Learn to play Bridge

So you have decided to join us, or maybe you are just thinking about learning bridge. We are here to help you every step of the way.

There are many ways to get started.

Join a class and learn as part of a group

As a first step, we recommend that you contact a duplicate bridge club or bridge school near you. They will be pleased to provide information about the classes which they are running or give you the name of a teacher whose classes they can recommend.

You can identify clubs in your area by undertaking a search on the internet or use the EBU map which provides details of EBU-affiliated clubs.

On the map you will also find details of experienced accredited teachers, who are full or professional members of EBTA, the leading bridge teaching organisation.

EBED promotes the Bridge for All method for learning bridge

There are a small number of very good teachers who, for one reason or another, are not EBTA members. All bridge teachers of quality should be happy to give you the names of past students who will be able to provide a reference before you sign up for classes.

Find a class that is right for you

There are many ways of learning bridge and much depends on the nature of the student and the dynamics of the group. Some students will already be more familiar with bridge type card games (such as whist) and may in the early stages move faster than others – such students may therefore wish to consider a more accelerated course.

Make sure that you talk to the teacher and check that the chemistry feels right. You should also look at the ideas given below before deciding the route which is best suited to you.

How long does it take to learn?

Learning the basics of bridge can be achieved comfortably over a weekend and you may well be ready for playing social bridge with just this introduction.

Duplicate bridge takes a little longer and this really depends on the student. How much you practice what you have been taught, how much you read about the game, and how much you are willing to make mistakes and be corrected are three factors which will determine your progress. Learning bridge has been compared with learning a language in that reward is closely related to effort. And, just as everyone speaks a language (even if only their own), anyone can learn to play bridge.

Play, play, play!

Whatever route you choose, we find that it works best if learners become integrated with regular club play at the earliest opportunity, and this naturally depends on identifying a club with a welcoming atmosphere. You should always feel that you are enjoying yourself, even if you are a little unsteady in the beginning (imagine water-skiing!). If it seems a little hard at first, remember that bridge is, above all, meant to be fun - it is not an endurance programme. If you are not having fun, it is time to make some changes!

Most clubs are very keen to welcome new blood and they may well have special sessions for starting players. Be sure to ask the club secretary to help you find a session which will suit your level.

For those whose schedule does not fit in with regular club duplicates or who are insomniacs, you can also play bridge online. Bridge4Free is a new UK-based site offering free duplicate games day or night. Bridge Base Online is a big US site for playing, learning and watching bridge – and it too is free! Both Bridge4Free and BBO work a treat on an iPad or Android tablet. Click the links above to download their apps.

Learn without joining a class

Regular classes don't suit everyone's schedule, so one option you might like to consider is going to a residential/weekend course or even take a cruise! There are many of these advertised in English Bridge, the EBU magazine. Past copies of English Bridge are available for free online.

You should also look at our own bridge learning software which is free and available to download.

For personal one-to-one tuition, or those who are determined to move into the fast lane as quickly as possible, Pro-Bridge offers a way to find bridge professionals for all standards.

Finally, there are several independent companies who sell bridge courses and software. Please contact us for an up-to-date list of what we know to be available.

A free two-week trial and much useful information is available at No Fear Bridge.

Please do not hesitate to contact EBED if you feel that you need further help or advice. Remember that we are here to help you.

Bridge at school and university

English Bridge Education & Development runs a number of initiatives for children and students wishing to take up bridge or develop their bridge skills. Please contact us directly for more information.

For further details of our Youth Programme, please see the EBU Youth Calendar.

Minibridge

Learning minibridge is an excellent route for starting to learn to play bridge. See our Minibridge pages for more information.

Sample online lessons are available through Vubridge.

There is also a free software program which you can download from Blue Chip Bridge.

Do you need more information?

For further information about learning bridge, please contact English Bridge Education & Development at info@ebedcio.org.uk or call 01296 317217.