Frequently Asked Questions
I don't play Bridge, but would like to learn. Is this group for me?
A: Some basic knowledge is essential, though we will do our very best to accommodate beginners at the Group. A few of our existing members joined the Group knowing little about Bridge, but with a desire and willingness to learn. London is well-served by classes so should you wish to develop your game, be patient and have some fun whilst learning.
Read up, watch other members play hands, ask some questions about what happened, then bid and play a hand or two.
We are not professional teachers though, so you would find it useful to attend structured classes in addition to coming to our Group.
On average, how many people come along to play Rubber Bridge on a Wednesday evening?
A: The number attending tends to vary, we usually get 3 tables of four, sometimes 4 or more. We have never yet had an occasion where we have had to turn people away because there was no room for them, so you are always guaranteed a game on a Wednesday night!
What if I would like to play seriously each week?
A: Whilst we do play Bridge according to the rules, we are fairly flexible about things such as table chat, correcting obvious mistakes without penalty, and so on. Our members attend the Group as much for the socialising as for the Bridge, and therefore a certain amount of latitude is prevalent! If you are interested in really serious competitive Bridge, then you should probably also attend a Bridge Club affiliated to the English Bridge Union, as indeed do a few of our members.
What if I haven't a partner?
A: Most of our members do not play regularly on Wednesdays with the same partner for the whole evening. Indeed, the idea of cut-in Rubber Bridge encourages a mixing of players and standards around the venue. Some informal partnerships have formed, of course, but there is always scope for new people. Our members are of such a mixed standard of Bridge ability that, whatever your Bridge standard, the Group is sure to have someone of comparable ability with whom you would feel comfortable playing.
If I am going along to lots of other members' houses each week, will I be expected to host the group at some point?
A: One of the pleasures for the Group is the privacy and friendliness that a member's house or flat affords. The host has the opportunity to entertain other members and play some Bridge at home. We have always found that, after about 6 months or so, new members are keen or at least willing to host, and ask to be included as a host on the next Venues List. Our Venues Lists are published about every 4 months for that period ahead. The membership of our Group means that most people find they will host three or four times a year.
What if I don't have a house or flat big enough to host, or I prefer not to host at my home? Does this prevent me from becoming a member of the Group?
A: You are still welcome. We have a number of members who live in accommodation which is, for a variety of reasons, unsuitable for hosting. Fortunately, some of our members have quite spacious accommodation, and are generous in offering their homes for other members to host for a Bridge evening. The host then makes their own arrangements with the person providing the accommodation over who will provide what for the evening. However, as a general rule, the host will bring the victuals, whilst the person providing the accommodation will provide tables and chairs, the playing cards, and the plates/cutlery/etc.
What if I don't have live in South London?
A: Although our Group is primarily for those living in South London, others are welcome to attend if they feel this Group is for them. There are, in addition to the South London Group, other Groups active in London.
My Bridge isn't very good. I haven't played for years. Could I still come along to the Bridge group?
A: Of course! Many of our members have returned to Bridge through our Group after years of not playing at all or only very occasionally. Even if your Bridge is rusty, or if you learned to play only Strong No Trump, there is a place at one of our tables for you. Most of our Group play basic Acol as their system - Weak No Trump, Stayman & Transfers over 1NT, Blackwood - with perhaps some extras. But the basics haven't really changed that much. Just come along and see how you get on.
What sort of age range do you get at the Group?
A: Our members' ages currently range from guys in their twenties upwards though most are older - but age is not a consideration for us. All ages are welcome. You just have to share our interest in Bridge and be comfortable and sociable with a broad range of people from diverse ages, cultures and backgrounds!
What is expected from me if I host a Wednesday Bridge evening?
A: The basics are:
Provide enough tables and chairs for those members who come along. If you don't have enough, let us know and we'll get members who are coming to bring some portable tables and chairs where necessary. Note that you don't have to have Bridge tables - just a flat, clean surface big enough to play a hand of bridge on and enough space for four people to sit around!
Provide enough packs of good cards to go around, and some paper and pens/pencils for scoring.
Provide tea and coffee.
Provide a full or light meal at some point in the evening (usually about 8pm). Some members prefer to prepare home-made food, whilst others buy ready-prepared for convenience, depending on their circumstances. When you have been along for a few weeks you will see that this is not as daunting as it may sound.
Are both gay men and gay women welcome?
A: Yes. Currently, the Group is currently mostly men, but we do have one long standing woman member and more would be welcome.
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