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The Bridge Player's Guide To Life

In Brief:

The game of bridge (and wisdom inherent) has bewitched some of the world’s most compelling figures. Buffett. Bond. Gandhi.When asked to choose between two high level appointees to NATO, President Eisenhower went with the better bridge player. Winston Churchill thought the game displayed its own sense of valor, remarking “The king cannot fall unworthily to the sword of the ace.” (He was wrong.) We consulted with the game’s greatest teachers (and victims) to understand the magic of a dying pastime.


Choose your associates wisely.

“Having sex is like bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.”

—Woody Allen

Get out there.

“No matter where I go, I can always make new friends at the bridge table.”

—Martina Navratilova

If you live in the past, you sacrifice the present.

“If you are thinking about the last hand, you lose your focus for the next one.”

—Bob Hamman

Create your own legend.

“The real secret of the expert is to make logic seem like flair.”

—Hugh Kelsey


Attend to the small.

“But it is in matters beyond the limits of mere rule that the skill of the analyst is evinced. He notes every variation of face as the play progresses, gathering a fund of thought from the differences in the expression of certainty, of surprise, of triumph, or chagrin. A casual or inadvertent word; the accidental dropping or turning of a card, with the accompanying anxiety or carelessness in regard to its concealment; the counting of the tricks, with the order of their arrangement; embarrassment, hesitation, eagerness, or trepidation—all afford, to his apparently intuitive perception, indications of the true state of affairs.”

—Edgar Allan Poe, on Whist, the precursor to Bridge