October 27, 2014
The St. Louis Bridge Club is the “winner” in 2013, seems to me, comparing ACBL’s “Top 50 clubs reporting the most tables.” In its first full year, it became #15 on the 2013 list! Two other clubs, unlisted in 2012, made the 2013 top 50 list—San Jose in California is #42, and Newton Bridge Club in Massachusetts is #50. Actual #1 winner in 2013 is the Hartes’ Club of New York with 13,622 tables.
I haven’t a clue if these lists from the ACBL are significant or not. I find them interesting because there are so few bridge statistics–I assume the number of tables must be of significance to the bridge clubs themselves or the ACBL wouldn’t bother to publish the information.
Interesting to me, living in Cape Canaveral, Florida has the most Top 50 clubs both years—13. Eight of the 13 had fewer tables in 2013 than 2012. Jourdans, Boca Raton, Naples, The Villages, and Bonita reported more tables in 2013 than 2012. In California, second in number of bridge clubs to Florida, four of the 7 in 2013 declined—but California added that
San Jose club as its 8th.
There was a small to substantial decline in tables in 2013 at most clubs on the 2012 list. But there were a few bright spots in places not generally thought of as retirement havens—the natural habitat of bridge players.
Massachusetts had not only the Newton club success, but also The Bridge Spot reported an increase in tables. Other duplicate clubs reporting an increase are: Omaha Bridge Studio in Nebraska; Essex Bridge Center and Glen Rock in New Jersey. In Tennessee the Vanderbilt Bridge Club of Nashville had a plus growth in tables as did Hilton Head in South Carolina, Bridge Academy of North Dallas and the Houston Bridge Studio in Texas.
Losing their place on the 50 top clubs list in 2013 were the Bridge Club of Maryland and the Bridge Center of Austin, Texas.
Interestingly–ominously for some—at the bottom of each list there’s the table count for online bridge clubs – Bridge Base Online with 778,721 in 2013 is almost double the number of in-person tables at ACBL bridge clubs.
I just had a way-out thought . . . do you think in twenty years or so ACBL bridge clubs will be targeting social bridge players to come use their facilities? Because by then the online juggernaut will have taken over serious duplicate bridge tournaments? I ask that because, really, the atmospherics of playing online is far more compatible with the motivation and personality of most duplicate players for whom the game not personal contact is the thing.
On the other hand, for social/sociable bridge players, I can’t imagine the internet will ever have broad appeal except perhaps for learning to play, practicing skills. For us, communicating while typing on the computer is a poor substitute for getting dressed and out and meeting up with other human beings for a sociable bridge game. And maybe lunch?
More later. . .