I did not relish the thought of reviewing the past six weeks worth of material on over-calls that I’ve been working on with my intermediate class. I couldn’t say whence it came (surely, it had nothing to do with the beery hours I spent in a pub on Monday night), but yesterday morning when contemplating how best to tackle the problem, inspiration struck: PUB QUIZ! Unfortunately this idea did not pop into my head until about an hour before the class was scheduled to start.
One mad dash through Staples later (have I mentioned my office supply fetish?), I had acquired the meager components needed to pull off such a thing. I already owned a white board and a collapsible easel (the office supply thing may be an affliction, but it comes in handy sometimes), so all I really needed were some pads of paper and a set of big colored markers. (I wanted to invest in a set of small white boards and the attendant markers, but could not justify the expense.)
I announced to the class that the three other people at their table were now their teammates and gave them each a pad of paper and marker (the color of which became their team name, I just couldn’t bear the thought of eight teams squabbling over who got to call themselves ‘the Aces).
I spent the next hour writing hands on one half of the white board, while keeping score on the other. The basic structure was to give them a bidding sequence and then ask, “Now what would you bid with this hand?” In some cases they were making a direct overcall, in some cases they were responding to their partner’s overcall and in some cases they were balancing. Discussing the answers and fostering the debate between teammates made it a really great way to go over a lot of material fairly quickly. The time flew by. I even had a sudden death question all lined up in the event of a tie, but one of the teams managed to answer every single question correctly (I was so proud). Afterward, numerous students, perhaps even the majority of them, made a point of telling me that they really enjoyed the quiz so I think I’ve found my new way to review topics with this group.
Now I just need to convince my club’s owner that we need the occasional bridge quiz competition at the club. I think some people would really be into it and perhaps it could be used to draw a bigger crowd to the sparsely attended weekend games.
Speaking of teaching, I was playing against one of my students at the club. She made a jump overcall to 3♠ and remarked to her partner, “My teacher says we should be as annoying to our opponents as possible.” In fact, her bid was so annoying it took me a minute to realize she was quoting me. I had such mixed emotions about it, on one hand she made a great bid that left her opponent without any clear idea about how best to proceed, but in this case that opponent was me! Sure enough she kept us from finding our 4-4 heart fit (unfortunately for her, the other pairs sitting our direction were bidding NT and going down a lot).