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In the Beginning

by Peggy Kaplan

North American Bridge Championships are electric with excitement. Elite players from around the world duke it out, delighting kibitzers with exotic bidding sequences and dramatic plays.

Yet no matter how accomplished and no matter how many titles, no expert bursts forward from the heights. We all learn the game from the beginning. Home at the kitchen table or a school bridge club; party bridge or watching friends and family at the local dupe . . . . All of us start somewhere.

The first Saturday in Louisville, a group of smiling bridge players enjoyed some of their beginning at the Bridge-Plus+ game. Competitors were treated to a bridge lesson at 10AM, followed by 14 hands of duplicate.

Among this eager collection were some of our youngest: Konner Spalding, Emma Brangers, Chloe Brangers and Allison Birch, fourth-graders at Huntertown Elementary School in Versailles, KY. With the able expertise of bridge teacher Sandra Marlin, Konner’s grandmother, the girls participated in classes at their school. Though she did not play in Bridge-Plus+, even Sandra’s granddaughter, six year old Kendall Spalding, is a bridge player and she watched the other girls compete!

Vying for and winning a NABC title is an incredible thrill. But – taking a first successful finesse? Mastering Blackwood? Defeating a vulnerable game or making a grand slam? Our virgin voyages are just as filled with adventurous pleasure.