Learn to Play Bridge with Audrey Grant's Better Bridge

For Fall 2021 I have two in-person classes scheduled through PCC Extension, and three dynamite online classes available from home.

Upcoming in-person classes

Class (Click for description) Schedule Dates
Bridge - Introduction1 Wed 7:15 - 9:15, five sessions Sept 15 - Oct 13
Bridge - Popular Conventions1 Wed 7:15 - 9:15, five sessions Oct 20 - Nov 17

Upcoming online classes

Class (Click for description) Schedule Dates
Bridge Basics Refresh Monday Evenings 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Sept. 13 - Oct. 25 (seven sessions)
Competitive Bidding Tuesday Evenings 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Sept. 14 - Oct. 26 (except 9/28)
2 Over 1 Game Force Sunday Afternoons 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 - Oct. 31 (except 10/10)

Each class is available for $110 excluding textbooks. See information here to enroll. See also important requirements for online bridge classes.

To be notified of new classes being scheduled, join our mailing list!

Archived Saturday Morning 15-minute mini lessons on declarer play and defense are available at this YouTube playlist.

1 Offered through PCC Extension and conducted in-person at Arcadia High School

Online Classes Sept.-Oct. 2021

Mojo teaching

This fall I plan to offer three valuable online bridge classes from Audrey Grant's Better Bridge.

See technical requirements below for online classes.

Sunday Afternoons - 2 Over 1 Game Force

Step up from Standard American to the bidding system most used by tournament players at all levels. One small tweak to S.A. makes it easier to discover how high and where to play your best contract. 2/1GF is especially helpful for finding slams that are difficult to find using Standard American.

  • Sunday afternoons, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • First class Sept. 19, last class October 31 (skipping Oct. 10) (six sessions)
  • $110 course fee
  • Required text 2 Over 1 Game Force by Grant and Rodwell

Weekly lessons:

  1. Introduction to Two-Over-One Game Force
  2. The Forcing 1NT Response
  3. Rebids by Opener and Responder
  4. The Choice between Game and Slam
  5. Practice hands
  6. Practice hands

Monday Evenings - Bridge Basics Refresh

How solid is your understand of Standard American bidding? Let's go back to Bridge 1 and take another look. In this class we'll revisit all of the fundamentals of the "constructive auction" in Standard American 5-card Majors, and revisit the most useful conventions to use over an opening notrump bid: Stayman and Jacoby Transfer Bids. Here's your chance to catch all those details you've already forgotten!

  • Monday evenings, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • First class Sept. 13, last class Oct. 25 (seven sessions)
  • $110 course fee
  • Recommended texts: Bridge 1 - Introduction and Bridge 3 - Popular Conventions

Weekly lessons:

  1. One notrump opening bids and responses
  2. Major suit opening bids and responses
  3. Minor suit opening bids and responses
  4. The Stayman Convention
  5. Jacoby Transfer Bids
  6. Strong opening bids

Tuesday Evenings - Competitive Bidding

This is the class to level-up your competitive bidding skills, especially for club and tournament players. Learn how and when you can interfere profitably with the opponents' bids. Preemptive bidding with long combined suit fits are a theme that runs throughout this course. Discover fit-showing cue bids. Learn how vulnerability affects the score table and your decisions at the table.

  • Tuesday evenings, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • First class Sept. 14, last class Oct. 26 (except Sept. 28) (six sessions)
  • $110 course fee
  • Require text: Bridge 2 - Competitive Bidding by Grant

Weekly lessons:

  1. Preemptive opening bids
  2. Simple Overcalls and Responses
  3. The Takeout Double
  4. The Competitive Auction
  5. Practice hands
  6. Practice hands

To enroll

To reserve a seat in class, simply send me a note telling which class you'd like to join.

I'll follow up with an invoice and a Zoom registration link for your personal class connection. I have many copies of the class textbooks available and am happy to deliver within 50 miles of Monrovia.

Important requirements for online classes

These classes are available from the comfort of your own home, using Zoom alongside a web browser connected to your personal bridge table. These are not lecture classes! You'll be expected to participate in live exercises and bridge play.

You will need a reliable high-speed broadband internet connection, and a modern laptop or desktop computer. Do not use a tablet computer for these classes. You'll want to have lots of screen space, and a good mouse and keyboard.

Your computer will need to have a microphone and camera connected and working with Zoom.

