Using Quantum Physics to Win at Bridge

by Rachel Baker on June 16, 2014

This is awesome! It requires more research but maybe, just maybe, there will be a new winning pair at this year’s Christmas Bridge Game.

Contract bridge is the chess of card games. You might know it as some stuffy old game your grandparents play, but it requires major brainpower, and preferably an obsession with rules and strategy. So how to make it even geekier? Throw in some quantum mechanics to try to gain a competitive advantage.

The idea here is to use the quantum magic of entangled photons–which are essentially twins, sharing every property–to transmit two bits of information to your bridge partner for the price of one. Understanding how to do this is not an easy task, but it will help elucidate some basic building blocks of quantum information theory. It’s also kind of fun to consider whether or not such tactics could ever be allowed in professional sports.

Putting together the nerdier sides of physics and cards has long been the hobby of physicist Marcin Pawlowski of the University of Bristol in the U.K. In 2000, he was a poor college student headed from Poland to a conference in China. Trying to save money, he opted to travel overland across the trans-Siberian train route, a trek of several weeks.

“We played bridge a lot on the train,” said Pawlowski. “And I was studying quantum mechanics at the time.”

Here’s the full article:
How to Win at Bridge Using Quantum Physics

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