Facts & Figures
by Matt Betts

Random Facts:

An early version of the game was played in England as far back as the 16th Century. Oliver Cromwell banned all card games during his Protectorate - however after the Restoration and once Charles II was safely on the throne, card games returned!

There are two kinds of bridge, rubber which is normally played at home for leisure, and duplicate bridge which is used for competitions.

Mrs Anthony Fly, of Little Rock, Arkansas, filed a petition for divorce, on the grounds that her husband refused to make up a four at bridge.

The Soviet Union tried to replace the kings, queens and jacks of court cards with heroes of the revolution.

The modern form of contract bridge was invented in the Twenties by American billionaire Harold Vanderbilt, who developed an early scoring system for the game.

The odds against four players each holding all thirteen cards in a suit are 2,235,197,406,895,366,368,301, 559,999 to one - or the same as Posh and Becks being out of the newspapers. Such a deal was first claimed in March 1892, and has been claimed ever since! Maybe winning the lottery isn't so difficult after all.

In June 1995, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) admitted the World Bridge Federation (WBF) as part of the Olympic movement.

Famous bridge players:

Literature

A number of literary heroes played bridge:

Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg.

Ian Fleming’s James Bond. For example, in Moonraker, Bond rigs the pack to deal a 34-count to Drax.

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. Interestingly Christie made a mistake in Cards on the Table, where the murder was committed during a bridge game, because she forgot to include 50 for the insult (for making a doubled/redoubled contract) in the scores.

Politics

Former Chinese leader, Deng Xiao Ping, played bridge several times a week.

Mahatma Ghandi, not only played bridge, but used the game to illustrate the relationship between kharma (fate) and dharma (the action of man).

Bridge is popular with UK politicians - every year there is a match between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Other famous politician bridge players are: Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Matt Betts