News & Blog

Photo by Broadmead resident Erroll Hay

Burgeoning Bridge Scene Attracts Many Residents

By Alice Cherbonnier

Bridge aficionado Marj Espenschade estimates that more than 50 residents are playing the game on Wednesday afternoons at Broadmead. The level of play ranges from beginner to advanced, but the players have one thing in common: enthusiasm for the game.

Wednesday rubber bridge, the traditional pair– versus–pair game, takes place in the Fireplace Room, with overflow to nearby tables on the first level. To encourage continued learning, each bridge foursome includes one experienced player and three who are less experienced. “It’s amazing how everyone is advancing,” says Marj. “I feel great satisfaction that so many are learning the game and enjoying it.” A duplicate bridge game—in which pairs vie to see which pair can extract the best score result from the same cards—takes place on Wednesdays in the York Building’s social room. Organizer and scorekeeper Sumner Clarren jokes, “This is a way you can hold terrible cards and still win.”

The bidding boxes used in duplicate bridge to encourage quiet play are also proving ideal for bridge players who have vision and hearing challenges. In addition to Wednesday’s scheduled bridge matches, players have been gathering on Mondays in the Fireplace Room for informal rubber bridge games. “Round Cardinal” bridge tournaments, during which 12 pairs play in one another’s homes on a rotating basis, have been happening around campus as well.

Younger players are impressed with the cardplaying acumen of their elders—including Louise Williams, who just turned 101. Results for these games are conveyed to Steven Scheinin, who updates and circulates spreadsheets of scores.

Many Broadmead players are “graduates” of the professionally-led beginner and intermediate bridge classes funded by the Broadmead Residents Association (BRA). For the past two years, beginner classes have been held in the fall and intermediate classes have followed in the spring. Every class has been filled to capacity. So far, 40 people have completed the beginner/refresher course, and—as of April—40 people have learned to play at the intermediate level. In addition to continuing to offer these foundational lessons, Marj reports that a third class, “Play of the Hand,” may be offered for more advanced players.

The Broadmead bridge scene will likely flourish even more once the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL)-certified instructors, Laura and Dan Pawlak—now on Broadmead’s wait list—become neighbors of their students.

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