As the card game makes its debut at the Asian Games, Kiran Nadar, who'll represent India, speaks about why more youngsters should play it
Kiran Nadar, a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation
Image: Madhu Kapparath
Kiran Nadar, 67, who started playing bridge as early as 10, has been one of the biggest torchbearers of the card game in India. An art lover and philanthropist, Nadar’s team, Formidables, won gold at the fifth Commonwealth Nations Bridge Championship early this year. Nadar, a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, is now part of the Indian team participating in the Asian Games starting August 18. In an interview with Forbes India, she shares her excitement. Edited excerpts:
Q. Bridge is making its debut at the Asian Games. How does it feel to represent India?
I am quite excited and a bit nervous too. Though I have represented India many times, being a part of the Asian Games is a different feeling.
Q. Can we expect a gold? Do you feel the pressure to win a medal?
I don’t know… you can pray. There is big pressure and it’s of a different kind. I am playing in the mixed category.
Q. What does this mean for India?
It’s a big step forward for the game because bridge has never got its due. It has never been given importance by the ministry of sports, which is now sponsoring the team. So, if we win some medals, it will help promote the game. It could be a turning point.
Q. Why has bridge not picked up in India? Is it because of the stigma associated with card games?
The stigma is associated with card games that have to do with gambling. Bridge is a bit like chess. It’s easier to de-stigmatise bridge than poker. Bridge is not an elitist sport like poker in which money is involved.
Q. Don’t you think the game needs to be played by the youth?
At present, the average age of a bridge player is past 60. We need to bring youngsters into the game. China has a million young people playing bridge; at the world championship last year, they won the ladies team event where the players were aged between 22 and 25. So it’s crucial to get youngsters at the school level involved with the game.
Q. What are the key attributes of a good bridge player?
One needs to have a high level of concentration, discipline and ability to knock out simple errors. The complicated things can be picked up later, but simple errors made on the table have to be eliminated as much as possible.