Feature Articles

Bridge articles by Mojo

Our first robot fill-in pair

Bonnie and Angela take on the robot pair.
Photo by Roy Wilson, April 2018
Roy's article on the Unit web site here

Last week was our first trial-run for having a pair of BBO (BridgeBase Online) robots fill a half-table at the BridgeMojo game.

What's wrong with having a sit-out?

Normally when the game has a half-table, on every round there's a pair who can't play. That pair has a 15-minute break. For the BridgeMojo game, that means seven pairs in the game will play twelve boards, and the rest will play fourteen.

To compensate for the difference, the total matchpoint score for those pairs is factored before comparing it with the other pairs in the game. Their final score is multiplied by 14/12 (7/6, 1.166). (Remember your fractions?) That brings every player up to a common baseline score.

ACBL Plastic Playing Cards

My desk with boards, cards, and the Playbridge Dealer4 machine.

Morris Jones
March 11, 2018

When I was deciding how to equip my bridge club, I took my cues from the ACBL North American Bridge Championships. As the pinnacle of tournament play, and heavy-duty supply usage, I had a strong bias toward their selections.

I purchased "Neo Classic" bidding boxes. (They take more space than the folding boxes, but are more durable.) I bought "Imperial-Plus" duplicate boards to use in a Dealer4 dealing machine, Cosco tables (the MECO tables are good too but have minor problems).

Guide to the Convention Card

Morris Jones
Feb. 11, 2018

At the Feb. 5 BridgeMojo postmortem I gave an overview of the standard Convention Card. The object was to show the various regions of the card and how it was laid out:

  • The right half covers constructive bidding (our side opens)
  • The left half upper two-thirds cover competitive bidding (their side opens)
  • The left half lower portion covers defensive signals and carding

Each of the major areas are divided with titles that explain themselves fairly well, for example:

  • Notrump openings and responses
  • Major suit openings and responses
  • Minor suit openings and responses
  • Two-level openings and responses

The competitive bidding section on the left isn't quite as organized as the constructive section, but then competitive bidding is messy too. :)

Bridge needs directors

Twelve tables in play at the BridgeMojo game

Morris Jones
25-Jan-2018

Directing is fascinating

When I first noticed bridge, of course the game was fascinating. The detail and the multi-level depth of the game continue to enthrall.

When I first started playing duplicate bridge and visiting tournaments, I found another fascination in the organization of the game itself — the movements of boards and players, the many ways of scoring that would shift the play strategy.

Early on I realized that I could play team games at home with nothing more than two or three tables of players, some score cards, and a few duplicate boards. My first directing was done at my house or others' houses exactly that way.

Web movements for 14-board games

Six board sets ready for a Festival game

by Morris "Mojo" Jones
14 January 2018

What is this Web movement?

Tournament players have mostly seen Web movements by now. For most larger events, at least one section in the game will be set up using this unfamiliar pattern of play.

In this case, I'm talking about the order of the boards and the players in a duplicate bridge game. The two most common movements in bridge, Mitchell and Howell, pre-date the game of bridge itself, and were used for duplicate whist tournaments.

In the 1970s, a director named John Harris, who went by the nickname of "Spider," invented a general movement that would have every player in the game playing the same group of boards. We call them Web movements in honor of Spider.

My evolving bridge mission

This has been a fast-moving week here at Sea Island with the Audrey Grant Bridge Festival. We've done some things that have never been done, and that has changed me, personally.

When I created my own bridge club this year (last year) I gave it a mission statement. Part of that mission was to embrace, enjoy, and share the game of bridge as it has evolved in 2018, rather than 1978.

Today's bridge is more technological, complex, and challenging. It's also more exciting, accessible, and social. Bridge is a more interesting game today than it was fifty years ago.

Bridge at its core has changed. Modern bidding is more precise, competitive, and playful than it was in 1978 -- even while the play of the hand remains timeless.

The world surrounding the core game has changed tremendously. Here are some of the things I have seen come into existence since I started playing bridge:

New Player Guide to the LA Regional, Dec. 2017

Regionals and Nationals are great places for new bridge players to play!

Seriously, newer bridge players are treated like royalty at the bigger tournaments. They usually have gifts and S.W.A.G. to give out. There are celebrity speakers every day. You get your own events and your own partnership desk. The Novice/Intermediate games at the NABCs are just about the only games that have trophies!

Imagine a ballroom full of players who are your peers, with lots of big games to choose from. The masterpoint awards are bigger, and these are the only place to get the coveted RED and GOLD masterpoints that you'll need to become a Life Master.

Nearly all tournaments have a tournament flier that features the events scheduled  for play. The flier for the LA Holiday Regional is at this link. I'll help decipher some of the shorthand below.