Beginners Bridge and (on-line) Improving.

Hi Folks
Having successfully organised our Beginners Courses for the last ten years or so, Barry and Les Leverett are “handing over the baton”. Both Bassingham Bridge Club and the participating beginners, owe a huge debt of gratitude to Barry and Les for all their hard work over the years. Thank you both! We are currently recruiting a small team of volunteers to take over and offer Beginners Bridge in The Hammond Hall on Wednesday evenings from January 2022 – Covid restrictions permitting. More details on this to follow – see the club website.
I know that many of you have embraced on-line Bridge over the past 18 Months or so. It is an excellent way to get plenty of practice in and can massively improve your game. For those of you who use BBO as your platform it may be worth having a look at The Friendly Online Bridge Club (just google it). This is a not for profit club that has been set up by a few enthusiasts in Lancashire. They offer improvers lessons, often using “Zoom”, friendly duplicate sessions and much more. Most of it is free initially but they do have a membership fee after a while.

If, like me, your preferred on-line platform is BridgeClubLive, their Coaching Corner is very useful and you can always get a game in their Social room.
If you would like more information about any of this – please just get in touch.

Bridgeclublive – Update

Hi Folks
The data centre fire that I mentioned in my last Blog has been “catastrophic”, affecting about 3.5 million websites including the European Space Agency, some French Government departments and, of course, Bridgeclublive (BCL). BCL personnel are working hard to restore their facility and have several rooms available to play on-line Bridge. However, the earliest full restoration date is likely to be Monday 22nd March. Sadly, this means that we will be unable to participate in the Charity Simultaneous Pairs event this evening.

Could I suggest/recommend that, instead, pairs give the Daily IMPs Tourney a go? I know that several of our pairs have used this room in the past and enjoyed the experience. The room opens at 7.45 pm, play starts at 8.00 pm. It is 16 boards so should be finished by 10.00 pm. 44 pairs played in there on Tuesday evening so it is popular. It operates in a very similar way to our usual on-line F2F sessions. There is automatic movement but you may have to wait occasionally between rounds for slower players. The results are published the following day so we will be able to see how we all got on!

If you prefer an earlier start time or you don’t want that competitive edge, you could always use the Social room which is up and running as usual. If you can find another pair, you can have a private table by clicking on options.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

BASSHM Bridge this evening

Bizarre as it may sound, I’m afraid that a severe fire at a Data Centre in Strasbourg, France, has put paid to our on-line Bridge this evening. The OVH Data Centre houses cloud servers for thousands of clients and Bridge Club Live is one of them!
Unless something miraculous happens in the next couple of hours, our usual duplicate session cannot run. However, for those of you still wanting your Bridge “fix”, the Social Room is functioning fine. You can set up private tables in the Social room so if you can find another pair ….. I suggest that you liaise with your partner on this.
All being well, BCL will be able to recover their servers and soon be back to normal. I will try to keep you posted. All the best. Andy

On the receiving end! and … Simultaneous Pairs

We had 6 tables in our BCL “virtual” clubroom last night. That is a good number because every pair plays every other pair and, despite 11 rounds and 10 moves, we were all finished (24 boards) by about 9.45, which is good going. Congratulations to the winning Pair, Dave and Sally Williams with 62%. As always, there were some fascinating boards. In the first 16 boards, no less than eight of them were potentially “slammable”. Whether or not they were “biddable” or “playable” is a different matter! You can see the results and the hands on the club website. Several pairs managed to make one of the slams but special mention must go to Pair 5, Liz Salmon and Sheila Henry, who managed to make three slams in the evening. They were the only pair to make slams on boards 3 and 14. I remember it well because Bill and I were on the receiving end – we got well and truly “slammed”!

Ecats are organising another charity Simultaneous Pairs event. This time in aid of Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie. It will be offered on BBO, BridgeClubLive and Realbridge over the week commencing Monday 15th March. Please see the EcatsBridge website for all the details and how to donate. We will be running this as part of our normal club night on Thursday 18th March. We had one or two pairs who performed very well in the Children in Need event (see November 13th blog) – hopefully we can do so again. Please try to support these worthy causes – as a general guide, something like £3 per player per session would be an appropriate donation but it’s not compulsory and any amount will be most gratefully received by the hard-working organisers. Incidentally, Heighington B.C. will be doing the same on the evening of Monday 15th March (don’t worry – it’s different hands each day!).

