How to tell: tracking your progress

If you’ve been playing bridge for a while (or sometimes for decades), there comes a point where you don’t feel quite sure how your progress is going right now.

It’s a learning curve thing: when you’ve grown used to certain habits and techniques, it becomes hard to tell if you’re actually getting any better at playing.

“Am I improving at bridge? How can I tell?”

It’s a surprisingly common question for newcomers.

I remember thinking the same at the start of learning things like guitar (and also learning bridge).

Not sure where your progress is at right now? Here’s how to track your progress at bridge to make sure you’re actually getting better.

1. Spreadsheets (of wins/losses)

Keep a spreadsheet (or for straight word processor users, a table) that lists your wins versus losses for a certain time period. It’s a simple method, but I’ll start by saying that it helps.

Video games track often achievements and progress (like hours, side quests, or wins) – but there’s no reason the player cannot keep track of essential games themselves.

With a right-click, it’s easy to turn a spreadsheet or table into a graph.

Over time, have you won more, or lost more?

Decide your strategy to improve from there.

2. Saved games (from BBO)

Thanks to computational bridge, it’s possible to save and download boards in the form of PBN (Portable Bridge Notation) or LIN files.

BBO supports the use of PBN/LIN files: it’s recommended that learning players create a collection of their previous games – and download or share games with others.

As a learning technique, replaying your previous games (and building your game library) allows you to play again, but better.

You’ll always know a little more than the last time you saw the same boards.

3. Lesson exercises (& their score)

Exercises can be found on many bridge sites including bridgehands.com and rpbridge.net.

As a progressing bridge player, it’s always a good idea to stick close to exercises when you want to track your progress.

Score your exercises when you’re done, and return to them again after some time.

Are you doing better at bridge?

Exercises are an excellent way to find out!

Which ways have you used to track your progress at the bridge table?