Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Bragging About Canada

When I was in grade school we were taught that the seventh prime minister of Canada, Sir Wilfred Laurier said the following in 1904:

“The 20th Century Belongs To Canada”.

This was interesting in that Canada had pretty dismal economic prospects at that time.  If you happen to be interested you might want to read  “A prediction that belonged to the 20th Century”.  While this was clearly incorrect it feels a bit like right now Canada is having it’s time to shine.

Future Brand has named Canada as the world’s most powerful country brand.  This is the second year in the row for Canada. You might want to read the 2010 press release which I found quite interesting.  It explains how some countries rose and fell (for example the Obama effect).

This comes just after Canada was named as the best country for business by Forbes Magazine.

Now we don’t have awards like that in bridge.  But if you don’t mind a little more bragging I think Canadians have made a disproportionate contribution to bridge, given our large geography and small population.  (Geography makes it harder to get people together for events.)  We have contributed a lot of young bridge players who are making a mark on the scene as they have matured.   Two of North America’s most famous bridge teacher/writers, the world’s bridge coach, the bridge calendar (now sadly done), bridge software including Bridge Base which started in Canada.  Not to mention the world’s largest (and humbly best) publisher of bridge books.

What has Canadian bridge lacked?

1. While we have produced some good players we have never produced good teams.  Maybe this is partly because at least till recently we have hadn’t had any serious sponsors.

2. We don’t really have a national organization since the ACBL sort of assumes that role.  The CBF does a bit of this and that but mostly its job is to pick teams which hasn’t worked all that well.  (see my first point).

3. We aren’t doing a good enough job of recruiting new young players.  Perhaps this is partly because we don’t have an organization with that role (see 2).

Still this blog is about congratulations and handing out some bottles of maple syrup to a few people who have made Canadian bridge special.

Here are a few bridge people who I am giving a hypothetical bottle of maple syrup to this year.  You can add your own.  And don’t complain if you don’t agree with all of mine.  In no particular order

  1. Eric Kokish
  2. Fred Gitelman
  3. Eric Murray
  4. Barbara Seagram
  5. Audrey Grant
  6. Gavin Wolpert
  7. David Silver
  8. John Carruthers
  9. Jan Anderson
  10. David Lindop
  11. Mike Yuen
  12. Kismet Fung

And of course Ray Lee (hugs).

This is not intended to be a scientific list.  These are some of the people that came to mind when I thought about some who have contributed to bridge in Canada over the last while.

I hope you didn’t mind this little Canadian smile.


Bobby WolffNovember 20th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Hi Linda,

Your article has produced a smile from me and an acknowledgment as to its accuracy, and its topical interest.

However, now letting the other shoe drop, and pertaining to both yours and my country, a competitive enterprise like world wide bridge needs to have both a top players involvement as well as an administrative end.

All world wide sports and competitions have both with each of the above having their own agenda, the players endeavoring to be the best they can be, therefore seeking and perfecting (as far as bridge allows) their sincere efforts and the adminstrators having only an overall goal of creating the most favorable and productive environment of sending their best teams, hopefully creating a dual involvement where both sides do their best to emphasize the above but always respecting the wishes of the other with the only inviolate restriction of not allowing other agendas to interfere with the overall objective.

If we or either of our off the charts wonderful countries subscribe to the above, we will begin to follow the path of the yellow brick road to eventual unqualified success.

maggy simonyNovember 22nd, 2011 at 5:56 pm

As a non-serious bridge player and advocate of sociable bridge, I would add the 8 Calgarian bridge ladies who are responsible for “The Best of Bridge” cookbook series. Their 2-table bridge club, back in the 70s, took their usual annual bridge outing at a cottage, without husbands or children, on two days of (as they put it in their book’s introduction) bridge, bacardis and buffets. Someone came up with the thought to do a cookbook together, market and sell it themselves, and earn enough money to afford a bridge get-away in Vancouver. Hugely successful–they made Canadian book publishing history over decades that followed. I believe the series has been picked up by another publisher and they are retired now.

Totally different approach to bridge playing I know than you-all pursue, but I just happen to think the sociable bridge world is MORE of a pop culture phenomenon than is its serious counterpart! More of us, and we have LASTED. It’s my odd bucket list hobby, that some printed record be left to the world about sociable bridge after I’m dead and gone.

Hence my blog/ezine about SOCIABLE bridge at Perhaps a few of you will subscribe and/or comment. I’ll bet a good bunch of you learned to play from your mom or in just such a club as the Calgary Club.

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