The tricks up their sleeves: Bridge Club’s past and future

Back to Article
Back to Article

The tricks up their sleeves: Bridge Club’s past and future

Andrea Perng

 

 

bc1

Game face: Senior Sophie Lian looks intently at her hand, deciding which move to make. Players have the option to either bet on a certain card or to pass their turn.

 

Students gather in room D101 at tables grouped in fours, as they do every Tuesday at lunch. Each member takes their hand from the dealer in the middle of the desks and examines their options. Would they play aggressively, or would they err on the side of safety? How many tricks could they take today? How high could they bid, knowing the playstyles of the others around them? Everyone thinks of strategies to use. Someone casts a card onto the table, and the game is afoot.

The game is called bridge, and the Bridge Club is centered around it. Each game starts with a trick, a formation of four cards. The goal of each game of bridge is essentially to come out on top with the highest bid. No player is allowed to communicate in any way other than through the cards they lay down. It is often a high-stakes game, with the more aggressive players betting big in the hopes of a massive win.

Co-president and senior Sophie Lian is a less aggressive player, but she adapts to fit the conditions of the game nonetheless, and sometimes that means getting a little bit more aggressive than she usually is.

I think it’s pretty fun to compete in tournaments with my team and just learn more about bridge.

Senior Sophie lian

“I’m generally on the less aggressive side,” Lian said. “But especially in tournaments where it’s important to get to what we call game, [we have to play] little bit more risky sometimes, but that’s the only way you can get a big amount of points and do well against other teams. So I try to adjust and be more aggressive at times like that.”

Aggressive strategies have worked out well for the MVHS team, netting them a third place win in the Bay Area High School Bridge Championship last year. The year before that, MVHS’ team reached third in the same tournament. The club won the tournament in 2015, when it was in its first year. This year, they’re hoping to send two teams to the championship.

bc2

Guiding hand: Coach Cheryl Mandela reaches across the desks for materials for other students that she’s teaching. Mandela has coached the club for four years, since its inception.

Coach Cheryl Mandela, from the MVHS Class of 1981, has her own history with Bridge Club. She was introduced to bridge when she was 11 years old, and continued playing for 40 years, 30 of which she played competitively. The club was founded by her and class of 2015 alumnus Kevin Rosenberg, the son of renowned bridge champions Debbie and Michael Rosenberg and the first student coach of the team.

“Kevin and I both loved bridge,” Mandela said. “That’s why we wanted to start the club, to introduce the game to other people. … There’s a lot of math and logic and probability, and that makes it really fun. And it’s good to hang out with other people that are interested in the same thing.”

Lian shares this sentiment, especially fond of the thinking skills required to play effectively, like Mandela.

“I think it’s a fun game that exercises your logic, your memory skills, your teamwork skills,” Lian said. “I think it’s pretty fun to compete in tournaments with my team and just learn more about bridge.”