Camaraderie & Card Games
Bridge is a tactical game that combines math and logic. Its most popular form is duplicate, where every pair in the group plays the same hand of cards. It is also a game of human connection; the social component to bridge cannot be understated, since it relies on partnership and trust. While some may initially find the game a bit intimidating or difficult to learn, with some commitment and some patience, it’s easy to get the hang of it.
If you wander into the Founders Room at the Hill at Whitemarsh on a Monday afternoon, you’ll find a room full of people sitting in near silence. And while they all remain friends and neighbors, on Mondays they also become competitors. Because on Monday afternoons, Tom Costikyan runs a very popular game of duplicate bridge, with support from his wife Judy.
There are roughly 25 million people who regularly play bridge in the United States and millions more around the globe. They include billionaires Warren Buffet and Bill Gates and tennis star Martina Navratilova. Studies have shown that playing bridge can improve memory, fend off depression and even boost the immune system. It’s no wonder that the Monday afternoon games at The Hill are so crowded.
“Bridge can be enjoyably played at many levels of experience,” says Costikyan, who has been playing bridge since he was 11 years old. “It’s a great game because everyone plays the same hand and you have to figure out how to get creative.”
Soon after the 2007 grand opening, The Costikyans helped to create a regular game as part of The Hill’s social program. The Costikyans had been avid bridge players for years, having started playing the game together while Costikyan was stationed in Kentucky with the United States Navy. Afterwards, when they settled in New Jersey, they found that duplicate bridge games were a major part of their community’s newcomer program. It continued to be integral to their social life, even when Costikyan’s job took them abroad to England and the Bahamas—proof that bridge is a great way to make new friends, even overseas.
Upon retirement to South Carolina, the Costikyans played regularly, occasionally traveling to tournaments. During that time, Costikyan decided to become qualified by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) to teach bridge and direct duplicate games. When the Costikyans relocated to The Hill, he was perfectly positioned to initiate the game for residents.
“I also started hosting regular sessions teaching the game to residents who wanted to beef up their play before taking on the Monday duplicate games,” says Costikyan. “I enjoy teaching people how to play bridge.”
For many, bridge is more than just a card game. It is a social and cerebral form of exercise, helping you hone skills like logic, reasoning, quick thinking, patience, concentration and partnership.
“Bridge has been an extremely rewarding and fun part of our lives at the Hill,” says Costikyan. “It has facilitated making new friends and continues to be an important part of our social life in these senior years.”
Are you ready to join the game?