Bridge is a card game played by 4 people, 2 in each of 2 partnerships. Contract bridge evolved from whist through bridge whist and auction bridge. Harold S. Vanderbilt in 1926 proposed changes in the rules which introduced an element of risk into the bidding auction on every hand by awarding the bonus for games and slams only if the declaring side had contracted to take the requisite number of tricks, unlike auction bridge where the award was automatic whenever the required number of tricks were won. In this highly competitive new game, judgement, concentration and stamina (all qualities of a tournament sport) are rewarded.
For many years the American Contract Bridge League has promoted tournament bridge in North America by sanctioning tournaments. In 1958 the ACBL met with the European Bridge League and the Australian Bridge Council to form the World Bridge Federation with the organization and sponsorship of international tournaments as its principal function. Canadians, notably Eric Murray and Sami Kehela of Toronto, played for ACBL teams.
When the World Olympiad was introduced in the 1960s, the time to form an organization to select Canadian representation had come. Murray, with the help of Douglas Cannell of Winnipeg, Henry Smilie of Vancouver, Aaron Goodman of Montréal and others created the Canadian Bridge Federation in 1966-67. Its function has been to represent the interests of the 18 000 Canadians who from time to time play in tournaments.
Since 1968 Canada has been represented at every WBF event for which it was eligible. Eric Murray played for the second place NA team in 1962 (with Charles Coon), 1966, 1967 and 1974 (with Sami Kehela), losing in each year to the powerful Italian Blue Team. In pairs Olympiads, Eric Kokish and Peter Nagy of Montréal were second in the Open Pairs in 1978 and Dianna Gordon and George Mittelman of Toronto won the Mixed Pairs in 1982.