Want to learn to play bridge or improve your game? Opportunities coming to Downtown Memphis

(This is my second post of the day. Scroll down if you’re here for my Wednesday Update news post)

Have you ever thought about learning a game your grandparents may have played, duplicate contract bridge? Or, do you already know how to play and are interested in improving your game? Well, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to do that in Downtown Memphis toward the end of March.

Many of you know that I used to work for the company that sanctions the card game bridge. That company sanctions three national tournaments per year, one each in the spring, summer, and fall, and the spring national tournament is coming to Memphis, at the Cook Convention Center Downtown, March 21-31. Although the main focus of these events, called NABCs, is on top-level players competing to win prestigious titles, they also offer plenty for new, novice, and intermediate players. I want to spotlight some opportunities you will have there to learn and improve.

  • There will be free two-hour lessons Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 at 10 AM. This will be followed by BridgePlus+, where you play a limited number of hands to practice what you learned. There is no card fee for BridgePlus+.
  • Learn Bridge in a Day, the afternoon of Saturday, March 23, is a seminar that does what it says – it will have you comfortable playing the game and understanding the basics by the end of the day. There is a fee for this course. Register here. The teacher, Patty Tucker, is considered one of the very best teachers in North America.
  • Notrump in a Day, the successor to Learn Bridge in a Day, is the afternoon of Sunday, March 24, also taught by Patty Tucker. Bridge contracts played without a trump suit have to be played a little differently than contracts where there is one. This course will teach you how. There is a fee for this class as well. Register here. These courses have been around for several years and feedback from students who attended has been excellent.
  • Celebrity speakers almost every day. Unless the times have changed I believe these are at 9:15 AM and 6:45 PM. The speakers are some of the best bridge teachers out there, and they will discuss various strategies for those at the newcomer and intermediate levels to improve their game. If you gave specific questions about your game, by all means find out if Jerry Helms is doing his “Ask Jerry” seminar.
  • Pop-up bridge bookstore at the Convention Center. Plenty of books and other materials to take your game to a higher level no matter where you are on the learning curve.
  • Newcomers play free Friday, March 22. A newcomer is someone with no more than 5 masterpoints, the measure of success in the bridge world.
  • 0-5 newcomer games every day, although there’s a card fee on days other than the 22nd.
  • Half-off special: Those with 100 masterpoints are less can buy an entry to a game March 22-24 and receive a half-priced entry to a game March 29-31.
  • Partnership desk: You need a partner to play bridge, but if you don’t have one, no problem. Just come about an hour early and they’ll find a partner for you.
  • Hand records are available for most games. These allow you to go back over the hands you played and think about how you might have played them differently/better.
  • If you’re 25 or  younger, inquire about a junior membership to the league for only 5 bucks. That’ll get you the right to have your masterpoints recorded for an entire year, and you also will get online access to the league’s highly acclaimed monthly magazine, The Bridge Bulletin – not only the current month issue, but back issues to at least 2005 and they may have added more.

In case you’re wondering how I know so much about these events, I sat cat-a-corner to the Education Manager in cubicle land. Although I’m not with the bridge league anymore, I still encourage anyone who’s interested in learning a highly addictive mind game to give bridge a try.

Back tomorrow with more news.