The Raleigh Bridge Club's mission is Making Bridge Competition More Fun for Everyone. The goal is to provide a welcoming and friendly environment in which the bridge competition experience becomes more fun for everyone, regardless of their level of experience. Newcomers to duplicate bridge discover that they actually enjoy the learning experience, whether it be in the Play and Review sessions or competing against aspiring life masters in the Non-Life Master (NLM) game, as well as occasionally playing against tougher competition in the Open Game. New life masters and advancing players discover that the Open Game is also a welcoming and nurturing environment, where they can enjoy the experience of being mentored by and learning to compete against the more advanced players.
Below we'll offer guidelines for creating and maintaining an environment in which bridge competition becomes more fun for everyone. But first, let's start with the basic question: why do we play competitive bridge?
There seem to be three common reasons that are given for playing duplicate bridge:
The importance given to each of the reasons may vary from person to person, but for most people, all three seem to be important.
THE DESIRE TO COMPETE
The desire to compete seems to be innate, normal, and healthy, and doesn't require much explanation. At its best, competition can be exhilarating and can enhance the learning experience itself. At its worst, it can turn into an unhealthy focus on winning, and that can lead to unpleasant or even unethical behavior, which will be covered in the general guidelines to follow.
THE DESIRE TO LEARN
The desire to learn the game, to begin to develop some level of mastery of the game, and then over time to further develop your bidding and card playing skills beyond where you would have thought possible when you started. How fulfilling is that! One aspect of learning the game that is perhaps the most challenging is learning to be a good partner, not just with your favorite partner, but with multiple partners. Being a good partner requires being a good listener, as well as being courteous and forgiving. Once you begin developing good collaborative partnerships, where you collaborate well in both bidding and defensive play, it is extremely rewarding. In fact, you can't really play winning bridge without doing that, since it is a partnership game!
THE DESIRE TO SOCIALIZE
The desire to socialize with bridge peers is for many if not most an equally important part of the game, and often results in the development of lasting friendships and relationships that go well beyond the bridge table.
The general guidelines for making competition more fun could all be thought of as applying the golden rule to behavior at the bridge table. They have to do with practicing those types of behavior that create a pleasant playing environment and avoiding those that interfere in any way with the enjoyment of the game. Behaviors that create a pleasant environment are spelled out in the ACBL's summary of what it means to "play nice", along with its code of active ethics. The ACBL's zero tolerance policy prohibits annoying behavior, embarrassing remarks, or any other conduct which might interfere with the enjoyment of the game. Some of the key ACBL guidelines are summarized below:
GUIDELINES FOR NEWCOMERS / NOVICES
GUIDELINES FOR 499ERS / ASPIRING LIFE MASTERS
GUIDELINES FOR NEW LIFE MASTERS
GUIDELINES FOR ADVANCING OR ADVANCED PLAYERS
GUIDELINES FOR TOP PLAYERS
With your support, I am confident we can achieve our goal of creating and maintaining an environment in which bridge competition becomes more fun for everyone at the Raleigh Bridge Club. The larger goal is to always make bridge competition more fun for everyone, and thereby continue growing a healthy and vibrant environment for competitive bridge in the greater Research Triangle area and throughout the ACBL. Please join us in our ongoing dedication to making this happen.
Remember to smile! Your partner will play better.