Bridge Players Prefer Cards to Turkey on Thanksgiving

For many Americans, the smell of turkey and mashed potatoes conjures up images of family and friends sitting around the holiday table stuffing their faces. But to professional bridge players, it smells like competition.

For those who have no plans this Thanksgiving holiday, here's your chance to make some. Join the card-playing pros who are celebrating turkey day over a game.

San Francisco will host the fall North American Bridge Championships from Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), Nov. 22, through Sunday, Dec. 2, at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, with games at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

This 10-day event is one of three international competitions hosted in the U.S. throughout the year, drawing players from as far away as Greece.

"It's a new challenge every seven minutes," says Information Chairwoman Libby Noronha. "It's the peeling of the onion; the more you play, the more you realize you don't know."

And you won't actually have to choose between cards and a nice turkey dinner, either. The hotel hosts Thanksgiving dinner for the players from 2 to 8 p.m.

The event isn't just for pros. It offers many opportunities for newbies to join the hobby that boasts millions of players in North America.

There will be free lessons, followed by 10 a.m. games on Nov. 24 through 26. "If you're just starting you probably don't want to go play with the sharks," says Noronha.

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