Bridge players flock to Nevada City |

Bridge players flock to Nevada City

More than 400 bridge players from California and beyond came to Nevada City’s Elks Lodge this weekend to have fun and improve their rankings.

The players, some of whom came from as far as Arizona and Idaho, came to the Gold Country Sectional tournament to play duplicate bridge Thursday through Sunday.

“Bridge is a card game,” said longtime player Louis Quiggle of Phoenix. “But at the same time, it’s a sport.”

Betty Carrell, 81, of Alta Sierra, said she loves the game.

“It’s a challenge to your brain … continuously,” she said.

John McMurdie and his wife, Veronica, of Sacramento have been avid players for years. Veronica, a grand master, is a better player, John readily admitted.

“She’s supercompetitive,” said McMurdie, as his wife smiled across the card table. “That’s what it takes.”

Members of the Nevada County Duplicate Bridge Club organized the first Gold Country Sectional tournament in 1985 and have seen it grow over the years.

The main draw: the members’ hospitality.

The food is wonderful and everybody is so friendly, said 77-year-old Bonnie Keefe of Yuba City after playing a hand Sunday.

Jo Anne Murdock, 60, of Yuba City, a bridge life master, said people also love to visit Nevada City.

Kathy Sandiforth, one of the tournament’s directors, said the tournament attracts top-flight players and is very competitive. For that reason, she said, newer players play in a separate area.

The Gold Country Sectional tournament is sanctioned by the American Bridge League, an association of 160,000 players in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda.

The Nevada County Duplicate Bridge Club members raise money for various charities. On Thursday, players raised $264 for the Alzheimer’s Council of Nevada County, Sandiforth said.

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