Shortly after our U3A started in 1999 it was apparent there were sufficient people to form a Bridge Group and a group leader was needed. Reg, the late husband of the present leader Kate Crouch, put his name forward; he was a good bridge player and patient enough to help others learn. His claim to fame in the Bridge world was that whilst working in Trinidad he was asked to partner an Indian lady champion – Kate tells me that he wasn’t chosen for his Bridge abilities as at the time he was sitting quietly reading a book; a Bridge partner was needed, and he was available. Nevertheless he held his own and competed with the Indian champion against other well-known bridge players – and lost. During their time in Trinidad Kate took up Bridge and although she confesses she doesn’t play as well as her husband did and cannot teach as he could, she took over the running of the Bridge Group as we see it today.
This group may not suit ‘serious’ Bridge players, as here the group play more for the social aspect than for the prospect of scoring wins (in fact they don’t keep score at all) and yes you can talk and laugh, and by all accounts they do.
Kate doesn’t know who will arrive until the group members walk through the door. The good thing is that this group caters for individuals and even though Bridge is a partnership game requiring four people you don’t need a regular partner. Depending on numbers between 1 and 3 tables are set up. If there are an odd number of people they circulate with perhaps the ‘dummy’ (see below) stepping down in one round, or the losers or the dealer – whatever they decide at the time. This system also helps players adapt to different partners.
Bridge is more complicated than other card games and this sometimes discourages beginners but in this group they can join in even if they don’t know anything about the game. At first they may sit with an experienced player and learn by watching and explanation. The game sounds fascinating with all its facets: there is the ‘bidding’ and the ‘play’. The ‘bidding’ determines who will be the ‘declarer’ (not to be confused with the ‘dealer’) and the ‘dummy’ is the declarer’s partner. I’m sure when you are actually playing the game everything becomes clear but as a non-Bridge player it seems to me quite mentally challenging.