A Bridge Timeline : Where it all began

A Bridge Timeline : Where it all began

by Alex J. Coyne © 2017 Great Bridge Links

Since its invention, bridge has become one of the most popular card games in the world; it’s much-loved and played by thousands the world over. You can enjoy it no matter if you’re calling it auction, contract, duplicate or whist! But where did it all begin? Take a look at some of the historical happenings that have taken place in the world of bridge. Will your next game make history?

Short Treatise on Whist (1742)
One of the first defining books on the game of bridge, then still called whist, appeared way back in 1742 as A Short Treatise on Whist by Edmond Hoyle. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Hoyle’s defining tome on the game saw a total of thirteen editions in his lifetime. The Hoyle-legacy continues through until today, and you can still find much about bridge and a variety of other games on the Hoyle website (not currently available).

The First Duplicate Bridge (1857)
According to the English Bridge Union, the first game of duplicate bridge ever played was in 1857, thanks to a man called Henry Jones Cavendish in London, who aimed to show the advantages of duplicate bridge over other forms of the game through showcasing skill over luck.

First Interclub Match (1883)
Did you know that the Brooklyn Bridge was first opened to the public in May 1883? Well, that’s not quite the kind of bridge we’re talking about here: The first interclub match was also first played in the year 1883 in Philadelphia, according to the English Bridge Union.

Invention of Duplicate Board (1891)
The duplicate board, also called the kalamazoo tray, first became an accessory to the game in 1891, which turned out to be a pretty huge year for bridge as a whole: 1891 also marked the publication of the first book on tournaments by John T. Mitchell.

American Contract Bridge League (1937)
The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) is one of the top regulatory bodies for bridge in the world, and was founded in 1937 in New York City to become the organization it is today. Its headquarters have moved around several times over the years: To Memphis, Tennessee in 1971 and then to Horn Lake, Mississippi in 2010.

The Invention of Contract Bridge (1925)
So, just how did we get from auction bridge to the game of contract bridge? Well, it turns out we all have Harold S. Vanderbilt to thank. Harold Stirling Vanderbilt (born 1884) – yes, he is that Vanderbilt – found himself on the cruise ship Finland in October of 1925 and was looking for a way to make auction bridge better. And, well, that gave us the version of contract bridge we know and love today.

The World Bridge Federation (1948)
The World Bridge Federation takes care of everything internationally bridge: The organization was founded in 1948 to encompass the interests of bridge clubs and players the world over.

The first National Contract Bridge Organization to have a webpage (1995)
The Canadian Bridge Federation (cbf.ca) was the first NCBO to have a web page. Viewers were able to visit it using Netscape Navigator. The background of all web pages at the time was grey, but text could be coloured and logos could be displayed on the page. An interesting note: Great Bridge Links also came online at that time, originally as a page on the CBF website. The creator of the site was Goodwin Studios (Jude Goodwin) goodwinstudios.com – a company still building websites today 22 years later!

Do you plan on making bridge history? Well, then you’d better get back to practicing: Check out our page on the best places to play bridge online and get to it!