With the retirement of club director and manager Ed Finlay, Newtown Bridge Club has organized as a member-owned, member-run club to continue the 70-year tradition of competitive duplicate bridge in the Newtown area.
The Newtown Bridge Club originated as the Danbury and Candlewood Bridge Clubs in the 1940s. Morris Feinson, long ranked as a top Connecticut player and a regular at the Newtown club, played his first game at the Danbury Club at the old Hotel Green in downtown Danbury in 1948 when he returned home from college. After moving from the Hotel Green, the club played for over 40 years in the VFW hall in Danbury.
Two of the directors during this period — Nancy Bentley and Ruth Didkowsky — often compete at Newtown club games. Mr Finlay, who took over the club in 2005, moved the games to the Hawleyville firehouse in 2008, and gave the club its current name.
“The Newtown Bridge Club inherited a legacy of being a friendly place to learn and play bridge,” said Carl Palmer, president of the club’s new board of directors. “We’re committed to offering competitive bridge games for players who enjoy the game, from novice to expert.”
After researching options about how to continue as an active bridge club, the organizing committee decided a member-owned nonprofit club would be the club’s best path forward for maintaining a long-term robust center of bridge activity.
The club’s games are attended by players from Newtown, Danbury, Brookfield, Southbury, Ridgefield, Redding, other local towns and the surrounding Litchfield, New Haven and Putnam (NY) counties. Players from across the country find the club online and frequently join games while visiting the area. Lasting friendships have formed over the bridge table. Newtown residents Heidi Winslow and Lou Carbone met as a chance partnership at a club game in 1980 and became friends although they never played again as bridge partners until marrying in 1991.
Newtown Bridge Club is affiliated with the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). The ACBL’s 160,000 members come together for more than 2.5 million tables of play each year at 3,200 clubs and 1,100 tournaments throughout North America.
The local club hosts games on Tuesdays at 10 am and 7 pm and on Wednesdays at 10 am at Hawleyville Fire Station, 34 Hawleyville Road. All bridge players are welcome.