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

Saanich resident to carry NDP banner against local MP Elizabeth May

Sabine Singh will accept nomination Saturday at Saanich Commonwealth Place

Province invests $2.7 million in Indigenous teacher education training

Money to go towards teacher spots and Indigenous teaching practices

Canucks host pre-season game, training camp in Victoria

Practices to be open to the public; Game against Calgary Flames set for Sept. 16

Province promises July policy changes to help break cycle of poverty in B.C.

Families providing room and board to kin will no longer be financially penalized

Victoria seventh most youth-friendly Canadian city: national index

B.C. capital tops YouthfulCities’ education and creative arts categories

BREAKING: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Police make arrest after report of a man brandishing a gun at Campbell River-area lake

43-year-old man from the Comox area has since been charged with multiple offences

B.C. high school withdraws notices for temporary dress code

Parents previously told the Interior News they felt there was inadequate consultation over the rules

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors announcer credited with calming crowds after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Mini-horse visits residents at Lower Mainland care home

Gunner turned a visit with grandpa into a major event for everyone at the residence

Most Read