NEW DELHI: Age is no barrier in bridge and not many know it better than 60-year-old Asian Games gold medallist Pranab Bardhan, who has offered free tutorials to do his bit for the card sport in the country.
"I want to give back to bridge, I have a lot to give back. I want to help the children, youngsters play this sport. I am going to go back home and tell everyone that I am willing to give tips and help out any kid who is interested in this game," Bardhan told PTI on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony arranged by HCL on Wednesday.
Bridge made its Asian Games debut in Jakarta.
India returned home with three medals from the sport which included a gold won by Bardhan and Shibnath De Sarkar in the men's pair event and a bronze each in the men's team and mixed team events.
After emerging victorious and receiving recognition for their efforts, the duo hope the myth that bridge is the same as gambling is busted.
"We've won this (gold) medal, we are the best in Asia. No questions. We have shown the way, bridge is a game, a sport just like chess and now everyone should stop believing that bridge is gambling," Bardhan, who started playing at the age of 20, said.
"Bridge is a game of the mind, it is a mental sport. It's like chess. It is driven only pure logic and you don't need to be old to understand logic," he added.
Apart from logic, the game also requires the partners to be in absolute sync with each other and this is particularly difficult because the players can't talk to each other.
"When we play we can't talk to each other. We communicate by other means. Maybe it's just the way I keep my bidding card or we read what the opponent is doing. Based on that our defence language will start with each other," Bardhan said. The road to success was not easy for the two as they couldn't meet everyday to train. They had to resort to using the internet to train."
"Training was very difficult. We didn't meet everyday. We trained via internet. So we had to be very sure that we didn't do anything in practice that we wouldn't be able to do on the main table," Bardhan said.
Contrary to the notion that bridge is an old-peoples' game, the sport has steadily carved a niche amongst the youngsters.
"Bridge has progressed a lot in the last five years. I took a team of children to Italy to play the world championships recently. Then Israel invited us to play and in August our kids took part in the world youth championships. This medal will motivate the children to play even more now," a jubilant Sarkar, 56, said.