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Bridge students off to compete in Toronto

Students from three schools in the Bermuda Bridge Club are heading to Toronto to compete against other players for the first time.

Ten students from Berkeley Institute, four from Saltus Grammar School, one from Bermuda High School and one daughter of a Bermudian from a British school are travelling to compete in the Youth National American Bridge Convention. The students will be accompanied by three chaperones.

The convention is part of the American Contract Bridge League nationals, an event which several thousand bridge players attend.

The Youth North American Bridge Championships are open to student players aged 19 and under.

Bermuda Bridge Club president John Burville said: “Our students have been learning for only one school year and have done a lot of extra work at the Bridge Club during the past few weeks.

“We have helped them by offering extra lessons at the Bridge Club — it is the first time the club has ever done that. We were doing after-school sessions and when the school term finished we did some very concentrated summer sessions.

“They are not tournament players yet and the goal of the Toronto trip is to help them become real Bridge players for life.

“We can’t rest on our laurels — we need to continue and next year will hopefully be as big as it has been this year.

“Bridge is statistically proven to improve science and maths scores by 20 per cent and it helps other subjects in school by at least 5 per cent. We are going to put a lot of effort into it because it is such a worthwhile venture. It is invaluable.”

Mr Burville added that the programme would not have been possible without the many volunteers and supporters of the Bridge Club.

“The principals and board of governors at each school have been very supportive for this programme and the teachers have been really helpful in making this programme a success — in particular Meredith Callaghan [Berkeley], Mike Viotti [Saltus] and David Martin [BHS].”

The Bermuda Bridge Club was introduced at Saltus and BHS before extending to Berkeley Institute at the end of 2016. Mr Burville said at the time that he was excited the club had extended into the realm of the public school system and that he hoped to expand into as many schools as possible within the constraints of available sponsorship and funding.

The youth convention runs from today until Saturday and the group return to Bermuda on Sunday.

All students under 21 are welcome to join the bridge club. For more information visit www.bermudabridge.com or call 541-0551.