Skip To Main Content

Menu Trigger

Mobile Nav

The High School of Glasgow

Menu Trigger


Bridging the Gap: trio make history

Bridging the Gap: trio make history

15-year old Rachel, Niamh and Isla (all S4) recently made history as the youngest female bridge players to represent Scotland.

The talented trio took third place in the Peggy Bayer Bridge Tournament in Belfast, out of a possible six teams. They started playing bridge in 2020 under the guidance of Dr Danny Hamilton (Teacher of Maths), who is also the non-playing Captain of Scotland’s Under 21 team.

The catalyst for the Bridge Club and learning to play the card game were the ways in which it could help pupils to improve their Maths skills, as well as discovering a new hobby. To play bridge, participants have to communicate with their partner in code about the cards in their hand, calculate the odds of who holds which cards, problem solve and plan ahead, all skills beneficial to Maths and applicable to many walks of life.

During the tournament, which took place from 16 to 18 February, the team competed against university students and other older players from the UK and Ireland and the event was broadcast worldwide. The Scotland U21 team was something of a High School reunion, with former pupils Kevin Ren and Alexander Duncan (Class of 2022) both members of the team too, with Harry Stuart (also Class of 2022) in the U26 team.

Commenting, Isla said:

I am so thankful for this opportunity to represent my country. Playing bridge requires me to do a lot of thinking that helps me to succeed in my school subjects. It also makes me improve my memory and my addition.”

Discussing the outcome of the tournament, Dr Hamilton, added:

I'm very proud of our team. They were outstanding representatives for Scotland, and improved during the three day tournament. Scotland finished third out of six teams overall, behind the more experienced English and Irish teams."

The S4 girls are also part of a new four-year international research study into the game of bridge led by the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Social Sciences. This project will explore how bridge teaches mathematical concepts in a fun way and is entitled Bridge: A MindSport for All (BAMSA).

This MindSport education project builds upon previous research from BAMSA exploring the lack of female representation in bridge at elite level, and how gender stereotypes and neurosexism could put off younger women from playing.

Top-level international bridge player, Professor Samantha Punch, who leads the BAMSA initiative at the University of Stirling, said:

BAMSA’s research has shown that bridge can be beneficial to people of all ages, but particularly for young learners. It is exciting that some of the youngest players ever to represent their country at the under 21 level are from Scotland.

This sends an extremely positive message to young women wanting to play bridge and progress to an elite level. It busts myths around bridge being an ‘old person’s game’ and goes against the gender stereotypes present in bridge uncovered by our previous research.

This next research project will look at the educational and mental benefits bridge brings to young people and pose important questions for our schools and educators.”


More information on the study by the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Social Sciences research group Bridge: A MindSport for All (BAMSA), can be found here.

The University of Stirling’s news article that helped inform this piece, can be found here.

An article in The Times (published Wednesday 21 February 2024) by Helen Puttick, can be read here.