Read: From A to BBO

Stuck in isolation but still want to connect with the outside world?

It’s a great reason to play online bridge!

Here’s how Bridge Base Online can help to combat the onset and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions, written for Alzheimer’s SA.

Click here to read.

“Hey, Government! What About Bridge?”

The Democratic Alliance has called on South Africa’s leadership for non-contact sports to resume with certain restrictions amidst National Lockdown. The economy has taken a few hard knocks, and industries like sports and entertainment have been hit the hardest.

(Source: MSN – DA wants non-contact pro sports to resume under strict health measures)

I’m inclined to agree, except for one more question:

What about bridge?

Here are the facts.

Bridge is a sport.

Bridge is recognized as a sport, and it’s one that deserves just as much recognition as any other. It’s seen as an official sport by the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA), so why doesn’t it see the same amount of recognition in South Africa?

Bridge has thousands of players worldwide.

Bridge is a game with thousands of players located all over the world, with a vibrant scene in South Africa. Just like soccer, chess or any other sport out there. Each province has a bridge club: For them to continue, we need to see the game embraced by government and local sporting groups.

Bridge can recover the economy.

The economy has taken one of the hardest knocks in decades. Bridge is more than just a game: Embraced under the right circumstances, it can be a way to promote charitable events and a way to channel much-needed funds back into the economy with initiatives like official bridge tournaments, live bridge games and official support for professional players.

Bridge can be played online.

Bridge certainly fits the definition of a non-contact sport. With initiatives like Bridge Base Online (BBO), the game of bridge can be played entirely online and still hold to social-distancing restrictions. How many sports can say this in the time of COVID?

Bridge has even more benefits that outweigh its risks.

Playing the game of bridge has been shown to improve reasoning and local skills, and it’s a surefire way to combat signs of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Bridge clubs have to continue.

With lockdown, we don’t know when we’ll see another bridge game played in person. What becomes of South Africa’s existing bridge clubs, bridge players and organizations like the South African Bridge Federation (SABF) post-lockdown? If the bridge scene in South Africa is going to survive, we need some support.

Yes, Former President FW de Klerk Played Bridge – and Here’s the Proof!

 

Former president FW de Klerk is a man of international prominence: He was instrumental in negotiations which brought a final end to apartheid, he was the man to sign off on the release of former president Nelson Mandela, he was the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize – and a handful of references also point to him as a bridge player.

Most references to bridge and FW de Klerk are scarce, scattered throughout books (like Vulnerable in Hearts: A Memoir of Fathers, Sons and Contract Bridge) and articles (Eisenhower’s Other Title: Bridge Player in Chief; NY Times, 2009) with a brief mention and, unfortunately, little background.

I finally received an e-mail from the FW de Klerk Foundation through Brenda, personal assistant to Mr de Klerk, that clarifies.

The official response appears below – and I’m glad to be able to confirm that we both share an admiration for the great game of bridge!

“Mr De Klerk used to play a lot of bridge at university level but neglected it afterwards.  He was never a fully committed contract bridge player and never read a manual on bridge.  However, he still reads bridge columns wherever he can find them, and he is a great admirer of the game.”

 

 

 

Wuhan, the World Bridge Team Championships 2019 and the Coronavirus Danger

In September 2019, we saw the World Bridge Team Championships taking place in Wuhan, China.

Right now, circa January 2020, the area of Wuhan has made news for an entirely different reason: A serious outbreak of a type of Coronavirus which appears to have originated in Wuhan – and has rapidly spread to other areas of China and other parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.

Wuhan has been hard hit by cases to the point where there is a reported shortage of test kits for the Coronavirus.

There has been a lot of travel for bridge players (and non-bridge players) to affected areas, especially with bridge players representing their country in the event and heading back home.

It’s a dangerous condition to anyone, and becomes even more dangerous if you have a compromised immune system by default: Showing symptoms like a fever or cough means you should have yourself checked.

I’ve previously written about immune systems and bridge for the daily BBO Prime Column. It rings eerily true now, and remains important. Click to read 7 Important Facts About Immune Systems and Bridge.

Information about the Coronavirus and the associated symptoms can be found at this page from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Remember: Being informed is staying safe.