Plans for a novice game are in the making. We have done this kind of event several times in the past but not recently.

Both Sue Wilson’s intermediate class and my beginner class will wind down for the summer at the end of May, so we want our students and anyone else who has an interest in playing duplicate bridge to find out what all the fuss is about.

The game is scheduled for May 23. That day, experienced players must invite someone with fewer than 100 master points to play with them. That would include most of Sue’s students and all of mine. The playing field will be level for all players, and no one should feel intimidated because we will all be in the same boat.

Players suggested drawing a partner out of a hat, or just choosing someone who is interested in learning the ropes of duplicate bridge. We will work out the details in the next couple of weeks, but plant that seed in the back of your ininds, experienced players and novices.

Novices will see how the placards, the scoring machines and the bidding boxes work in the session. They will learn from their partners, and their partners will learn from them. Everyone who plays regularly remembers how much encouragement they received from club members when they first started playing.

Chris Jones called Tommy Franklin and me to congratulate us every time we did the tiniest placement when we first started playing duplicate almost 20 years ago. I remember that Chris had a license plate that read SILVERLIFEMASTER.

It is a heady feeling to earn that first fraction of a master point. And several novices will experience that feeling after our mentoring game.

Susan Best and Dianna Smith came in fifth last Thursday, earning almost a whole point. Congratulations, ladies.

Players were glad to see Joyce and Troy Pate, Debbie Gray, Linda Greenwood, Pat Keim and Bob and Linda Meyer back at the tables. They have not played for a while.

And Krishnaprasad brought his sister-in-law to Monday’s game, announcing that we had “better be nice to her or you will have to answer to me.”

Mark your calendars for The Longest Day, a game and fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease. Our local game will be June 20, and we will send money to the Alzheimer’s Association, but the whole unit is supporting the Morehead City game, which includes lunch, prizes and all sorts of support for the disease. Make plans to go to that game if you can.

One concept that bridge students learn early is to search for a major fit, not a minor one. Clubs are for beating people and diamonds are for wearing, but a golden fit in hearts or spades is the ticket. A golden fit is eight trumps between both partners.

Sometimes this concept is hard for beginners, especially if they have a beautiful minor suit. Monday, my partner opened one diamond, promising 13 points and at least four diamonds. My right hand opponent passed. I was holding the king singleton of diamonds; the king, jack and four more clubs; two little hearts; and four spades to the 10.

On the one level, responder can bid a four card major suit. So I bid one spade with that ugly, ugly suit and partner raised me to two spades. I passed as quickly as I could, knowing that he had four spades. And we made it. A better score than either of the minor suits would have been.

The bidding or auction is competitive. You don’t want the other side to buy the contract cheaply. A piece of advice by Larry Cohen that struck me: “When you don’t think the contract belongs to your side, strive to compete to the level of the number of trumps held by your partnership.” I had never thought of it that way. Take a minute to digest it.

Thursday’s winners: first, Tommy Franklin and Selby Corbett; second, Linda Greenwood and Linda Meyer; third, Sherry Owens and Shelby Bizzell; fourth, Dayle Pond and Tempie Pierce; fifth, Susan Best and Dianna Smith. B — third, Lib Braswell and Linda Watson; fourth, Barbara Ann Vinson and Kitty Sauls.

Monday’s results: N/S first, Sue Wilson and Sterling Jarrett; second, Al Takemoto and Bill Warren; third, Linda Meyer and Pat Keim.

E/W first, Doris Baddour and Cathy Howell; second, Debbie Gray and Linda Greenwood; third, Krishnaprasad and Kousklya Iyengar.