MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Say the word “bridge” in Memphis, Tennessee and citizens might ask you “which one?”
There’s the Hernando Desoto Bridge across the Mighty Mississippi River with its dazzling Mighty Lights. There’s the “Big River Crossing” with a complimentary illumination on the order of spectacular, the longest pedestrian span over the Mississippi that stretches from Memphis to a future Arkansas State Park now in its formative stages. There’s the Harahan Railroad Bridge and a Memphis Arkansas Bridge, which still carries vehicular traffic between Tennessee and Arkansas. Then there’s Bridges USA, a grassroots Memphis organization that unites and inspires diverse young people to become leaders devoted to community transformation.
Memphis, filled with music aficionados, might think of another kind of bridge, the kind found in your favorite song.
But you can set all those bridge references to one side in Memphis from March 21 through 31 when the American Contract Bridge League brings its Spring Championships to town with as many as 6,000 players and an economic impact on the city estimated at $3 million.
“There is truly something for everyone, whether you are a master of the game or just a beginner,” said Joe Jones, executive director of the ACBL.
In fact, you can learn the card game in one day during the spring tournament. On Saturday, March 23 from 1 to 6 p.m. you can take a five-hour course that’s especially designed for newcomers and veteran players who need a refresher. You’ll learn from ABCL accredited teacher Patty Tucker. The fee is $20 when you pre-register online or $25 at the door with textbooks and refreshments included. All the action starts at the Memphis Convention Center Thursday, March 21 starting at 9 a.m. and stretching all day until 11:30 at night! In addition to free lessons and celebrity speakers, bridge players will enjoy insights from tournament directors and instructors who will help hone game-playing skills.
Bridge is played with a standard deck of playing cards and four players comprised of two partnerships. Duplicate – or contract – bridge differs from other forms of bridge because the same deal (i.e., the specific arrangement of the cards into the four hands) is played at each table, and scoring is based on relative performance. This way, the element of skill is heightened while that of chance is reduced.
Founded in 1937, the ACBL is the largest bridge organization in the world, serving 167,000 members and 3,000 bridge clubs and sanctioning 1,100 sectional and regional tournaments annually. The ACBL’s three North American Bridge Championships each attract up to 6,500 players from all around the world. A challenging and rewarding card game, bridge draws players of all ages and walks of life – from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to astronaut Greg “Box” Johnson. For more information about the ACBL, visit acbl.org.