By Samantha Hsiung
Everyone has their own special attributes, be it artistic, athletic, musical skills, and more. But for eighth grader Brandon Ge, bridge––a complex card game which Ge has played for five years––has taken the eighth grader to international championships.
Ge first began playing bridge in third grade, and started competing two years ago. Ge’s father, Xin Ge, is quite experienced himself, and he taught Brandon how to play.
“I have been an avid bridge player since my college years. Brandon has always liked card games, and I decided to teach bridge to him and his younger brother,” his father said.
To play, a deck of 52 cards is distributed evenly among four players, which means that each player gets 13 cards. Each team, which consists of two players, gains points by making a bid or by betting higher than the rival team. At the end of the play, the team with the most points wins.
Ge’s father supports his son’s bridge endeavors, he said. To him, bridge is an extraordinary game that not only presents intellectual challenges, but also partnership, discipline, judgement, and communication. Furthermore, he loves seeing Ge put down his video games and sit face-to-face with people for bridge games. The card game is also one of his passions, and there are numerous reasons to why he loves it.
“The card game is a fantastic way to work out your brain, seeing as you need many strategies, and there is a lot of memorization involved,” Ge’s father said.
Recently, he won second place in the Grand National Teams, a team competition that players from all around the world participate in. However, a great deal of hard work was required for Ge to achieve such an accomplishment.
“First you have to qualify in the district, then place top 16, and from there it is knockout style. We lost in the semi[final]s by one place,” Ge said.
At first, Ge was disheartened by the results, but a week later, he and his partner were notified that the team they lost against was disqualified, and Ge’s team was advancing to the finals. Although they did not win the championship, he said the happiness experienced for placing in the nationals is forever engraved in his mind.
Through bridge, Ge said he has formed relationships with world-class players through his travels. With bridge, Ge hopes to inspire more people to pick up a new hobby or a new love for card games.