Bridge and Academics

Bridge is a game that teaches a variety of skills:

Logic: Bridge is one of the few games that require logical reasoning to succeed. In both parts of the game you need to ask why your partner and competitors did what they did and draw inferences from their actions. Based on these, the player can determine what the best course of play is.

Problem Solving: The game requires a partnership’s commitment to take a number of tricks. One player, the “Declarer,” must then solve the problem of actually taking the number of tricks agreed. Since there are bonuses for contracting for more tricks and achieving that result, the player must solve the problem of figuring out what is the most tricks they can take while being likely to be able to achieve that result. Then they must solve the problem of taking the number of agree tricks in the face of opponents who are trying to prevent them from doing so.

Partnership, Communication, and Teamwork: Bridge is a game that is always played with a partner and often with a team of four. Unlike so many games popular with youth today, bridge forces you to work with others in order to succeed. If cannot win unless both partners work together. This helps develop both social and teamwork skills. It also fosters communication skills as the partners must use bids and cards to communicate to each other how to achieve the best score.

Percentages, Algebra, Data and Probability: The player must utilize a variety of mathematical skills to succeed at the game. For example, players use percentages and probability to assess which line of play is most likely to succeed. They use algebra to figure out which player holds which cards.

Memory: Players must keep track of who played which cards so that they can determine whether the cards they hold are going to take tricks. There have been numerous studies that suggest that playing bridge is good exercise for memory in the long run.

While the benefits of bridge can be hard to quantify, some studies that suggest that students who learn to play bridge perform better academically. Please check these links:

Playing Bridge Can Improve Your Students’ Test Scores

[T]here are few activities available to children today that o er more lifelong rewards —or more fun—than bridge.

Bridge at a Massachusetts Magnet School

[D]uplicate bridge players meet once weekly [to] teach them to play bridge … and to learn about problem solving, planning, executing a plan while adhering to ethical rules of conduct, partnership cooperation, and trust.

New York Times

[B]ridge is catching on at a growing number of schools, … many of which see the card game as offering similar mental benefits to those of chess, but with a social component.

Playing Bridge Helps Students Score in Math

Since [a sixth grader] began learning to play bridge, her math skills have improved to the extent that she is now earning As and Bs instead of a C grade.