Nobody appears to know who actually invented the game of bridge, but it is generally accepted to have come into play about one hundred years ago, at the start of the twentieth century. The probability is that people who played whist began to see that the game of whist, which was widely played in the nineteenth century, could be extended and made more exciting and challenging.
Going back a hundred years, and in fact even in parts of modern society, playing cards was held to be wicked, and in many homes children were not allowed to have any access to playing cards – they belonged to the devil. Nevertheless in the days before TV and universal access to transport, card evenings were a regular feature in many homes.
The most famous name in the popularization of bridge was an American, Ely Culbertson, who was a lecturer on mass psychology and political science as well as being an author. He wrote extensively on bridge particularly in the nineteen-thirties, and did much to make the game well known.
As recently as the nineteen-fifties, the Culbertson system was the most popular for learning how to play the game, but it was then followed by the Acol system, and more recently by the Precision system. Just to make matters more complex, there are now numerous variations on both the Acol and Precision systems.
Many of you reading this note may know that bridge is a card game, but not much more, except that a lot of people who play the game are described as old fogies. Well, if you think that then you are barking up the wrong tree as it were, because playing bridge is a marvellous way of keeping the brain ticking over and alert well after the normal retirement age. In fact, it is also a game for the young and middle-aged – everyone, and is a tremendous challenge for players of absolutely any age.
Bridge has lots of advantages. Apart from the mental stimulation, you do not have to be a world class athlete or fitness fanatic to play – all you need is at least one pack of playing cards, and three other people to make up the four players necessary to play the game . In this day and age, you do not even have to find three people to come to your home to play, as you can find partners and play the game on the Internet. If you do play at home or in friends' homes, there are tremendous benefits in getting to know other people and improving your social life.
If you are careful and wise you can even get to play at the homes of the best cake and cookie makers in town, and usually the coffee is pretty good too. Fees for playing the game at a local club are usually minimal, so you can have a great night out for just a few dollars. One word of warning though, bridge is a game for partners, and if you decide that you would like to play regularly with the same partner, then choose that partner carefully. The floors of bridge clubs are littered with rejected spouses and partners.
Hopefully this brief article will have encouraged you to think about learning to play the game. Go for it, and after a few weeks' of teaching and learning you will be able to play. The game is quite complex, but just settle in the first place for getting to know the basics, and the rest can follow in due course. YOU WILL CERTAINLY NOT REGRET LEARNING HOW TO PLAY THE GAME.
Regards to you all.