June 25th, 2024

City club set to host regional bridge tourney here next week

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on April 6, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Duplicate Bridge Club will be hosting an American Contract Bridge League regional tournament Monday until April 16 at the Scenic Drive Holiday Inn.
Players from all over Western Canada and the Northwest United States will be competing twice daily for black, red and gold ACBL Masterpoints, says tournament chair Dianne King of the Lethbridge Bridge Club.
Traditionally, clubs host regionals once every four years, says King, so this is an opportunity for players to “chalk up hard earned gold and red points.”
The tournament is the highest level that Lethbridge can host and it probably won’t be eligible for another regional event for another four years.
The tournament features a variation of the team game known as “duplicate bridge” in which “the same set of bridge deals are played by different competitors and scoring is based on relative performance.”
The game is a complex one with teamsof two playing each other at the tournaments.
People who have seen the bridge columns in The Herald and other newspapers are probably at least vaguely familiar with the set-up – north/south team against east/west team.
Masterpoints are earned at ACBL tournaments in six different colour categories and are that organization’s “measure of achievement in duplicate bridge competition,” says the ACBL on its website. These masterpoints “are essential to rank advancement” with the ACBL having 16 player ranks which all require a specific number and colour of points.
The goal of players is to become a Life Master which requires 500 black points, 50 each of silver, gold and red.
The only time people can get the latter three are at special tournaments, said King.
There are two types of tournaments including regional and sectional, the latter where players can earn silver points.
The Lethbridge Bridge Club and the club in Pincher Creek are considered part of what is called a unit.
King, who joined the ACBL 17 years ago, has accumulated 540 totals points and still doesn’t have all her gold points while some tournament players have in excess of 20,000.
“So you see when you play against someone like that, naturally they’re going to win. It’s very hard,” said King.
“These people are so advanced. The bidding they do is so abstract. There are many, many ways of bidding something that you don’t really need and that is called their conventions. So people have to learn different conventions and the fancier people get, the better it is for them to describe each other’s hands,” added King.
Almost everyone will be attending the local tournament as a team. If people are solo, organizers have a partnership desk which will match them up with another player.
A so-called convention card is filled out before ACBL games and at any point an opponent can ask to see a card which shows whether people play fancy or basic bids. A card is needed for each different partner a person plays with during the tournament.
“It’s a very complicated game but it’s a wonderful game,” said King. “You can never really master it.”
The Lethbridge club plays five days a week. But because of people working the club only has one evening game so younger people don’t have as much of an opportunity to get involved. King estimates the average age in the club to be 75.
“We have wonderful lessons for beginners and for people who are moving along and playing a bit more.”
There are also many social clubs in the city and elsewhere that don’t belong to the ACBL “but play very very good bridge” but have chosen not to play duplicate bridge, King said.
Two sessions of games will be held each day with games lasting about three hours each. The first games start at 10 a.m. and the second session begins at 1 p.m. daily.

Share this story:


Comments are closed.