Minibridge is a simplified version of the game of bridge and is the route into bridge recommended by the English Bridge Union, the national governing body for bridge in England.
Minibridge was first developed in France and the Netherlands as an introduction to bridge for schoolchildren but has also proven its worth as an entry point for bridge teaching to adults. It is now widely used as a precursor to learning bridge for all ages and is universally found to be both effective and enjoyable.
Playing minibridge provides a superb environment for beginners to become comfortable with the etiquette and mechanics of duplicate bridge, before they embark upon learning the auction phase of the full game.
All forms of bridge teach us all important life lessons: patience, self-control, tolerance, perseverance, working towards a goal, the need for self-improvement and objective self-criticism, how to behave as a champion and how to lose gracefully. As a partnership activity, those new to bridge develop the skills and techniques necessary to work together as a team in order to beat their opponents.
Minibridge has proved to be popular and successful in schools as card playing helps children to identify numbers, colours, similarities and sequences. By the age of six or seven, many children own or have access to a computer in the home or at school, and the first thing they will try to do is play the free card games that are available. Children love being clever and working things out – and, of course, winning. These are all possible when children learn to play minibridge, but the game also introduces the more complex concepts of analysis, deduction, counting and probability. Minibridge also provides a stepping stone from which children can learn to play ‘full’ bridge later in their school career.
For a series of excellent free lessons on minibridge developed under the sponsorship of the Educational Trust for British Bridge, please see http://www.vubridge.fr/FR/UShome.php
A free mini-bridge program is available from Blue Chip MiniBridge.
Be sure also to check our download links from the menu on the right of this page.
'Pre-minibridge' card games
For those wishing to introduce card games to children there is a series of articles, written by Liz Dale for English Bridge magazine. These articles help introduce games which can help them to handle a pack of cards, learn how to recognise the different cards and their ranks, and gain confidence, and enjoyment, from playing cards games. These are ideal games to play before they move on to minibridge.
Liz also has the following book available for purchase through The Bridge Warehouse which can be used to introduce bridge to a young audience:
A teacher's guide to the first steps in bridge
Gianna Ulyatt has put together a guide for those who wish to start teaching bridge to a group of young people. It is spread over twenty lessons, and is intended to accommodate those with no previous experience of playing cards. It culminates with the group being able to move on to their first minibridge lesson.
Teach Your Child Bridge
An updated version of Ron Klinger’s 1990’s book has just been republished by Orion Books and is available from The Bridge Warehouse . The first half of the book covers card games which will help introduce children to bridge, the second half is dedicated to teaching a traditional but simplified ACOL bidding system. There is a short section on guidelines for play, but the emphasis is on encouraging beginners to learn through getting cards in their hands. Klinger has a formidable reputation as a teacher and reading this book, it’s not hard to see why.
Also available through the The Bridge Warehouse are Very Easy Minibridge Flippers designed by Sue Maxwell, an EBTA Professional teacher. The flippers are an easy and colourful guide to minibridge rules, play and defence.