There is clear evidence that a having a bridge-playing parent is very helpful in encouraging juniors to take up, and stick at, the game. Many of our current top players are the offspring of bridge players.

If you have been thinking of teaching your child or grandchild how to play bridge, then the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) has a programme to help you. The ACBL is offering FREE tuition to children, including those from Ireland, via an online program called BridgeWhiz. Registration is currently open, and there are five different sessions, Monday-Thursday, and Saturday, with times suitable for Irish players. The classes start on Tuesday 3 October, and adults can attend the same programme for a charge of $140 per module. It is not necessary for either parent or child to be a member of the ACBL to take part.

The classes are delivered by fully qualified teachers, and use the Shark Bridge platform. The format is that the students watch a 20 minute video at any time in the week before the lesson, followed by a 90 minute session live once a week, in which most of the time is spent playing cards. The first module is eight weeks in duration. In Shark Bridge, all the students get to declare, so there is no sitting around getting bored as dummy. At least one Irish child has participated in the BridgeWhiz programme previously, and the feedback has been excellent. She enjoyed the tutiion, and continues to play bridge regularly, and quite successfully, on the FunBridge app.

Today’s children are much more likely to be enticed into bridge using online methods, and this US initiative is a fantastic opportunity which would be beyond the finances of the CBAI to develop. Further guidance at home from a parent or grandparent will give them the best of both worlds. So if you can, please give it a go and introduce your child or grandchild to this great game of ours. We REALLY need younger people playing bridge!