Most people associate sport with an organised competitive event involving physical activity. Other requirements involve commitment, fair play, and a set of rules or customs by which the event is governed. However, although bridge is non-physical ( being only card game ), it is without doubt a mind sport requiring mental skills and agility of the highest order. Players in effect have to perform mental gymnastics in what can be described as an intellectual competitive event. Indeed, bridge requires participants to demonstrate their mental stamina, by maintaining their ability to stay extremely focused for very long periods of time.
If one is to look at the more traditional sports associated with the Olympics, you can't help but notice the role that sports psychologists play in mentally preparing the competitors before an event. It is important they go out into the arena with the right "mind set". Developing competitors' strategic and tactical decision-making skills becomes equally as important as developing their physical capabilities. The huge overlap in terms of " mind sets " is there for all to see.
I can think of several other reasons why bridge ought to be considered as a mind sport worthy of Olympic recognition:
- the mental stamina required
- the years of intense training and practice needed to achieve world class status
- the degree of effort, competence and determination needed to win
- the fact that success also depends upon unrelenting concentration, fighting spirit
and quick reflexes
- often, competitors are required to work together as a team, which means they must strive to develop a perfect understanding and tactical awareness of what to do in any given situation
Bridge also encompasses many other elements that are so characteristic of a sport: fair play, discipline, rules, ethics, application, and dedication. The game encourages competitive spirit, dialogue, communication, aggregation, friendship and solidarity. It is, without doubt, one of the greatest mind sports of all time, and those that aspire to world greatness deserve the same recognition and kudos given to Olympic heroes and heroines. Boxers battle in the ring with their fists for up to nine minutes, but bridge players battle with their brains for up to 4 hours in any one session. The stamina requirements may be different, but both sets of participants will come away from the experience shattered and exhausted.