Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Behind the Bridge Club

Off to one corner in the dark, yet serene Rocky Dining Hall at 8 pm every Tuesday and Thursday, the Bridge Club, a misunderstood but genial group, meets to practice their craft. Of all the clubs that Princeton has to offer, the Bridge Club may be among the most unnoticed.
“We actually have nearly one hundred people on our mailing list, but we’re lucky if we get 8 people for two games,” added Sundstrom ’11.
Despite its manpower difficulties and relative obscurity within the Princeton bubble, the Bridge Club has placed second and fifth respectively in collegiates the last two years; the Bridge Club represented Princeton University and placed 5th or higher out of all North American colleges.
“We get to the final eight whenever we actually enter the competition,” said Sundstrom ’11. “I was disappointed with last year’s finish; one of our top players couldn’t make it in July.
Bridge has been stigmatized as a game for old women—a game hardly worth the attention of college-age young adults—yet this seemingly unassuming game is more than just a hobby for the elderly. This card game involves intricate strategies, some of which are contained in entire 3” binders, and quick adaptation against the other team as each round progresses.
Each round is a quick and almost entirely silent 7 minutes in which the teams try to outsmart each other while simultaneously predicting their opponent’s next moves. The game is a trick-taking card game with four players, two to a team. Each team attempts places bets on how many tricks they will win in the round. As more tricks are collected, players can systematically determine the best way to win their target number. While it takes only moments to learn the basic rules, it takes both years of practice to fully understand the intricacies and a particularly logical and mathematical mindset to perfect bridge.
Luckily enough, the Bridge Club is starting beginner’s lessons on Saturdays at 2pm, for all those interested but uneducated in the noble art of bridge.