Bridge tournament offers fun, helps new Senior Center fundraising campaign

More than 100 players participant in the Bridge Tournament fundraiser for the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center held at the SCV Senior Center in Newhall on Saturday, December 29, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The SCV Senior Center gave people a chance to show their competitive side with its first bridge tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

Organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Bridge Unit, one of the regional areas under the American Contract Bridge League, the tournament’s goal was to help the Senior Center complete its fundraising efforts ahead of the new center’s opening next spring. With a $18 entry fee for non-ACBL members ($14 for members), the two-day event is aiming to raise between $3,000 to $5,000 in total, according to tournament manager Rand Pinsky.

Players sat for what’s called duplicate bridge, where everyone at each table plays the same hand of cards. From there, players are judged based on how well they play that hand. As their playing improves, the higher scores they receive. Pinsky said attendees were playing for master points instead of money.

“The majority of bridge players that belong to the American Contract Bridge League are probably 500 or less points,” he added. “We’re catering and always trying to have bridge lessons and things that we can do to involve the community.”

With 10,000 points under his belt, Mitch Dunitz is a grand life master and winner of the national bridge tournament.

“I find it incredibly interesting and I never lose my interest,” he said. “I combine it with (the) social and the skill aspects of just competing and playing cards.”

Nearby, Ellen Anten played at a different table. A close friend of Pinsky’s and a bridge player since she was in college, she was ready to play until the very end.

“It’s been a wonderful gift to my life and I try to work and help others also because I’ve been playing so long,” Anten said. “It’s a really wonderful experience.”

While games like these bring people together from all across the state, as far as Bakersfield and Tehachapi according to Pinsky, the Senior Center has regularly offered the space for classes on Tuesdays. The new center is set to have its own card room as well.

“Bridge has been found to be a good mental therapy,” Pinsky said. “It’s good for people with dementia. It helps improve your mindset for high school in young kids. It helps to teach them analytical thinking, both deductive and inductive logic. It’s a fascinating game.”

The games are set to continue on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Senior Center is located on 22900 Market St. in Santa Clarita.

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