bridge: History

Bridge probably originated in the Middle East in the 19th cent. Auction bridge, one form of the game, was developed by the British in India and later was popular in England and the United States. It is still played but has largely been supplanted by contract bridge, which achieved popularity after important innovations were made in 1925 by Harold S. Vanderbilt. Its phenomenal popularity owed much to the activities of Ely Culbertson . The craze subsided but was later revived; books, tournaments, and newspaper columns on bridge abound. Culbertson devised the honor count system to evaluate a hand for bidding. The point count (or standard American) system introduced by Charles H. Goren in the 1940s has generally replaced honor count.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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