Bridge Club teaches new members old tricks

Colleen Park

Tricks, trumps, bids and contracts.

On Sunday nights these familiar words take on new meaning for the members of Bridge Club, which meets at 7 p.m. in the commuter lounge of Norris University Center at for a game more popular among senior citizens.

“If you’re over 60 years old, everyone knows how to play,” Weinberg senior Stephanie Richman said.

She said not very many Northwestern students know how to play the game, but the group members make light of the card game with more than the occasional joke.

“It’s one of those games you can play forever,” said Noah Weiss, a graduate student.

While the group’s listserv includes about 50 people, usually between four and 10 people attend the weekly meetings, said Richman, the club’s president. On a typical night, the group starts with four players, since bridge is played with players in multiples of four.

The group plays for a few hours, sometimes until as late as midnight, Richman said. Each hand takes between five and 10 minutes to play.

As the game progresses, the table conversation can turn to topics like this year’s strange Olympic ice dancing costumes.

Weinberg junior Joseph Sobecki attended his first bridge club meeting after discovering the group playing a week before.

“I’ve got to get ready for when I get retired,” he said.

The group occasionally gains members by students seeing them and stopping by or through word of mouth, but there is no active member recruitment.

The members are used to novices and experienced players, Richman said. She said she takes the lead in trying to explain the rules of the game.

“It’s crazy,” Sobecki said of the game’s complicated terms. “Are we speaking English?”

While there is an abundance of terms to learn in order to understand the game, playing consists of two major parts: the auction and the play. In the auction, players bid to determine the trump suit. The winning team of the auction forms a contract in relation to their bid to win a set number of the 13 tricks during the play. The opposition tries to prevent the contract from being fulfilled.

After Sobecki’s first 30 minutes he achieved a relative understanding of the game’s procedures but still made occasional mistakes.

“This is really cool once you get the hang of it,” he said.[email protected]