There is now a direct link from the Rochester Area Bridge Club website to Tommy's Bridge Blog. A sincere thanks to RABA for giving me the link. I already have some Rochester area readers, but for those of you who may be checking the site out for the first time, let me give you an overview. I started the site about 9 months ago, and in that time I have made about 40 posts to the site. It is designed primarily for novices and intermediates, but I have had some very good bridge players tell me that they go to the site and that they find my material interesting, thought provoking and a helpful review. There are no commercial aspects to the site, I do it simply to promote interest in bridge, and do my part to help the game grow from the bottom up.
For my current readership let me introduce RABA. It is an organization that supports ACBL clubs in a 5 county area surrounding Rochester, New York. Currently there are 13 clubs that are members. Bridge is alive and well in Rochester with games available on any weekday and several evenings. While my tenure in bridge is not that long, I have played in a number of venues at all levels, and I can say that there is high quality competition in Rochester with good depth and a significant number of true experts. While some would say that I am easily entertained and would not know an expert if I saw one, it doesn't take all that much skill to know when your butt is being soundly kicked by a real master.
One thing I found unique to Rochester Bridge is that for the most part we no longer play dealt cards. RABA owns a Duplimate machine and related Dealmaster Pro software that enables the member clubs to access randomly dealt hands, all sorted into boards for their games. I do not know much about the logistics, but the software creates the hands randomly and the duplimate machine sorts the deck into 4 hands as indicated by the software. I am told that one skilled at using the system can do 24 boards in 10 minutes. So there is no shuffle and deal, you just sit down and play. As soon as the game concludes, you get a hand record equal to any I have ever seen at ACBL events. Yes, it costs money, but it the acquisition cost was funded by RABA so no individual club had to bear the capital outlay. After a short adjustment period, I think everybody enjoys the system, particularly the instant analysis provided by the hand record.
A word to everybody about how to use this site. When you click in you will see the blog with the latest post at the top. As you scroll down you can see earlier posts, but due to space limitations many of my earlier posts have been stored in the archive. You will see the archive access in the right margin of the blog page, organized by months. When you click on a month it will bring up the posts stored in that month. You can comment on any blog, and I welcome comments. I have been run over by experts, so if you have something to say, just say it. Comments go first to my Florida e-mail address where I can screen them. If the comments are of general interest and signed, I will post them unless you request that I not do so. You can also post anonymously. The comment link is at the bottom of every post. That will bring up a comment box for you to use. You can also e-mail the blog to someone else by using the envelope icon at the bottom of the blog. If you want to e-mail me, you can go to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, I monitor both sites.
Under my Links, you will find one to Kitty Cooper's Bridge site. Kitty is expert at both bridge and web page design. On her site you can go to a section where she demonstrates how an expert plans and declares a hand. It is done in a format so that the reader can participate by answering questions as play proceeds. Let me know if you play the hand as well as Kitty does. Good Luck!!
Again, welcome to new readers. Thanks for coming. I have been averaging about 1 post a week, but have slowed down over the summer. I get most of my ideas at the table, so once I get back to my winter bridge schedule, I hope to have new material with increased frequency. If you have suggestions or requests, let me know.