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Published April 16th 2012
The Top Five Bridge Clubs in Perth Researchers for a cure for Alzheimer's have recognized a possible connection between the mental stimulation of Contract Bridge and general brain health. Last year the Neuroscience Research Australia began a Nationwide project in which bridge clubs donate proceeds of one session to Alzheimer's research. The 2012 Bridge for Brain Research Challenge will take place during the first week of May.
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Whether for brain health or just for great fun and friendships Contract Bridge is becoming one of the most popular pastimes in Australia, with 350 bridge clubs and 35,000 players across the country. Beyond sharing a good game of cards, the friendships made at the table often extend to social activity outside bridge, going out to dinner after bridge, outings on the weekends and joining other interests together.
There is plenty to do on the bridge scene too as most bridge clubs hold Congresses offering money prizes, with country clubs especially turning on non-stop hospitality and good country fare for between-game nourishment. Weekend congresses are held in Albany, Esperance, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie to name just a few. Some players go by coach, some share cars, others fly and many go to Kalgoorlie in the Prospector playing bridge all the way. There are congresses on the Gold Coast with National Competitions in Canberra every January.
Play bridge on the way to the annual Kalgoorlie Congress
As well as the green points in regular bridge sessions clubs hold frequent Red Point events as well to spice up the game, and some Pairs' competitions are run by the Australian Bridge Federation and the Bridge Association of Western Australia as players vie against others around Australia or the State playing the same hands simultaneously.
Gold Point events are awarded in the Australian National Competition, this year to be held in Darwin in July and in other major tournaments like State Selections, or the Western Seniors and the Swan River Swiss Pairs which attracts directors from the Eastern States and entrants from Australia and New Zealand and other regions.
Logo for Gold Point event ANC to be held in Darwin in 2012
There is a game on somewhere in Perth any time during the week except for Saturday evening. Bridge is becoming popular on cruise ships, with teachers and directors on hand to make sure the game is enjoyable.
As a bridge playing tourist it is almost akin to having the keys of the city as there is a ready made friendship group ready and waiting. If you can play bridge and have a partner you can go without notice to any normal session of bridge for just a few dollars table money. However, if you do not have a partner you will need to get on the blower and find out if the club has a "duty dummy" or a ready-made partner for you for the session, or find out from the co-ordinator if there is a partner about your standard available.
If you can't play bridge you will need to enrol in some lessons and most clubs have these running for beginners. Despite what you have heard, bridge is very easy to learn; it is just a life-long journey to become an expert. People who are mathematical find it a bit easier as do people who have a good memory but even people who are innumerate or dyslexic can become good bridge players. if you have played Euchre, Whist or Five Hundred you are almost there. It seems like it might be time to do your brain a favour and learn to play bridge. It may just open up a whole new world.
The Western Australian Bridge Club
Undoubtedly the top bridge club in WA is The Western Australian Bridge Club, or WABC for short, situated at 7 Odern Crescent, Swanbourne just near the beach and the rugby club. A very professional and friendly bridge club, there are games to suit players of every standard. There are spectacular views to the ocean from the patio and the grounds especially at sunset when players are relaxing and savouring a nice wine from the bar.
WABC moved from its original home in Dalkeith where it had been for forty years before the club outgrew the premises. It was decided to purchase land in beautiful Allen Park, Swanbourne and the result is one of the most well-appointed bridge clubs in Australia. WABC opened in January 2008 and now has almost 1000 members.
With such a lovely setting and large rooms with bright natural lighting it is great for the many regular sessions of bridge, and for the Beginner, Refresher and Advanced courses run so expertly by Peter Smith. Peter is a natural bridge player and a wonderful kind teacher. As well as proving himself as a great player by representing WA ACT and Australia in State and National events, he has taught bridge since 1983 successfully producing thousands of very good club players and champions of the game.
Peter Smith expert player and wonderful bridge teacher
WABC is definitely the largest and most prestigious bridge club in WA and is the first choice for major weekend events run by the Bridge Association of Western Australia (BAWA) such as the gold points events the Swan River Swiss Open Pairs and the Western Seniors Pairs Championships, and the BAWA State Open Teams.
To find out more about lessons or games and duty dummies contact them at wabridgeclub.com.au
Nedlands Bridge Club
Nedlands Bridge Club is a vital, active, friendly bridge club situated at 14 Melvista Avenue, in a beautiful leafy part of Nedlands close to the river and surrounded by green parks and ovals.
Nedlands Bridge Club is situated in a leafy part of Perth
Although somewhat smaller than some others in Perth, the Nedlands Bridge Club is a prestigious club with a long history of promoting bridge in Western Australia and is a major promoter of Youth bridge in this state.
Although the club has long been incorporated as the Nedlands Bridge Club it has had a previous association with the great teacher and player, Nigel Rosendorff, son of Hans Rosendorff who was instrumental in introducing bridge to our state. Nigel taught at Broadway until the parking became too restricted to be viable so he moved into the defunct Nedlands Bowling Club as Rosendorff's which was purchased by the now Nedlands Bridge Club in 1990.
As well as the heritage link, many members in this club are still promoting bridge through its programs for young players and novice players as well as for the more advanced. The young players are extremely proficient at the game and are wonderful role models for behaviour at the bridge table. The Mentoring Program is a wonderful initiative where experienced players take the time to partner a novice on some Thursdays.
The members are hard workers and do a lot individually for the game. Linda Bedford-Brown has been writing the magazine Bridge Focus for the Bridge Association of Western Australia for many years, fostering every aspect of bridge and providing a record and a forum for bridge in this state.
