About This Page
Howard Schutzman is a teacher and expert player on Bridge Base Online (www.bridgebase.com). His nickname on BBO is hondo717. Click here to see an article that BBO wrote about Howard. He has been playing duplicate bridge for more than 40 years. Over the years, he has developed articles and notes on learning to play bridge. This material is presented here, and is available for anyone to download at no charge. Click here to see an article in the June 2012 ACBL Bulletin recommending this site.
Also pictured are Ava and Misty. Ava is Howard's lifelong partner, in bridge and all his other endeavors. She is an accomplished player in her own right. Her bbo nickname is ava17. Misty is our adorable and impish family commentator. She is often vocal during my Thursday voice lessons.
Howard runs a free weekly teaching session on BBO. Kibitzers are always welcome at these sessions, and encouraged to chat with Howard. He runs a mentoring sessions in the BILies Retreat public club, on Wednesday at 9:30 PM Eastern, open to all BBO players. Students are encouraged to mark Howard as a BBO friend, and welcome to watch him play and ask questions any time he is online. He will also gladly answer any questions sent to him via BBO email.
Howard also maintains an email list for interested students. He sends out periodic emails with his teaching schedule, movies from his mentoring sessions, and any other material he feels would be of interest. If you would like to be added to his email list, click here
Howard partners with E-Bridge Workshops, whose goal is use the internet and other technology to enhance bridge education. Imagine having world class bridge teachers, including Jerry Helms, Marty Bergen, Ron Klinger, and Barbara Seagram, lecture to your local bridge club! Click here to access workshops from these teachers.
Howard partners with Marty Bergen, one of the most popular bridge authors and teachers. You can purchase Marty's books and online audio visual lessons through Howard by clicking on the links listed below.
Howard's materials are in the following formats:
The following material is available on this site:
Ava and I run a monthly informal supervised play group.
One year, I prepared a series of tutorials on various bridge topics, including bidding, play, and defense.
As you will see if you download any of them, I tend to favor teaching general principles rather than specific rules.
Ava calls my approach "Big Picture Bridge".
You might want to download these first to see if you like my approach.
I sometimes predealt two hands for use with our supervised play group,
and wrote up an analysis. These were used to demonstrate the lessons from the tutorials.
These hands were from actual deals I played at our local duplicate club.
Below are several of the writeups, including a brief description of the topics that were demonstrated.
The best and most comprehensive book on bridge card play is The Play of the Hand by Louis Watson. I read it early in my bridge career, and it really helped propel me to a much higher level of skill. Although it was written in 1934 (and updated in 1958), the principles it teaches are still very relevant to modern bridge.
The biggest difference between the mediocre and expert bridge player is the play of the cards. If you read Watson, you will learn all of the important fundamentals about card play, and greatly improve your skill. Even if you never pull off a squeeze or end play, if you practice the fundamentals of card play taught by Watson, you will be a winner at bridge.
Thanks to Kia, my movie producer, I am able to offer you the material from Watson as BBO movies. Each movie is one or two chapters from Watson. I will be adding new chapters as Kia creates them.
Part 1 - Fundamentals of Play
Part 2 - Advanced Play and Expert Techniques
Larry Cohen, longtime partner of Marty Bergen, has written a series of articles called What Should We Play. In them, he goes through every entry on the ACBL convention card, discusses what it means, and gives his recommendations as to what conventions you should and shouldn't play. For the most part, I agree with Larry Cohen's general approach to bidding and think these are worthwhile articles to read. Cick here to see the entire set of articles.
Kia is converting this material to movies that you can view with my Bridge Viewer. These movies provide the user with a nice interactive way of reviewing this material. And he has added commentary from me when I think the material needs clarification or a different point of view.
Fred Gitelman (founder of BBO) developed a Learn To Play Bridge series for the ACBL. Fred is an excellent writer and his material does a very good job of covering the basic principles of all facets of bridge -- bidding, declaring, and defending.
Kia is converting this material to movies that you can view with my Bridge Viewer. These movies provide the user with a nice interactive way of reviewing the fundamentals of good bridge.
Paul Lukacs, an Israeli expert, and Jeff Rubens, editor of the Bridge World magazine, wrote two volumes entitled Test Your Play As Declarer. These books contain difficult declarer play problems. If you study them, you will learn many of the advanced play techniques used by experts.
