To Pass or Not to Pass?

By Rick Larkin

For many seniors, the game of bridge is an enjoyable pastime. It promotes an engaging social atmosphere while, as several scientific studies have shown, improving brain function. Research done by various medical providers has noted that regular bridge players have good, consistent recall of played cards and a grasp of complex stratagems integral in the game.

The social atmosphere allows seniors to meet new people and develop friendships around the bridge table. It’s good to get out of the cottage or apartment regularly and enjoy social interaction among peers.

Recently my wife Millie, and I had the pleasure of partnering with 16 other John Knoxers in the beginning of their journey toward learning the fundamentals of contract bridge. At the first class we presented a few basic foundations of the game and with some prompting and encouragement had them playing “bridge” within 30-minutes of the start of class. During the next 10 weeks we presented facts and fundamentals of the game in 30-minute sessions and then played bridge for the next 90 minutes. We encouraged the participants to play on their
own with other attendees to sharpen their newfound skills.


At the end of 10 weeks, 13 folks finished beginning bridge and hopefully found others to play with or availed themselves of online sites where they could practice.

What’s next? In January, Millie and I will be leading a beginning bridge session structured for beginners and novices to play together. We have scheduled it for Saturday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. in the Card Lounge. There will be a short talk before the game and then two hours of play.

Also we were approached and have agreed to continue the Monday afternoon open duplicate game at 1:00 p.m. in the Card Lounge starting in January. This is a competitive game for players with some knowledge of basic bridge conventions and card plays. Depending on demand, we may need to have a rotation set up so everyone can participate.

Contract bridge is a wonderful game. You can play duplicate bridge or “party” bridge depending on your mindset. Bridge is great for sharpening your memory and enables one to meet new people. It challenges your intellect in a congenial social atmosphere for those looking for a new activity or even those looking to refresh long forgotten skills.