As I look back, outside of a stint at a local adult education class in the 60s, first time I ever got concerned about how I played bridge began in the 80s. It was that move to New Hampshire and possibly playing with new people. I bought some books and did some reading and study on my own. You can learn a bit that way even if pursued hit and miss as I did.
I also attended real bridge group lessons for the first time in New Hampshire in the 80s, taught by two women who definitely had duplicate bridge in mind. Friend Nancy and me finally agree to attend a couple of duplicate bridge sessions. That was enough. For one thing Nancy was an avid smoker and couldn’t stand the wait between games until she could go outside for a smoke. Hence, although she was a far better player than me, the whole thing made her more nervous and uncomfortable than me.
But those lessons did get me started on a habit that persists until today. Dealing out a bridge hand or two as part of pre-supper drink ritual and playing all four hands–pretending I haven’t seen all four as much as I can. Of course Cable-TV is also on (I’m a political junkie) and I have no system for re-doing the hand a second time to see what I did wrong if I don’t make the contract. Nevertheless, it is illuminating to do this. Far more instructive than trying to remember lists of rules.
It was my version of how those two women ran their bridge lessons in New Hampshire. We dealt out hands, bid, opening lead was made and then we played the hand with all hands exposed and in-put from instructors as requested.
And, of course, they insisted one put the played card in front of each player, duplicate style, so we could re-play the hand. Problem is, I just can’t remember what’s been played that way — something about gathering up all four in one’s hand I need in order to remember.
At 93, I really should start adding that duplicate-style technique to my nightly deal-outs — it’s now or never!