Join Bridge Winners
Where bridge is dying and a possible solution

Based on ACBL's own numbers, between 2000 and 2013 the number of sanctioned clubs has shrunk by 386. Since then, in just the last four years, an additional 288 clubs have disappeared. While the number of large clubs, those with 30 or more duplicate tables a week, has been steady over this entire time, small clubs have suffered disproportionately. In this same period, 2000 to 2017, 500 of the 674 clubs lost were clubs that ran 300 or fewer tables a year. To me this means that duplicate bridge is in danger of becoming totally lost to rural areas and to most of middle America. What was once a foothold, has become a toehold. As a member of the BOG Teacher and Club Manager Committee I have first hand knowledge of the difficulties these clubs are having in retaining players and recruiting new ones. These club managers' main lament is that while they know there is still a large rubber bridge playing population out by them, they haven't been able to tap into it. Duplicate seems to have a bad rep. Now Honors' has found a solution. But what works in NYC, or in any major population center, may not work anywhere else. Having never lived anywhere but New York, I'd like your feedback. What Honors is doing is promoting good old fashioned rubber bridge. Why they come, when they could play at home and save the money, may be what would ultimately scuttle this idea in other parts of the country. Why they play rubber bridge at Honors? New Yorkers' don't want the hassle of being required to entertain. They want to finish and go home. They could also ask for advice on a hand, either during, if it is a really informal game, or immediately after. They can always find a game or just a fourth. They turn in their session score. Jay Whipple has volunteered to track all the results and come up with handicaps that will allow players of different strengths to play together. We are thinking of prizes for long term leaders. Perhaps even a trip to a rubber bridge event held in conjunction with an ACBL Nationals. We also offer them a sort of discount membership pass that gives them the feeling of belonging to their own private membership club. What we've found is that after being at the club for a while and seeing other players, much like themselves, enjoying duplicate, many have given it a try. Several recent "grads" are actually in Tarrytown this weekend playing in our next door neighbor's Regional. It all starts with getting them in the door by hook or by crook. It's working at Honors. What we used to call "supervised play" has grown from 2 to 3 tables, just eight months ago when we switched to this simple social bridge format, to 5 - 8 tables per session. And we have ten of these a week. Think this will work elsewhere?

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