The EBU Bridge For All (BFA) programme has been running for about two years and we now have about 40 BFA students in Cambs and Hunts, plus 10 accredited BFA teachers.
The programme is divided into six units of prescribed sets of lessons, with well-produced student notes, model hands, quizzes and problems. Each unit contains about 12 lessons, lasting about two hours. Units are available only to students registered with an approved BFA teacher. Each unit costs 15 pounds. This includes EBU membership as well as all the materials.
Unit One starts with five lessons on Mini-Bridge, providing a quick method of playing hands starting from lesson one, followed by instruction on how to open and respond to one no trump and one of a suit bids. Unit Two deals with declarer play at no trump and suit contracts, opening leads, simple attitude signals and discards and the competitive auction. Unit Three takes students through opening two bids and responses, slam bidding, count and suit preference signals, and ends with a lesson on recognising the danger hand as declarer. Unit Four tackles the wider use of doubles, pre-emptive bidding, defences to pre-empts, doubles of one no trump openings, and competing against the one no trump opening. Units Five onwards, are more likely to be of interest to people already playing some duplicate as they aim to introduce students to the sort of conventions they will meet at duplicate clubs: trial bids, cue bidding, splinter bids, transfers, the losing trick count, tactics at pairs and teams, advanced declarer play, dealing with interference over one no trump openings and much more.
Although BFA was initially advertised for beginners, we now have several club players attending BFA classes. They find that the classes reinforce what they already know and shed light on several grey areas they were not too certain about. In fact BFA is growing and is now no longer just for beginners.
The project manager is Sandra Landy of World and European championship fame. In addition to masterminding and promoting BFA, she has also commissioned and edited several useful books to accompany the series. Really Easy Bidding and Really Easy Play in No Trumps. These are written for the non-expert player, and at £10, are excellent value for money.
New courses for different types of student needs are being developed. The first of these - Brush up your Bidding - is now available. This is for existing players who want to modernise their bidding and rubber bridge players who are moving into duplicate.
This autumn there will be at least three groups doing Unit 4, a Unit 3 group and we hope, several more Units 1 and 2. We hope to pioneer a Brush up your Bidding class as well. If anybody would like to join one of these groups please telephone me on 01223 263452 and I will put you in touch with a BFA teacher.