Monday, March 06, 2006

Bridge -A popular game?

Below are a few dates from the history of Contract Bridge. They are taken from BRIDGE HISTORY AND FACTS on

1925 - Harold S. Vanderbilt, American multi-millionaire and three-time America's Cup winner, changed the course of bridge while on a cruise. He suggested that only tricks bid and made count toward game, with extra tricks counted as bonuses. These revised rules turned auction bridge into contract bridge.

1931 - The Culbertson Summary and Culbertson's Blue Book topped all book sales for the year, outselling such popular titles as Believe It or Not and Crossword Puzzles! "The Battle of the Century" was held in New York City. The team captained by Ely Culbertson won by 8980 points.

1953 - President Eisenhower played bridge regularly on Saturday night with top experts. He attended national bridge tournaments when possible. He enjoyed bridge as much as golf and he was considered an excellent player.

1958 - Charles Goren appeared on the cover of Time magazine and was dubbed "The King of Aces." The inside story explained the basic rules of bridge and proclaimed it the "United States' No. 1 card game."

I mention them because they seem to recall a golden age for the game. What has changed?

Firstly, Bridge seems to have been played by people with time on their hands. They had money and they didn't work 24/7 or anything like it. There were few alternatives for indoor entertainment. No television, computers etc. The rule change was obviously important and made the game more challenging. Is Bridge dying because of alternative attractions? There is certainly a perception that it is mostly played by older people who have more time on their hands and that, even now, they are from one sector of society. What is your view?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My views are only suppositions of course, but the noticeable decline in new, young players seems to have occurred about the time computers became popular. The addiction to computer games by young people has undoubtedly been a major event in their spare time activities. There is another (more recent) factor, also related to computers. Discovering that bridge is now played by hundreds of thousands on the net,a great many players both young and old have discovered thet they can play 24/7 for fun, for master points, or for money without the inconvenience of travel. Many have even abandoned their former clubs.

I should add that I personally play on Bridge Club Live, Bridge Base Online and OK Bridge but have not left my club purely out of a sense of loyalty.

4:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the manager of a bridge club, and i still have the naive feeling that bridge can still atract new players, i am bettting my professional future on this fact !

6:49 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home