There is really only one rule when it comes to watching a bridge game: Don’t interrupt the players while a hand is being played.
And so on Monday, when the Wichita Duplicate Bridge Center hosted its third annual Longest Day marathon fundraiser and nearly 50 players placed their full attention on the card playing, there was little that could draw them from the tables.
There were few interviews with local media. There were only the sounds of cards slapping on tables and whispers and murmurs among the players who sat in the organization’s center in the lower level of Parklane Shopping Center.
From 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday, the 48 players were playing continuous rounds, raising money to support the Alzheimer Association. Last year, the group raised more than $5,000, said Janice Hilyard, a volunteer for the group.
The average age of a bridge player is 72, according to Hilyard.
“Bridge is a partnership game,” Hilyard said. “There is a man here in town who is a retired plastic surgeon, and one time he told me: ‘Janice, it is more difficult to find a good bridge partner than it is to find a good spouse.’
“Because in marriage, you can go your separate ways, you can have individual likes and do things you want to do. In bridge, you have to be in sync with each other 100 percent of the time.”
Some people take it up as a post-retirement endeavor, she said, to help keep the mind active.
There are two kinds of bridge games – party or rubber bridge and duplicate. In duplicate, which Monday’s marathon featured, every table is dealt the same hand. Players paid a minimum of $7 to compete over which one played the best hand.