Competitive card game a local part of Seniors Games

The BC Seniors Games holds a variety of events with various levels of physical intensity. For mental stimulation, players will turn to whist, a card game to be held at Twin Rivers Elementary School.

The BC Seniors Games holds a variety of events with various levels of physical intensity. For mental stimulation, players will turn to whist, a card game to be held at Twin Rivers Elementary School.

Doug Hickey, the chair of whist (who also doubles as principal for the school) said the event will be held over two days in the school’s gym.

“Ultimately, the expectation is there’s up to 100 participants,” he said.

Tables will be set up throughout the gym and people will able to walk around and watch, Hickey said.

Zone 6 (West Kootenay-Boundary) includes Castlegar and the players have already started practising, Hickey said.

“Every Monday they play whist at the Seniors Centre and I think those people have qualified already,” he said.

In fact, he’s going to join in next week to learn exactly how the game works.

“It’s like bridge,” he said. “It has some similarities.”

Couples play against each other and the deck of cards is split between them. The dealer can play any card in his or her hand and each player must follow suit by playing a card in that suit if they have one. The “trick”, or section, is won by the highest card of the suit led.

Part of the skill is remembering which cards have already been played and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

The game originated in the 17th century, apparently earning its name from the roots of wistful, meaning quiet and attentive.

Hickey said the couples will be categorized into six flights.

“There will be medals in each of the flights but all of the flights will play off for potentially a super-gold.”

Whist will be held on Aug. 18 and 19. A full schedule will come out closer to the event’s start date.

Hickey said he is looking for volunteers to help run the Whist venue. For more information on how to get involved with this event or more generally with the BC Senior Games, set to take place across the West Kootenay this August, visit www.2011bcseniorsgames.org and click on “Volunteer.”