I’m sorry to report that Stuart Walker, a regular Tuesday afternoon member, has died recently. Anne Lanes has sent a condolence card on behalf of the club.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

News up-date

Hi Folks. I trust that you are all keeping safe and well. I know that most/many of you have now had your first vaccination and are looking forward to your second. Fingers crossed that we may be back in the Hammond Hall by late Spring/early Summer.

I’m sorry to report that Bill Holmes is poorly. He has had a stroke, is in hospital at the moment, and is waiting for an MRI scan which should be done tomorrow. Shirley says that he has improved slightly since he went in, he is cheerful and is having a joke with his nurses. He is keen to get back home! Bill – we all send you our very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

Thanks to all who wished me good luck in the recent BCL Individual final. I’m afraid that I came a rather distant but well-deserved second! Andy

Thank Goodness for on-line Bridge!

Hi Folks. I hope you are keeping safe and well. I know that many of you have had or are about to get your first jab so there is some light at the end of the tunnel. However, face-to-face Bridge is still some way off. I am aware that members are using BCL, BBO and Realbridge to get their “Bridge fix”. In fact, some are using all three!

We had seven tables on BCL last night and all had finished their 24 boards in just over two and half hours. Mind you, there was one board where everybody passed out! If you haven’t yet “dipped your toe in the water” it’s never too late. Have a look at previous blogs and/or give one of us a ring; we would be only too happy to talk you through the process of getting started.

A bit of sad news. Our more “mature” members may have known June Sleightholme who played at The Lincoln Eastgate Club. She passed away last weekend at the grand old age of 101. She was a lovely lady, a formidable Bridge player and was still playing Bridge as a centenarian.

In my last Blog, I mentioned that I had won through to the BCL Indy Knock-out final. It will be played within the normal Monday individual competition from 3.00 pm on Monday 8th February (see “Events” on the BCL homepage).

Finally, a slightly bizarre, personal, request. Does anyone who lives locally, have a couple of builders bulk bags I could beg/borrow? The sort of cube-shaped bags that bulk sand/gravel gets delivered in. I’ve got a Spring garden project planned and I could do with a couple of these to store topsoil in.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

Score adjustment (and a final).

Hi Folks

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that last night’s scores on the BCL Results page differ slightly to those on the club webpage. Unfortunately, we had a technical issue which resulted in some time lost. I therefore asked several pairs to pass out some boards. Subsequently those pass-out scores have been adjusted to 50%. The result is that positions 1 and 2 have been transposed. Barry and Les will be pleased about this, Bill and Shirley less so! Actually, having spoken to Shirley, I know that they are perfectly sanguine about it!

In my last Blog, I mentioned that I had won through to the BCL Individual Knock-out quarter final. I managed to narrowly win that match and I managed to win my semi-final also. I’m looking forward to the final which will be played next month sometime.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

Slams Galore!

Happy New Lockdown folks! Despite the seemingly relentless bombardment of sobering Covid statistics, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I know several members have already received their first vaccination. Nevertheless, it will be some time before face-to-face Bridge resumes and so on-line Bridge continues to entertain us.

There were slams galore in our weekly on-line duplicate event last night. The evening started (and finished) with a bang! Congratulations to David and Sally Williams who were the only pair to bid and make the optimum contract of 7 No Trumps on Board One. Most other pairs were in a small slam. Quite remarkably, the final board, Board 24, also saw one successful pair, Jean and Tony Tyler, make 7 No Trumps. Again, most other pairs made the small slam. Congratulations also to Peter Cole and Carolyn Morant who were the only pair to bid and make 3 small slams during the evening. In fact there were 4 different boards where slams were bid and made.

The pace of play at these sessions has improved considerably since we first started. I had finished by 9.20 pm last night and I think everyone had completed their 24 boards in two and half hours. Do please claim if there are several tricks left where the play is obvious, collectively it saves a lot of time. Remember, we always have a “Stand-by” Pair, so you are guaranteed to get a game. We needed one more pair for 9 tables last night. Also, the “find a partner” facility is still operating on the club website.

