a slight nod. I even saw one guy wearing the state shoes they issued him. The local cops were eyeballing his ass with intensity poor sucker was probably going to get popped before he even got home.My dad picked me up at the station. I smoked my first Free World joint, then found all my old friends who had been with me in prison many of my high school friends had come and gone while I was still there. I met with my parole officer, went to my drug rehab session and four days later, I had Thanksgiving dinner in the free world. What followed, after I got off parole, was the adventure I took in search of myself that’s another great story

RomuloDecember 9th, 2015 at 4:09 pm

sunny bray – i have come back to this post many times over the months, wnrneoidg if others, as myself, have pondered your vision, considered your words, and interpreted them personally. if no one else, i have. life has an interesting way of presenting beauty and wisdom, finding lessons in places, people, circumstances we did not expect. thank you, will, for all you have shared. i hope and pray your journey brings you to a good place. i miss your posts but trust when and if you are ready there will be more. please know you are never forgotten. 29th, 2016 at 12:28 am

Hi there very nice website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also?I’m happy to seek out a lot of helpful information right here within the post, we need develop extra strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . . 29th, 2016 at 1:15 am

Hi all!We have a MTS MBLAZE dongle, brought from Delhi alongwith a Sony Vaio. They tell us that it doesn’t work in H.P. It the issue fixed now? Can the dongle operate now?IN ANTICIPATION OF A RESPONSE… 1st, 2016 at 1:13 am

That is pretty exciting. Tori is a dog pioneer. I hope it helps. Getting owes is the worst. Is there a dog physical therapy palace where she could go for a swim in a heated pool? Oh, most excellent slobber.Mango Momma 15th, 2016 at 10:23 am

Väldig smart förvaring. Mina band har jag i smÃ¥ korgar och bandställning, men det blir ju att lyfta pÃ¥ nÃ¥gra innan man hittar nÃ¥got som passar… 8th, 2016 at 2:19 pm

I am afraid I don’t spend much time studying the mouths of young children, if you do then may I suggest that is somewhat strange.I said “most likely” that does not mean definitely. So how that can mean I am an Inchgarth insider God only knowsSaying I had £8 and only having £6 does not make me or indeed anyone a liar….. You might scan your change tell soneone oh I have about a tenner and then find you only have £9.65… Does that make you a liar? 9th, 2016 at 10:45 am

Ваша информация на тему – Rachel Bilson : Famous Duds | vfish Official Blog вашего сайта просто классная. Правда жаль что видео нет.

Leave a comment

Your comment