Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Sumner Students Are Card-Carrying Bridge Players

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Sumner Students Are Card-Carrying Bridge Players

Article excerpt

In Precious Russell's first competitive game as a member of the Sumner High School Bridge Club, she was playing a man old enough to be her grandfather.

"I was so nervous," said Russell, a sophomore. "I thought I would get the bids all wrong."

Russell soon realized what the senior members of the bridge club have grown to cherish; there's a lot to learn from the game and from the elderly people with whom the club plays.

The Sumner High School Bridge Club, the only one of its kind in the St. Louis area, was created four years ago by Sumner math teacher Hatchie Greene, who had become hooked on the game a few years earlier. She coached volleyball for years but decided it was time to do something more refined, more "ladylike," she said.

Refinement didn't stop her from being driven by competition. Greene was ranked fifth nationally by the American Bridge Association in 1990.

She approached the administration at Sumner about starting the club and began recruiting students through her algebra classes.

"You have to apply math skills in bridge," said Greene. "Bridge is to a card game what calculus is to mathematics."

Of the 16 current bridge-club members, five have been with Greene for three years.

"It's a game that makes you think," said John Armstead, a senior and one of the varsity members. "You continue to learn each time."

The team plays every week in the school library. There usually are four games going at once, with some members rotating in at different tables.

"You're not only playing with your partner, but you're playing against other tables because the highest one gets the score," said Chaz Jaquess, a senior and Armstead's partner.

Each round is a lesson for the freshmen, who still are mastering the art of bidding and the nuances of the bridge language.

"You don't have to cheat in bridge because you're allowed to communicate with your partner in bridge terms," Armstead said. …

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