Learn­ing Bridge in­trigues and chal­lenges

Hamilton Press - - CONVERSATIONS - KEL­LEY TANTAU

I was told it takes 12 weeks to fully learn the card game Bridge. I tried to learn it in two hours. As a kid I played Speed, Go Fish and Snap, and I thought pick­ing up Bridge would be a breeze.

But it turned out that Bridge is the chess of card games.

On a Fri­day morn­ing I headed down to the Hamil­ton Con­tract Bridge Club on Rich­mond St.

I was greeted by Cyn­thia Clay­ton, who is a Bridge ex­pert in my eyes.

In the room there were 13 full ta­bles with four play­ers at each. Kib­itz­ing is the term for some­one just watch­ing a game of Bridge and although a kib­itzer is sup­posed to re­main silent, Cyn­thia and I talked about the moves and strate­gies, and I tried to wrap my head around them.

At one end of the room there was a ‘N’, show­ing which way north was.

Bridge is played in a pair, one pair is north and south and the other pair are east and west.

North and south stay seated at the same ta­ble through­out the tour­na­ment, while east and west make their way around the room, vis­it­ing ev­ery other north and

‘‘Cyn­thia and I talked about the moves and strate­gies, and I tried to wrap my head around them.’’

south team.

Each player is given 13 cards, and they bid for the num­ber of tricks they think they can take.

Be­cause ev­ery­one in the room would even­tu­ally play the same hand, the bids were writ­ten down on a piece of pa­per in the cen­tre of the ta­ble.

Each player can ei­ther bid or pass and passes were iden­ti­fied by jot­ting down an ‘X’ on the pa­per.

What comes next is terms like ‘‘de­clarer’’ and ‘‘dummy’’.

The game ends af­ter 13 tricks have been played and each team counts up the num­ber of tricks it has won.

Although I’d need an­other few prac­tises of Bridge to fur­ther un­der­stand the game, I’d rec­om­mend it to any­one.

It’s a good way to meet peo­ple and to learn a new skill and I don’t think there is such a thing as a Go Fish club in Hamil­ton.

Hamil­ton Press re­porter Kel­ley Tantau. PHOTO: KELLY HODEL/FAIRFAX NZ

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