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qpawn
29-01-2006, 07:56 AM
About two years ago I tried bridge. I had never seen a deck of cards before. I downloaded a free bridge program on the set and played around with it. Then I went to a few bridge clubs and tried to learn stuff.

I did not enjoy bridge at all and gave up after a few weeks. Why? ...

[1] The dummy drove me crazy. I can not do anything once every 4 goes?

[2] I felt that I was a nuisance becuase I was holding up play when the tables had to end.

[3] While I did get recognition that I was a beginner and was put in a group with a few other starters, and got help from an experienced player, I felt lost in all the possibilities. I find the spades and clubs hard to tell apart.

In short, I found the learning curve so steep that I walked away.

It is interesting that a few weeks ago I tried poker at the mindsports festival. I found poker much easier to learn and understand! You just use the hierarchy of flushes, straights etc to form the best hand with any 5 card combination of your 2 cards and/or 3 of the other 5 cards that appear. [That's simplistic but anyway].

Rincewind
29-01-2006, 08:44 AM
Funnily enough I quite like Bridge. Although I have never bothered to play at a club, I went through a stage when I was travelling quite a distance to work and played Rubber Bridge too and from work and at lunch time. So I played something like 4 hours of Bridge 5 days a week for several years.

[1] It's a good opportunity to get a drink, go to the toilet, have a rest, check the score, catch 40 winks, go to the bar, etc.

[2] It important to think sufficiently when playing a hand. As a declarer I tend to do most of my thinking after the lead and when dummy goes down after that I play reasonably quickly following the strategy I came up with on the open lead. However, unusual distribution or contracts which are difficult to make naturally take more time. But as all my experience is as a social rubber player this one is less of an issue I guess.

[3] Regarding telling the suits apart, assuming you were playing with cards that have index pips then could be your eyesight or a learning thing. (I assume when you arranged cards in your hand you alternated colours.)

Bridge does have a lot to it and therefore there is a steep learning curve. But the same is true of Chess. In Australia, the game of 500 seems to be more popular socially than Bridge. By way of analogy, 500 is to Bridge as Draughts is to Chess. However, I've had some success teaching reasonably experienced 500 players to play Bridge. Conversely, not so people who don't play whist-like games at all. So if you are unfamiliar with 500 perhaps you should have tried playing that for a while first as a primer to moving on to Bridge. The other advantage is that there is no Dummy in 500!

pax
29-01-2006, 09:20 AM
Learning to play at a club night would be enough to put anyone off!

Club bridge can be very stressful. The pace is very fast, which is hard when you need to think about every decision as a beginner. Also if you play slowly, you hold up the whole club which will have the old wrinklies growling at you.

Learning bridge is much better in a social setting, or at least at a beginner's night (which some clubs will run from time to time).

I learned bridge during convivial nights at the bar with a group of friends which included one experienced player. That is the ideal environment to learn a thing or two.

Dummy play is the thing which defines bridge. Without the dummy, bridge would be just another random card game like Euchre or 500. Being able to see the dummy enables all sorts of deductions to be made that you couldn't otherwise. When you are the dummy, it is an opportunity to observe how others play, and to practice counting the cards and working out the lay of the cards..

Southpaw Jim
02-02-2006, 06:06 PM
I gave it a go online once, thinking that it would suit me.

However, my experience of the bidding process as a beginner was enough to put me off for life. Given that bidding is so complicated and so much rides on communication with bids, I found that partners weren't exactly understanding when I made mistakes. Most of the time I copped some pretty nasty abuse.. :mad:

qpawn
03-02-2006, 07:51 AM
I add that I dislike bridge only based upon my personal experiences.

I can see that it is a complex and subtle game for someone who gets into it.

When I went to a few bridge clubs people were reluctant to give me any help and that was disappointing.

WhiteElephant
03-02-2006, 02:09 PM
I think bridge is a bit like chess in that those in the know can be reluctant to share the secrets they have learned. This can make them intolerant of beginners.

I have several friends who play bridge and have made attempts to learn the game. But every time I try there seems to be such a steep learning curve that I decided I didn't want to invest the time to become proficient.

Southpaw Jim
03-02-2006, 09:22 PM
I think bridge is a bit like chess in that those in the know can be reluctant to share the secrets they have learned. This can make them intolerant of beginners.

I think comparing bridge to chess is misguided (no offence, WhiteElephant). Whilst I've never played 'club' bridge or 'club' chess for that matter, there is a fundamental difference between the two that is important here - bridge is a team game. Bridge partners can, it seems, be extremely petulant (or worse) when their partner doesn't know bidding strategy in the most infinite detail.

I can't for the life of me see why chessplayers would be reluctant to share their knowledge, except possible at the highest levels (GMs with novel variations). My experience has been that better chess players are tolerant and often very helpful towards the beginner. This is something that I (and it seems others) have not experienced with bridge.

WhiteElephant
04-02-2006, 10:10 PM
I think comparing bridge to chess is misguided (no offence, WhiteElephant). Whilst I've never played 'club' bridge or 'club' chess for that matter, there is a fundamental difference between the two that is important here - bridge is a team game. Bridge partners can, it seems, be extremely petulant (or worse) when their partner doesn't know bidding strategy in the most infinite detail.

I can't for the life of me see why chessplayers would be reluctant to share their knowledge, except possible at the highest levels (GMs with novel variations). My experience has been that better chess players are tolerant and often very helpful towards the beginner. This is something that I (and it seems others) have not experienced with bridge.

