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The other kind of bridge in Duluth

Members at the Duluth Duplicate Bridge Club play at a recent bridge night. Front table, left to right: Bonnie Malterer, Tom Stone, Tom Malterer and Jan Stone. (Photo submitted)1 / 2
Bonnie Malterer prepares for her next turn during a sample hand of bridge. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)2 / 2

Ebay isn't the only place you can bid. And "bridge" means more than something you have to cross to get to Park Point.

Soon Duluthians will have the opportunity to learn how to play the complex card game, bridge, in a day from renowned bridge teacher and author, Patty Tucker of Atlanta, Ga. Learn Bridge in a Day will be offered by the Duluth Woman's Club and Duluth Duplicate Bridge Club on Sept. 17.

"It's for people who have never played bridge before, people who maybe played it in college and haven't played in a long time, or people who are just starting out who want some good instruction," said Karen Siegfried, Duluth Duplicate Bridge Club member.

Siegfried started to play in 2009 when she took a community ed class from local teacher Steve Lindstrom. There she met Tom and Bonnie Malterer and a few others who formed an informal bridge group to practice their skills.

"For anyone learning bridge, the most important thing is playing it. The more you play it, the more you understand it. So we'd get together and practice the things Steve taught us," Bonnie Malterer said.

So while the Malterers and Siegfried recommend taking one-day class, they also recommend following it up with Lindstrom's eight-week class and practicing skills.

"I think the reason we were accepted [for the Learn Bridge in a Day program] was because we have the good follow-through available. After this bridge in a day, which is a good introduction to bridge, people can take classes and continue to grow," Siegfried said.

The American Contract Bridge League education foundation offered grants to bring instructor Patty Tucker to local clubs to teach the day-long class in 2016. Tucker was named the 2016 honorary member of the year by the ACBL for her innovative classes. Siegfried applied for the grant and was accepted.

"I'm so excited. It's not every day we get a world-renowned bridge instructor here in the Twin Ports," she said.

While Siegfried and the Malterers are experienced bridge players, Tom said he continues to grow and develop as a player.

"It's a lifetime of learning. You're never done learning," Tom Malterer said.

He's also a fan of the competitive nature of bridge.

"It's something that's measured. You're rated among all other bridge players every time you play. If you don't get a good hand, it's OK because you can play defensively and still come out with a high score as compared to how the other people played. You don't find that in many other games," Tom Malterer said.

Whenever they travel, the Malterers often find another bridge club along their route and set aside an afternoon or evening to take in a game.

"From club to club the rules are the same, which is nice so that we can go to Memphis, Nashville or even Singapore and know exactly what to expect," Tom Malterer said.

What Bonnie enjoys most about bridge is the social aspect to it.

"Bridge players tend to be pretty serious about their game. But even though they're serious about the game, there are social aspects about getting together that allow for us to become friends and enjoy spending time together," Bonnie Malterer said.

In fact, bridge is one of the ways that Siegfried keeps in touch with her sister who lives in California. Every Sunday afternoon they play online together. In March the sisters met up in Reno to play at a national tournament.

"When we got back, someone asked what the weather was like and I said, 'I don't know, we never left the hotel.'" Siegfried said. "But we had fun. It's just a different kind of fun."

The "Learn Bridge in a Day" workshop will be presented at the Duluth Woman's Club, 2400 E. Superior St. on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As space is limited, register by contacting Karen Siegfried by Sept. 14. Call (218) 464-4329. The cost is $15 which includes lunch and instructional materials.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

(218) 720-4176