November 25, 2014
in my campaign for a bridge renaissance beyond ACBL’s duplicate world. What’s Simple Goren? Here’s that story in its creator’s own words—Paul Mitchell of Charlotte NC:
“I got involved in co-ordinating bridge (I don’t teach, as I believe teachers are held to a greater standard) a few years before retirement. I wanted something to keep my mind busy and socialize with others. I tried some of the bridge clubs and duplicate (I played duplicate in the early 1960’s) and found that most people were too serious for me.
“I looked for others to play ‘fun’ bridge with and everywhere I turned, the people I met wanted to play bridge ‘again’ (they had played in the 50’s and 60’s) but were not comfortable with the complexity of the newer bidding systems. So I drew upon what I had done while in school (taught bridge to college students) and focused on simple fundamentals. Out of that experience, I took only six suggestions that Charles Goren started in the 50’s.
“By using these 6 suggestions, I started explaining a simple system for bidding (Simple Goren) to people who wanted to play bridge for ‘fun’ and not be consumed by all the new rules. That way people who had played bridge (or even cards) before could easily begin playing again and depend on their logic for the rest of the play. . . . some venture into duplicate . . . . They usually morph into a bidding system that is a combination Simple Goren and ACBL . . .”
I asked if Paul would write a guest blog about those 6 Goren suggestions (better yet publish an E-book)? He says he’s a retired engineer— therefore can’t write, despite above evidence he can [all I did was change one “that” to “who”].
In both my book and blogging on bridge I have tended to give more credit to Ely Culbertson than Charles Goren for the bridge world of the 50s and 60s I enjoyed. Certainly, at the beginning when contract bridge was first “invented” it was Ely who turned it into a raging fad. Ely was the innovator who kind of hijacked the game from the bridge establishment and targeted all those old ladies already playing auction to convert to contract bridge. Goren then did somewhat the same to market his system.
I have tended, however, to under-appreciate the role Goren’s system played in making bridge a 50s pop culture icon. Goren was the innovator when it comes to creating a populist system for playing bridge. By the 50s, the Culbertson system had been trumped by Goren.
So here’s an appropriate new mantra to bring back the glory days of bridge by emulating what they did back then–given that what’s being done now to promote bridge isn’t hugely successful.
“For a bridge renaissance–promote like Culbertson & teach Simple Goren”
This blog is reaching my self-imp0sed limit of 500 words . . . Paul Mitchell and his Simple Goren, to be continued in a second blog.