I’m a big advocate of using quick quizzes and practice drills as an easier way to learn bridge.
While memorization might help to get the initial information into the brain device humans use to think, it’s putting the same information into practical use that helps us to cement it. We remember things, because we regularly use them.
Let’s say you’re a fluent French-speaker. Now, let’s say that you don’t speak French for the next 20 years. You don’t read a French book. You don’t pick up a French newspaper. You don’t speak to other French individuals – and you all-but forget about the language.
How good would you be at speaking French at the end of that 20 year period?
Now change the topic. How good would you be at bridge?
Practicing and actively doing are important things.
Here are 4 great bridge drills for improving your ability at the table.
#1: Call That Convention
There are more bridge conventions out there than there are bad Hollywood remakes of originally great movies.
As part of learning bridge and gaining speed, choose a new bridge convention every week (or month) and make it part of your daily routine. It might be the convention that you never, ever use, but every new one learned is another that goes into the great data banks of your mind.
Feel free to turn different conventions into notes, flash cards, diagrams or whatever helps you to absorb the information easier.
#2: Just Declare
Just Declare was invented with a larger purpose in mind: quick, fast bridge play without the need to worry about bidding.
It’s a way to spot patterns, and a way to improve. It allows the player to think about the plays while the bidding is chosen at random.
Just Declare can get a player to be less nervous about their bidding but more confident about their play.
Daily or weekly JD games, simply, can help.
#3: Bridge Master
Away from Just Declare, you can also find Bridge Master live on BBO.
Bridge Master is a bidding-and-play instructor that guides every move made. What this means is that players are informed if they’ve made a move that doesn’t make sense in the game – or doesn’t lead to the winning of the deal at hand.
It’s a great guide, with several puzzles available for players of varying ability.
#4: Bridge Quizzes Everywhere
Remember how, in the beginning of this post, I mentioned how quizzes are great?
Well, you probably knew I was going here anyway, but here we are now. Quizzes are a great way to absorb trivia or more information about any topic – and usually, to test whether the right information from other resources have been absorbing enough.
Quizzes can be found right here on BBO (and elsewhere on the internet with a simple search), and they’re all designed to tickle your brain while teaching you something.