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858-793-1202 Donna Wood - General Manager 

 

EBC's Online Bridge Column 09-10-2013

  

GS Jade Barrett ~ Playing professionally for over 30 years, Jade has won over 25,000 masterpoints, and numerous championships in local, national, and international competitions.  Jade has contributed extensively to the body of bridge theory, and works continuously to improve bidding, play, and defensive techniques.  To increase the popularity of duplicate bridge, Jade coaches our youngest beginning players.  Currently, Jade continues to assist in the development our up-and-coming bridge champions by establishing a bridge internship program within his own corporation.  Jade is now writing a series of articles describing the competitive aspects of tournament bridge.  For those of you who want to access these short essays, you can click HERE.

 

IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD

My personal journey through tournament bridge life has its many peaks and valleys, and the trips I have made all over North America and Europe have provided me with more of them than I can possibly relate. Yet all of these experiences, both good and bad have made me the player I am today. At last count I have acquired 420 Blue Ribbon qualifications and 214 Regional wins.

That means that I have lost somewhere around 48,000 times.

It is these 48,000+ losses that have contributed the most to my life experience as a player. The opportunities to learn from my mistakes are ever present, no matter where I play, no matter the level of the game. Some of my most important improvements have come at club games, others while I was playing at home. The key has been for me to be prepared to learn something: to keep an open mind (Lily Tomlin had a routine in the '70s where she played a telephone operator who suggested: "Information cannot argue with a closed mind". I remember that thought after some arguments).

I had a wonderful soccer coach, Henry Dickie, who taught me that all of life's victories are based on the mistakes and losses we have made before. Keeping that lesson close to my heart, I realized that all of the hands I play and all of the events I compete in are dedicated to my preparation to perform at my best in the greatest forum of all, the World Championships. We were leading going into the last day of the World Mixed only to falter, mostly through my decisions.

We have tried to make the most of this lesson, talking about the loss, discussing our methods, working on our partnership. While we try not to dwell on the negative, we need to evaluate the poor results we have had. Some of the bad boards were the result of good actions by the opponents, so we congratulate them and move on. It is the mistakes that we make that are valuable. By determining the nature of our errors, we have a much better chance of not repeating them. This is how we win.

All of us do this on some level, from the novice to the expert. We are constantly testing the boundaries of our partnerships and our personal game. Everyone tries to improve; everyone wants better results. Everyone loses; everyone wins. All of us suffer a crisis of confidence from time to time. In fact, I have lost count of the number of players who have said to me:

"I am not getting any better. I am making more and more mistakes every time I play" or "I have been playing for six months (or a year or six years or ten years) and I am ready to give up the game".

You are not alone. We all feel that way sometime. It is all part of our learning process. And once we manage our loss, we are better prepared to win.

Please wish us luck. We need all the help we can get.

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