“But I haven’t played bridge since college.”
“The last time I played bridge, Ely Culbertson was the authority.”
“I’ve just been too busy earning a living to find time for Bridge.”
Sound familiar? Well, join the club. The local Bridge Club, that is. The game of Contract Bridge (and its “big brother,” Duplicate) is experiencing a resurgence of popularity in all of North America. And Mexico appears to be in the forefront of the movement as more and more retirees find their way south to our “paradise” and the opportunity and inclination to return, once more, to the game of bridge, for its mental challenge, low cost of entertainment and for its salubrious affect on one’s health.
In Mexico as well as the U.S. and Canada, most clubs devoted to the game of Bridge are sanctioned under the auspices of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). To this end, North America has been divided into a number of regions, one of which encompasses Texas and Mexico. This region is further split into Units, two of which are in Mexico. Of these, the most westerly one is “Amistad 205” with headquarters in Guadalajara. Included in this unit are the cities of Guadalajara, Ajijic, Puerto Villarta and Mazatlán. The easterly unit (#271) includes Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende and Monterrey.
The epicenter of Mexican bridge appears to be Ajijic on the north shore of Lake Chapala, where the Lakeside Bridge Center and its affiliate, the Lake Chapala Duplicate Bridge Club (LCDBC) are located. The ACBL affiliated LCDBC, with more than 200 playing members, is one of the world’s largest and most successful member-owned clubs (web page: www.chapalabridge.com), offering four duplicate games weekly (plans are in the works for a fifth), lessons for the beginning and intermediate player and sponsorship for local, regional and international tournaments. In addition, the club regularly contributes substantially to the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) and other local Mexican charities. Guadalajara, Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende and Mexico City also sponsor both national and international tournaments as well as their regular games. In addition, throughout Mexico one will find dozens of organizations offering social bridge games, enabling the true bridge aficionado a near unlimited variety of locations and times of the year in which to participate in their favorite sport. In the Lake Chapala area, alone, there are several local organizations that sponsor games, among which are the American Legion and the Posada Ajijic.
Why play bridge? Bridge is the world’s most mentally challenging card game and the second most challenging game over all, second only to chess. It is claimed that by regularly playing bridge, thereby “exercising” the brain, one can materially slow down the onset of age-related mental deterioration, including Alzheimer’s and similar diseases. This may well be true because, in point of fact, the majority of the LCDBC membership consists of those in their late 60s and 70s, many in their 80s and several in their 90s, all of whom do quite well at the bridge table.
How much does this love affair cost? Of course different clubs charge different playing fees depending on their size, location and the amenities they provide. Most Mexican clubs’ playing fees are presently in the $15 peso to $25 peso range. This equates to about $1.35 to $2.25 dollars, U.S. for each 3 ½ to 4 hour session.
So please come and join us in our favorite pastime (and it may well become yours) at any of the locations listed below. It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s inexpensive and I promise, you will make many new and interesting acquaintances. Whether you are new to the game, returning to the game after many years or are an expert hot shot, you will find many folks at your skill level and ability to challenge you. Let’s give it a try!
For more information on the Mexican bridge scene in general or Ajijic in particular, feel free to contact the author by e-mail at: [email protected].
To contact bridge clubs in Mexico from the U.S. and Canada, precede 011-52 to the following telephone numbers:
- CLUB CONTACT TELEPHONE E-MAIL
- LCDBC Dick Nelson 376-766-3389 [email protected]
- Guadalajara Hy Arbiter 523-629-6695 [email protected]
- Mazatlán Robert McCary 951-764-9450 [email protected]
- Puerto Vallarta Rene Franco 322 221 6300 [email protected]
- San Miguel Corinne Leachman 512-692-9188 [email protected]
- Monterrey Ingrid Fodor 8-356-1997
- Mexico D.F. G. Poplawsky 525-520-8515
- American Legion Al King 376-765-5032
- Posada Ajijic Mary Andrews 376-766-2489