Teaching the Army to Play Bridge

The American Contract Bridge League Educational Foundation recently awarded a grant for a pilot program to teach bridge at U.S. Army bases.

Col. Sunshine and Patty Tucker accept bridge grant from ACBLEF.Bridge had been a widespread military pastime, especially popular during Eisenhower's command. Retired Colonel Lon Sunshine was captivated by the game's challenges, mental stimulation, and teamwork and wanted to reinstate the game's place in military life.

Col. Sunshine approached Patty Tucker, a recent inductee into the Bridge Hall of Fame, to help him encourage and teach military personnel to play the game. The two approached ACBLEF and were awarded a grant to develop a pilot program at military bases in the U.S. within close proximity to existing bridge clubs.

To date, Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC, has been selected as one of the three Army bases for the pilot bridge program. The duo are working with the local group from the Columbia Bridge Club. This club is also conducting a LBIAD on Sunday for those military personnel who could not attend the Saturday session.

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/grant-recipient-photos/Army-Bridge-Game-0051-600w.jpgThey are looking for help in identifying other Army bases with active and retired military personnel who are interested in learning to play the game or hone their bridge skills.

Bridge clubs located near the bases will provide access to game play opportunities, identify potential teachers, and furnish class space if necessary. Materials and teachers' fees will be covered within the grant.

"I come from a family with a strong military background and am delighted to have this opportunity to share the love of the game of bridge," said Ms. Tucker. "Besides being fun, playing bridge can improve your memory while developing new planning and strategy skills. We find bridge players see these benefits translate well in life, both inside and outside the military!"

The pilot program will begin with Tucker's Learn Bridge in a Day? followed by six 2-hour bridge classes taught by local teachers. These courses will provide the basics of bridge in an interactive class that has both instruction and coached play.

For this program, they are looking for bridge clubs located within a 30-minute drive of an Army base.