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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment April 29, 2016


7/29/2014 12:49:00 PM
Sisters bridge group to offer lessons
Susan Sandberg (second from right), organizer of the Sisters bridge group, will be offering bridge lessons. photo by Craig Eisenbeis
+ click to enlarge
Susan Sandberg (second from right), organizer of the Sisters bridge group, will be offering bridge lessons. photo by Craig Eisenbeis

By Craig Eisenbeis


The Sisters bridge group is growing, and locals are continuing to express interest in the card game. So, for the second straight year, lessons will be offered to the public.

Last year, the group's coordinator, Susan Sandberg, taught four newcomers the game in sessions at The Pines Clubhouse.

"All four of those people are playing with us now," she said. "It was such a success that we decided to do it again."

Sandberg already has two people who have expressed interest, and she is hoping that more men and women will decide to join in.

"I think that the game is great because of the mental intensity involved in it," she said. "It keeps people's minds sharp and working."

The group meets on Thursdays at The Pines Clubhouse.

"We play a very low-key version of social contract bridge," Sandberg said. "This definitely isn't one of those high-pressure duplicate groups. We're just here to have fun. This new class is going to be very, very beginning bridge - counting points, bidding, eventually working up to basic systems and conventions that are popular at this time."

The learning sessions will be held each Thursday morning in August, beginning on Thursday, August 7, at 9:30 a.m. The lessons are free, but there is a nominal facilities charge of $1 per session for players who are not residents of The Pines.

"I'm not an expert," stressed Sandberg, "and I don't claim to be. I'm a teacher and want to help people learn about this great game.

"Bridge is constant learning," she said. "You can never be perfect at it. No matter what level you've attained, you're always learning. It always provides new challenges depending on how the cards fall. Not only that, it provides social interaction. It's very socially stimulating, and you meet new people and make new friends."

The organization has been playing bridge in Sisters since 1980 and has seen a number of iterations at various locales in the community. It first took root in the Sisters fire hall, but outgrew that site and moved into Hotel Sisters and later to the Cloverdale schoolhouse. It's next home was in the Episcopal Church basement for more than a decade, but some of the older members had trouble with the steep stairs, so the venue was finally moved to the new clubhouse at The Pines.

Long celebrated as a pathway to building and maintaining brain-power, the game of bridge is descended from a 16th century card game called whist, which was popular among the English nobility of that era. In Turkey, during the 1890s, the game began to evolve into its current form and rapidly spread around the globe, quickly finding a home in the United States. The next major change occurred around the turn of the last century, in France, where the partners were required to predict how many "tricks" their team could win.

The present form of "contract" bridge, and its scoring, was developed by the wealthy American Harold Vanderbilt during a steamship cruise in 1925. Harold was the great-grandson of the railroad and shipping tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The popularity of bridge reached its zenith in this country during the 1930s and 1940s. For a time, bridge rivaled baseball as a top national interest and was frequently featured in Sports Illustrated. Like the doping scandals of recent years, cheating scandals rocked the bridge world at international tournaments in the 1970s.

Television and electronic games have siphoned off interest over the years, but the game continues to be recognized as one of the best and most popular methods of sharpening mental acuity and social skills.

People interested in a challenging form of entertainment that helps build brain-power - and does not involve television or electronic games - should consider playing bridge. For persons who already know how to play and are interested in joining, the Sisters bridge group plays in the The Pines Clubhouse every Thursday afternoon at 12:30 p.m., except holidays.

People interested in playing bridge or signing up for the August lessons are invited to contact Susan Sandberg at 541-549-9419 or her co-organizer, Donna Hurd, at 541-548-8035. They will also be glad to help pair up players with partners and assist newcomers in developing their bridge skills.









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