The Many Benefits of Bridge
Bridge has enjoyed a renaissance in the past decade as an increasing number of young professionals, empty nesters, baby boomers, and seniors have discovered the challenges and pleasures of the game. Bridge is attractive to so many players nowadays in part because it's not necessary to play at the expert level to enjoy the game. New players quickly learn the social aspects of organized games.
There are more than 3,200 bridge clubs in North America, and with a bit of advance notice, most are very welcoming to visitors and often provide partners. For a list of clubs, visit the American Contract Bridge League.
From your own home, to the Internet, to the bridge club, to cruise ships, to organized tournaments on the local, regional, and national level, you will find bridge to be the vehicle for meeting new friends who share your growing interest in this fascinating game.
Develop Your Communication Skills
As you learn from this book and develop your skills at bridge, you will find your communication and social skills advancing. The game of bridge may seem daunting at first, but you will soon become quite at ease with the buzzwords of bridge. You will find yourself fascinated with the endless possibilities, the excitement of your triumphs and, believe it or not, even some of your failures. Just about every aspect of bridge has something interesting about it.
Learn a New Language
Many aspects of bridge are not intuitive, so don't give up if one or more parts of the game come to you more slowly than you would like. Always keep a positive attitude and accept that lack of success is not failure. It is just a critical part of learning.
The jargon of bridge is as unique as the game. Don't be discouraged if you don't know all the terminology right away. If you don't know, ask (or keep reading in this chapter). You will find that experienced players are pleased to help you learn, and most can remember when they started out and needed a bit of mentoring.
One of the special wonders of bridge is that it offers you the opportunity to communicate with your partner in a limited language of only 15 words. When you have an opportunity to speak, or “bid,” you can use the words of bridge to tell the other players about the cards that you hold.
Meet New People
A social bridge game is inexpensive to host. You need nothing more than three friends, a couple of decks of cards, a table and comfortable chairs, a pencil, a pad of paper, and, of course, some snacks. You can hold a bridge game that lasts an hour or two, or an entire afternoon or evening.
As you learn to play, bridge will provide many opportunities for you to find new friends. You will find that those who share a passion for the game have a special bond that is easily recognized. Bridge is played all over the world, and you can find new friends at clubs, tournaments, and cruises.
On the Internet, you can meet and play with people from distant lands who share your common interest in the game. With dozens of free and pay sites, you can choose when to play at a moment's notice. If you want to play for only a few rounds, you can. Often you will find yourself engrossed in the game and play for hours at a time.
If you prefer a more organized setting and the face-to-face bridge experience, try one of the more than 3,000 bridge clubs affiliated with the American Contract Bridge League. These clubs are run by friendly, welcoming people who are excited each time they encounter a prospective new member or out-of-town visitor.
Use Your Intellect and Sharpen Your Memory
You and your partner will experience different situations with each round of bridge. The multitasking skills that are required to play bridge successfully are excellent ways to exercise your mind and keep your intellect nimble and quick. You will learn methods for winning in this book and with each hand you will apply those methods to win more points than your opponents. That is what bridge is all about.
The very best resource for bridge players is the American Contract Bridge League, located in Memphis, Tennessee. The ACBL staff can answer your questions, help you find bridge clubs or tournaments, inform you how to contact a bridge teacher, send a sample of the monthly magazine if you are not a member, and sign you up on the spot if you want to join.
Bridge is great exercise for the mind. You must train yourself to follow the cards, keeping track of who played what, who showed out of a suit and how many cards in that suit the other players hold. You will become a bridge detective, putting together clues from the bidding and play that can lead you to the right line of play. Getting it right through a process of logic is one of the most rewarding aspects of the game.