Bridge: How about renaming duplicate bridge. . .trump? – Part 1

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March 14, 2016

Given the current presidential primary, there must be some way the ACBL could turn that name Trump into publicity for playing bridge. Ely Culbertson would have thought of something! Without Ely’s PR genius to call upon, my suggestion is to rename duplicate bridge into trump == with a small “t” so Donald doesn’t sue. And I’m only half kidding.

After all that word trump is not only the name of the trick-taking card game of the 1500s that eventually became bridge the card game we play today. It is as well both a bridge term and has been absorbed into the English language meaning substantially the same thing in both–being one up.

Like him or loathe him, you have to admit Trump is the personification of one-upmanship. And he could well be the Republican presidential candidate and eventually president. Why not exploit the happy coincidence that the most publicized person today bears the same name as a key term in the card game we all love?

According to Julian Laderman’s Bumblepuppy Days from Whist to Bridge (2014) the chronology is this: whist is the direct ancestor of bridge, but the history of this trick-taking card game began much earlier.  In 1529 there was trump, derived from the word triumph. Then came ruff, honours, slamm, quadrille, Boston, others. The name trump is unique in surviving today both as a bridge term and as part of the English language, and meaning roughly the same thing in both.

Bridge, on the other hand has many meanings not only in the language but in the card game and always needs a modifying word to identify the game being played. Rubber bridge and social bridge are one thing; duplicate bridge and tournament bridge quite another. Added to that was the mistake in adding the word contract to ACBL to distinguish contract bridge from its immediate predecessor, auction bridge!

Just think how much more efficient and nicer to sell bridge as a single card game with a one-word specific meaning and without using the word rubber?

Just think how much more efficient and evocative to sell duplicate bridge with a one-word specific meaning and without using the word duplicate, and evokes competition.

I once read that the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey changed its image and advertising forever by changing its name in an intensive one-year campaign into the far more dynamic name EXXON. 

Trump would be the EXXON transition for muddled-meaning bridge. I have heard the establishment is considering dropping the word contract from American Contract Bridge League as redundant–we no longer have to differentiate between contract and auction bridge. Why not go all the way and make it ATBL —American Trump & Bridge League?

On my birthday I can dream can’t I about my vision of a future for the game of bridge? And a re-named card game trump?  Both growing together to become once again, a populist fad?

More to come.




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