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Youth bridge team heading to Toronto

I'll start this week with some more good news on the youth bridge front, with an exciting initiative to create interest among the local school population in the game of bridge.

The headline story is that 15 students, ten from Berkeley, four from Saltus and one from BHS will travel to the Youth North American Bridge Championships in Toronto in late July.

Spearheading this initiative is, once again, John Burville, president of the Bermuda Bridge Club, and I'll let John expand on this in his own words.

“It is exciting to announce that we have 15 students signed up for the trip and we also have at least three chaperones — Gertie Barker, Dawn Nichols Marshall a teacher form Berkeley, and myself.

Unfortunately, the main teacher from Berkeley, Meredith Callaghan, who has done such a great job with the students, cannot be there.

We have 12 boys, and three girls, we will be staying at the Fairmont Royal York, which is 400 yards away from the Convention Centre where the tournament is being held.

The students are enthusiastic, and we are arranging other teaching sessions outside of school.

We are offering lessons on Thursday afternoons between 4-5pm at the bridge club, and will be offering summer camps during the weeks leading up to the event.

Participation this month is low as the students are working on school exams.

The event is held in Toronto from July 27 to July 29, there are two sessions a day at 10am, and 2pm.

We are travelling up on the 26, and returning on July 30.

All but one of the students started bridge this year, so this group are all new to the game. Even at the YNABC, as in other youth tournaments, there will be a lot of students that have been playing for many years, and some of those are already very fine bridge players.

The goal of this trip is not about results, but to convert as many of our students into keen bridge players, which we would be unable to do by just teaching them over the lunchtime periods during one school year.

I will provide a full report once we return “

This initiative is an excellent one and is a win-win for the students and for the future of bridge in Bermuda, and I must congratulate John and all the others who give their time to this.

One point I must emphasise is the one that John makes about the standard of bridge at these youth events — it is extremely high and many of the young US players are in fact “veterans” of the game and can hold their own in senior competition.

So, expectations for our travelling group must be measured and if any of our players finish in the top half of any session in which they play it will be a victory — trust me on that.

The game of bridge is infinite and takes time to learn and then even more time to play to any sort of standard, and it is important that the group travels to Toronto with their eyes wide open and their expectations firmly in check.

This week's hand is a tough one for most players and I am going to show you all four hands and let you have a go at it before you read on.

North

Spade: AJ98

Heart: 863

Diamond: 865

Club: Q63

West

Spade: 7643

Heart: J1092

Diamond: 32

Club: KJ7

East

Spade: None

Heart: AKQ

Diamond: J1097

Club: 1098542

South

Spade: KQ1052

Heart: 754

Diamond: AKQ4

Club: A

South opened 1 Spade, North raised to 2 Spades and South made the obvious leap to the Spade game. West led the Jack of Hearts and East cashed three Heart tricks and exited with a Diamond — over to you!

Not easy, is it? Declarer on the hand was a top-class player and he did what all top-class players do — looked at all his options. It was clear that if trumps were 2-2 or 3-1 the hand was easy as the fourth Diamond could be ruffed, so declarer asked himself what he could do if trumps were 4-0.

He concluded that his best route was a “dummy reversal” where one ruffs in the hand with the long trumps and draws trumps with the hand with the shorter trumps! Not a play that comes about that often, but certainly often enough for you to learn about it.

Declarer won the Diamond, cashed the Club Ace and played a low trump to the 8, and was rather pleased when East showed out. Now a Club ruff with the Spade 10, another Spade to dummy, another Club ruff with the Spade Queen, and declarer now drew the last two trumps and claimed! So the hand made with four Spades, three Diamonds, the Ace of Clubs and two Club ruffs — ten tricks!

Dummy reversals turn up more often than you think, so take a good second look at the play of this hand.

Some housekeeping to finish off: there will be no game on Wednesday May 24 and a note that the Tuesday and Thursday evening games now start at 7pm.

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Published May 20, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 20, 2017 at 12:38 am)

Youth bridge team heading to Toronto

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