THE GAME OF BRIDGE
Many people are familiar with the card game called Whist (or 7 Hands) that is usually played in clubs. This game affords some entertainment and is good enough to pass the time. The game of Bridge however, goes one big step higher and so it is much more popular in the world among all classes and ages of people.
Let’s first see what Whist is all about: A standard 52-card pack is used. The cards in each of the four suits rank from highest to lowest: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2. It is played by four players sitting around a square table, who play in two partnerships with the partners sitting opposite each other.
The player to the dealer’s left leads to the first trick. He/she may lead any card in his/her hand. The other players, in clockwise order, each play a card to the trick and must follow suit by playing a card of the suit led, if having one. A player with no card of the suit led, may play any card either discarding or trumping. The trick is won by the highest card of the suit led, unless a trump is played, in which case the highest trump wins (if more than one trump card is played). The winner of the trick leads the next card.
Play continues until all thirteen tricks are won, at which point the number of tricks won by each pair is recorded. The game is largely dependent on luck as the team with the better cards, usually tends to score more tricks.
How is Bridge in Goa played?
The cards are dealt to the players like in Whist, but now the players carry out an auction (called bidding) for the number of tricks they think that they can make. During the auction, partners orally communicate information about the cards which they are holding by using one of a number of established systems.
Once the auction is over, the player of the team which has won it becomes the Declarer while his/her partner becomes the Dummy. The player to the left of the Declarer plays a card, and then the cards of the Dummy are placed face up on the table for all to see. The game continues just like in Whist, and the Declarer playing by himself now, has to make the contract that was won in the auction. The other pair will do its best to defeat the contract. Points are awarded based on the final contract and the actual outcome of the play.
What do you think are the skills involved in playing Bridge?
Well, in the first place, a player has to become familiar with the rules of the game and the language of Bidding. After the auction (i.e. the bidding) is completed and the cards of the Dummy come down, the Declarer has to quickly draw up a plan on how to proceed with the play and make the contract. Do the trumps (if any) have to be removed at the earliest, or later? Which suit must be played first; which suit will give the tricks towards making the contract? What strategy to follow when falling short of sure tricks and force the opponents to play into your hand and give you tricks?
Very often the Declarer’s plan of action may fail because of the lay of the opponents’ cards, and he/she has to change strategy.
Apart from this, the players have to keep a mental track of all the cards that have been played, and this is what keeps the brain cells active and alive.
Indonesia’s richest man 78 year old Michael Bambang Hartono a Billionaire, had clinched the bronze in the super mixed category along with five other Indonesian players in bridge at the first ever 2018 Asian Games for which Bridge was included. He said: “If you want to be a good businessman or a good leader, then play bridge.”
Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are considered to be two of the smartest entrepreneurs in America. Both are also very accomplished bridge players. Buffett once said that he wouldn’t mind going to jail — but only if he had three cell mates who were capable bridge players.
“Bridge is more than just a card game. It’s a cerebral sport. Bridge teaches you logic, reasoning, quick thinking, patience, concentration and partnership skills,” said Hall of Fame tennis star, Martina Navratilova.
These are some of the reasons why the game of Bridge has now been included (along with Chess) in the curriculum of schools in China, UK and the USA, that too for children of a very young age.
But skills apart, the game of Bridge is what keeps your brain and your mind young, sharp and alert. You have to only watch this 45 seconds clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3kFtoNgFf4 to realize why!!
Bridge stimulates the brain, exercises both its sides and it can even improve your physical health. Research has shown that a game of bridge can even boost your immune system. By stimulating the brain cortex, bridge-playing activity produces higher numbers of the white blood cells that fight disease. Other studies have found that people who play bridge regularly are 2½ times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Above all this, the game of Bridge in Goa is social, and a beautiful way to make friends, to be with them, to spend your time profitably with them and to have FUN!!
So what are you waiting for? Find a Bridge club near you or people who play the game and make their acquaintance. Attend a session and watch the game being played again and again, as each deal will take just a few minutes to get over, not like the game of chess. Listen to the discussion and arguments among partners which sometimes follow at the end a game. But all of this should be taken in the proper spirit!! Before long you will find yourself hooked to this most beautiful game and will want to be sitting around the table with those players.
The Bridge in Goa Association
The Monthly pairs tournaments will be conducted by the Goa Bridge Association on Sunday 27th March from 10 am to 1:30 pm in Clube Gaspar Dias, Miramar.
The charges are Rs. 300/- for each player (600/- a pair) which includes breakfast at 9:15 am, lunch at the end of the tournament and prizes
For registrations, WhatsApp Gerard at 9370430919 latest by Sat. 26th
Credits: Gerard Delaney/Business Standard