My name is Sonie Stark from Mankato, Minnesota in Unit 103 in District 14. After several years of playing party bridge, I was encouraged in my retirement to try duplicate.

I had lots of help getting started. Our local bridge club members are eager to give kind advice to new members to advance their bridge knowledge. Rajiv Kapadia, our club director, teaches advanced classes and gives personal advice to make us stronger players. With the help of these experienced players, many with lots of master points, I became an enthusiastic new duplicate bridge player.

It soon became obvious that I needed to improve my play as well as my communication with my regular partners. In the evening, my husband, who also became a student of bridge, and I deal out bridge hands face up. We then discuss proper bidding sequences and relevant conventions. I also host a regular game on Tuesday afternoons at my home with three other duplicate club members, one of them very experienced. After each hand is bid and played, we lay the cards on the table and discuss. Last winter on a vacation to Mazatlan, my husband and I located an ACBL club, which offered three games a week with excellent players from several countries. Itís fun to learn how others think and play and to use some of these tips with my partners.

In the last year, one of my partners and I took our game to the next level. We played in the Gold Rush section at well-organized tournaments in Minneapolis and Rochester, MN. We were excited to earn 3.2 gold points when we came in first in one afternoon game

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Iím off to a great start and find bridge a friendly, fun, and competitive game.