This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.
By Goh Xin-Yi (16S03E), Treasurer of Bridge Club
Once I am taken out of the board, I am struck by the liveliness and excitement in the room. There’s a bit of a commotion going on at one of the tables because someone has missed out on a golden opportunity to take a trick. The layout of the room is as such: there are a few desks, with four people seated around each. Every Wednesday and Friday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., duplicate tournaments are held where teams compete. Lessons on bidding, declaring, and defending could also be held. Though less exciting, they are necessary in building a good foundation and improving the players’ skills.
“3 Spades.” At my table, bidding has just ended. I am placed face-up on the desk, as my owner is now the dummy.
Trick. Teams. Bidding. Declaring. Defending. Dummy. Do these terms sound strange? In my short stay in this club since my induction, I have witnessed many batches of Bridge members.
What’s that, you say? Floating Bridge? Just to clear the air, the members in my club play contract Bridge. I know how floating Bridge works – I have been called as a partner before. But contract Bridge isn’t like that. It’s a much more fulfilling game that requires less luck, and more thinking, where partners are determined before the game.
Of course there would be those who are relatively proficient at the game, but there are many more who start off as beginners and only learnt the rules of contract Bridge at the beginning of Year 5. Therefore, to any potential newcomers, don’t be put off by not knowing how to play contract Bridge. All you need is enthusiasm, interest, and diligence. Trust my advice based on my years of experience in the club.
Someone bangs a table in celebration of making his contract. The players are enthusiastic and boisterous – they might, occasionally, feel angry and disappointed, but always passionate. It is perhaps this passion for card-playing that bonds them, that keeps them coming back weekly, or biweekly, for more.
What I feel are the highlights of the club, however, are the matches between the teams from our school and from other schools. Look forward to the Hwa Chong Cup, the National Inter-Schools Bridge Competition, as well as Raffles Pairs, organised by my owners (the members in the club). Nothing can be more exciting than to lie on a table and watch the players from various schools pit their wits against one another.
It may be a personal bias, but having been through all the various card games, from Snap to Solitaire to Hearts, Bridge – contract Bridge – is still the best to me. It’s the most fascinating and mind-stretching game I’ve played. Owner of Forbes Magazine, Malcolm Forbes, once said, “Playing bridge reflects intelligence. It’s one of the really great pleasures of life. I think anybody who’s missing bridge is missing so much in life. Don’t make the mistake of missing out on the fun of bridge.”
Time flies – it’s 6.30. My time out in the open is up. After a long hibernation in the Bridge cupboard, I look forward to seeing you, a young and fresh batch of passionate Bridge players, next year. Until then, adieu.
Suggested further reading (All books listed can be found in the Shaw Foundation Library):
- The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
- 25 bridge conventions you should know by Barbara Seagram and Marc Smith
- 25 more bridge conventions you should know by Barbara Seagram and David Bird
*No pre-requisite knowledge of these bidding conventions is required. Reading list is provided for those who are interested to read up more beforehand.