Two Over One at Queensland Contract Bridge Club

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Most of the teachers who attended Saturday's Teacher Training Program stayed on for the second day to complete one of four Continuing Professional Development Days offered by the Australian Bridge Federation.  CPD Days are more content-based than “how to", although the methods used are always the same, following the STEAM principles. 

There’s no need for players or teachers to feel that 2/1 is hard, or that it means learning a totally new system. The best way to present it is to show where it “fixes” weak parts of Standard, and what the benefits are.

Even beginners are able to learn 2/1, so let’s embrace it! 

Teacher Training at QCBC

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Four tables of teachers or teachers-to-be gathered at QCBC in Brisbane for the first day of the Education programme that has been running in Queensland for 10+ years. The Teacher Training Program Day is mandatory for any teachers looking to obtain their ABF Teacher Accreditation.

Some had done the course (Methodology of Teaching - how to teach) before, but they commented that they picked up different things this time around. In fact, the first time you complete the Teacher Training Program, you’re likely to not absorb it all, as there’s a lot of ground covered in the STEAM principles. That’s S = Student Safety, T = Timing, E = Energy, A =Attitude, M = Materials and Methods. These are proven successful areas to focus to improve teaching. 

Teachers hailed from Mt Tamborine, Kenmore, Arana, Tableland, Dalby, Hervey Bay, Sunnybank, QCBC, Toowoomba, Toowong and Redlands. 

2/1 Game Forcing in Glen Innes

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What a fun group gathered at the lovely Town & Country Club (home of the Glen Bridge Club) for an ABF Continuing Professional Development Day, an Introduction to two over One Game Forcing! 

We had teachers from Inverell, Tenterfield as well as Glen Innes.

Most of the country players and teaching team were not familiar with this system, but they gave it their all, and at the end of the day were keen to take it on board. 

The beautiful roses all around, combined with the food, and the lovely country atmosphere really made the day a pleasure. After seven hours of work, neither the players nor the roses were showing signs of wilting.

Thanks to Sandra McBain, ABF Accredited teacher for organising such a lovely experience. I was delighted to receive the following feedback from Sandra after the event!

Today our club was abuzz with everyone trying 2/1. I had lots of queries and they had lots of laughs," she said. 
"I’m so pleased they took it and ran with it. One of them said that what impressed her most was is that the ABF is trying to bring them into the 21st century and helping them improve their game.”

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Modern Bidding at VBA

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It was a small but “select” group of teachers at the VBA on Saturday, November 11. Christopher Leach’s presence was most welcome, and the off the cuff involvement of the new VBA Manager, ex-teacher and bridge player, Andrew McCready Bryan was really stimulating too.

The topic for this Continuing Professional Development Day was Modern Competitive Bidding Methods. The group covered a whole lot of ground, but mainly the workshop focused on emphasising how important it is to develop your own judgements about hands, and that sometimes it pays to bid a whole lot with a little, and at other times, the very opposite! 


Of course the hard bit is to recognise when to do what! 

Some of the teachers had done this course before, but it was so good to hear that they’ve picked up new things the second time around. It was also great to see newly accredited teacher Stella Hammond, who showed me her smart new business card which advertises her ABF Teacher Accreditation status.

Two Over One at Coffs Harbour

Phil & Bambi Houlton, along with president Helen Blewitt, invited me to do a follow up day on Two Over One Game Force at Coffs Harbour Bridge Club, on Sunday, October 29. 

The club sponsored the day, and as usual, the atmosphere was great. The club is built high up in the trees and has a lovely outlook.

The catering was good too, and I was so pleased to see a variety of ages and experiences coming along to learn something new!

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Two over One (2/1) is the system to play, as it makes the less effective parts of Standard a lot easier and much clearer.

I’m hoping the players will persevere with 2/1. I know Phil & Bambi will be there to deal with any queries. Whenever one learns something new, one must expect to make some mistakes while perfecting things. So, keep it up!    

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Entries at Toowong

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The topic of Entries is a fascinating one, and there were young and old players at Toowong Bridge Club on Saturday, October 28 to hear about how to cross from one hand to the other.

ABF Accredited teacher Sue Eix is always helping in the wings, and with Margaret Prentice, they organise the teaching programme so well at this club. 

I was thrilled to have some newer keen players there too. They are on their way to becoming champs I think! 

Doubling up at Peninsula

How exciting to walk into my favourite club in Sydney to see a record number of players coming along for a lesson on Doubles! A number of them are on the Online School of Bridge too, so I was able to meet some new Gold members! A double thrill.

Talking about Doubles at Peninsula Bridge Club.

