Alex J. Coyne — Bridge Blogging: Your #1 Bridge Blog Resource site

Initiative: Getting People to Play More Bridge

As part of the Bridge2Success initiative and the upcoming International Bridge Fest taking place in Warsaw, Poland on the 11th of May this year, I’ve put a lot of thought into how more players can be brought to the game.

This post is a collection of thoughts around drawing players that will hopefully be useful to clubs and players.

More information about Bridge2Success is available at the official website and the World Bridge Federation.

More Honeymoon Bridge

Bridge doesn’t always require four players. If you’re just looking for a quick game yourself or you’re teaching a new player how, there’s always honeymoon bridge (also called two-player bridge) that can be played with two and small variations in the rules of the game.

Connect with Other Bridge Clubs

Smaller clubs should connect with other ones in town and get together for larger events and games. Network with other clubs through social media – both those in your area and those in other countries. I’ve found that clubs down the road from each other will often have no idea that the other one exists.

Join Forces

Same as in bridge, there are trading card game clubs in most towns. I came over to bridge from a world of poker and TCG’s, and I’ve never felt more at home. It can do the same for many people who haven’t discovered bridge before.

There’s interest. One Yu-Gi-Oh! player notes, “Played since primary (school). Had to take a break due to availability, but basically started again as soon as I got back to the cities.”

Get Out and Play

There seems to be a wealth of bridge players out there that “used to play” and let the game go. It’s important to get these players out there and playing again – and it might be as simple as inviting some of them out to the next bridge game or buying them a deck of cards for their birthday.

Bridge in Schools

If you’re an educator or teacher, you’re in a special position to make bridge part of the classroom. It’s one of the best ways out there to teach critical thinking and strategizing. Information on teaching bridge for children is available from the ACBL at this link.

Bridge in Media

Of course, I’d love to see more references to bridge in popular media – books, TV shows, graphic novels and movies. Make bridge part mainstream pop-culture, and make bridge something to check out for people who have never heard of it before.

Studying Bridge Further

Bridge should be more than just played: There’s a lot of room for serious academic study. There are already studies on machine learning and how they relate to contract bridge (2015, AAAI & 2016, ARXIV.org). There’s also the Keep Bridge Alive Campaign run by Professor Samantha Punch and the University of Sterling that looks to establish the Sociology of Bridge as an entire direction of study – and Aces & Knaves, a documentary taking a further look into what makes the cogs run. If you’re an academic, why not make bridge the topic of a class or study?

Take the Game Online

Online bridge play through software like BBO and Funbridge means that the game is a lot more accessible and convenient. As a disabled player, physical limitations mean there are bad days – and I’m sure this is true for many people who play. Recently, I heard about someone who gave up their regular bridge game due to pain sitting down at the bridge tables after surgery – would they have continued playing if they picked up the game through their tablet?

Embracing Bridge Tech

There’s more technology in bridge than there was five years ago, and that’s a great thing to see. The introduction of more technology to bridge can only see the game grow even more.

Bridge Challenges

What I’d like to see more of are bridge challenges: Players who challenge each other to broadcast and recorded games. This can even work with some players outside the world of bridge – I’d love to see some Celebrity Bridge Games, too.

Bring Back Bridge Columns

Many publications have foregone their bridge columns that used to be pretty majestic a few years ago. Bring back the bridge columns!

Gift More Bridge Gifts

A lot can be said for bridge-related gifts to friends and family members. It could inspire them to pick up the game, especially if they already love gaming as it is. Bridge kits and subscriptions to bridge software and publications are just some ideas to get their interest started.

High-Stakes Bridge

There are a lot of varying opinions on for-money bridge. Love it or hate it, it can bring something to the game of bridge if we see more money bridge, especially if we’re talking recorded games, higher stakes and support from mainstream casinos.

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