Mushfiqur Rahman Mohan, President, Bangladesh Bridge Federation.
What is bridge? I define bridge as the game that requires the highest level of intellectual caliber and aptitude. Bridge is a game of patience and diligence. It is such a game that requires practice and a massive amount of research and study. Bridge is also known as a “Game of Analysis.” It develops the analytical ability of the player tremendously.
According to the President of World Bridge Federation, Gianarrigo Rona, “whilst Bridge in the past has often been seen as a sport for the older person there has been a conscious move to encourage the playing of Bridge by younger people. In many countries bridge is now taught in schools as it has been found to have several benefits; it encourages social interaction, an important thing to learn as any teenager will vouchsafe, mental agility, analytical ability, and studies are showing that it increases mathematical skills. The ability to play Bridge is something that a young player will keep with them for their whole lives and can become an important social aspect as well as keeping their mental processes alert.”
In our country people confuse between Contract Duplicate Bridge and what is known as “Auction Bridge” that most mass people are used to playing. However, there is a gulf of difference between these two genres. While Auction Bridge is entirely dependent on luck, that is, the hand of cards being dealt, Contract Duplicate Bridge entirely eliminates luck by dealing the same cards to 10, 100 even 1000 tables, so no one can hide behind the shroud of luck. Hence, in Contract Duplicate Bridge skill and intellect are their sole weapons.
Traditionally, there has been a tendency in our culture and even throughout the world to associate playing cards with negative connotations, including gambling. However, if we pick up any sport or any topic of public interest, be it ludo, football, athletics, cricket or even betting on the names and genders of the royal children of Prince and Princesses, gambling is predominant everywhere in every sphere of our lives. Even the share market is in a way gambling. So it ultimately trickles down to perspective; how we perceive things. Alfred Noble invented the dynamite keeping the betterment of the human race in mind. Had he known that his invention would bring such agony and tragedy to humankind may be he would have changed his course. So it all depends on how we utilize and use the gifts that have been given to us in a positive light.
Enduring social networks and relationships have formed over a game of Bridge among statuesque diplomats, eminent business magnets and influential bureaucrats and politicians. Even the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujiber Rahman was passionate about Bridge and used to love playing Bridge if he had the free time, although his life was very hectic. Bridge is a game enjoyed and patroned by the crème-de-la-crème of civil society. I would like to acknowledge the pride of our nation, “Desh Ratna” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the State Minister Biren Shikhder, MP and Deputy Minister Arif Khan Joy, MP of the Ministry of Sports and Youth for giving me the opportunity to serve this community as the President of the Bangladesh Bridge Federation. I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to them. Finally, my aim is to remove the stigma that is associated with playing cards and establish it as a game of skill and intellect and present it as a gift to the mass people and young generation. If I can achieve this, I would feel proud and successful as the President of the Bangladesh Bridge Federation and in order to achieve this I need and pray for the support of one and all.