Ruling: Brain Is a Muscle, So Bridge Is a Sport

Chess and board games may soon join the ranks as 'mind' sports
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2015 7:51 AM CDT
Ruling: Brain Is a Muscle, So Bridge Is a Sport
A man participates in the 2015 Spring Break University of Texas at Brownsville's GM-norm International Chess Tournament, March 10, 2015, in Brownsville, Texas.   (AP Photo/The Brownsville Herald, Miguel Roberts)

It turns out that your 60-something aunt retired to Florida to be a jock, and the "mind games" she dominates aren't the ones you're thinking of. Rather, bridge is an actual sport because the brain is a muscle, a judge in the UK has ruled, and other mind games such as chess and Scrabble could soon join the ranks of the sports world as well. The issue came about when the English Bridge Union requested that bridge be officially recognized as a sport, giving it privileges that include access to government and lottery funding, as well as international competitions, reports the National Post. Not everyone was amused. Sport England, which handles said funding, has already suggested it will fight the ruling because bridge is more closely related to "sitting at home, reading a book."

Judge Nicholas Mostyn of the British High Court, however, ruled that it is at least "arguable" that bridge be considered a sport given it works the brain, which is a muscle. "To gain permission to seek judicial review, you must have a realistic and not fanciful chance of success," he said, admitting he occasionally enjoys bridge himself. "You are doing more physical activity playing bridge, with all that dealing and playing, than in rifle shooting"—already a recognized sport. The Daily Dot adds that the ruling could potentially pave the way for competitive gaming, which just debuted this week on ESPN2 much to the chagrin of some viewers, reports the New York Daily News. (This issue isn't new; chess and bridge have already been rejected as Olympic sports.)

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