The seeds of Bridge: A MindSport for All (BAMSA) were sown when Professor Samantha Punch of the University of Stirling interviewed John Matheson, Scottish player and coach, about his experiences at the bridge table. Recognising the value of such recordings, John donated £300 towards the costs of future research. This pilot interview and donation launched a series of in-depth conversations with elite players for the Bridging Minds project. In the same year Samantha carried out her first interview with a world class bridge player (the late Justin Lall) in June in Las Vegas.
As an international tournament player representing Scotland, Samantha had access to many of the greatest living bridge players. She also had the backing of the late Bernard Teltscher who gave her £300 every year for the first three years of the project. Between 2013 and 2019 Samantha went on to interview another 51 top-level bridge players, generating sociological data on all aspects of elite bridge including motivation, emotion, partnership and identity. During the period of the interviews, Samantha’s academic field was the sociology of childhood, youth and family but in 2018 she changed tack to concentrate on developing the sociology of bridge, an entirely new field of study.