Why play bridge?
Playing bridge is fun at whatever level you choose to play - whether socially or competitively at a local, national or, ultimately, an international level. Whatever your standard you can make great friends and challenge your mind, playing bridge face to face or online.
The main aim : Making and implementing a plan to win the maximum number of tricks - and working with your partner against the opposition to achieve that end. This is no different to modern video and role playing games - In fact the basic mechanics are often simpler than for those...and any individual game can be over in ten minutes or less. The chances are that once you have started you will likely want to pick up the cards again & keep improving...
For testing and improving your powers of logic, deduction, analysis, concentration and psychology, there is no better stage – bridge’s resilience and quality is demonstrated by its heritage dating back over a hundred years and a library of thousands of books, articles and webpages.
"Bridge is utterly compulsive once it has got hold of you. It isn’t too hard to learn and the joy is that you can play it and actually start enjoying it before you get very good. You can take it on at any level that you want.
The big problem is that very soon after you start you want to be brilliant."
Alex James, bassist in Blur
And, here’s something to think about...
What is bridge?
If you are not familiar with how bridge is played then watch the video below for an overview. If you have played other 'trick-taking' games such as whist or hearts then you already know more than enough - and even if you haven't you can still learn.
Another good way of getting the hang of bridge or improving fast in the early stages is by watching others play (e.g. by visiting a club or “kibitzing” a match). At Bridge Base Online you can play for free, watch top matches on Vugraph, as well as access some excellent instructional videos. Be sure too to check Youtube for bridge channels such as this or this, or this.
Measuring your progress
As you learn to play there is the Junior Award Scheme, which breaks down the skills required to develop from raw rookie to serious contender into a set of steps and milestones. As you work through each level from Minibridge through Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum up to Diamond you will get a certificate and be included in our Hall of Fame.
Once you have learned the basics you can then start to play competitively. Competitive bridge can be played at various levels. Most organized competitive bridge nowadays is “duplicate bridge” which reduces the level of chance to a very low level while maintaining the variety and possibility of the unexpected – a factor which make gameplay in bridge so different from other mindsports.
At the early stages, rankings are measured by a national master points ranking system, such as the Master Points issued at all duplicate events organized through the English Bridge Union.
More regular players in England may want to measure their rankings through the National Grading Scheme (similar to an ELO rating)
Duplicate bridge is played at club level, county level, regional, national, and international level. At international level there are zonal and interzonal competitions run under the auspices of the European Bridge League and the World Bridge Federation
Your Country Needs You
Bridge is an international game providing a wide range of opportunities to travel, play and compete.
The English teams playing at the 2014 European Championships in Croatia won medals at all three levels (Open, Women and Senior)
At the Youth level, England performs well in the Home International events but on the international stage is currently being outshone by the Netherlands, Israel, Poland and France.
The English Bridge Union is actively seeking to strengthen the number of young players and provides a wide range of incentives designed to encourage and nurture young talent including junior teaching camps and reduced competition entry fees.
For more Youth news from the EBU, please see http://www.ebu.co.uk/youth
Bridge is a great way to compete, socialise and maybe travel the world
Watch this video from the European Bridge League - you could have this much fun if you take up bridge: