Whist is the predecessor to the game of contract bridge we all get together for today.
While a few game elements evolved when it turned into bridge, the essential core of the game (and many of the rules) stayed the same over time. For both bridge and whist, bidding and tricks remain a part of what players do to win.
It’s easy for most to name “famous” or prestigious bridge players. There’s Gates, Yorke, and thousands of Bridge Base Online members who might be well-known in their respective fields and careers.
But what about famous or well-known players within the game of whist?
Whist was a good excuse for get-togethers, for art, for games, and presumably for the consumption of absinthe before WADA was into force.
Here’s a list of real & fictional whist players from history.
While Jane Austen is best known as one of the most influential (and quintessentially English) writers of all time, it turns out that she was also a card player.
She included the game in several scenes and stories, including in Mansfield Park.
Her official website hosts information for the basic instructions for whist.
Did you know about this before?
If you’ve already worked your way through all of Austen’s work, get started on Pride, Prejudice & Zombies – fan-fiction and written posthumously, but excellent for any Austen fans (and recommended, here and by me).
King George II
Quotes about King George II said that he never tired of whist.
As one of the rules of Great Britain during a certain era, it’s not much of a surprise to imagine that he loved card games – and it’s good to know that the game in question was one familiar to most of the players here.
During the time, cards were a popular pastime, but also happened to be viewed in less favour by other groups.
What would people of the time have thought about the game of Monopoly?
Kids of the modern age are more likely to remember Hoyle from the series of card games which carries the name. Edmond Hoyle (1672 – 1769) was an authority on several different card games during his time – and his Treatise On Whist was defining for the game.
Looking at his previous games, he also happened to be one hell of a player.
Want to learn more about your bridge strategy?
Research the resources left behind by the great Hoyle. You’ll be a better card player for it.
Count Nikolai Rostov
War & Peace is one of the most iconic novels of all time – and if you’ve ever read it from the one cover to the next, you’ll know that it’s also one of the longest books you might ever finish in a lifetime (if you do).
Count Nikolai happens to be a whist player – and while fictional, is famous to anyone who has ever read the book (or seen the move).
The count doesn’t just play, but plays for high stakes to spectacular losses.
There might be a lesson in there for modern bridge players today.