BBO asked me to be a guest editor of the February issue of the newsletter. They were nice and enthusiastic, so I said yes. How hard can it be? It’s only intended for an audience of around 150 000 players from all over the world. Piece of cake I said to myself, I’m up to it. I already publish a bulletin for almost 300 Croatian readers, and write scientific articles on the topic, interesting at least 10 researchers worldwide. So there are only 149 690 of you left, whose attention I still have to grab.
My reputation obviously precedes me, as BBO were politely determined in explaining how they would appreciate if I don’t write about bridge bidding or play, but rather cover, you know, psychological or social matters. No worries then, I’ll stick to holidays, an area where my expertise can’t be denied.
Yes, I confess, I am one of those folks who get crazy about holiday season. I bake, decorate, organize, arrange and supervise. Less ambitious souls would be satisfied with home decor, but I spread this Christmas euphoria to all my bridge activities too. The Croatian bridge community is already used to it, so they don’t protest when I ask them to play against North Pole at Santa Invitational Teams, wearing ornate red hats and Rudolph’s horns. They calmly accept that during Christmas tournaments, Elf team might use a magic cookie to remove penalty doubles, while at pairs tournaments less experienced players get a handicap of as much as 10% to be added to whatever score they achieve.
But, holidays aren’t only about parties and festivities, they symbolize a transition of seasons. They say farewell to the old, and prepare for the new.
So, did you take stock of your bridge accomplishments from the previous year, and make plans for the new one? What do you expect your bridge 2022 to be like? Did you make a bridge wish list or New Year bridge resolutions?
Give it a try, it costs nothing and it can help you clear out what you really want from the game. Do you want to improve your declarer or bidding skills or maybe your priority is to increase your current partnership understanding or find a new steady and promising partnership? Perhaps you want to visit some specific tournament, or to play at least one tournament with someone you adore, to earn master points or become a life master. Maybe you want to reduce stress, build discipline and focus, improve your table presence, or just have more fun at the table. I guess each one of us has her own dreams and goals, and although bridge might not be on top of everyone’s priority list, for many of us it’s our favorite leisure activity, so it’s only natural we want to make it as satisfying as possible.
Studies show that various forms of self-improvement are the most common New Year resolution, and bridge definitely offers a wide spectrum of improvement possibilities, including advancement of mastery, personality virtues and social skills. Scholars point out that resolutions should be challenging, yet attainable. Goals should be measurable and time framed so one can track the improvement. As goal achievement should (mostly) depend on you, there is not much sense in setting a goal such as winning a specific tournament. On the other hand, scoring above 55% at over 60% of the tournaments you play, or earning a certain amount of master points, would make reasonable goals. Once you set a general goal, it’s advisable to break it into smaller goals such as mastering some card-play techniques, applying more profitable penalty doubles, or improving bidding understanding with your partner. Finally, when you know what you want to achieve you have to decide on tools, like reading certain books, solving bridge quizzes and puzzles, taking lessons, working with partner on your system, etc.
So, if you’re among those who like to plan, I suggest you consider including your bridge goals in your New Year resolution list. As a psychologist, I would certainly be very interested to learn about your bridge ambitions, so I invite you to share (anonymously if you prefer) in the comments below.
I‘ll prepare a short report for the next issue for those of you who might want to compare your own bridge goals with other players’ goals in 2022.
I hope your year’s started well and I wish your dreams come true, whether you clearly specified your goals or live from day to day, which is understandable in these unprecedented times. Most of all, I wish you all the very best to be able to deal with whatever life brings and a magic cookie whenever you need it most!
Find out more about Tihana Brkljacic