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Thousands of bridge players coming to Dallas for North American Bridge Championships

12 March 2014

HORN LAKE, Miss. -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Nearly 5,000 bridge players from more than 15 nations will travel to Dallas from March 20 to 30 for the North American Bridge Championships (NABC). The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), which hosts the NABC, is also encouraging Dallas-area residents to attend “Learn Bridge in a Day” – a session that teaches the basics of the game to beginners.

The NABCs are held three times a year across the U.S. and Canada to bring together players of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, with opportunities for everyone to play daily. NABC Dallas is being held at the Sheraton Dallas Downtown, where for 11 days thousands of players will start competing at 9 a.m. and continue playing throughout the day, ending with an 11:30 p.m. session.

“We look forward to showcasing Dallas to thousands of bridge players from around the world,” said Robert Hartman, CEO of the ACBL. “Dallas has a rich history of bridge players, such as the world’s first professional team – the Dallas Aces – and the game continues to grow in the area.”

ACBL and bridge clubs in the Greater Dallas area are encouraging locals to attend “Learn Bridge in a Day” on Sunday, March 23, from 1 to 6 p.m. The $20 class, led by renowned bridge teacher Patty Tucker, aims to educate novice bridge players and to promote the game to new audiences.

“I attend all three NABCs each year to spread my love and knowledge of the game, and to encourage others to give it a try or to further develop their skills,” Tucker said. “Bridge is a unique game that poses a real mental challenge for players, regardless of age. You can’t become a Life Master in a day, but you can learn a genuine appreciation and understanding of the game if you visit the NABC.”

In bridge, a Life Master is a player who has accumulated 500 or more master points – the metric of accomplishment. Participants at NABC Dallas will have the opportunity to play against the elite of their sport, including Dallas native Bob Hamman.

Hamman is one of the few surviving members of the famous Dallas Aces, a team formed in the late 1960s that would become the model for professional bridge teams. He is a Grand Life Master with more than 35,000 master points and member of the ACBL Hall of Fame. With 52 NABC victories and multiple world titles and the humility to match, Hamman is this year’s recipient of the Sidney H Lazard Jr. Sportsmanship Award, being presented at the NABC Las Vegas in July.

The NABCs are significant in terms of economic impact, as the Dallas tournament is expected to generate approximately $8.5 million in economic activity over the 11-day period. In addition, the ACBL is committed to making a difference in the cities that play host to the NABCs. For the Dallas tournament, the ACBL Charity Foundation will give $5,000 to local charity Paws in the City, which is committed to ending the overpopulation, abuse and neglect of Dallas-area dogs and cats.

“Many locals will be surprised to see such a big turnout for a bridge tournament, but the reality is that bridge has been a very popular game in this area for a long time,” said Donna Compton, owner of the Bridge Academy of North Dallas. “We hope the NABC will create a buzz in Dallas that encourages more locals to take up the game, but regardless, the city will significantly benefit from the thousands of visitors and from the ACBL’s contribution to Paws in the City.”

The 2014 summer and fall NABCs will be held in Las Vegas from July 17 to 27, and in Providence, R.I., from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7.

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