My Tryst with Bridge

By Kiran Nadar, HCL

Kiran Nadar

The Commonwealth Games, an international multi-sport event involving athletes from 53 member states of the Commonwealth, hosted in Australia in 2018, saw India register a momentous win when my team (The Formidables) won the bridge championship. The long hours of practice that we put in came to fruition as India won the gold in the sport after 12 long years. Our performance at the Commonwealth Games has built our appetite to win more, and we are now preparing to represent India at the 2018 Asian Games in August, to be held in Indonesia, where bridge is included as a competitive sport for the first time. The Asian Games are a continental multi-sport event, held every four years, and the 2018 edition will witness participation from 45 countries. The nervous anticipation leading up to the championship and the excitement of having the privilege to represent our country in yet another historic event is a unique experience for us.
My own tryst with bridge began as a child, when my father introduced me to the game around the time I was 10 and encouraged my siblings and me to practice it. Playing bridge was a family ritual with all of us bonding over it and I have loved the sport ever since.
My husband – Shiv Nadar, founder and chairman of HCL, a global technology conglomerate – and I share our passion for this sport. Playing bridge together created a special bond between us when we first met. Later, I began playing bridge professionally and realized early on that bridge did not enjoy the same kind of support and popularity in India as it did in other parts of the world, especially the U.S. I wanted to lend an institutional level of support to the game to help develop it in our country and proposed that HCL organize a national tournament to allow players to test their mettle against each other. This was the genesis of the HCL International Bridge Championship, which is in its 16th year now and has become the largest bridge event in India. Over the years, we have been able to grow the HCL International Bridge Championship both in terms of participation level as well as the prize money. From 30 players in 2002 to 750 in 2017 (including some top players from across the world) and a prize purse of $270,000, the championship has come a long way.
We are now partnering with the American Contract Bridge League, the world’s largest bridge organization, to support the 2018 Summer North American Bridge Championships (NABC). Our partnership with ACBL is aimed at providing an institutional level of support to bridge in the U.S. and helping improve the overall experience for the players. Of course my team is excited to take learnings from the summer NABC back to India and implement some of these to make the HCL International Bridge Championship bigger and better. My ultimate goal is to raise the overall standard of this sport in my country by enticing the younger generation to join it wholeheartedly and pursue it passionately. At the end of the day, it is the players who define the status of the game.

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