These days, young people expect to learn new skills online, for free. So how do we introduce a new generation to the joys of bridge? The most exciting initiative for a long time is the New Tricks Bridge Club, whose aim is to propel the game back into the modern age through the internet. The team behind New Tricks has produced a series of excellent YouTube videos, from tutorials for beginners to ‘tournament masterclasses’ featuring world-class stars like Zia Mahmood and Dennis Bilde.
I recently watched the first of these (www.newtricksbridge.club), and was immediately hooked. The players talk us through their thinking — always fascinating — but what was so refreshing was that, far from acting like infallible masters, they readily admitted to their mistakes. On one deal, for instance, Dennis Bilde misbid because he’d missorted his hand (‘it happens’). On another, David Gold found a less-than-perfect defence, for which he laughingly blamed ‘early morning nerves’, and Marion Michielsen made an unlucky guess, for which she was ‘mad’ at herself (see diagram).
David (South) led the ♥10. Marion (East) had 4 tricks in hearts and spades, and needed either 5 clubs, or 4 clubs and a diamond. She won in hand and led a club to the ♣K. North (Andrew Robson) ducked. Marion played a diamond to her ♦K, and David also ducked. Mistake, as it happens: had he won and played another heart to cut Marion off from dummy, she’d have had no chance. Marion led another club, and now came the crucial decision: whether to play the ♣10 or the ♣Q. She chose the ♣Q — bad luck! Andrew won, returned a heart, and Marion ended up going three down.