You will need to be comfortable running two or more applications on your computer simultaneously, switching between them, and adjusting their size and position on the screen as needed. If you are not totally familiar with this, please do not attempt to join these bridge classes. Computer technical support will not be available!

For examples of what it's like to join bridge class online, visit How to join bridge class and see the video appropriate for you.

Fall 2021 Learn to play in-person

Bridge class at Arcadia High School

Our last in-person bridge class from 2018!

PCC Extension is offering two bridge classes from Audrey Grant's acclaimed Better Bridge curriculum this fall.

All classes are offered on Wednesday evenings at 7:15 in person at Arcadia High School

Bridge — Introduction

This is the starting place! This class is designed for people who have never played bridge. You'll learn the mechanics and vocabulary of the game, and start on the journey to becoming a competent bridge player. You'll learn the basics of card play as declarer and defender, as well as the fundamentals of Standard American bidding to reach the best contract with your partner.

  • Five weekly sessions, Wednesday evenings 7:15 to 9:15 p.m.
  • First session: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
  • Course fee: $69 plus $12 material fee for the course book Bridge Basics 1 - An Introduction by Audrey Grant
  • Follow this link to register at PCC Extension

Bridge — Popular Conventions

These classes will give new bridge players a solid grounding in four of the most popular and most useful bidding conventions in modern bridge: Stayman, Jacoby Transfer Bids, strong artificial opening bids, and conventions to help you stay out of bad slam contracts.

  • Five weekly sessions, Tuesday evenings, 7:15 to 9:15 p.m.
  • First session: Tuesday, October 20, 2021
  • Course fee: $69 plus $12 material fee for the course book Bridge Basics 3 - Popular Conventions by Audrey Grant
  • Follow this link to register at PCC Extension

Tuesday Social Bridge Game with Lesson

A RealBridge table

RealBridge from the UK - see and hear your table mates while playing bridge!

While we have some Tuesday evenings free between PCC classes, let's get together for some relaxed bridge with a lesson following.

  • Five Tuesday evenings 7:15 - 9:15, March 23 - April 20.
  • 12 hands (about 90 minutes), followed by hand review and lesson by Mojo on Zoom
  • $9 for a single session, or $40 for all five
  • No director, no masterpoints, no pressure

Here's what you need to participate:

  • A reliable broadband internet connection
  • A Mac or Windows laptop or desktop with camera, speakers, and microphone
  • Alternatively: RealBridge is known to work with an iPad using Safari

Before joining the game, test your camera and microphone here on the RealBridge web site.

To sign up, contact Mojo. I'll invoice you for the games you want to play.

Play of the Hand Spring 2021

Dragon helps with all bridge classes

Dragon helps with most bridge classes.

Enjoy eight Sunday afternoons studying and practicing declarer play! Learn the timeless techniques experienced players use to develop extra tricks in trump and notrump contracts.

Here are the weekly topics:

  • Making a plan
  • Developing tricks - promotion and length
  • Developing tricks - the finesse
  • Eliminating losers - ruffing and discarding
  • Watching out for entries
  • Watching out for the opponents
  • Managing the trump suit
  • Putting it all together

This is an online interactive course using Zoom for class discussions, and a virtual bridge table where you will play actual hands and experiment with card play. Required for this course:

  • A reliable broadband internet connection
  • Strongly recommended: A Mac or Windows laptop or desktop computer
  • Alternative: A smartphone for Zoom, plus a tablet or laptop for the virtual bridge table
  • See this page to experience joining a bridge class online

The class is accompanied by the textbook Play of the Hand in the 21st Century. You may acquire the textbook:

Here is the schedule:

  • Eight Sunday afternoons, March 21 through May 9, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Course fee for Play of the Hand: $150 (textbook not included)

Included with the class, barring technical difficulties, is a full recording of each class, available for download or viewing, for personal use only!

 

Improving Your Judgment - Opening The Bidding

When we first learn to play bridge, we learn to count our high card points, add in distribution points. If the total is 13 or more, then we should open the bidding — that is, make the first bid in the auction at the 1 level.

Later when we start playing in formal or informal groups, we discover players opening 12 point hands, or even weaker! What's the deal?

There are indeed subtleties to deciding whether to open and what the opening bid should be. This course addresses those subtleties with effective guidelines and great practice deals that touch on all aspects of bridge.

