Hamilton Press reporter learns Bridge from the best in the business

Hamilton Press reporter Kelley Tantau took a lesson in Bridge.
KELLY HODEL/FAIRFAX NZ

Hamilton Press reporter Kelley Tantau took a lesson in Bridge.

I was told it takes 12 weeks to fully learn the card game Bridge. I tried to learn it in two hours. 

As a kid I played Speed, Go Fish and Snap, and I thought picking up Bridge would be a breeze. 

But it turned out that Bridge is the chess of card games.

On a Friday morning I headed down to the Hamilton Contract Bridge Club on Richmond St. I was greeted by Cynthia Clayton, who is a Bridge expert in my eyes.

In the room there were 13 full tables with four players at each. Fifty-two people in total - 53 including me but I was just kibitzing​.

Kibitzing​ is the term for someone just watching a game of Bridge and although a kibitzer is supposed to remain silent, Cynthia and I talked about the moves and strategies, and I tried to wrap my head around them. 

At one end of the room there was a 'N', showing which way north was. 

Bridge is played in a pair, one pair is north and south and the other pair are east and west. 

North and south stay seated at the same table throughout the tournament, while east and west make their way around the room, visiting every other north and south team.

Each player is given 13 cards, and they bid for the number of tricks they think they can take.

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Because everyone in the room would eventually play the same hand, the bids were written down on a piece of paper in the centre of the table. 

Each player can either bid or pass and passes were identified by jotting down an 'X' on the paper. 

What comes next is terms like "declarer" and "dummy". 

The game ends after 13 tricks have been played and each team counts up the number of tricks it has won.

Although i'd need another few practises of Bridge to further understand the game, I'd recommend it to anyone. 

It's a good way to meet people and to learn a new skill and I don't think there is such a thing as a Go Fish club in Hamilton. 

 - Stuff

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