by Jim McGregor/Special to Langley Advance Times
Sandy Shaw is the current chair of a local bridge club, and as she sets the card out on the tables, she smiles and says everyone is very glad to back playing now that COVID restrictions have been lifted.
“For many of these people it’s their only social outing, so it really makes a difference when they can’t get out to play. It really gives them something to look forward to,” she said of the club that gathers at the Langley seniors centre.
Sociology studies support Shaw’s observation.
When playing bridge, four people sit down at a card table and interact with one another.
This interaction ranges from introductions and small talk to discussing the complexities of a particularly challenging hand. Throughout the game, the player and their partner work together to achieve a common goal, which can be either making one’s contract or stopping the opponents from making their contract.
The bottom line is that playing bridge provides the opportunity for social interaction, and individuals who interact socially not only live longer than those who become isolated but also have improved immune systems, the studies suggest.
Shaw also pointed out that it’s not expensive and there is a reward.
“We charge a dollar for the day. All the money is put into a pot, and I divvy it up in different amounts for winners and we give it back to the winners and the people in last place get their money back. But it isn’t about the money, everyone enjoys being here.”
The club has been gathering since 2007, and meets Mondays and Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays is partners and Fridays is open.
Past chair Lynn Burr has been coming for 12 years and loves it.
“We just love coming out. The comradery is wonderful and just getting to get and see people again is so nice,” she said.
Shaw noted that the club has been growing.
“We’ve had to find more room, and we get up to 36 people now and I don’t like to turn people away. The game is good for their mental acuity as well. They not only have to know how to play the game, which is tricky, they have to know how to score, how to add up the numbers and that keeps them sharp. It’s good for them,” she explained.
How will playing bridge help your mental acuity?
Several cognitive skills are required to play bridge effectively: Concentrating on the game before you without getting distracted is essential so that you can give your full attention to the bidding process, to the cards in your hand, and to the cards that are being played.
Organizing and sequencing the cards in your hand are necessary before you begin the bidding process.
Having a reliable short-term/working memory is very important when playing bridge. Remembering what was said during the bidding phase of the game and what cards have been played are assets as you attempt to win your contract or set your opponents.
Reasoning and problem-solving skills are needed to overcome sticky situations when playing bridge.
But overall, Shaw stressed that this is not a competitive league.
“We’re not for profit. We’re just here for a happy time.”
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