Tuesday, 8 December 2015


The biggest and greatest irony of all time can be seen in the bizarre world of bridge. So many clubs proudly advertise bridge as the ultimate social experience , where men and women of all ages can come together to play the beautiful game in a quiet , relaxed and friendly environment. But the irony is of course that the demanding and competitive aspects of the game tend to attract people  who are either further along the autistic spectrum , or who have anti-social personality disorders.
Kurt Schneider , an eminent psychiatrist ,  was the first to broaden the concept of personality disorder to include antisocial behaviour. Looking at bridge clubs in particular , his studies found that APD was more common in men than in women , and the incidence of APD was far greater in such venues than anywhere else. The majority of the male players came across as geeks , oddballs , loners , social misfits and grumpy old men. What Kurt also observed was that in most sports men competed against men , but in bridge men were also obliged to compete against women as well. 
So given that APD is characterised by a callous lack of concern for the feeling of others, women of course with their sensitive nature and delicate dispositions were far more prone to being hurt and upset. Indeed , APD sufferers were seen to have a total disregard for the socials rules listed on documents relating to etiquette and best behaviour. Their irritable and aggressive behaviour could never be curbed. Lack of self-control meant bullying was commonplace , and their impulsive acts never showed any guilt or remorse towards those on the receiving end. Even more disconcerting was the fact this kind of nasty behaviour would be repeated week after week , with sufferers completely unable to learn from the experience. 
Even their own partners would be legitimate targets for their antisocial behaviour , as evidenced by the number of partners they would get through on a regular basis. 
However , victims afflicted with APD could when necessary appear to be nice , oozing superficial charm to play down any accusations which might come their way. Once the threat of reprimand or punishment disappears, relationships soon return to being fiery , turbulent and short-lived affairs.
Sadly , APD  is a clinically defined mental disorder which closely correlates with instances of petty crime. These misdemeanours within the world of bridge encompass such acts as cheating , physical assaults , harassment , graffiti , and criminal damage. So there we have it : a social game which unfortunately attracts and harbours anti-social types. The irony could not be more obvious.

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