According to Dr. John bridge is a game which turns ordinary people into clients with chronic psychological and personality disorders. In other words it is nurture at work, where the whole bizarre experience of bridge ultimately converts harmless minds into ones incredibly twisted,distorted and disturbed.
But is it I ask more likely that people with well established mental disorders, or with strong tendencies to succumb to them, instantly see bridge as the game of their choice ? Are bridge clubs the perfect sanctuaries for these disorders to run riot ? This view clearly suggests that it is nature at work, and that players see bridge clubs as theatres of the absurd in which they can go along to perform....... and take centre stage.
Well, let's look at the facts.
Firstly, bridge is a game which is over-run by players well into their 60's and 70's. People who no doubt are experiencing the onset of dementia, not to mention a raft of age related mental health problems. All of these are brought to the clubs from " outside ", but the symptoms explode into view in the claustrophobic and competitive atmosphere of duplicate and tournament events.
Secondly, one has to wonder why the membership of all clubs has such a high intake of odd-balls, high-level autistic men, geeks, social misfits and other peculiar folk........all with a warped sense of how best to spend their free time. Their " oddity " seems to be a precondition of membership. The number times I have heard players say " You have to be mad to play this game ! ". Well, the realization of the truth has finally dawned on them alright.
Finally, it has to be observed that in the upper echelons of the game, there are people who are blessed with superb minds......... highly intelligent, gifted individuals, whose talents border on genius. Yet, as most psychiatrists will tell you " there is a very fine dividing line between genius and insanity ". Often the two overlap, and therefore it comes as no surprise to see " some very strange things " going on at their tables..... revealing a multitude of weird and unusual disorders.
So in conclusion I lean far more towards the view that to have to first be crazy to take up this game, but if you weren't there's every chance that the bizarre world of bridge might send you crazy.