The Facts and Fictions and History of Bridge

by Mr. Fred Fairbanks

December 1, 2006


Contributed to Bridge Guys on December 1, 2006, by Mr. Fred Fairbanks, and which we post here without omission, but with corrected punctuation.

Begin of contributed text:

The first western game of bridge was at the Portland Club in London in 1888, but that is beside the point. The 1st game in the U.S. was in 1890, conducted by Foster. (The Rule of 11 that we use today in bridge was created at about this same time by Foster, and originally used for whist in his Whist Club that he directed at the time).

From 1890 till Culbertson in 1922, Foster was by far the best thing we had going for us. He was a game director; our first to have a news column on bridge (syndicated nationally); the author of many books on bidding and play; he gave us the Foster Echo as well as the rule of 11. As I have stated to the ACBL, he most certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame for the heritage he has left for all bridge players.

In his book "Foster on Auction" published in 1918 by E.F.Dutton, and on page 346, you will find the paragraphs relating how the players petitioned the rules committee for a set of rules for contract bridge IN THE YEAR 1917.

In order to have an experience factor by which to realize that a new set of rules was needed, it is fundamental that the players had to be playing contract bridge for some unknown length of time BEFORE getting to the point of making a petition. This may have been a time span of 6 months, a year, two years, who knows - I have not been able to pinpoint this item in my historical reading.

In any event, it predates Vanderbilts creation of his scoring system in 1925 by eight years minimum, and more probably ten to twelve years. The wild popularity of Vanderbilts scoring system swept auction bridge into utter oblivion and FORCED the Whist Club to give in and publish a set of rules for contract in 1926.

End of contributed text.



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