Welcome to the Unit 484 Website!

Unit 484 is affiliated with the American Contract Bridge League (ACBLacbl logo small) which fosters the game of bridge throughout North America.  We are a member of District 20 (D-20 ), one of 23 North American districts under the auspices of ACBL.  Unit 484 is a non-profit organization in Jackson County located in Southern Oregon.  The bridge clubs in our unit run ACBL sanctioned games available for players of all levels in competitive yet friendly and nurturing environments.

Bridge games within Unit 484 are located in the Rogue Valley—home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Britt Festival.  

We have several clubs offering games, excellent bridge instructors, games for players of varying levels and a bridge community of vibrant, interesting players whose goals are to have fun,make friends, improve their bridge, and to bid and make all their slams!

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donwalker

  Don Walker

Retired civil engineer Don Walker

says bridge is Alzheimer’s insurance

By Jim Flint

AUG. 15, 2017—Like many bridge players, Don Walker grew up in a family that liked to play games. He graduated from board games and Canasta to bridge when he went to college and honed his game while he was in the Navy.

But during his working life, there wasn’t much time for bridge. When he retired, he got back into the game.

“I was browsing the Rogue Community College catalog, looking for a course on something creative, like photography. Then I saw a listing for bridge classes taught by Bernadine Lacy and I signed up,” he said.

Walker, 74, of Central Point, has nearly 1,000 points today.

“At one time, I had more colored points than black points,” he said. That came from attending more tournaments than club games in the early days.

“When I started playing again, there were sectionals in Grants Pass, Yreka, Brookings, and Klamath Falls. Now all those are gone,” he said.

Walker enjoys the competition and the social aspects of the game. But it’s more than that for him. It’s also a way to exercise the brain.

“It’s Alzheimer’s prevention,” he said, smiling

After a long series of lessons, Walker’s favorite system today is a forcing club scheme. He also plays 2/1 game force at times. He prefers the forcing club.

“You can get a lot of detailed information at a lower level,” he said. “The problem is that you can get off track after a wrong bid and it’s hard to get back on track.”

He sees the challenge of the aging of the bridge community as the major problem facing clubs today, despite successful attempts to draw in new players with classes.

“Some of the newer players don’t seem to be into hard core competition, preferring a more relaxed game,” he said.

Walker met his partner Angie Knight at the bridge table. They enjoy playing together as well as playing with other members of the club. And they like to go to tournaments.

“I like the bridge. The intensity goes up a notch. And the journey is fun. We’ve met some good casual friends at tournaments and it’s fun to reconnect,” he said.

He has served on the unit board of directors, worked as tournament chair, and does a lot of volunteer work for the unit and for club owners.

Walker was born in and grew up in Wytheville, Virginia, a town of about 5,000 near the Blue Ridge Mountains and just west of the Continental Divide along the Appalachians.

After high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Virginia Tech in 1965 and went to work in the aerospace industry for Redstone Arsenal, working on the Saturn rocket program.

Then he got a job with Westinghouse in Baltimore, working on fire control radar. Contacts with Navy test pilots on that job prompted him to join the Navy. He was assigned to a carrier that went to Vietnam where he served as an officer of the deck. The carrier had a MASH unit. Medics were flown into Vietnam and wounded soldiers were flown back for treatment.

After discharge from the Navy, he got married and had two sons. Walker worked for the city of Long Beach, Calif., and got his master’s in civil engineering.

Along the way he answered an ad from the City of Medford looking for a civil engineer and got the job, coming to the Rogue Valley in 1977. Later he was appointed public works director, a job from which he retired in 1999.

He and Angie enjoy going to concerts and plays and trying out some good restaurants now and then. Walker frequently goes on fishing trips, having fished for salmon in the Rogue River (when he owned a drift boat) and has made four trips to Alaska.

“We also like gardening and grow veggies and flowers,” he said.

Walker did some traveling as a member of the Medford Rogue Rotary Club.

“I was part of a study group that went to Malaysia for four weeks.

Is there anything on his bucket list he has yet to check off?

“I never got to Australia. That looks dim now.”

But it might be difficult anyway to fit that kind of a trip in between fishing trips and sectionals.

 Announcements

2017 UNIT GAMES:

 

SEPTEMBER 9, 2017

     PRO/AM STRATIFIED TEAM GAME

     ACBL SANCTION #L709484A

 

DECEMBER 2, 2017

      STRATIFIED PAIRS GAME

      ANNUAL UNIT MEMBERS MEETING AND HOLIDAY PARTY

     ACBL SANCTION #L712484A

 

ALL GAMES START AT NOON AND ARE PRECEDED BY LUNCH.

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 The ACBL now allows NT opening bids to include a singleton, provided it is the A, K, or Q, and the hand contains no other suit of one or two cards. 

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