Video: Eli Mandelbaum
Think Bridge is a game for old people? Think again. This week some 500 children from schools all over Israel convened at the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center in Tel Aviv to battle it out in an hour-and-a-half long game of Bridge. The event was held as part of the International Bridge Festival and drew young players between the ages of 10 and 14 from various cities including Kfar Saba, Nazareth, Ramat Gan/Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, Netanya and Acre.
Event organizers described the game as an excellent training device for the brain, providing children with capabilities of concentration, sharper thinking and strategic planning, as well as the development of mathematical abilities, teamwork and more. They noted that many educational institutions have embraced the game and added them to the list of activities that they offer.
While some of the kids admitted that their friends see them as "nerds" for playing the stigmatized card game, they insist it's a fun game for the young as well. "We love the game and we play it in a club," one contestant from Nazareth told The Jerusalem Post.
Oriya of the Israel Bridge Federation said that the name of the game is key, as it bridges between different populations and communities: young and old, women and men, different nationalities and different religions.
It may be a far cry to suggest it's becoming a new cool trend, but that's at least 500 fewer kids attached to their iPhones and Facebook accounts for a few hours a week.