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“Not just for grannies”: student initiative wants to revive bridge card game

Pascal Ringler, a native of Kulmbach, is 22 years old and is in his fourth semester of electrical engineering at Hof University of Applied Sciences. In his spare time, he enjoys an unusual hobby that he would like to inspire as many university members as possible to take up – a card game that seems to have fallen out of fashion.

Bridge is a card game for four people that originated in England. Two players sitting opposite each other form a team that plays and scores together. French cards (52 hands, without jokers) are used. Image: Hof University;

Mr. Ringler, when people think of bridge, quite a few probably think of older ladies indulging in the card game over coffee. What do you think has shaped that image?

“A really good question! This image probably stems from the heyday of the game, which was in the 60s and 70s. Back then, it was mostly the women who had time in the afternoon to get together to play cards and really invest time in doing so, while the men “only” banged Skat or Schafkopf cards on the table in the evenings in the pub – to put it casually. This is probably also the reason why in most clubs the proportion of women clearly predominates, although this should of course slowly become more balanced through youth work and although the game can be interesting for young and old.”

Now you have founded a student initiative dedicated to this very card game. Who do you want to reach with it and what exactly will take place in the process?

We are open to all university staff, so not just students, but also adjunct faculty, professors, administrative staff, etc. We want to give bridge in general some more attention in society again. At the first meetings, we teach those interested the rules and how to best play bridge. Whereby the latter can of course be a boundless undertaking – depending on how much one wants to delve into it. For us, it is important that we show participants the basics that are needed at least to be able to participate in bridge tournaments. For everything else we provide information. Of course, the focus should be on active play and not on theory.”

What has been the initial feedback on your offer? How many fellow players have you been able to find so far?

We got three registrations right at the beginning from people who had always been interested in bridge, but never had the time or motivation to take a course at the VHS, for example. For them, of course, our offer is ideal. But also recently I was able to win fellow students in my own course of studies, but also from others. I therefore currently expect about 6 to 8 participants at the first meeting.”

Before the game, of course, the rules must be internalized; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

How did you get into bridge yourself?

“With two friends we had a Skat round and a fourth wanted to join in. But because he couldn’t do anything with Schafkopf, a short google round under the motto “Interesting card games for 4 players” brought us to bridge. After my friend Peter Häckel and I had seen the announcement of the Bridge Club Hof at the university and played once there, the fire was kindled and it has not let us go since then. That was around the middle of March last year. And now we even get to play for Hof in the state league already.”

What fascinates you about the game?

“I’ve always enjoyed trick-or-treating games, I guess I inherited it from my grandpa, who was a very good Schafkop player. However, it always bothered me to have either a hand that was too bad or too good and therefore too easy to play – and that doesn’t exist in bridge. Every hand – no matter how good or bad it is – is interesting because you are never reduced to a single result, but there is always the comparison with other players holding the exact same hand. This factor alone makes it the most beautiful card game in the world for me, but there would be countless other facets to mention….

Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Therefore, we can probably be compared most closely to the chess meeting, since bridge, like chess, also counts as a mental sport and it is primarily player strength and not card luck that determines the outcome of a game.”

Where can people go if they want to participate?

“You can either contact me directly at my university email address (pascal.ringler@hof-university.de), or you can contact the co-organizers, language lecturer Kurt Klingler and Professor Ashauer.”

Thanks for the interview and enjoy the game!

Rainer Krauß

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