9 July 2015 Sioux City Iowa, USA GS Jade Barrett ( CsbNews.org correspondent) with Paolo Clair
«One of my greatest times of inspiration is when I’m traveling or living in a new country – there’s a tremendous freedom that comes from being unfettered by your own, familiar culture, and by seeing the world from a different point of view» – Kim Edwards
After visiting Padova Italy for two years with the CEO of the Great American Bridge Tour, Dr Donna Lombardini, we prevailed upon our friend and host, Paolo Clair, to allow us to show him the same hospitality.
For players outside North America, the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) is a different animal. With over 3,000,000 tables in play annually, there is no day in which there is not an opportunity to compete (well maybe not Christmas, but I remain uncertain).
Aside from the three North American Championships that draw most of the best athletes in the world there are a host of smaller tournaments that occur everywhere on the Continent. These events range from single sessions held at a small club to the Gatlinburg Regional that draws over 10,000 tables over the period of a week. All of them have their own character and those of us who frequent these tournaments find pleasure in each of them, regardless of their size. During our friend’s visit we will introduce him to the entire spectrum.
Our first visit was to the Sioux City Iowa Bridge club, a friendly club in Northwest Iowa. Held in a Senior Center, the door is locked immediately upon the start of the game.
And sometimes a little before, as we discovered upon our nearly fashionably late arrival at 1759 for the 1800 start time and after banging on the door for a quarter hour or so, we gained entry to the facility to happily find that the game was short half a table.
Fresh from his 2nd place showing at European Championships in Tromso, Norway, our guest sat down with good spirit and Dr Donna at this dramatically different venue. This initiation into the local bridge became our highlight of the day.
As in every bridge playing country, the local duplicate is the foundation upon which every tournament is erected. It provides the competitors, teachers, promoters, directors, authors, and all the other officials that are required to operate the organizations worldwide. Many of the very best players in the world got their introduction to the game in these unassuming venues, for it is in these clubs where dreams begin (and occasionally nightmares if your finesses always fail).