Birmingham Duplicate Bridge Club
Birmingham Duplicate Bridge Club members enjoy each other’s company prior to a tournament. Photo by Katie Turpen.
On a Friday morning, the Birmingham Duplicate Bridge Club (BDBC) is packed for a tournament. Excitement is in the air as members find their seats and sit down to play.
For Jeanne Wamack, a club member who also teaches bridge classes, the event is particularly thrilling to watch. Wamack began playing bridge in high school and picked the game back up in 2005 when she saw a sign in a neighbor’s yard for the Birmingham Duplicate Bridge Club and started taking lessons.
“There’s a lot of math and logic, and it’s just a great game for all ages,” Wamack said.
The BDBC began in 1953. The member-owned nonprofit has more than 425 members, including nationally known speaker, author and bridge columnist Frank Stewart. The club is open for bridge games six days a week with special Saturday games in the winter, spring and summer. All levels of play are offered, from early beginner to advanced. The organization hosts an annual Mentor-Mentee match program for newer players to be coached by experienced players.
The BDBC also provides continuing education, beginner classes, intermediate classes, advanced classes, tips before games, supervised play and guest speakers. After being located in several buildings around Birmingham, the club found a new home off Valleydale Road in Hoover in September 2012.
“Members volunteered their time to scrub the building from top to bottom, weed, mow and clean the yard, paint, move furniture, soundproof walls, among many other essentials,” Wamack said.
The club sponsors several tournaments each year, with the sectionals and regionals drawing visitors from several states and even other countries. When a bridge game is played, points are awarded to the highest winners in the game, depending on how many pairs are playing in the game and what levels of ability have participated in the game. As points accumulate, there are milestones for players to reach, from Rookie to Life Master. Wamack said the BDBC has members with points in every range.
“Bridge is a challenging yet entertaining game that makes one think and plan,” said Wamack. “Anyone can learn this game, youngsters included, as we had our first Youth Bridge Camp this past summer.”
The BDBC supports local charities and has donated thousands of dollars to Meals for Homeless Veterans, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association, among other groups and shelters. Furthermore, the organization has several parties throughout the year, celebrating birthdays, holidays and other special days.
“We like bridge, we like each other, and we like good food,” said Wamack.
Beginning classes start on Tuesday, Jan. 13. For more information, visit bridgewebs.com/birmingham/ or call 560-0706.