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Friday, September 15, 2006


I haven't mentioned bridge until now. Since this blog is supposed to be about what I do with myself, it's time to mention that I spend at least 14 hours a week- sometimes more - on the game. That would include 3 "live" sessions, and 5 on-line sessions. Many of the top players in the world (example: above see Benito Garozzo, Jimmy Cayne, Mike Seamon, and Rich Reisig) play on line; you can learn a lot by watching them. Which I often do.

Bridge is a relatively recent obsession. We older cousins learned the rudiments from our parents when we were ten or eleven, sitting at the same library table where you saw Mah Jongg being played a few posts ago. My Bloomington grandparents were fanatical players, and a family story (not apocryphal, as I remember it happening) is that the first words I read - at roughly age 3- after a lot of phonics tutelage (making letters out of the cutlery at restaurants) from my grandmother - were "E-L-Y C-U-L-B-E-R-T-S-O-N" from the spine of a fat book in their house.

Atypically for my generation, I never played in college, though I recall playing quite a lot one summer with fellow counselors at a girls' camp in Vermont. I still have the plastic thermos I won playing in a Newcomers Club game in South Bend, Indiana. And as young marrieds my husband I and would sometimes have dinner and bridge get-togethers with friends, but that petered out as babies began to arrive. And serious bridge was still in the future.

About eight years ago I decided to buckle down and really learn the game. One of the first things I stumbled upon was a course for bridge TEACHERS given locally by the ACBL. The one and a half day course had no prerequisites whatsoever. There was an open book test at the end, after which I would be a certified bridge teacher (!) At this point, I figured, I ought to be qualified to just teach MYSELF what I needed to know. And, believe it or not, that's pretty much what I did, with the help of many, many books and much practice, starting with the relatively tame Microsoft Zone on-line gaming site, working up to the more rigorous OK Bridge site (this has now been overshadowed by the free Bridge Base Online site seen above, developed by Bill Gates' tutor, Fred Gitelman), and finally getting the nerve to show up at the local club where I play now.

My involvement in the game is still minimal compared to the diehard players. Still, it's fair to say that I'm hooked and that it's a big part of my life. I'll find more to say in future posts.


Blogger SuperMom said...

I've definitely inherited the family's love of cards gene, although I suppose I was doomed since Dad's family is full of card players as well. Was Grandfather a bridge player as well? As a child I remember playing gin with him constantly, but I’m sure I was too young at that time (either realistically or in Grandfather’s mind) to learn bridge. Dad remembers playing bridge with you and R in Bloomington many moons ago.

Bridge has always intrigued me and I've always assumed it's a game I'll learn to play when the kids are a bit older. I'll have to bookmark your website recommendations and maybe start paying attention now.

10:59 AM  

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