Every single person I know who has someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in their family has heightened awareness of their own risk; the same is true for anyone who has ever seen the deterioration these conditions can trigger in someone they know and love.
Awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is pretty important. That means awareness of the symptoms in order to spot signs of the condition in others and yourself, and awareness of any factors that might increase the risks.
It also means awareness of prevention methods, whether or not there are signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia-related conditions in your family history.
How can we protect ourselves better?
We already know that keeping the brain active can slow onset of these conditions (and even delay their deterioration rate). We know that the game of bridge goes hand-in-hand with bettering the brain and decreasing your risk factors – but what about online bridge?
Here’s how bridge played online through platforms like Bridge Base Online can help.
Meet Bridge Base Online
Bridge Base Online is one of the largest websites for online bridge playing.
Players can sign up and test their skills against or with robot players, or compete in teams against real-life players in instant online bridge games and tournaments.
Many South African bridge clubs choose BBO as their preferred online game platform, and just as many local clubs have official online tournaments going throughout the year.
There are several varieties of bridge available, including the traditional contract that most South African bridge players will already be familiar with, or Just Declare, a solitaire version of bridge that chooses a preselected contract.
Members can also sign up to the paid BBO Prime Club, which gives them access to exclusive tournaments and more.
If you aren’t keeping up with terms like “contracts” and “trumps” in the context of the game or want to introduce someone who doesn’t know the game yet, BBO and the American Contract Bridge League offer many resources to beginning bridge players who want to learn for the first time.
Why Online Bridge?
Online bridge allows for instant play from anywhere.
There’s no need to move around and there are no requirements for travel, and for anyone worried about potential trouble, playing online bridge without betting money is like playing a friendly game of online chess against a computer: Entirely legal.
The aspect of instant login from a PC or smart device means that online bridge can allow for disabled, mobility-impaired and immunity-compromised individuals to play the game where physical and in-person club games might have been limiting or impossible to attend.
It can even get reluctant and introverted individuals to keep their minds active and be as social as they are comfortable with.
Anyone can play just by logging in, and anyone can “kibitz” (that is, watch) past games or games currently in-progress.
BBO allows users to get to know a vast array of international and local bridge players at every playing level, and anyone can find a great way to keep the brain going with regular participation and discussion whether or not they are familiar with bridge and how to play it.
It’s great for the creation of fresh neural pathways and it can help to reduce your chances of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia (or of mental deterioration if you have already started showing signs).
With approximately 10, 000 users online at the time of writing and an active user discussion forum, there’s no shortage of card-playing enthusiasts up for a challenge.
Don’t Know Bridge? Bridge the Knowledge Gap Here
If you’re not familiar with the game yet or haven’t played in years, here are a few links to help you catch up with everyone else at the table.
- The ACBL Learn-to-Play Bridge Browser App
- The ACBL How to Play Bridge
- The ACBL Bridge Terminology Page
- Bridge Base Online Help
- Bridge Base Online
By Alex J. Coyne
Last Updated: 23 January, 2020