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Declaring my love for bridge

It’s gotten to a point where I’d rather play a rubber than use a rubber.

There’s a good chance the majority of readers have no idea what I’m talking about and are a little disturbed.

What I am referring to is bridge, the classic card game. In bridge, sets of best-of-three games are played called rubbers. Before I started playing bridge I felt – and this is surely a common belief – that the game was for the elderly. Renowned author Louis Sachar changed my mind.

Last Christmas, I received Sachar’s latest book, The Cardturner, as a gift. I’ve long been a fan of Sachar, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect when picking up a book about bridge. But Sachar deals a winning hand in The Cardturner. It’s hardly like reading a guide book for bridge, but immersing yourself in a classic Sachar novel that happens to offer you bridge tips along the way.

From the time I read The Cardturner, I had discovered a newfound appreciation for bridge. However, it would still be several months before I immersed myself in the game. It seemed complicated to learn, and school, work, and other obligations got in the way.

In the last couple of months, I convinced my parents to read The Cardturner, and they both enjoyed it. For my dad, in particular, it brought back memories of when he used to play the game. The next thing you know, my dad printed out several pages outlining how to play bridge and my parents, sister, and I were sitting around the table attempting to play. My mother and sister never really took to the game, but my dad and I were hooked. After searching around for a venue that would allow us to continue our Bridge experience – preferring not to go to a bridge club due to our inexperience and the fact that we live outside the city – we joined the online bridge community.

I’ve tried other strategic card games such as crib, hearts, spades, and whist, but have found no game is more challenging nor gives you more control than bridge.

I hardly profess to be an expert on the game. If you want to learn more about bridge, there are plenty of informational books or online resources available. But I would suggest reading The Cardturner if you don’t wanted to be bored to death while learning about it. And besides, I’ve found the best way to learn is simply by playing. A computer game like Omar Sharif Bridge is a great educational tool, and a lot of fun.

For around a month, my dad and I have been playing bridge online. A couple of nights we’ve stayed up past midnight playing. Sure, if I added 50 pounds and grew a beard while staying up and playing bridge I’d be the definition of “loser,” but playing the game is tons of fun. Win or lose, it’s fun learning the intricacies of the game and having an enjoyable activity to share with my dad.

You may enter the game of bridge thinking it’s for old people, much like I did. If the game was made for the elderly, though, you’ll be saying, ‘bring on retirement’ once you’ve played bridge for a while.

Even if you’re not a fan of bridge heading in, the game will wear down your defences by cross-trumping. Eventually, it will finesse your heart.

Jonathan Hamelin
Copy Editor

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