Our on-line Team of Four, David and Sally Williams together with Pat and Nigel Haslam, continue to perform very well in the on-line League. I note that they won their latest match by 20 VPs to nil. Victories don’t come much more emphatic than that!
Personally, I have entered the individual “Indy Knockout”. I will be playing in the quarter final on Wednesday (13th) at 3.00 pm. Feel free to spectate/kibitz if you like. The Daily individual competition is a slightly strange format that you might want try sometime.

Finally, congratulations to Bill Holmes who celebrates his 90th birthday this Sunday. We all wish you many happy returns Bill!
Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

Children in Need Simultaneous Pairs

We had 8 tables for the SIM pairs event last night. Massive congratulations to Fred and Jayne on an outstanding result. As I type, they are 10th out of a field of about 1000 pairs. This may change slightly as there are still more results to be submitted. Pat and Nigel Haslam had (another) excellent night also.
For those of you who took part (or even if you didn’t!) check out the Ecat’s website. You can see how much each participating club has raised (click “Details” below the running total). There may be a day or two time lag as the organisers process all the donations. From Results, scroll down to Thursday 12th and you get a lot of useful information, hand records, analysis, etc. There’s a video contribution from Andrew Robson as he analyses one of the boards – Board 4 last night, I think.
Over the years, Ecat have raised over £1 million for Children in Need with their simultaneous pairs events. I think they were a bit worried about fund-raising this year, but on-line Bridge has come up trumps!
Could I make just one organisational point about our on-line sessions? As you know, BASSHM (and HEIGHN) have arranged to have standby pairs so that no pair is disappointed on the evening. However, this does rely on members being seated quite promptly. The room opens at 6.45 pm. Please be seated by 6.50 pm. The standby pair will enter the room at 6.55 pm if they are needed, ready for the start at 7.00 pm.
Our on-line sessions seem to have settled down well. We are regularly getting between 7 and 9 tables. As winter approaches, this may increase slightly.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

Locked down again!

I trust this Blog finds you all in good health and managing to keep your spirits up. How are you getting on with Barry’s cryptic quiz and/or lockdown anecdote?

On-line Bridge goes from strength to strength and several providers, including BBO, BCL and Real Bridge are experimenting with audio and/or video capability at the on-line Bridge table. This could be particularly useful for teaching/learning/improving.

Talking about improving. For those (currently 49 of you) using BridgeClubLive, how much use do you and your partner make of the results? It is probably the single most beneficial way to improve your game. All the best players review their results, with their partner, as a matter of course. It’s not a matter of blame or fault, just a process of continuous improvement. In case you haven’t figured out how to use your results in this way, here’s a quick step-by-step guide.

From the home page, follow your usual route for a Thursday (BASSHM) or Monday (HEIGHN) evening. Members – Clubs – Enter your Club. Then scroll down to “Results & Info”. Click on “See ALL Club Results”. Choose your date/session e.g. BASSHM 4-A-3. This is where it gets interesting. Click on your pair, choose a board and click on “Play”. You are now in a very useful teaching/learning environment called “Bridge Solver Online”. You can review how the bidding/play/defence went. You can see the optimum contract, you can see what other pairs bid, what effect a different lead had and much, much more. Warning – using this facility could seriously improve your (Partnership’s) scores!

How many of you have tried playing in the daily individual tourney? Low key, friendly Bridge and ideal if you don’t have a partner. You play 18 boards, 3 boards each with 6 different partners. It usually takes a couple of hours. The only slight difficulty is quickly agreeing a bidding system with each partner – it pays to be flexible. These tourneys are at different times each day – check the “What’s On” on the homepage.

Although our F2F sessions next week (Monday 9th and Thursday 12th) will operate exactly as they always do, they will also be part of a national simultaneous pairs event in aid of Children in Need. As you know, Bassingham Bridge Club has a distinguished record in raising money for worthy causes and this is an opportunity for us to continue this tradition. All we would ask is that members who participate, make a small, personal, donation to the Children in Need Appeal. Please check the BCL website for more details.

Finally, a couple of reminders. It’s useful if you are registered to the appropriate club for the appropriate evening. So, if you play both Thursdays and Mondays please remember to switch your allegiance. Also, the “find a partner” facility is up and running on the Bassingham Bridge Club website. Do please use it. If you haven’t yet “dipped your toe in the water” with on-line Bridge and want to give it a try, do get in touch. There are lots of members who will be more than happy to help. Stay safe and stay sane. Andy