New Life Masters:
A close second would be the club in Georgia, where the new players were working hard to build up the club." She added, "We are grateful to all of the clubs who made us feel welcome, but we believe that games would be much more enjoyable, especially for the new players, if people learned how to run a club. We have doubled the size of our Monday night Bridge Club since we took it over almost 7 years ago and feel that a good deal of the increase is a result of the homemade cookies and the snacks as well as the friendly atmosphere we provide."
They noted that food is what drives most bridge players and that the smaller clubs were friendlier to outsiders. The Conlons notified all the clubs visited in advance when they were coming to make sure their game was still scheduled as posted on the ACBL website. After all, there is much planning in this venture when you try to visit six states in one week! When they reached South Dakota, the director said that a bridge tournament had taken all her people, but she was able to get two tables together. Similarly, the two clubs in West Virginia were unsure whether they could get people together, but "they welcomed us with open arms."
Renate and Ron Conlon run a bridge club in Columbia, Maryland. Ron, who is a director at two other clubs, began playing duplicate in 1978 while stationed with the Army in California. Renate, who was busy raising four children, began playing in the mid 80s when they were stationed in Munich, Germany. In 2005, they became deeply involved with Ron serving on the Maryland Bridge Association in all roles except Treasurer! They volunteered at the Regionals as Hospitality chairpersons for Hunt Valley and Cambridge, Maryland, and are mentors for new bridge players at their local bridge club in Severna Park.
As for the future, they are saving the grand finale to play in Anchorage, Alaska, at the midsummer Regional tournament in 2020. Renate comments, "If we ever go overseas again we will definitely look into playing a game of bridge in another country. This was a wonderful way of seeing the United States, National Parks, and friends. "
Caption: The Family Friendly Bridge Club in Arlington Massachusetts presented Renate and Ron Conlon with a cake celebrating their adventure. The director of the club is Bob Gaudet.
Building Bridges: The Family-Friendly Bridge Club
By Ashley Rooney /
Posted Jan 8, 2018, at 10:10 AM
Many of us think of bridge as a competitive sport, but Bob Gaudet, the founder of the Family-Friend Bridge Group, points out three reasons to play bridge are to have fun, solve new puzzles, and compete, but only if you want to.
A former COBOL programmer for the business side of Polaroid, Gaudet had always played whist. In 1997, he began to learn bridge and in eight years became a Life Master, a title awarded for accumulating a certain number of masterpoints. But then, he got bored. At that point, he realized he wanted to help the newer players. But Gaudet, who grew up in Waltham, wanted to do more than just teach bridge.
Bridge Club Founder
In 2010, he founded a bridge club in Belmont to create a safe place for people to play without being intimidated by more experienced players. That grew to a club in Lexington, and today both is under the umbrella of the Family Friendly Bridge Club. He called it that to discourage cranky players, saying, “My job is to keep the peace.”
Here, in Winchester, he runs a Bridge Game and Party from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Jenks Center on Sunday afternoons. Newcomers are especially welcome and usually play in a separate section; there are special prizes, refreshments, and lots of bridge.
Gaudet has brought about 500 new players, who get together to play bridge. Three of his students have become Life Masters. The Club celebrates new Life Masters and special occasions such as a club member’s 92nd birthday, and mourns those who pass.
The spirit of the Club is in giving and helping other bridge players. It encourages newcomers and visitors in the area. In addition to duplicate bridge games, it encourages good community citizenship through club outreach and charity.
Taking Bridge to the Homebound
Daniel I-Chyau Wang is an institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he founded the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center. Wang had a major stroke nine years ago. This spring, his son decided that Danny should play bridge once again – a game he had always loved. Believing that it would be good for him mentally and socially, the son discovered Gaudet’s website.
Danny’s wife, Victoria, was thrilled. “I can’t say enough good things about Gaudet. And the game is great for Dan. I can see it gets him stimulated, and it gets his competitive juices flowing.”
When Ann Matlin’s husband Ron became ill, bridge became an important part of his life. It allowed him to be socially active and meet others, despite his disabilities; it used his mind. Gaudet would take him to tournaments and bridge; games and give classes at his home. For Ann, it was a “Godsend.” Gaudet and the game gave her respite from her caretaking and a chanced to get out of the house.
Whether you are homebound or not, the intellectual challenge, the problem-solving satisfaction, and the social stimulation make the game of bridge so attractive to so many.
Bridge Game and Party
Sunday afternoons, 1 - 4 p.m. at the Jenks Center
Reservation by email:
Dates: check on website for updated dates.
A new Director
Robots Came to FFBC
famous Belmont orthodontist /jazz clarinetist, has retired from bridge playing.
Although in good health, he has decided that he has been end-played for the last time.
Mort started playing with us in Belmont in 2012 and his final total with us was 247 bridge games.
A highly respected member of our club, we will miss his ready smile and gentle nature.