October 12, 2015
I like to take note now and then of ACBL Bridge Clubs that reach out to potential sociable players — both because I want my kind of bridge to survive and because I truly think it’s the only logical path to growing serious bridge as well.
You can add to that forward-thinking list of Clubs, the Bridge Center of Delaware County located in Drexel Hill PA.
I wrote to the Bridge Center of Delaware congratulating them on doing this, and had a nice email back from Club Manager Tom O’Brien: “We’re about 2 weeks into our experiment” and I think doing well. 3 tables and I think as word gets out, maybe more. Feedback has been good.”
They offered free admission first time, $8.00 fee after that — which is only fair, given that the ACBL members pay a fee to play and maintain the facility.
Being willing to include social players in ACBL clubs is surely the best first step in reaching bridge players perhaps intrigued by playing duplicate, but apprehensive about trying it. And, over time, it can end the “bad mouthing” of serious bridge by social players who’ve had an unfortunate experience with duplicate bridge.
One of the big plusses of offering social games as well as duplicate, is that the ACBL can then begin acquiring some statistics to use in marketing bridge effectively. We have no accurate measure — never have had — of how many people actually play bridge, because the only players countable are those who play duplicate and choose to join the ACBL.
Mr. O’Brien expressed the view that he expected some serious players graduating to their regular duplicate games, “but not much. Still too much fear of the ‘ultracompetitive’ club player!”
Again, we’ll find out over time, won’t we? Can also find out if programs like Easy Bridge and Friendly Bridge are more successful in converting social players to duplicate players. Can find out a lot of things . . . with statistics.
Who knows, if I come back to life in 20 years, I’d find that all the antipathy and fear of duplicate will have disappeared amongst young social players — now that all us old ladies have died off!
I still say, though, that duplicate players can’t expect social bridge to disappear. Social bridge will survive simply because — just as there’s more weeds than flowers — there’s more people like me who want to play for fun (and some mental exercise) than those with the DNA and persistence to play duplicate competitively.
And because a game like social bridge (whist back then) existed for a couple hundred years before there was any kind of rules-making body to establish rules of the game came to be in London in the 1740s. And whist existed without duplicate whist until around 1860.
Us sociables will live on.