A History of Bridge
Playing Bridge today, it may seem like it’s a game that’s been around forever. That’s not quite true, but the game can be traced back as far as the 17th century.
When the game first started, it was very much a game for nobles to play, where four players would sit down together and try to win tricks from their thirteen-card hand. In comparison to the Bridge we all know today, the rules were much simpler thanks to the fact that there was no auction as a way to determine which was the trump suit, and this means that it was also much easier to be able to keep score of how players were doing throughout the game.
Even though this may seem like a really simplistic form of the game when compared to what is played today, there’s no doubt that it became very popular very quickly. In particular, the Middle East soon learned of the game, and it may even be that the first game of Bridge occurred in Turkey, as a slight evolution of another well-known game, Whist.
It wasn’t until 1952 that the game settled into the format that we know to be Bridge today. This form of the game was derived from plafond and auction bridge – with contract bridge being invention by Harold Vanderbilt of the USA. The game came to be thanks to the fact that he had a little downtime while on a cruise, which seems astonishing considering how many people now play the game across the world.
The game was known as ‘contract’ bridge because two players would need to commit to a certain number of tricks. If they were not able to satisfy this ‘contract’, they would lose points in the scoring system, therefore risking not winning the game as a whole.
In the middle of the 20th century, the game became popular in tournaments, with the best players wanting to battle it out to see who was the best of all. Bridge was covered in the press, and bookmakers began to offer odds on which players would win tournaments, which added a lot of excitement to proceedings. Due to the enjoyment of tournaments, new and more complicated rules have come into play involving bidding, which some people believe has made the game more difficult to master – but play has become so intricate in the top ranks that it was deemed necessary to complicate the game to help separate the top players.
There is no doubt that contract bridge is still a very popular game across the world, with clubs and championships in almost all countries. The powerplay website offers great online card games to bet on, as well as table and slot games. The game is hugely popular thanks to the fact that not only does it involve a lot of skill, but there is also the excitement of luck, meaning that no game – no matter how good the players – has a foregone conclusion. Bridge is a game that can truly include all groups of people, and it seems that it will continue to be popular for many decades – if not centuries – to come.
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash