June 29, 2020

New Regional Masters Dawn and Dan Lyste

This is a response to your request for comments and suggestions on our (my wife Dawn and I) 3 year journey to regional master status. I did not go into the contract bridge willingly. Both Dawn and I have played pinochle since our teens. Dawn has played party bridge for about 35 years. When we both became semi-retired 3 years ago, Dawn started trying to convince me to play bridge. She said, "It is something we can do together. It will be good for keeping our brains active and for some social activity." My reaction was that bridge is a game that takes a lifetime to learn, if then, so at 67 years old Iím supposed to start? So on April 27, 2017, I jumped, or was pushed, off the deep end, without a life jacket, into the contract bridge world.

We belong to 2 small bridge clubs in NE North Dakota (Grafton and Grand Forks). By small I mean that on most days we would have anywhere from 3-9 tables. These are teaching clubs and are blessed with 3 excellent instructors. If anyone in this area is thinking about trying bridge, you probably wonít find a better place to start. Or, if you like solving puzzles I think bridge hands have two. Solving the bidding and then the playing. I could have learned more, but was not always focused. Thatís on me, not the fault of the instructors.

We have also been doing the BBO daily tournaments for over a year, which have been good for us, and the challenges by people in our club. The director from Grafton will do challenges with me and he takes the time to send a message back on how I could have done better. It is helpful that you can go back and see how you bid and played the hands trick by trick. Just recently I found I could access how the instructor bid and played the hands too. The only thing that would make it better is if it was possible to see both hands simultaneously on the screen.

Our clubs have very good players and is a tough group to play against. With not only state caliber players but very in the state rankings. With that in mind, we started going to regional tournaments. (Thanks ACBL for regional tournaments!) It is very intimidating for a beginner to enter a large room packed with players with a gazillion master points. There was a tournament in Tennessee that had a session or two for 0-50 MP. This was when we had about 40 MP and it would have been so good for us but we were unable to attend. I would imagine the volume of players with 0-50 makes it difficult but would really be helpful.

When first playing bridge, Master Points seem so difficult to earn and itís easy to get discouraged. There are days I think I need to quit or go back to the beginning. Of our 100 MP about 51% comes from our local clubs, 44% from regional tournaments and 5% from BBO. (Partially due to the virus) So thanks again for regional tournaments.

Dan and Dawn Lyste