ACBL Bridge Beat #40: Contract Goes to College

The first indication that any of the nation’s colleges were offering a course in how to play bridge appeared with the publication of the 1956-1957 catalog of courses of the University of Cincinnati. The University catalog listed a series of eight lectures including such topics as point-count bidding, notrump bids and responses, pre-emptive bids and slam bidding.

To find out how widespread the interest was in collegiate circles, the Association of American Playing Card Manufacturers sent a survey to 100 leading colleges and universities in all parts of the country. The survey disclosed that 20 other colleges and universities were offering instruction on how to play bridge. These included Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, North Carolina State College, Michigan State University, Washington University (St. Louis), University of Florida, University of Miami, University of Minnesota, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Ohio University, Davidson College, Valparaiso University (Indiana), University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, Oregon State College, University of Rhode Island, Southern Methodist University, Washburn University and the University of Pennsylvania.

At most universities the courses were taught by qualified faculty members or local townspeople who were highly rated by the ACBL.

At the time, it was estimated that contract bridge was played by more than 32,000,000 Americans and considered by many a social “must.”

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