MOUNT Eliza, Peninsula Bridge Club members Peter and Suzanne Schuster took their seat at the table for an historic bridge game at Victoria’s Government House, in Kings Domain, Melbourne.
The grand ballroom’s transformation into a card house for 160 players and guests was the first time the Ballroom, with a length surpassing the ballroom at Buckingham Palace, had been set up for bridge.
“This wonderful game of bridge in the ballroom event aimed to celebrate Victoria’s bridge community and to showcase Victoria’s contribution to the game worldwide,” event organiser Laura Ginnan said.
The strategy-based card game is recognised as a mind sport by the International Olympic Committee and its origins can be traced to the invention of trick-taking games in the 16th century.
Microsoft’s Bill Gates is a big fan and actor Sharon Stone is learning to play, while players in Victoria include award winning journalist Caroline Wilson and former MP and noted polymath Barry Jones.
Victoria is home to the first vice-president to the World Bridge Federation Executive Council and the World Bridge Federation chief tournament director.
The world’s biggest bridge streamer and influencer, Peter Hollands, is based in Victoria and the world’s biggest bridge podcast, Sorry, Partner, is also produced in Victoria. The State Library of Victoria has the Bourke Bridge Collection, one of the largest collections of bridge books in the world.
Bridge is credited with stimulating the brain and helping maintain mental sharpness, boosting the immune system, with players being less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Suzanne Schuster said the game at Government House had been “a terrific event”.
“We enjoyed meeting players from across the state for some fun, friendly competition in this historic setting. We hope the Governor [Margaret Gardner] will host bridge in the ballroom again next year.”