Jeff Lehman

“Selling” Bridge to Youth

Would you be interested to play, and in interesting your friends to play, a game that operates like a big puzzle that:

  • Requires players to satisfy an objective for each game
  • Measures players’ satisfying an objective by earning a particular score
  • Has only a few inviolable rules, rules that are easily learned by players
  • Provides a strong sense of satisfaction as players’ performance improves, and awards advancement as performance goals are met
  • Offers increasingly difficult competition as players’ skills and experience advance
  • Produces more losses than wins, but does produce occasional, and welcomed, wins
  • While being easy to learn, is hard to master, because it includes many strategies which must be employed at the right time
  • Can become an obsession to the point that players’ sense of other responsibilities can suffer, if not monitored
  • Played by players who have been recruited by other players
  • Allows players to connect to others who share interest in playing
  • Acts as an escape, a stress reducer?

Did you think I was talking about Bridge?  I could have been.

The game is also:

  • Particularly popular among young people
  • Accessible through players’ cell phones
  • Played by about 100 million people daily

So, I must not be talking about Bridge.  Right.  I am talking about Candy Crush!

As president of the charitable organization New England Youth Bridge, Inc. that has a mission of expanding the playing of bridge by youth, I would be excited if Bridge were able to tap into the audience that plays Candy Crush.  Mark Raphaelson, a commenter on a Bridge Winners thread, advanced the concept of creating an app with bridge elements – he even coined a neat name for the app, Trick Taker.  Perhaps the user might start by choosing how to unblock a suit or establish small cards in a long suit, advance to taking a finesse, etc.  One would want the app to eventually be used to attract game players to play “real” bridge, either online or face-to-face.

Can that concept become a reality?

Maybe it could … with the help of a financial patron and the engagement of appropriate experts who are Friends of Bridge.  Might you be, or know, that Patron?  Might you be, or know, an appropriate Expert?  Feel free to contact me, and I will try to connect you to others.  What a legacy you might leave to the future growth of tournament bridge!

I foresee a few steps that would be required to bring a Trick Taker to reality in a way that could increase the number of youth who are exposed to bridge and who might choose to become duplicate bridge players.  (And, the topic of creating apps that are attractive to youth not being a subject about which I know anything, I am sure that other steps will prove necessary.):

  • Money that can fund the acts of exploring and potentially developing and marketing the app
  • Expertise in identifying the operational elements and distribution networks that can produce a popular app
  • Expertise in translating the identified elements into software that both teaches some elements of bridge and induces users to move from playing the app to playing duplicate bridge.

Any takers?



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