This is an online, live, interactive bridge course. We will meet online using Zoom, and you will practice playing at a virtual bridge table with other students.

  • Six Sunday Afternoons, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., starting Feb. 7
  • $110 plus $12 for the course textbook Improving Your Judgment 1: Opening The Bidding by Audrey Grant
  • Enroll using the contact form here, specify that you want to join the Opening The Bidding course.

Here is a list of the weekly topics:

  • Opening at the one level in first and second position
  • Opening at the one level in third and fourth position
  • Obstructive opening bids
  • Strong opening bids
  • Practice hands
  • More practice hands

New Year's Eve Team Match

BridgeMojo NYE on RealBridge

How better to spend New Year's Eve than playing bridge online? I put out the call for a bridge game that would be just for fun -- no sanction, no director, no masterpoints. We would use RealBridge, the platform from the UK which integrates audio and video into the bridge table.

Many of us have been missing team games. It's my favorite format for duplicate bridge, and by far the best way to hold a game with an extreme range of bridge experience.

RealBridge does a beautiful job of team game support. They offer round-robin, swiss, and head-to-head (knockout) formats. Their one current failing is that an odd number of teams requires one team to sit out a round. Every round is played in a "barometer" style, with all teams playing the same boards at the same time -- which inherently limits the ability to support a three-team round-robin in a larger game.

I was confident that we might get enough players for six tables, and for a while thought we might have eight. A few players asked to join very late in the process. By New Year's Eve afternoon I had six tables and four extra standby players who might have been able to join.

When game time came around, it took a lot of extra time for a few players to get connected. One player was attempting to connect from Australia, and simply could not reach the RealBridge servers in the UK for some reason. Having a few players on standby meant we were able to have one of them fill in at the last minute.

One of the advantages of playing in teams of four is that it can accommodate players with huge differences in bridge experience. Most of my players had regular partners, but not established teammates. For nearly all of the teams I was able to match up a very experienced pair with a relative newcomer pair. Our players ranged from "learned to play this year" to Sapphire Life Masters.

I created a list of teams and set up six tables. As players logged in to the game, they were able to join their teammates at a table. The audio and video function was mostly seamless. Everyone was able to chat while we waited for the game to come together.

In dealing with connection and player issues, I had to rearrange one or two players. We were finally able to get started about ten minutes late, at 8:10 or so.

I had set up a round-robin team event so each team would play against each other team. We played five rounds of four boards each. Scoring is instantly available of course, and at the end of each round teammates would join up at their home table for a few minutes of postmortem.

This was a casual game, so the time on the clock was pretty relaxed. We finished up the game at about 11:00. What a great way to spend New Year's Eve at home!

ACBL Guest Memberships

Why should you get an ACBL player number?

The American Contract Bridge League supervises and sanctions clubs and tournaments throughout the U.S. and Canada. Membership is required for sectional and regional tournaments, and while not strictly necessary, it's helpful in club games as well (virtual online clubs included).

A guest membership is free, and your player number will be yours forever. Think of it much like a membership in the USGA for golf, where they can track your golf handicap.

Bridge players are not rated as they are in chess, or handicapped as in golf, but a collection of ACBL masterpoints is a reasonable measure of experience at playing and doing well in sanctioned bridge tournaments.

Guest memberships are only available to players who have never been an ACBL member.

Here's how to get your ACBL player number with a guest membership:

On the second page of the registration you'll be asked for your recruiter information. Here's what you enter on that page:

  • Recruiting club: <leave blank>
  • Recruiting Member: 8202249
  • Recruiting Member Name: Morris Jones

Bridge Defense Class Winter 2020

Mission control at BridgeMojo

 Now is the winter of our bridge defense!

Enjoy eight Sunday afternoons studying and practicing all of the best defense strategies used by expert players. Every hand is a new puzzle to solve with your partner. Here we study not just the common aphorisms of bridge defense ("second hand low, third hand high") but when it's right to break these rules based on the situation.

