Bridge is booming in Kiama

Did you know that bridge has been played in the NSW south coast town Kiama since 1940?  It’s morphed from rubber to duplicate bridge, and been held in various hotels and other venues over the years.  Not only has it survived, it’s now booming!  The club has easily paid off the loan for its own premises, and when I visited in February, it had just installed the most comfortable black leather chairs I’ve seen in ages.  You’d want to be there just to sit in them, let alone play bridge! 

All modern technology has been brought in, and the club librarian takes on the responsibility of ensuring the library content reflects modern bridge theory. Kiama’s accredited teacher, Ann Blue, utilises my services as ABF National Teaching Co-ordinator to provide annual training. This provides professional development for members, teachers and would be teachers.

Ann’s modern approach to teaching and her ability to really look after new players has meant a big increase in members, now around 220. She takes the classes and then moves them over to Nerelle Kelly who continues with structured Help with Play sessions.

I was very pleasantly surprised that more than 30 teachers and would be educators turned up in February for the first Continuing Professional Development Day for 2017, on the brand new topic of Two over One Game Forcing. They represented a number of clubs, Peninsula (Sydney), Illawarra, Charlestown, Toronto, Bowral, Brisbane Water, Nowra, Parramatta, Southern Highlands, and Kiama of course.

I wasn’t sure how this would be received, as there is often a natural reluctance to taking something new onboard, but the very opposite happened. I was surrounded by some of the most enthusiastic teachers you could imagine, and they embraced the ideas contained in the course. When teachers present 2/1 NOT as a whole new system, but simply as a way to fix the weaker parts of Standard, then students will understand, and not panic!

The hardest concept is what used to be called the Forcing 1NT, which has been around for many years, and existed well before 2/1. These days, though, it’s easier to explain to students that the 1NT response as part of 2/1 is expanded to contain 10, 11, or even some 12 point hands (so it’s explained as 6 – 12), and is not 100% forcing at all.

I always thought it was a pity when playing the FORCING 1NT that you could never play in 1NT (as an unpassed hand), because sometimes (especially in pairs) 1NT is a great spot and scores well!  So as always, opener should try to show their shape after responder bids 1NT, but if they’ve opened a weakish 5332 hand, and partner responds 1NT, they MAY pass.

It’s always made sense that an opening hand with two suits opposite a 1NT response will probably play better in a suit contract, either one of opener’s, or responder’s if they have a single suited hand.

I’m planning to offer a number of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Days for teachers in 2017, and Two over One Game Forcing is the latest of the topics. There are now three from which to choose – for teachers after completing a Teacher Training Programme (TTP).  

  1. Modern Competitive Bidding
  2. All About Defence
  3. Two over One Game Force

    See the ABF website for details and/or contact me at