Cards no laughing matter for bridge tournament players in Saanich

Pearkes Arena hosts about 160 of the best bridge players for semi-annual tournament March 28-29

Ele Gibson

A game of former Olympic glory will bring about 160 of the best players to Pearkes Arena this weekend for the Spring Sectional bridge tournament.

The annual spring and fall sectional tournaments are the biggest in the Greater Victoria bridge calendar, trumped only by the semi-annual regional tournament coming up in April at Pearkes, the region’s home to major bridge tournaments.

The Capital Region boasts some of Canada’s top bridge players, including national champions.

There are no prizes to the winner of the Spring Sectional – participants are just there for the love of the game, said tournament lead Ele Gibson, a board member with Unit 431 (Victoria and the Gulf Islands) of the American Contract Bridge League.

“We just play for the glory, the competition and for a good game of bridge,” she said. “You do your best and have fun like any sporting event.”

About 20 per cent of this weekend’s competitors come in from out of town, mostly up-island, and provide a significant economic impact to Saanich.

“We eat out all weekend,” Gibson said.

Contract bridge has found a niche with the over-45 population, but it’s no longer the weekend event that once led to marriages.

“The problem is people don’t play cards anymore,” said Gibson, who started playing 1984. “When I was younger, we played cards every Sunday night but TV and video games have taken over with young people.”

It’s still a social event, and there are some younger people playing the game, which is encouraging, Gibson added.

“Bridge takes a lot of time. When you’re done a day’s work, you don’t want to use your mind at night. You want to relax, whereas when you’re retired it’s an excellent way to keep your mind going.”

In addition to the social aspect, it’s the challenge and mental exercise that keeps bridge players coming back. The trick to enjoying yourself is always being patient with your teammate, in hopes that they’ll return the favour.

“If your partner has a bad day, it shouldn’t bother you, though it does bother some people,” Gibson said. “Everyone has off days. You just go with the flow.”

The International Olympic Committee continues to recognize the former Olympic sport as a “mind game,” though it’s unlikely ever to return to the ranks of the Olympics.

Despite being played by millions world-wide ,it just “doesn’t fit in with the faster, further and higher mentality” of the Olympics, Gibson said.

This weekend’s sectionals begin with open pairs at 1 p.m. today (March 27), and again at noon on Saturday. Sunday starts with the Open Swiss team event at 9:30 a.m.

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Esquimalt café cooks up connections for all abilities

A Kinder Cup focuses on positivity, inclusivity and connection

Central Saanich sparks up new opening burning bylaw

New bylaw offers ‘balanced approach’ between status quo and tougher provincial regulations

Free bike exchange program available to Greater Victoria kids

The Re-Buy-Cycle Shop in Langford offers free bikes for young learners

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

Lone wolf eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Canada continues to win at world indoor lacrosse championships in B.C.

Results of the action from day two of the 2019 World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor World Championship

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Area 51 events mostly peaceful; thousands in Nevada desert

Three more people were arrested Friday on the remote once-secret military base

B.C. First Nation signs agreement to return its land on Vancouver Island

The land on the east coast of Vancouver Island will be returned to the We Wai Kai Nation

Most Read