Bridge players find fun is in their cards
BRIDGE is not just a card game.
Many of those who take up the game find it becomes an absorbing pastime and the number of players is growing.
There are bridge clubs at Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Nambucca, Urunga, Woolgoolga and Yamba and the largest bridge congress in NSW is held at Coffs Harbour each year.
The 2017 August Gold Congress will be held at Opal Cove Resort from Tuesday August 8 to Sunday August 13 and registrations are already open.
The policy officer for the NSW Pensioners and Superannuants Association, Paul Versteege, recently said bridge clubs were the only clubs which were growing, at a time when his organisation was struggling to increase membership and many other seniors organisations were in the same boat.
"Clubs are waning, with the exception of bridge clubs," Paul Versteege said.
So what is the attraction?
Retiree and former Coffs Coast resident Jenz Davidson, who began playing last year at the Gympie Bridge Club, said her club was growing and so was the larger Noosa Bridge Club.
She said her small club had about 90 members, while Noosa now had over 300.
"Noosa is becoming the new Gold Coast, with a lot of people retiring there," she said.
"At Noosa they play most days."
Jenz said the attractions of playing bridge included meeting people; the camaraderie, the mental challenge of the game and the thrill of winning.
"You meet a lot of people from different walks of life " Jenz said.
"A lot of them are retirees.
"You form bridge partnerships and then there is the challenge of playing well and winning."
Bridge is a very complicated game, Jenz said.
She explained that it starts off easy with the basics being quite simple.
"But, as you learn more you get into conventions and different bidding," Jenz said.
"Contract bridge is a bidding game, so you have to get the bidding right and you don't know who has done what until the end of the night when it is all added up by computer.
"It's a social game and because you move tables,you meet and chat with all the other people who are moving in the opposite direction.
"Every game starts off differently and you and your partner have totally different hands, so the challenge is to find a game that suits both your hands and win it.
"There is always something new to learn.
"Our teacher told us to expect to be down the bottom a lot in the first year.
"I hate losing, but unfortunately it happens a lot.
"I've got to practise, practise, practise.
"If we win, I get really chuffed and really excited.
"Even if you don't know your bridge partner well, if you win it is a shared victory."