International Review for the Sociology of Sport
Published On: November 30th, 2020By

National and international bridge organisations have warmly welcomed the first sociology of bridge paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Focusing on elite bridge, the paper is a landmark for Bridge: A MindSport for All (BAMSA), a research project at the University of Stirling.

Professor Samantha Punch, BAMSA project lead, interviewed 52 elite players between 2013 and 2019, generating over 100 hours of recordings and a wide range of views and insights from the world’s greatest players.

The paper analyses the social dynamics of tournament bridge and the ways in which world class players develop different roles and identities: as individuals, partners, team members and participants in the wider bridge community. In a timely contribution to the ongoing debate about the definition of sport, the paper examines how winning partnerships evolve and the factors that lead to success as an elite player.

Ground-breaking research

President of the World Bridge Federation, Gianarrigo Rona said, ‘This paper is very important for the development of bridge and for the consolidation of its image. This success rewards the great work done by Professor Punch and her team with dedication and enthusiasm and is a credit to the entire bridge community.’

President of the European Bridge League (EBL), Jan Kamras sent congratulations on behalf of EBL members: ‘It is truly ground-breaking research, the results of which will be very useful for our members – both for many internal purposes and for our interactions with the non-bridge playing world in promotion and sponsoring.’

Closer to home, President of the Scottish Bridge Union, Joan Forsyth said, ‘Many congratulations to Professor Punch and her co-editors. This is a fascinating study – well observed and documented.’

Bridge as mindsport

Professor Punch said, ‘We are delighted that these findings have been published in an academic sport journal which will help raise the profile of bridge as a mindsport. BAMSA research projects are designed to assist bridge organisations and practitioners across the world and I look forward to hearing how the findings are used to promote the game.’

The paper is publicly available thanks to an agreement between Scottish Universities and the academic publisher. BAMSA has also produced a practical summary and a theoretical summary. Bridge practitioners are welcome to use the full paper and the summaries in any way (so long as the reference is cited as below).

More information

Punch, S., Russell, Z. and Cairns, B. (2020) ‘(Per)forming identity in the mind-sport bridge: Self, partnership and community’, International Review for the Sociology of Sport,

Practical Summary

Practical Summary (Chinese Translation)

Theoretical Summary

Research impact

Do you intend to use this research? If you have downloaded either the paper or the summary, please email [email protected] to let them know how you have used (or are using) the papers so BAMSA can monitor research impact. Many thanks.

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