Atlanta will host the Summer 2013 North American Bridge Championships Aug. 1-11 at the Hyatt Regency, 265 Peachtree St. It has been awhile since Atlanta has hosted a national tournament. Most of the big names in American and international bridge circles will be there.
If you want to watch some of the best bridge in the world, kibitzers are generally welcome. You just need to ask the player if it is OK for you to watch. Most players are fine with that.
The 2013 Youth National Bridge Championship and the World Open Youth Bridge Championships will be held at the same time in Atlanta. It has been more than 20 years since the World Open Youth Bridge Championship has been held in the United States.
American Contract Bridge Members under the age of 19 are eligible to compete in the Youth National Bridge Championship. Winners will receive master points, trophies and scholarships. Players from around the world born in 1988 or later will be eligible for the world championship. They, too, will be happy to let you watch.
But it is more fun to play. There will be both pair games and team games (usually four to six players). Even if you go without a partner, if you arrive at least 30 minutes before the game you want to play in begins and present yourself at the partnership desk, a partner will be found for you.
On Tuesday, July 30, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 4, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Hyatt, the American Contract Bridge League will offer a seminar, "Learn Bridge in a Day." It is aimed at true beginners and those who are returning to bridge after a long absence.
If you just want to find out what bridge is all about, this class is for you. The cost is $20 for instruction, coached play, a textbook and door prizes. For details, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audrey Grant will present a free bridge lesson from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 3 and 5. Grant has written books and Internet columns on bridge, and she was named one of the most influential personalities in the history of the American Contract Bridge League. There also will be free daily presentations from some of the best-known players and teachers at 9:15 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
At 10 a.m. Aug. 5, you can participate in Happy Bridge, designed for newcomers, which offers a free lesson and then 14 hands of bridge. There is no card fee. The same is true for Bridge Plus offered at 10 a.m. Aug. 3: free lesson.
Even if you elect to play in the open games, you will not be pitted against the big boys. The games are stratified and you will be competing against players at your level.
Child care is available. For information about child care, a complete schedule of events and anything else you would want to know, visit acbl.org and click on 2013 Summer NABC Atlanta.
Bridge is a wonderful card game. It engages your brain and has been recommended for people who wish to remain mentally alert. It is also a wonderful game for teenagers.
It teaches analytical skills and requires concentration and memory.
The ACBL offers free materials for those who wish to learn and sponsors classes in high schools and middle school for teens.
It can be played online, but I prefer to play in person, so to speak.
When you play with a group, you have the chance to discuss hands and see what other people did with the same cards that you had. You get a chance to practice your social skills, unlike trying to better your score on some computer or hand-held game device.
Closer to home, the Conyers Duplicate Bridge Club offers free lessons on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 7 p.m. The game begins at 7 p.m. and usually lasts until about 10:15 p.m. We play at Church of David Covenant Church, 3180 Ga. Highway 20, Conyers. Send me an email if you are interested.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at email@example.com.