Talking about Doubles at Peninsula Bridge Club.

Susan Jensen had done a marvellous job of organising the afternoon, and followed it up with a delicious spread at hers before we went back for the Swiss Pairs that night. 

I talked to the evening group about the power of preempts, and they certainly took it on board, unleashing some beauties! I really enjoyed playing with David Farmer, who is another tireless worker for the club.

Workshop attendee Terry Herfort wrote a lovely report about the session - including his key takeaways from the workshop. 

"Once Joan gauged the standard of her audience - which were mainly novices and intermediate players - she pitched her presentation solely to takeout doubles," Terry wrote.  

"In my observation of playing bridge over the last eighteen months, the takeout double is underutilised. 

"Joan confirmed this and explained that a takeout double is a very valuable bid to have in your armoury, especially when your pesky opposition open the bidding and you have an opening hand with shortage in their suit.

"So in summary, a most worthwhile session, and excellent value for the $12 outlay. I look forward to Joan's next workshop." 

You can read Terry's full report, including his key points on the Peninsula Bridge Club website

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Peninsula Bridge Club on Sydney’s Northern beaches has boomed over the past five years, so that they are now the fourth largest club in NSW. Their president and teaching team work so well with the players that it’s no surprise to hear this. 

Thanks for having me again Peninsula!

Playing in paradise: Our bridge holiday in Fiji

Our bridge holiday to the InterContinental Fiji in September made me feel that I was either  IN paradise for a week, or at least on the set of "South Pacific", or “Death In Paradise” (sans the death!)


There were nine players, Ann Roberts, Marg Lockyer, and Val Curry from Brisbane, Carol Borella from Deniliquin, Jo Prime from Geelong, Marg Cole and Mary Raftery from the Kiama area, and Ann Caulfield from Melbourne, so we played teams every day, after two lessons with me.    


The (almost) one-on-one set up gave me a good chance to answer extra questions and check what everyone was up to with their bridge.

Ann Roberts, leading player from the club in Brisbane, was a huge help, as she’d grown up in Fiji. She recounted interesting stories of times past (often to the accompaniment of Fijian drummers) when we met for a drink after our lessons and games. 


The Fijians are the gentlest and most friendly race one could imagine, always smiling, and the service we received was second to none. We were greeted with “Bula” everywhere we went.

So at the end of the week I think everyone would agree that we were feeling better as a result of our stay. 

So, "Vinaka Vakalevu" to you Fiji, and to Fay from Travel Phase for finding this perfect spot for us to play!


Byron at Byron Holiday

Byron at Byron Holiday

60 keen bridge players enjoyed four days of bridge lessons and games at the five star Byron at Byron Resort.  The only problem - it's over! Everyone seemed to have a great time. Hopefully the bridge programme gave you some new ideas about all three aspects of the game - bidding, play and defence.  The resort offered sensational service, always with a smile. Thank you for coming and making it an unforgettable few days.

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Melbourne Bridge Holiday 2017

We all gathered at the Langham for the 2017 Melbourne bridge holiday… Mardi & Anne had driven across from Mt Gambier, SA, Walter & Hilary were over from Rockingham, WA, and a number of Brisbane regulars came down to enjoy that special Langham atmosphere!  How good it was to be back!

The elegant surroundings were matched only by the wonderful service we received. Gorgeous floral arrangements were everywhere, complimenting the paintings and décor. The food was terrific, from the breakfasts to the dinners.

The day group from Melbourne who joined in played in various clubs in the city. Some knew each other, some didn’t, but it didn’t really matter because we were all there to make the most of our three days. And they certainly know each other now!

The morning lessons covered bidding (three lessons) play (two) and defence (one), and I covered some new topics, ie Five Steps to Overcome Entry Problems (based on a new book by Audrey Grant), and Support Doubles and Redoubles. Also revisited some important areas of bidding, 2/1 Game Force, which I noticed more people were keen to play this time. Way to go!

The results of the games are up on my website, and masterpoints will be given for the place getters. Some “stars” were Jacqui Fardoulys & Yolanda Coroneo, John Burt & Janice Little, and Ronnie Kennedy and Catherine Armstrong.  They placed consistently. Congrats to them, and also to everyone who tried! We can’t all win. 

Our rather glamorous dinner on Saturday night was held in a private room, and we sat around an ornate wood dining table telling various stories and getting to know each other better! Because it was the Moomba Festival in Melbourne we also had fireworks to watch, which every night exploded into the sky above the Yarra.

Too soon it was time to go, but a number of people are planning to meet up for the next bridge holiday in Byron Bay, and then Sydney and finally Fiji!