OFFICIAL OPENING AT 11 A.M. ON SATURDAY, APRIL 20

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. -- Donald Trump may be the biggest thing in lights down in Atlantic City but the brightest star on the Jersey Shore is the dazzling new Jersey Bridge Club on Route 36 that in a few weeks has become the most exciting duplicate bridge palace to open in the Garden State in years.

Like The Donald, it is hair-raising.

The longtime dream of Monmouth County bridge-playing friends Patricia Berkowitz and Lynn Chapin, the JBC is located in the massive office complex at 185 State Highway 36. It is on the north side of the road between Broadway and Monmouth Rd.

For the past few weeks, the club has been holding a pre-opening shakedown run -- and has been a huge hit with games every day of the week.

But on Saturday, April 20, Berkowitz and Chapin will symbolically break a bottle of champagne at the door at 11 a.m. A Pro-Am Swiss Team event -- pitting teams of four professionals and amateurs against one another -- will follow at Noon.

A duplicate bridge club sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League of Horn Lake, Miss., the JBC is unique in that it combines the games of six directors under one roof. They include Mary Mosher of Red Bank, Sonia Kaplan of Tinton Falls, Belle Klein and Roy Samitt of Little Silver as well as those of Berkowitz and Chapin. Until now, they all held their games at various locales throughout the county.

The atmosphere is plush and inviting. Shining new wooden tables and chairs, accessoried with side tables for coffee, soda and snacks give the room a homey feeling.

Additionally, the most computerized equipment ever used by a local duplicate bridge club allows directors to generate results on a screen moments after the last hand is played. And here, too, is another unique feature.

All of the hands are pre-dealt by the computer so that every table plays the exact same hands.

"We love the game of bridge," say Berkowitz and Chapin "There are so many levels of intellectual challenge and it’s highly social. There was already an existing community of players, (who we knew and with whom we played), and everyone believed a central bridge center would enhance the playing experience.

"We offer computerized record keeping and immediate Internet posting," they explain. "People like that. We offer great lighting and more time slots for playing. We also offer lessons at all levels, which is especially helpful for beginners.

"We knew it was time for The Jersey Shore to have a top-notch bridge-playing venue."

That Trump is so last century.