A Victoria woman has been dealt the right hand and is heading to compete in an international bridge competition in India next month.
Sandra Fraser, along with five other women from around the country, will be representing Team Canada at the Venice Cup — the women’s teams world championships in India in September.
“I’m very excited. We have a very competitive team. I think it’s possibly the best team we’ve put in a women’s event,” laughed Sandra, who is the top-ranked woman in Canada with the American Contract Bridge League.
Bridge is a card game played between four people in which the players across from each other work as partners. Each deal consists of four parts: dealing the cards, auction (or bidding), playing the cards and scoring.
Sandra qualified for the world championships after winning the Canadian women’s championship last year.
The former England-native came to Canada in 1963 and learned how to play bridge shortly after that.
“I was on a freighter from England to Canada and there was a bridge player on board. He had a bridge club and taught us,” said Sandra, adding she enjoys the social and psychological aspects of the game.
“Every hand is different from any other hand. Every time you play a hand, it challenges you mentally, it keeps your brain alert. It’s part of a lifestyle of keeping your body well so that your mind can be well.”
Bridge is also a partnership, something Sandra and her husband Doug understand well.
They have found success as separate bridge players, but also as a couple. The duo has done well at several North American championships together and Doug is also Sandra’s bidding coach for the world championships.
“We talk and we have an extremely good system,” said Doug, who is currently the number one-ranked bridge player in Victoria and has represented Canada at many international competitions. “We’ve been playing a long time. A lot of people make mistakes in bridge when they’re forced to guess.”
“You leave your ego at the door. You have to do that to be a married couple playing bridge together,” added Sandra.
In preparation for her second appearance at the Venice Cup, Sandra plays online two or three times a week, practicing bidding and working with coaches to fine tune their systems.
“Sandra is not only a talented and skillful bridge player, she’s learned to be able to maintain her focus and compete at high levels, and she’s managed to be able to minimize the effect of the pressure on her ability to play at her best,” said Nicholas Gartaganis, the team’s non-playing captain.
The Venice Cup begins on Sept. 26.