HOW COVID-19 IS RESHAPING BRIDGE GAME
At the beginning of this year, I was watching and reading the news about thousands of people in China that were getting infected with some kind of new virus that scientists later called COVID 19.
I was sure the Chinese authorities will do all that was needed to manage the situation and contain the virus spread. It was just news that somehow stayed in the background when the news presenter was wishing us a good evening.
Our daily routine continued to be the same: plays at the local bridge clubs, participation in current tournaments, preparing for future ones. I was as busy with my favorite Bridge as ever before and believed that all would be fine and COVID 19 would just be distant news from the past.
What happened soon after that changed peoples’ lives globally
What happened soon after that changed peoples’ lives globally, shook the routine of all, including us, playing bridge, altered our perception of social interactions, and turned us in ‘voluntary’ prisoners.
All ACBL tournaments, international competitions, and championships were canceled, all bridge clubs shut down.
How long will this last for?
I doubt anyone can give a clear answer. Even if the coronavirus was to taper off and gatherings were to be allowed again would ACBL members start going to their local bridge clubs, would they play at sectional, regional or national tournaments?
Would they sit next to each other, play with the same deck, touch the same boards? I sincerely hope so but I am doubtful things will be the same in the near future.
I am doubtful things will be the same in the near future.
So what are the trends in our favorite bridge game?
If the online bridge was so far away to practice, to meet friends, a quick and easy way to spend some free time, now it is becoming the main way to play this game.
Good news is that even behind the doors of their homes all ACBL members and national and world federations can continue practicing and get better at their favorite game through:
Online club games
you play for the same clubs which you used to visit before the pandemic, you still get your black ACBL points, but maybe a bit less. Not all regular players want to play online so it might be that the online clubs are not as well attended virtually as they used to be in person but this is slowly changing. More and more players are making this switch as they do not want to stay aside and be left behind.
you can still get ACBL points if you achieve good results. Many of these online tournaments are of the same size and importance as the regionals. There are plenty of professional players participating with their clients which make the game more interesting and lets you build on your knowledge.
You can read books and watch lessons at your own time. The downside is that there are so much information and materials that it is easy to get lost and know what’s best for you. You can also watch online competitions with some of the best international teams but be aware that some plays and conventions used by the top professionals can be difficult to understand without additional support and explanation.
Key advantages are that those are personalized for your needs and your level and can be organized to suit your busy schedule – video lesson, live session, play tournament, teaching table, team matches.
This is without a doubt the quickest and most efficient way to make progress at the game.
A private teacher knows your level and your gaps and is able to find the most suitable conventions, strategies, and techniques to make you a winning player and partner.
And every player finds it extremely rewarding when the message to their partner is understood and with their next game they have responded accordingly. We all know that the more you master the bridge the more interesting and fascinating the game becomes.
This is how COVID-19 is reshaping bridge game and the world
And is very likely to continue doing so in the future. We will all need to learn to live with the new reality of closed or limited-operating clubs and canceled tournaments. We will all have to adapt and find our way to achieve success and satisfaction in this ongoing pandemic.
Despite all challenges, bridge stays the greatest mind game and I am certain it will continue to attract more and more followers and develop and evolve in the most innovative ways.
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by Diyan Danailov