Thanks to Kia, I am able to offer you the material from these books as BBO movies. Each movie presents a few of the problems. The movie format allows the reader to plan the play and interactively try his or her solution before reading the correct answer. It is an excellent learning tool.
The Bridge World magazine is aimed at expert and world class players. They have a Learn Bridge section on their web site. Kia has turned their defense problems into movies. Note that even top players would consider these problems difficult. But the double dummy feature gives you a fighting chance to be able to come up with the solution.
Declarer Play Lessons
I taught a series of monthly lessons on declarer play based on Marty Bergen's two excellent books on the subject. As a special service for my students, I have made arrangments with Marty Bergen to allow you to order these books from my web site. As part of this offer, Marty has agreed to autograph each book with a personal message of your choice, provide you with a free copy of his softcover book Bergen's Best Bridge Quizzes. and provide free shipping to US customers. Click here to order the books.
Fundamentals of Constructive Bidding
I put together a 5 lesson series on the Fundamentals of Constructive Bidding (bidding when the opponents do not interfere).
The purpose of these lessons is for students to learn the concepts behind constructive bidding. I have found that, although many students understand the (often complicated) rules about bidding, they do not understand the reasoning behind these rules. By learning the fundamentals rather than just the rules, a student will be able to more intuitively and comfortably bid, without being confused by the many (sometimes conflicting) rules that may or may not apply. Note that these lessons will not teach any particular system. It will simply teach the fundamentals upon which most bidding systems are built. A student should therefore be able to more comfortably play any of the popular systems.
I wrote a pdf tutorial for each lesson.. Kia has also put together a movie that will allow students to practice the tutorial material. There are links below to download both the Tutorials and the Movies.
Here is the lesson schedule.
Basic Defense Lessons
I have developed a series of lessons on Basic Defensive Techniques. This is an 8 week series that will occur periodically in the BIL as part of the Bridge 101 lesson series. Below are the topics I cover, and a set of tutorials and movies for each topic.
I offered a 4 week series of lessons on slam bidding. The material for the lessons came from Marty Bergen's excellent new book on slam bidding, Slam Bidding Made Easier I was one of the editors of the book, and I highly recommend it.
As a service for my students, I have made special arrangements with Marty Bergen to sell the book online from my web site. If you buy it from me, Marty will personally autograph it for you with a personal message of your choosing. Additionally, you will receive a discount if you buy both the book and the workbook. Finally, shipping in the US is free. If you are planning to buy the book anyway, I would appreciate it if you would buy it from me, as I do get a commission for each book sold through my site. For additional details, click here.
Kia made a BBO movie of each of my lessons. Besides the material I presented, he also offered his own interpretation of the material as well as a very large number of practice hands. If you read the book and go through all of Kia's movies, I will guarantee that your overall bidding will greatly improve, not just your slam bidding. Here is a summary of the lesson topics and the corresponding book chapters and movies:
The 2 Over 1 System is preferred by most experts. Fortunately, it is very similar to Standard American, with only a few relatvely small modifications, so it should be easy for most players to learn.
Click on the links below to download the associated tutorials.
Since the vast majority of players open 1NT with 15-17, that is what I usually teach. However, Ava and I have always played the weak NT. We feel it gives us a significant bidding advantage.
Playing the weak NT is not simply a matter of changing your 1NT opening range from 15-17 HCP to 12-14 HCP.
It represents a significant systemic change, with different implications for many auctions.
I have prepared a series of 3 lessons to explain the weak NT system.
Every two months Marty Bergen produces an audio visual lesson.
Using software developed by me, you can listen and watch as Marty explains and shows the secrets used by the top players to bid and play.
Periodically, Kia will be creating a non-audio movie with an example hand from one of the lessons.
This will give you a taste of the many pearls that Bergen presents in his lessons.
For more information on obtaining the audio lessons (including free samples from each lesson), click here.
During my mentoring sessions, I play with 3 of my students, commenting on whatever hands happen to come up.
One of my students, Kia (bbo nickname nome), produces a BBO bridge movie consisting of the hands annotated with my comments.
This involves a great deal of effort, and Kia has generously agreed to share his work by allowing me to post the movies on my web site.
Click here to see mentoring session movies from more than 3 months ago.
Copyright� 2007-2011 by Howard Schutzman. All rights reserved.