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A spot at the tablePosted Wednesday, April 21, 2010, at 11:50 AM
I have been thinking about taking up bridge.
I'm not sure exactly what brought this on, other than a conversation with my co-worker Mary Reeves a week or two ago. But I have ordered "Bridge For Dummies," and now I just have to figure out with whom a complete novice might be able to play.
Some years back, probably in the late 1980s or early 1990s, Channel 8 aired a series on Saturday afternoons about the basics of the game. It looked like fun, but I didn't have any way to follow up on it and I let it fall by the wayside.
Then, in the 90s, my landlady at the time talked about wanting to start playing bridge, but again, nothing ever came of it.
I'm not sure anything will come of it this time -- except for me sending Amazon.com some money -- but I still think it would be fun to learn the game. Microsoft founder Bill Gates and uber-investor Warren Buffett are both avid players, traveling to compete in tournaments, and movie star Omar Sharif is an actual expert, who had a newspaper column and books to his credit. Strangely enough, he quit the game completely a few years back.
The trouble with bridge for the beginner, as I see it, is that it's a partnership game. If you join a poker game with three more-experienced players, they might not mind so much. (They'd probably be happy to see you, in fact.) But if you join a bridge game with three more-experienced players, and you play badly, well, you're going to feel at least a little bit like you've let your partner down.
My former T-G co-worker Ann Bullard called the other day to find out how we were doing in the middle of the adoption craziness, and later, as we were making conversation, she mentioned something in passing about playing bridge. I asked her about it, and she recommended a good online site. I suppose it's possible that a new player could practice a bit online -- where I imagine it's easier to find other players at your experience level -- before dipping his toe into the water of serious, in-person play.
But I don't know. Has anyone else tried to learn bridge from scratch? How did you find someone to play with?
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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