19-4. Nonagenarian Notions: Andy Anderson learned to play bridge in 1926!

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I won’t ask you to do the arithmetic–he’s 97 and he learned to play at age 13. Recently he won a marathon bridge tournament in Auburndale, Florida that began at 9 a.m. and lasted until 11 p.m. His partner was youngster Hank Asch, 79, who hosted the event to raise money for Relay for Life. I mostly don’t write about SERIOUS bridge players under Nonagenarian Notions–it was the way Andy Anderson learned to play that caught my interest.

To quote Andy, as reported by Jennifer Fickley-Baker  in The Ledger, March 13, 2011:

          “When we first came to Florida, there was a nice little inn in the town we were in and two
          old ladies who came down by train to live there in the winter played on a porch overlooking
          a lake. They were in need of some players, so they taught me and some of my friends
          how to play.” http://www.theledger.com/article/20110313/NEWS/103135007

Just that simple! I think I like the story so much because it agrees with my argument that the best way to promote bridge to newcomers is NOT necessarily formal lessons–just let ’em drift in, learning to play from friends, low-key–they will FIND their bridge niche. They will end up, if they have the DNA for it (as Andy did) competing and playing tournaments as if they’d been recruited by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL).

So if you’re an old lady, stop apologizing for your sociable bridge game–if someone shows an interest in learning to play just do it (See Bridge 1., above on Mini-Bridge).  As to Andy, that trip to Florida in 1926 was brief. He returned to Michigan and, “took his new passion with him” and pursued it into adulthood. He’s now, as a retiree, living in the Hamptons Community in Auburndale, Florida.

The day of that March tournament, Andy and Hank played 72 games in all! “That,” concludes the article, “takes a lot of brain power” at any age, much less 96.  




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