More than 1,000 bridge tables are set up at the Anaheim Hilton, where the North American Bridge Championships got under way Friday and will continue this weekend and through Nov. 29. Sessions begin at 9 a.m.
The public--from beginners to experts--is invited to play in the morning, afternoon or evening sessions or just to kibitz. There's no admission charge for kibitzers, and entry fees for players range from $5 for novice/intermediate games to $9 for the championships. Fees are per person, per session. Today, $1 will be added to each entry fee for a party, which begins at 10:45 p.m. and honors the 50th anniversary of the American Contract Bridge League.
For beginners, the league will offer novice clinics daily, coaching, and beginner and intermediate games throughout the tournament. Free lectures by leading bridge authorities are scheduled throughout the 10-day event.
During the competitions, the league is unveiling its new instruction book, with a foreword by tennis pro and bridge enthusiast Martina Navratilova.
More than 300 other books on all topics pertaining to bridge will be on sale, along with bridge-inspired clothing, gifts and souvenirs.
Nine major North American titles will be determined. Among the premier events will be competition for the Reisinger Cup, with the winning team earning the right to represent the United States in the World Championships in Perth, Australia, next year.
The first part of the final session of the Reisinger event will begin at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 29, the last part at 4 p.m. that day. Screens will be set up between teammates to eliminate distractions and inadvertent communication. Spectators will be able to watch final rounds via closed-circuit television.
Bringing the championships to Southern California was no small shipping chore, according to event spokeswoman Jackie Lapin. More than 20 tons of materials were shipped here, she said, including 30 computers, 10,000 decks of cards, 50,000 pencils, hundreds of thousands of score sheets and other paperwork items, 1,100 card tables, 20 timing clocks, four refrigerators and half a dozen two-way radios for communication and crowd control.
Information: championship information desk at the Anaheim Hilton, 777 Convention Way; (714) 750-4321.