40. Bridge: Its Fall . . . and Rise?

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The Last Hand (40-52) of this blog (and of my Bridge Table book) is about what’s happened to bridge since the 70s. Simply put, bridge in the 70s–both serious and sociable–took a dive. The serious bridge establishment “got it”–sociable players mostly never got it. I still hear that wistful question from elderly bridge-playing ladies like me . . .”I wonder how come kids don’t play bridge anymore?”

Will bridge ever be what it once was in Amerian life?  I remain optimistic. Will I live long enough to see it, that is the question! On the opening page of The Last Hand in my book, I have this epigraph–a quote from New York Times bridge columnist Alfred Morehead (1957) column about card game fads and classic card games like bridge:

“. . . classic games can be a fad game too–contract bridge was,
in the 30s–but a classic game never falls into total eclipse . . .”
–Card Games: Crazes vs Classics (1957)

Bridge is too special, unique–with its history back to whist, its images and ambiance from the whist of Jane Austen novels to the raging fad days when contract bridge was “invented” by a Vanderbilt, to the sheer pervasiveness of the game during the 50s and 60s in middle-class America–to fall into “total eclipse.”

Bridge has the potential for a Retro return on steroids, if only the bridge establishment will come up with a marketing strategy worthy of that potential. My suggestions in Blog #39 are worth a look by the establishment, immodest as that may sound. I truly believe my book and this blog contribute to the likelihood of a bridge renaissance and here’s why.

There’s two bridge stories any marketing campaign must tell in today’s world to recruit younger and young people into taking up the game. One is to challenge them to join the world of serious duplicate bridge and tournaments. The information exists for creative copywriters/marketers can access to target that market.

The other is to intrigue the young with nostalgia and Retro to take up the world of sociable bridge, have them become gradually addicted (as has happened historically) so that inevitably the majority will become bridge players for life and a minority will move on up to serious bridge. And for this, Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway? along with its bibliography, and these Bridge Table Chronicles are a single convenient source for researchers and copywriters and marketers is the way to go. 

Should more research be done into the world of sociable bridge in all its facets, from ladies-only bridge clubs to commuter bridge and gamblers bridge? Absolutely! Continue where I left off. I specifically include a recommendation to do that as part of strategic marketing. See items 4 and 10 in Blog #39.

A publicity blast at the outset, with a marketing plan worthy of bridge, and a team to implement that plan–who knows what could happen in a couple of years?

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