Many executives of the Bridge Association of Western Australia have been drawn from the ranks at Nedlands Bridge Club including the long-serving President, Nigel Dutton as well as BAWA'S outgoing Executive Officer John Beddow and the new BAWA Executive Officer, John Aquino. The club has produced many great Directors and last year a Directors' Course for fledgling directors around WA were trained at Nedlands club by experienced directors from the Eastern States and New Zealand.
The club members of the Nedland's Bridge Club reads like a list of Who's Who in Bridge with more Silver Grands and Grands than you can poke a stick at; including noted Bridge Columnist David Shokman and Nigel Dutton, Shira Shilbury, Pauline Hammond.. and the list goes on.
Many BAWA events are held here including the State Swiss Teams, The Masters Teams of Three and the Daytime Open Pairs and the BAWA Christmas Prize-giving Party.
BAWA Christmas party and prizegiving ceremony at Nedlands Bridge Club
Bridge lessons for Beginners and special lectures on Advanced aspects of the game are given by the accomplished player and teacher of 25 years, Fiske Warren, who was an English Grand Master before he came to Australia a couple of years ago has won the Western Seniors Pairs twice and was a winner in the WA State Open Teams. His lessons are thorough and concise but he teaches in a way that promotes enjoyment and fun as well.
Fiske Warren accomplished bridge player teaches at NBC
To contact Fiske Warren for lessons, or the Nedlands Bridge Club about session times go to the website.
Melville Bridge Club
Award-winning Melville Bridge Club, situated on the corner of Canning Highway and Simpson Road in Melville, celebrated its 40th Birthday two years ago with a big party with much dining, wining and dancing. The club has even more reason to celebrate in 2012 as the club has been honoured with two Australia Day Awards; The Premier's Australia Day Award in recognition of how the club has fostered pride and spirit through active citizenship and outstanding contribution to the community, and the City of Melville Award for the Community Group of the Year for its outstanding contribution to the City of Melville.
Melville Bridge Club receives two Australia Day Awards from Mayor Russell Aubrey
The members of the club are proud of their history, are happy to be known as one of the friendliest clubs around and are thrilled with the recognition in these awards. As well as feedback from the Premier and the City of Melville there are been recent praise from Nigel Dutton, the President of the Bridge Association of WA. In the latest April edition of WA Bridge Focus, he commended the convenors of the Melville Bridge Club Congress who were able to award such generous prize monies whilst maintaining "a most reasonable" entry fee. Nigel praised the way that even though the club accepted a small loss they were willing to absorb the costs to showcase their club and extend the hospitality for which they are renowned to the wider bridge community.
The Melville Bridge club committee is hard-working and energetic and give as much back to the players in the club as they possibly can. Two years ago an internet usage and training area was established for members who were unable to access this at home due to a lack of equipment or knowledge.
St Valentine's Dinner at Melville Bridge Club
The club is known for its fairly regular Dinner Parties taking place before the evening session of bridge. The dinners are themed, with all the trimmings complete with menus and bunting; recent ones including a Mediterranean night, an Indian Night, St Valentine's Dinner and a simple Fish and Chip night with delicious salads. There is often a violin recital or some entertainment to add to the atmosphere.
The Porterfields at the Valentine's dinner in Gone with the Wind style
To find out about regular session times, supervised sessions and "duty dummy" or to find out about the lessons, run by Director and Teacher Mal Clark, go to melvillebridgeclub.org.au
South Perth Bridge Club
South Perth is a dynamic club situated on the corner of Barker Street and Brittain Street in Como just off Canning Highway. The club has 459 members with the oldest getting ready for her 100th birthday. There are sessions nearly every day for all standards with regular sessions, supervised sessions and a new restricted session on Thursday afternoons for players below 15 ABF masterpoints.
Players at the South Perth Bridge Club Congress 2012
The club has some very strong players, often successful in congresses, state events and interclub teams. Some played in the National competition in Canberra this year in both Open and Restricted events. A contingent recently scooped some prizes in the Pairs and Teams in the Intermediate Division at the Gold Coast Congress in February.
South Perth Bridge Club successful in teams on Gold Coast
Warren Fiske runs lessons for Beginners, Refreshers and Advanced and has helped to increase numbers at this popular club which is sociable and friendly. The venue itself is stunning. There is a large non-playing area where players can relax with a wine and talk about the bridge, a sensational alfresco area with BBQ facilities, lovely latticed areas and the most beautiful tree shading the whole area.
To find out more about sessions or lessons go to spbc.com.au
Undercroft Bridge Club
The Undercroft Bridge Club, situated at the Percy Doyle reserve on the corner of Warwick Road and Marmion Avenue, is definitely worthy of being in the top five bridge clubs in Perth. It is amazing to think that a very small club which began its life in the basement room of a block of flats in 1972 would now be one of the largest and most vital bridge clubs with over 400 members and rising.
Looking through their newsletters and knowing some of them personally through bridge competitions, their great success is probably due to the harmonious, friendly and generous nature of the committee and members and to the hard work gone in to encourage and train new members.
President Ann Hopfmueller with Peter and Russell McCann, father and son winners of Summer Pairs
The club is supporting the Bridge for Brain Challenge in support of Neuroscience Research into Alzheimer's disease. The date for the Brain Challenge session at Undercroft this year is May 1. Cost for this session is $7.00 per person.
Bridge lessons take place on Saturday mornings with lectures on advanced topics covered by expert bridge teacher, Fiske Warren, on the third Wednesday of each month.
There is a game at Undercroft Bridge Club every day of the week except Sunday, and three evenings per week, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Daytime sessions start at 12.30 and evening sesssions start at 7.30pm but players are reminded to be seated by the latest at 12.20.