Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Samantha Punch
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Whilst people interpret the KBA name in different ways, I think it is not helpful to over-focus on the term rather than on the intended outcome of what is trying to be achieved by this global campaign (see my replies to Rosalind Hengeveld and Mike Whitman above).

KBA is about raising funds to promote the benefits of bridge and develop innovative and collaborative approaches to attracting new players to our game (including targeted resources aimed at children, young people, families as well as policy-makers, employers and teachers).

Keep Bridge Alive is about taking action to share best practice, pool resources and develop an evidence base to increase participation in the bridge world. This an excellent opportunity to do something different and create momentum for change within and beyond the bridge community.
March 14
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And of course KBA fits nicely with David Burn's addition: ‘If you Keep Bridge Alive, it will do the same for you’.

I am an academic and it is not easy for me to ask for money, but I wholeheartedly believe in this campaign and what it could achieve globally for bridge.

The more players, clubs and organisations we have on board that contribute to the campaign, the more weight will be given to future work. It is really important that the bridge world supports the Keep Bridge Alive Crowdfunder, otherwise it will be extremely difficult to convince non-bridge players that it is a worthwhile initiative!

Please consider making a donation to #KBA - thanks. All contributions are hugely appreciated and will make a difference to the future of the global bridge community.
March 14
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I know the name isn’t everyone’s favourite, although I do think it might grow on you as I find it quite positive and refreshing! One thing to bear in mind is that the name was developed primarily to fund raise amongst the bridge community rather than raise the profile more broadly in society.

If the bridge world doesn’t like the KBA name, then we can come up with something more positive for future work to sell bridge beyond the bridge community. So all suggestions are welcomed! However I still think it is catchy and emphasises the life of the community as well as the potential for greater sustainability.

We have time to get the name right, the first step is to raise the funds so that the work can be done. Without the published evidence of the benefits of bridge, we are not in a sturdy position to re-brand and grow the bridge population.

To shift the image of bridge, we need to promote what bridge offers players of all ages, and we need more than anecdotal evidence to convince governments, schools, universities and employers to consider investing in bridge (as some of them do in chess where benefits are academically proven).
March 14
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In 1974 there were 249 bridge clubs and 10,500 bridge players in Scotland, today despite an increase in the general Scottish population, there are only 120 clubs and 5,800 registered members. I'm sure we're not alone in struggling to expand our bridge clubs.

Keep Bridge Alive has been initiated in Stirling in Scotland where a local club Alva recently closed and the nearby, once vibrant, club of Falkirk is on the brink of closure - it used to fill two rooms with bridge players, now it has just two tables.

See my response to Rosalind Hengeveld above as to why the name was considered appropriate for a Crowdfund campaign. A different name could be used if the campaign is successful - but we need the bridge crowd to support it otherwise the ‘Keep Bridge Alive’ project dies…
March 14
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I agree with this as the limited profile of bridge strongly underpins the rationale for the Keep Bridge Alive campaign. I am teaching the Sociology of Bridge in one of my undergraduate modules (on Place, Belonging and Identity) at the University of Stirling in the UK. When I asked the 60 students (mostly around 21 years old) if they had heard of bridge before my lectures, only one had! To me, that is shocking and would not be the same if I asked about chess.

We need to make bridge popular again and could start by raising its profile more widely in society. The Keep Bridge Alive project is about producing the evidence of the wide range of benefits of bridge for players of all ages and those messages can then be transmitted broadly.

So it would be great if the bridge crowd supported this global initiative by making a donation to sponsor the future of the bridge community:
https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/u5c0e5e7810869
March 14
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Great thoughts so far.

If anyone's interested in listening to some info about the global Keep Bridge Alive campaign, it appears at the start of the latest episode of The Bridge Zone (New Zealand Bridge radio show):

www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=0d10062e-06df-4b10-aa08-2be0888209f4
March 13
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Huge thanks to Chris and other volunteers, Zoe Russell and Natasha Graham, for their work putting the Keep Bridge Alive photos, subtitles and audio together. Thanks also to Kevin Judge and Stephen Peterkin for their help developing the KBA images, which can be seen on my Facebook page or Twitter @soc_of_bridge.

Please help us double the number of global #keepbridgealive supporters from 100 to 200 by end of March. Thanks - your support is much appreciated and every contribution will make a difference to the #bridge community.
March 13
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I have to say when introducing the Sociology Bridge PhD student, Kevin, to the Bridge Winners community, as an outside observer to our game, then we did both hope he would be welcomed more warmly.

It is also disappointing because I heard recently about perceived negative reactions to new players when they visit some bridge clubs, that then the clubs are considered to be intimidating rather than welcoming. Signals such as these can be off putting and even damaging for those hoping to join the bridge community.
Feb. 12
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For general clarity and background info - we did have two card playing sessions first, and then were trying out a new 8 fast track lessons course. This was always going to be challenging and everyone was warned about the experimental nature of trying to teach the basics over 8 weekly lessons. However we had heard that some people were keen to learn over a shorter period of time rather than over a year or two years of lessons as some clubs do.

We also were constrained by finances - we didn't want to charge for lessons on top of the annual fee of £10 (for students) because in order to attract more young people to establish the new university club, we wanted to keep it very cheap. Given my KBA work, my other university commitments and my own international bridge playing, I wasn't able to commit to delivering the course myself as I have never taught bridge. There were no local available bridge teachers who were able to do it for free.

The bridge teacher we hired had reservations himself about trying to deliver something so ambitious. However, the feedback we have had, has been extremely positive despite the fast pace of the lessons. The club began 4 months ago and we have 28 signed up members, most of whom regularly appear each week.