Here are the weekly topics:

  • Opening leads against notrump contracts
  • Opening leads against trump contracts
  • Third-hand play
  • Second-hand play
  • Defensive signals
  • Developing defensive tricks
  • Interfering with declarer
  • Making a plan

This is an online interactive course using Zoom for class discussions, and a virtual bridge table where you will play actual hands and experiment with card play. Required for this course:

  • A reliable broadband internet connection
  • Strongly recommended: A Mac or Windows laptop or desktop computer
  • Some experience using Zoom, and switching between applications
  • Alternative: A smartphone for Zoom, plus a tablet or laptop for the virtual bridge table
  • You must have a registered (free) account on Zoom, with an email address and Zoom name. (No account required for the virtual bridge table.)
  • See this page to experience joining a bridge class online.

The class is accompanied by the textbook Defense in the 21st Century from the ACBL Bridge Series. You may acquire the textbook:

Here is the schedule:

  • First class, Sunday, December 6, 2020, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Meeting every Sunday for eight Sundays, last class on January 24, 2021

To enroll send an email to mojo@bridgemojo.com or use the contact form here. I will invoice you for the course fee plus book (if required).

  • Course fee for Defense: $150 for eight sessions (textbook not included)

Included with the class (when possible) is a full recording of each class, available for download or viewing, for personal use only.

All Doubles! Short class

Improving Your Judgment — Doubles

Join us for this special four-session class that's all doubles! The double is the most versatile call in a competitive auction. This class will let you practice making doubles and advances in all sorts of competitive bidding situations.

Bring your favorite partner for these four interactive online sessions. Participation requires a reliable broadband internet connection and a good Mac or Windows laptop or desktop computer. (An iPad alone is possible but not recommended.)

We'll meet for four sessions over two weeks, Monday and Wednesday at 3:00. Space is strictly limited to 16 students!

  • Monday and Wednesday 3:00-4:30, November 16, 18, 23, and 25
  • Textbook Improving Your Judgment 2: Doubles by Audrey Grant ($10 from BridgeMojo)
  • Course fee $80

To join the class, send an email or contact Mojo through the web site.

Invitation to bridge newcomers

You've just discovered bridge, and can work your way through a hand! Now what?

All over the country, most of the face-to-face brick-and-mortar bridge clubs are closed right now, but that doesn't mean we're not holding games and tournaments! Bridge has moved online.

Right here we have a "virtual bridge club" that serves players in three local ACBL (American Contract Bridge League) units. It's the Pasadena Pomona Downey VBC. You might have noticed it elsewhere on this site.

Twice a week we have a bridge game for newcomers to bridge: Saturdays at 12:20 p.m., and Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. We play 12 hands, and the game lasts about an hour and a half. The games are held on Bridge Base Online (BBO). Each game has "card fees" of $5, deducted from your BBO account.

Our games are duplicate bridge games, where your score is compared with the other pairs holding the same cards. The games even award masterpoints if you place in the top 40% of your section -- not many, but a few! They're awarded in hundredths of a point. (BBO also has lots of free and casual bridge. It's a fine place to get together with a foursome of friends or strangers and just play bridge.)

We often have single players looking for someone to partner with, and it's the nicest bunch of folks you can imagine.

As I write this, the Wednesday game is running with four tables of players. Nearly all of the players are past or present students from my classes or other teacher's classes from last year.

Every Wednesday after the game, we get together on Zoom to laugh or cry over the bridge hands, and maybe enjoy an adult beverage together.

Does it sound interesting? You need three things to get into the game:

  • You need an ACBL player number (a free guest membership)
  • You need an account on Bridge Base Online https://www.bridgebase.com (also free, but ...)
  • You need a few dollars in your BBO BB$ account

It takes about three days for a new ACBL player number to propagate through to BBO, so this is something to get started a few days before your first game.

Here's how to get your ACBL player number with a guest membership:

On the second page of the registration you'll be asked for your recruiter information. Here's what you enter on that page:

  • Recruiting club: <leave blank>
  • Recruiting Member: 8202249
  • Recruiting Member Name: Morris Jones

Signing up for BBO is a lot less complicated. Make yourself a screen name there and off you go.

Once you've done that, drop me a note with your BBO ID (screen name) and your new ACBL player number. I'll add you to the email list for the newcomer games. When it's time to play, I can walk you through the steps to register for the game with your partner, then it's just a matter of playing cards!

Now say to yourself, "this is why I learned to play bridge." We're here to enjoy this great game together, and hang out with other intelligent, always interesting, often eccentric individuals.

We never know what will be in the next hand of cards, but it's guaranteed to be a hand we've never seen before. It's a great shared experience, and worth doing.