Hi-tech Coach

Joyjit Sensarma

Several top-level partnerships have discovered Joyjit Sensarma is the go-to guy for helping them practice their methods and getting better results. Sensarma of New Dehli has coached top pairs and teams from India for many years, and he developed a process for doing so that has started to gain attention in other parts of the world.

Sensarma, a retired vice president of information technology for a Fortune 200 company, says that bridge has always been his hobby, but his interest in system development in the corporate world led him to think of ways that top-level bridge partnerships might benefit from a more formal approach to developing their convention cards and bidding systems.

“I first created a series of six bidding modules that allows pairs to explore their methods in more detail. Each takes about two hours for the pairs to go through, and the modules bring up topics for the pairs to discuss or reveal weak spots that the partnership might have,” he said.

Next, if a pair wants to practice hands that focus on a specific topic, such as, say, high-level competitive bidding, continuations in inverted minor auctions, or slam cuebidding, Sensarma will search online archives from recent top-level play to find hands that match the requested topic. The partnership can then practice, using the deals that Sensarma has curated for that purpose.

“It’s not enough just to examine the first and second round of conventional sequences. Top players need for their agreements to extend to later rounds of bidding. My job is not to suggest to these experts what to play, but rather help them examine their own system preferences in detail and help build up partnership trust,” he said.

Zia Mahmood, David Gold, and Reese Milner and Hemant Lall are among the players that Sensarma has worked with. Sensarma is currently the coach of the Lall tam which played in the Soloway KO here in San Francisco.

Sensarma differentiates what he does as a coach from the role mentors play.

“Mentors are experienced players who work with less-experienced students one on one, frequently playing with them to help the student improve. As a coach, my role is to work with pairs (or several pairs on a team) to help them with their system development. I provide a service of supplying hands on specific topics or running computer simulations of hand-types that are desired. My job is to highlight areas of their existing systems that may not have been thoroughly discussed.”