I have spoken to many non bridge players about my role to promote the game. Many of them view the game as dusty, complicated and too much like hard work! Although teaching bridge at schools and universities has proven to be an excellent method of introducing the game to people, we inevitably miss those who have not been given this opportunity. As such, it was became obvious that one of the best ways in promoting the game to the general public was to give them the chance to "have a go" at a bridge awareness event.
Over the past few years, the English Chess Federation has held events in and around York for local Yorkshire schools to take part and learn the game of Chess. Last year the York Chess Chairman, Peter Cloudsdale, decided that he would like to make this bigger and invited the English Bridge Union to help celebrate the two games at the National Railway Museum, York on 13 April 2008. The museum was an ideal venue to show people the game of bridge, as it is the largest railway museum in the world, responsible for the conservation of the British national collection of historically significant railway vehicles and other artefacts. Each weekend they welcome hundreds of visitors and our exhibition was a great opportunity for visitors to learn something new, whilst having a look at the trains!
It was a very successful day with over a hundred visitors coming to learn the game of MiniBridge We also taught four NRM staff members and a few members of York Chess Club, some bridge! Two additional highlights to the day was the York Bridge Club versus the Junior England International team match and England junior bridge international player, Jennie Marvin teaching England chess international Sabrina Chevannes some bridge!
Many thanks to John Pain, Mike Amos and Phil Godfrey for their help on the day. The EBU and the ECF plan to hold more awareness days across the country, so please contact me if you have any ideas for venues.