We are now running supervised play sessions which I do help out with, and we find having a volunteer helper at each table is useful. We have also split up the club into those who had played cards before, like whist, who did the 8 fast track lessons and those who didn't know what tricks or trumps were, so they concentrated on card play.

We now have lots of special events during the Keep Bridge Alive (KBA) two month campaign, including play with an expert (each partnered with a player from the local bridge club in town), speed bridge for Valentine's week (ie. like speed dating - playing one hand with a new partner each time), and the screening of the film Double Dummy (many thanks to John McAllister for supporting KBA).

I also believe that no matter how you teach some of the parts of bridge, it can be complicated at times - it is not always an easy game to learn the ins and outs of bidding - it takes time, and if trying to cut down that time, then it can seem like a strange new language.
Feb. 10
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I have been asked a few questions about donating in other currencies.

The Crowdfunder accepts credit cards (visa, mastercard etc) so they make the conversion from Pounds Sterling to Dollars (or another currency). So £10 (pounds sterling) is about 13 US dollars. Or the other way round, 20 dollars is approximately £15.

So if you select the amount you want to donate in pounds, it will convert that on your credit card in dollars. It should be straightforward but do let me know if you have any issues with it.

Also please do remember to say in the comment box which country you are from and that you are a bridge player (or bridge club), as we would like to be able to track the number of countries, clubs, players and non-bridge players that contribute.

Many thanks for your support in helping to re-brand and grow the bridge community!
Feb. 4
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Shame you don't still have the thesis Norman, would've been great to read it. Which discipline was it for? Did it also discuss the possible reasons for the gender differences, i.e. nature versus nurture?
Jan. 4
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Thanks for your comments Nigel. I'm certainly keen to investigate China's approach and would love to set up a meeting before the Venice Cup with people involved in promoting bridge in China. If anyone knows who I could contact for this, do let me know.
Jan. 3
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Apologies that was the link to the show on 19 Dec. Today's one is:

https://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=6379a3ce-8450-482c-bad1-6b4cc2574313
Jan. 2
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The intention was to use something ‘punchy’ (pun intended) to catch the attention of the media so that we can promote all the positive reasons for greater investment in bridge. The initial campaign will run throughout February and March (closing at the end of the Memphis national) and one of the goals is to start to raise the profile of bridge beyond the bridge world (and not just nationally).

For me the slogan is not meant to seem defeatist but designed to stand out in press releases and encourage debate about how we can enhance the sustainability of the mind sport. It would be great if people could support the campaign which launches on the 5 Feb, such as by sharing posts/tweets widely via social media to non-bridge as well as bridge networks.

The Sociology of Bridge research has the potential for spanning the next 10-15 years, and the initial first year phase is to establish evidence and credibility for the new field. If others also feel that the slogan of Keep Bridge Alive should be replaced after the Feb/March campaign for the longer term work, then we're very happy to hear suggestions for a more suitable, catchy alternative. Thanks! And please get in touch if you have contacts in the media where press releases could be forwarded.
Dec. 27, 2018
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Yes both papers in relation to the survey with 7000 bridge players are available on EBED's website:

McDonnell, D., Punch, S. and Small, C. (2017) Individual Wellbeing and Bridge: An Empirical Analysis, Aylesbury: English Bridge Education & Development (EBED), https://www.ebedcio.org.uk/health-wellbeing-research.

Galbraith, C., Punch, S. and Small, C. (2018) Competition and Mental Exercise in a Mind Sport: Building Bridges of Fun and Friendship, Aylesbury: English Bridge Education & Development (EBED), https://www.ebedcio.org.uk/health-wellbeing-research.

A summary blog piece is also available on the same site for each of them. My recent conference paper on motivations of elite players is still a work in progress, which I plan to publish in the academic journal ‘Leisure Sciences’ next year.
Dec. 21, 2018
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Please note that we would like to include any comments posted here anonymously in our ongoing research. Please indicate if you don't want anything included (or PM me), thanks.
Dec. 20, 2018
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I agree that voice is great. It's just not the same entertainment without it. The Roland/Bird duo is always fun to listen to. For me it's (C) so long as there's voice available.
Aug. 28, 2018
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Thanks, the team is very happy. Unfortunately my back is not so keen on having a sitting day job and a sitting hobby but thankfully it survived the week. Huge thanks to the directors for playing dummy whilst I paced about in the wings.

Now at the end of this week we'll find out how many exciting candidates have applied for the bridge PhD…
June 17, 2018
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Scotland's first outing to the Venice Cup - very chuffed
June 16, 2018
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As others have mentioned, it is fairly common for large grant applications for research projects to include funding for a PhD studentship as part of the wider project. Recently in the UK it is also becoming more common for research councils (e.g. ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council or NERC - Natural Environment Research Council) to have PhD studentship competitions which are supervisor-led (as well as the traditional competitions for proposals written by students).

The supervisor-led awards mean that the supervisor(s) develop the proposal and if successful in securing funding, they then advertise for the PhD candidate. These tend to be ‘collaborative’ awards where a percentage of the grant is funded by an external partner from the third sector, business or industry. This bridge studentship has been match-funded by the University of Stirling who pays half, whilst the collaborating partners have provided the other half of the funding between them.

The collaborative partner (in this case the lead partner is EBED with the other UK bridge unions) also contributes to the design of the proposal to ensure the outputs are relevant to their interests (ie. creating new bridge resources and adapting their teaching materials and approaches in the light of the findings). Nevertheless, traditional PhDs still exist and tend to be the norm. Overall the doctoral education market is expanding as more employers are seeking higher levels of degree qualifications (partly in the light of the growing numbers in university education).
May 9, 2018
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