Teaching Adult Beginners

      4 Comments on Teaching Adult Beginners

I spent ten years in the 1990s teaching two or three club series a year (now called the ACBL Bridge Series) to adults in NYC (Greenwich Village) and really enjoyed it.  I did it as a ten lesson series, stretching the first lesson into two lessons to add more play time and including point count at the end of the new second lesson. I also took lesson five, finesses and opener’s rebids, and made it into two lessons. First I did opener’s rebids using the hands from lesson two in the diamond series. Then the following week, a bidding review, followed by finesses using the lesson five club series hands. Most adults find finesses very difficult so we needed to spend a lot of time on it.

In the early 2000s, I focused on teaching school-age children. Now that I have been working with kids, I think I would use some of the material from the Schools Bridge Manual with adults. Perhaps do a 12 lesson series with the first three or four lessons  (depending on the crowd) just playing cards using MiniBridge and BridgeIt. The last lesson could be a supervised play or competition or even teach them Stayman and refresh Notrump bidding.

Has anyone used the schools materials with adults? Any tips? Over the years a number of people have written me that they have used it for seniors.

And if you have never taken the ACBL teacher training (TAP) or Audrey Grant teacher training, do at least one if not both.



4 thoughts on “Teaching Adult Beginners

  1. maggy simony

    I have a Google Alert for “play bridge” finding content for my bridge blog, Bridge Table Chronicles. That’s how I first heard of Mini Bridge and of its use as part of Bridge in Schools. I no sooner had downloaded a Mini Bridge pamphlet from some website I came across in England than a foursome, here at the condo where I live, asked me if I could get them started in bridge. Had they asked me a few days earlier I would have said “Absolutely not!”

    Just that simple thing of adding up one’s points and highest total plays the hand–no bidding!!–was enough for me to say yes I could–but only just get them started. Once back up north they needed to take a computer course or find a teacher. I saw the downloadable student work sheets offered, but figured that wouldn’t go over with a bunch of adults.

    After 3 days they wanted me to teach them to bid–“You’re not ready for that,” I said.

    You know the thing they kept questioning? “Book”–that 2 clubs meant getting 8 tricks confounded them.

    Is there any sensible explanation of “book?”

    I finally told them to stop asking! “That’s just the way it is. The first 6 tricks don’t count.”

  2. Kitty Cooper Post author

    Maggy this is what I wrote in the schools teachers manual on “book” and it has always worked for me as an explanation:

    “The declaring side must take more than half of the tricks to score. Thus only the tricks won after the first six count for their score. These first six tricks are known as the book in Bridge terminology.”

  3. David C. Warlick, CPA

    I know I am two months too late to reach the late Queen of the Bridge Table. The explanation about more than half the tricks is correct. In the early 20th Century, these first six tricks were Even Tricks while the next seven were the Odd Tricks. A contract would require something like 1 odd or 4 odd or perhaps 7 odd with a powerhouse. Now we have dropped the “Odd”. Here is the first reference to “odd” that I can find quickly, on page 31 of “The Official System of Contract Bridge” (1931, by Wilbur Whitehead, et al.): “The minimum for an opening bid of one is … 7, or one ‘odd’ trick.”


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