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Is bridge dying? A second look at the health of our game.

Once again, no conclusions, just observations. I also threw in a few facts,  even knowing that this might not be in fashion these days.

From the first post:

Bridge clubs in metropolitan and retirement areas of the country are as strong, maybe even stronger than, they were 25 years ago. By as much as 20%. On the other hand, bridge in rural areas is fast drying up.


Rubber bridge clubs are gone from NYC. I suspect it's the same elsewhere. In the early eighties there were six bridge clubs within a four block radius of 72nd and Broadway. One was my Manhattan duplicate bridge club. The others, all long gone, were private or open clubs where rubber bridge, along with other games, was played. So no more rubber bridge. Probably little family-style kitchen table bridge either. 

The median age today is about 75. A lot higher than in the past. Should that worry us?

Older people are living a lot longer. Once you make it to 75, there's a lot better chance of making it to 90/95 than there was in the past. A bridge club's target audience, sorry BW readers, is empty nesters and the recently retired. Let's put that average age at 60. These new recruits have 25 plus good years left in them.

I am seeing more and more late 20 and 30 year olds at the club. Games playing seems to be coming back. Also we have converts (finally) from BBO to F2F bridge. We are now in a kind of equilibrium. Some aging out, some aging in.

Honors also has a ton of young professional players. About equal between US and European. 

Teaching methods are getting better. There's more emphasis on starting with play and having fun. Maybe we'll be keeping a greater percentage of beginning students.

Why is there virtually no black or Hispanic players? That's what?  20/25 percent of the population?

Ever since China embraced bridge we are seeing a strong influx of young Asian players. At last count, what's China's population? Can we at least consider visas?

What will our tournaments look like ten years from now? I suspect somewhat smaller. There is a huge overhang of players 80 and above that will have left competitive bridge by then. 

On the other hand, the young pros, children currently in junior programs, and the BBO converts we are starting to see, will provide the next generation of top players. Players just now getting into bridge, disproportionately from large metropolitan areas, will probably have greater disposable incomes than the old timers they will be replacing. Anyone thinking Hawaii in 2040?

What else?

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