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Planning Retirement Online

Out of the box.  Bridging that gap

                                              August 2010

This is our regular OUT OF THE BOX feature where we give suggestions on different things to try.      

If you have tried something unusual or different, tell us all about it - and send in a photograph as well if you can – so that we can share your experiences with others.



This month we look at ……  Bridge.


BridgeAs we get older, the change from spending every day with numerous work colleagues or involved in your children’s local school to the isolation of being based full time in one’s own home can be quite challenging. One new interest that really seems to appeal to people at our stage of life is bridge.

Bridge used to be one of the most popular card games and up to the 1950s and even 1960s it was an accepted part of normal life. Bridge evenings with friends were as common as going down the pub.
Then it went fast out of fashion and many youngsters today won’t even have heard of the game. But it is still around and beginning to grow in popularity again.

There are several forms of this card game but Contract Bridge is the normal game. It involves four players who team up as two lots of partners. Each partner sits opposite each other and a standard pack of cards is used. The game is based on winning the most tricks at the end, but it is far more complicated than that, with “bidding” at the beginning of each game and remembering what has been put down as key elements.

The complexity of it can put beginners off, but once you get the hang of it, the game can be very absorbing and become quite an obsession. Like so many things, you don’t have to be brain of Britain to play well, all you need is some regular practice and an understanding of the terms and rules.

Today it is easier to become involved in the game than ever before. There is almost certainly a local bridge group near you who would welcome another member. Beginners are often invited just to come and watch and are then gradually introduced to the game, sometimes working in tandem with an experienced player until they get the hang of it.

There are also a growing number of local clubs which run special courses for beginners including weekends away. Hotels are getting in on the act as well now and you will find several offering special bridge learning weekends away.

If you simply google in “learn to play bridge” you will find a range of courses and ideas. It is also good to look at local newspapers and ask your local council, there are bridge clubs everywhere! There are of course several online courses available but for a complex game like bridge, learning with real players is far better as you can ask all those early questions and get immediate answers.

Many people say bridge is the best card game in the world; and even if it isn’t quite that good, it certainly is a great way to regularly spend an afternoon or evening with friends.

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