- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 20, 2002

Thousands of men, women and children will be in the District over the next two weeks to try their hands at the most popular parlor game in the world bridge.
Roughly 8,000 bridge players from the United States and other countries will meet at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Northwest to compete during the 11-day Summer 2002 North American Bridge Championships.
No longer considered a card game for retired men and blue-haired ladies, bridge is experiencing a resurgence, especially among children and young adults who find the game fascinating.
At yesterday's start, Marc Glickman, 19, couldn't wait to try some tricks during the afternoon Life Master Pairs Event in the Marriott Ballroom. The Yale University student, who started playing bridge at age 12, said he enjoys the competition and the camaraderie with fellow bridge players.
"There's so much to bridge there's psychology, partnership and strategy," said Mr. Glickman, a native of Woodland Hills, Calif.
"I really like the people especially at the nationals. The junior players are a fun group," he said.
His father, James, an avid bridge player, introduced him to the game. The younger Mr. Glickman started attending tournaments, read a few books and one thing led to another. Now, he's hooked.
So is Sean Ganness.
Mr. Ganness, 36, learned to play bridge his senior year in college because many of his college buddies played.
"We started playing Hearts and gradually we wanted something more challenging. So, someone suggested bridge. I bought 'Five Weeks to Winning Bridge' by Alfred Sheinwold and the rest is history. I fell in love with the game because of the book. And, it's kind of funny, my friends no longer play bridge," he said.
Mr. Ganness said he finds the game challenging because every deal has a different set of problems whether it's math oriented or the psychology of his opponents it's never the same. "And, there are so many different ways to solve a problem," he said.
"You must bring various disciplines to the table in order to be successful in the game. Math just isn't enough; you must be able to read people," said Mr. Ganness, a stockbroker who lives in Miami.
If Charlotte Blaiss, director of Youth Programs for the American Contract Bridge League the sponsor of the 11-day tournament had her druthers, the young and the young at heart would all play bridge. Mrs. Blaiss, a former school teacher and football coach, said the organization has seen to it that bridge lessons are offered in schools throughout the country.
"We're trying to promote bridge for young people to get it rejuvenated. Bridge, you know, helps critical thinking skills, problem solving, math, social skills and all sorts of educational aspects," she said.
Many people in their late 20s through 40s don't know anything about bridge, Mrs. Blaiss said. It's as if the card game skipped two generations. But the Internet has played a major role in introducing a lot of young people to bridge. Game Web sites offer not only hearts and spades card games, but bridge as well.
"It could tweak a person's interest if they don't play [bridge] and those who do, can find a partner online anywhere in the world. They can even practice with a robot, a make-believe bridge partner," she said.


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