Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Mearns Castle High School Bridge Club

I just spend ten weeks as a Student Teacher in a very good school in Glasgow. It was such a good school I thought a Bridge Club might work.

There were about 10-15 children each time, mostly Second Year girls who kept the club going even when I was away for a couple of weeks. The kids were fantastic, very eager and competitive and lots of fun. Sadly, I'm not sure if it will continue any more without me, as we didn't get very far learning bridge. Think a lot of the appeal might also have been me making lots of cakes.

I made some handouts to try and leave some sort of legacy, and also gave a couple of presentations in classrooms. Here's my super dense "bridge-in-one-page" handout.

(See it bigger here

For the final week I tried to move things along a bit, by gathering everyone around one table, and talking through a hand. We focused on remembering how many trumps were left, and I tried to demonstrate a couple of finesses. It was a bit shambolic as the defenders kept trying to play their high cards out of turn, making it obvious whether or not the finesse would work.

Here's the whole hand, which I set up in advance. I do this more or less every week, as we don't have long and otherwise the children spend too much time shuffling and sorting cards.

S deal
♠ K 9 8 3
♥ 6 5
♦ A Q 9 5
♣ 8 7 2
♠ Q 6
♥ Q J T 7
♦ J 4
♣ Q J 6 3
♠ J T
♥ 9 8 3
♦ K T 8 7 3
♣ A T 9 5 4
♠ A 7 5 4 2
♥ A K 4 2
♦ 6 2
♣ K 5

With me egging them on we got to 4♠. "That's ten tricks!" someone pointed out.

I hoped the hand would demonstrate lots of good principles. How do you think it should go, after West is encouraged to make the ♥Q lead?

I lead the declarer through it. We drew two rounds of trumps, and then I asked how many trumps the defenders have left. We worked out that they were all out now. Then we took a Diamond finesse (which lost), and a club finesse (which won). So we only had two losers. At this point I said that declarer should take all of the rest of the tricks for 4♠+1, and left Holly to bring it home. Not sure if she did, I wandered off to help shuffle for a bunch of boys who'd never played before.

I hope a few of the kids will come back to bridge years later, and I have increased the amount of bridge playing in the world.

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