I am glad that as a beginner you have had help from better chess players. This is not always what I have observed after 27 years of playing chess and several years working in the industry - maybe I am going to the wrong chess clubs?

I think there are many similarities in terms of strategy between chess and bridge but that is not what I was referring to, it was more the attitude of players towards beginners. Thank you for the profound revelation that my opinion is misguided.

eclectic
05-02-2006, 07:16 AM
does playing bridge help one remember the "building a bridge" motif when confronted by the lucena (actually salvio i believe) position in chess?

Southpaw Jim
05-02-2006, 08:39 AM
Thank you for the profound revelation that my opinion is misguided.

Don't mention it.

queenspawn
20-06-2006, 07:54 AM
I add that I dislike bridge only based upon my personal experiences.

I can see that it is a complex and subtle game for someone who gets into it.

When I went to a few bridge clubs people were reluctant to give me any help and that was disappointing.

I dislike bridge for exactly the same reasons you describe. Also, as it is a "team" game, I find folks are really reluctant to take you under their wing. I only tried it briefly at university, and really can't describe enough how much I hated it! Nice to know I am not the only one.

What is interesting though is how this relates to encouraging people to take up a mind sport. If you get the feeling from others at a club that the sport is elitist, and you are thick for not "getting it" then you won't get the positive feedback to learn. So you drop the sport. My local chess club boasts one awful chap who is a reasonably strong club player who aims himself like a heat seeking missile at anyone new. If he beats them then he keeps coming back again and again. He hovers over you when you are playing other people telling you "oh dear, you are allowing him counter play on the kingside..." or whatever. He tuts, and makes humph noises, no matter what you do, and is the sole reason my husband doesn't play at the club anymore, despite being a competent player in other situations.

This guy doesn't play me or my ten year old son anymore, since my son beat him first game, and I beat him third game. However, he has started attending my Saturday Junior Chess club, allegedly to offer "coaching" to the kids. I've told him to teach them end games, but not under any circumstances to play them, kibbitz hypercritically on their game, or try to make them feel small. I genuinely think he wants to help others enjoy the game, but not at the expense of his ego.

Anyway, to return to Bridge. My bridge playing experience was ruined by this kind of behaviour, and I think it highly unlikely I'll ever try again. Another benefit to chess is, I like to sit and read a game, playing it through on a travel set, looking at other lines etc. Is it possible to read a game of bridge in the same way? I never got good enough to know. A huge pleasure for me in chess is reading how others think, and learning from that. And that is something I gain at the local club, which has some very generous players, who don't look down on less experienced members. We have a highly rated player with some IM norms who knows how to teach kids, and doesn't seem to have an ego. (It has been suggested that if he developed an ego he might be a grandmaster!)

Maybe one day we'll find bridge clubs with that kind of generous atmosphere, and suddenly discover we love the game!

Rincewind
20-06-2006, 08:07 AM
Is it possible to read a game of bridge in the same way? I never got good enough to know.

It is. With bridge a big part of the game is the unknown lay of the cards. To convey this well it requires the author to describe one hand, the bidding, the lead, dummy's hand and then the play card by card, with pauses for the reader to reflect on what they would do under the same conditions. You can just look at four open hands and do a post mortem of the hand but this loses much of the excitement and the mystery of the unknown.

Some very enjoyable books on bridge are Bridge in the Menagerie and Unholy Tricks. They aimed for more for entertainment than education but in my opinion acheive both goals.

queenspawn
20-06-2006, 06:56 PM
Well then... Maybe I don't hate bridge, I just hate the way it has been presented to me. As I said, the reading of games is a great pleasure, and if bridge is amenable to this then maybe I'll get more out of it than I thought. My ex husband was a bridge player, and fairly impatient with my frailties. Maybe that jaundiced my view.

If I get an opportunity to try again, then I might have a go. I prefer the sound of the simplified "checkers" version though!

PHAT
20-06-2006, 07:06 PM
[Off topic post: are you now

"queens pawn"

or

"queen spawn"

I think there mnay be a credability gap ;) ]

queenspawn
20-06-2006, 07:10 PM
:lol: I hadn't thought of that! I also hadn't realised there was a qpawn on here when I picked my user name. Sorry for that.

WhiteElephant
23-06-2006, 12:29 PM
That's a great name, I had also been thinking of the possible meanings before Phat brought it up.

It could be: Queen's Pawn (as in servant to a queen)
Queen's Pawn (as in Isolated Queen's Pawn)
Queen spawn (offspring of a queen)
not to mention Queens' Pawn

Anyway, back to bridge.....

I have seen bridge puzzles in the papers, similar to chess problems, where you are invited to select the best continuation based on cards that you can see (as RW has described). I have always been curious about trying those but alas, my bridge knowledge is lacking. RW, is it possible to become a competent player through the study of bridge books and playing on the internet or do you really need practical face to face experience?

qpawn
23-06-2006, 01:23 PM
Practical face to face experience in Bridge is needed more than anything.

I downloaded a free bridge tutor program once. It gives you trial games against the bot and shows your errors/gives hints. I played with the program for 2 months before going to a bridge club and finding that I was clueless.

What irked me about the game was that other tables are waiting for you to finish your hand , so I felt guilty about being "bad" and "slow". I also found that most players were reluctant to let a beginner join it. I cannot conclude that bridge is a very social game at all if people want it to themselves.