LAURINBURG — Mary Sutton likes few activities more than a friendly game of bridge.
The only thing the avid player might care for more is the friendships developed at the weekly card nights.
Sutton will have a chance to indulge her love of the game and socializing this week as part of the 6th Annual Scotia Sectional Bridge Tournament. The event will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday with two play times — at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day.
“I came to the first tournament six years ago,” Sutton said. “I met all these wonderful people and I kept coming back.”
This weekend’s tournament is hosted by the Bridge at the Village Club, which holds game nights every Monday at 6 p.m. at Scotia Village.
To play, participants must pay $5 as part of the dues for the club. Entry to the tournament is $10 a session.
Sanctioned club of the American Contract Bridge League, the Scotland tourney will include open Swiss pairs, meaning there are partners of four rather than two, then continued play.
Millions of people play the game worldwide in clubs, tournaments, online and with friends at home, making it one of the world’s most popular card games, particularly among seniors.
Game enthusiasts point to studies that say people who play bridge are less likely to suffer from memory ailments like dementia. They say it is a game for the mind.
“I play because we think it helps people retain their memory,” said Ruth Drymon, the club’s treasurer “But also for the fellowship.”
Mac Doubles, the tournament chairman, agreed, saying he has gained numerous friendships with players in other clubs.
“You can go anywhere and go to a club and you’re welcomed to play. My wife and I have played in Anderson a couple of times while visiting our son,” said Doubles.
Doubles said the Laurinburg club has the best relationship with the Southern Pines club, whose members come to almost every tournament.
“If Southern Pines didn’t support us we wouldn’t be able to hold the tournament,” Doubles said.
Brian Potter, the club’s director, wants bridge to become popular with younger people. He said the game can impart disciplined thinking, social skills, playing within rules, high ethical standards, and organizational skills.
“With phones and other electronic devices the game has lost its spark,” Potter said. “But it teaches valuable skills.
The club is also planning a night where the game is taught to those who are interested. No date has been set.
Bridge is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. It is typically played by four players in two competing partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other around a table.
“There’s a balance between having a good time and winning,” Potter said.
For information about the tournament, contact Doubles at 910-277-7512 or for information about the club, contact Potter at 843-544-6500.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171