Fred Strohm – Club Master
First I would like to thank Barbara Patterson from AMI Bridge club. I started taking lessons from Barbara back in July of 2016. At the end of her classes, Barbara gave all of us Audrey Grant’s book on “BIDDING.” A great book to get started on. Barbara’s guidance and good instructions along with the Bidding Book, have helped me improve playing bridge. The last time I played bridge was ~ 40 years ago and was nothing like duplicate bridge the way it is played at the ACBL level. In addition to Barbara Patterson’s guidance, I also purchased a few books written by Audrey Grant, Defense, Common Conventions, More Common Conventions and 2/1 Game Forcing. Reading these books and by playing often, I was able to put to use, knowledge from the books and the constant guidance from Barbara Patterson to continually improve my game.
The main lesson I learned from Barbara Patterson, “Learn the basics first.” Very profound words. There are so many conventions. With new players, it is easy to get confused and mixed up when you are still learning how to just bid the basics. I had a few partners try and teach me new conventions before I was ready. It was hard and very confusing. It hurt my game and things became frustrating. I stopped doing that, went back to the basics and started learning at my pace. This was beneficial because it helped me ease into the conventions I was ready to adopt into my play.
I started out playing with the 0 to 5 point “C” group the first couple months then moved on to the 0 to 20 “C” group for a few weeks before playing with the regular bridge players. This is where I had to utilize the training and constant guidance from Barbara Patterson and the members of the Bridge club. I did not have a regular partner, so it was quite hard learning and getting use to playing with the different members. I did find this very beneficial though. It helped strengthen my game and taught me to play with many different types of partners. Since there are so many conventions, I try to read through them and see what interests me. Then I will study on my own until I believe I am comfortable and ready to play that convention with other partners.
I am dedicated to improving my game and moving up the ladder and maybe some day getting to Life Master. I know it will take time and hard work. I put in anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week playing bridge. I find the game exhilarating and fun to play. I am fortunate that I have the opportunity where I can enjoy my hobby on a regular basis and it just happens to be BRIDGE.