07. Bridge: Friendly Bridge & the Richmond Bridge Club

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From what I know, back in the 90s, the ACBL adopted–later dropped–the term “friendly bridge” to officially define duplicate bridge played with good manners and in a friendly atmosphere. Googling “definition for friendly bridge” today, the citation that caught my eye is the Richmond Bridge Club in Virginia. That Club took ACBL’s Easybridge Program, wrote its own Club instruction manual, and named that Friendly Bridge.

I actually have a copy of the book  because a year or so ago I came across a Richmond Times-Dispatch article about the Club’s success in growing its membership. It sounded like an innovative Club and I wrote to them.  Linda MacCleave wrote back telling me about their program, and in the end we exchanged autographed books.

In the introduction to Friendly Bridge co-authors Ed Kinlaw and Linda MacCleave tell this story. Back in 2001 they started a PR campaign to recruit new bridge students with an article in the  Times-Dispatch. That campaign was highly successful and “After the first lessons were over, the students decided to rename it Friendly Bridge.” They felt “one of the reasons the game is so much fun is that it’s not easy” [my italics] but taking lessons “in a friendly atmosphere makes all the difference in the world.”

Bridge–duplicate bridge that is–ain’t ever easy in my opinion! The Richmond students got that straight off. Changing the learning climate is the secret to this Club’s recruiting success.

The book is  9 x 11, spiral bound (opens flat), with just 84 pages, dense with information and teaching hands based on/inspired by the Easybridge books for bridge teachers byEdith McMullin. The relatively few pages includes an amazing 10-page Glossary–“A Partial list of Bridge Jargon, Terms and Slang.” It sells for only $5.00 for ACBL Members, $10 for Non-Members.

The book is now also being used to teach duplicate bridge to what they call the Friendly Bridge Circle in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and Virginia Beach. Another great way to promote the game to a whole area.

When I made the first attempt to write my book, back in the 90s, I temporarily used “friendly” bridge to describe the ladies-only-bridge-club world. I dropped it when I learned that the ACBL had adopted it. “Social bridge” was already taken so I elected to use “sociable” thereafter. And I like that alliteration–sociable vs serious.

These days when you Google “friendly bridge” you get all sorts of odd citations from bike-friendly bridges to fish-friendly bridges over rivers. And you also come up with (I assume self-identified) friendly bridge clubs in America and elsewhere.

When you Google “sociable bridge” on the other hand you mostly get me or my book.  I’m hoping that will change!

2 Responses to 07. Bridge: Friendly Bridge & the Richmond Bridge Club

  1. What would be the shipping charge for orderinh 10 copies
    of ‘Friendly Bridge” by an ACBL member and director?


  2. Maggy,

    Thanks for including our club in your fun and informative bridge blog! We have a wonderful group of people, and our games are very popular. If any of your readers are duplicate players with less than 500 points (NLM) who would like to meet some wonderful folks in Richmond, Virginia, please come down to see us. We’d love to meet you.

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