Initiative aims to attract young players
With the Regional just around the corner, I have news of another initiative to attract young players to the game being launched at the event - Minibridge.
The idea is to introduce young newcomers to the game, to get them to understand it and hopefully get hooked by it.
I think it has legs - note that it is restricted to Bermuda residents under the age of 21. John Burville, who is leading this initiative sent me details, and here, in John’s words, is a selection to give you a flavour.
“We will be running a youth, interschool minibridge tournament on the Sunday afternoon (January 28) at the Regional. I expect around 26 students to attend from four schools (Saltus, Berkeley, BHS, and CedarBridge). I am opening up the tournament to any student that has played whist but not bridge. However, because I would like this to be a Bermuda interschool event, I don’t plan on opening it up to overseas visitors children.
You must be a Bermuda resident under 21 and have never played bridge at a bridge club or an ACBL event.
The rules are:
1. Starting from dealer announce HCP in each hand. When last person announced confirm the total adds to 40.
2. The pair with the highest number of points is declarer/dummy, and the highest of that pair is the declarer.
3. Place dummy down, and declarer chooses a trump suit or no trumps.
4. Declarer sets the contract based upon the “Minibridge” chart. Declarer may select a higher contract if they wish.
5. When the hand is finished, the contract and result will be entered into the “Bridgemate”.
I want to clarify a little about the minibridge rules that we play. There is a major difference between them and the rules used by the EBU, and in the USA. We require the students to pick a specific minimum contract based upon HCP total (no distribution points), they can always elect a higher contract, which is standard. What is used elsewhere is they state whether they want to play in game or not. If not then they are in the lowest level contract (ie 1 level) regardless of points.
There are good reasons for the way we do it:
1. It is worth setting a more lofty goal when they have 23 HCP between the 2 hands, rather than they play at the 1 level.
2. They start to understand the levels of contracts based upon the combined points.
3. Most important is that we have started to use the minibridge chart as a good foundation for the first parts of bidding. At least the 1 major openings with a fit.
4. It gives the defence something reasonable to aim at.
5. We can enter the results into Bridgemates and have proper computer scoring.
Also to clarify, the reason we use strict HCP, is firstly that the students are not playing to take advantage of distribution properly, so why make them add distribution points. Secondly, it helps with the logic in 3 above.
Bidding cards will be used to show the table and the assistants what the final contract is.
The ACBL directors will be given the names of all the students, and enter them in the system. They will also decide on the movement, and tally the result at the end. I have been in contact with Sol on this.
I have advised each student to be there by 12.40pm for registration. We plan to start shortly after 1pm and will finish by 4.45pm, in time for a prize presentation at 5pm.
There will be trophies, and sponsorship certificates for the Youth NABC in Atlanta in August this year. Also, we will have a goody bag for every participant.
I am impressed by the number of helpers we have from the bridge club for this event.”
It all sounds quite innovative and will hopefully spawn a few future members of our bridge community. John tells me that he has had a great response from volunteers to help with the event, but contact him if you are interested in case he needs more.
So there you have it - if you know anyone who might be eligible for this event, let them know.
This week’s hand is mainly about declarer play and a little about bidding:
Dealer South N/S vul
H 93 H10852
South opened a strong 2 Clubs and after making a “waiting bid” of 2 Diamonds, North showed some values with his second bid and then tried South’s patience by raising Hearts with only three-card support - 3NT is probably better to see what South does next. Rather optimistically, South decided to enquire about key cards and bid a slam. West led the King of Clubs against this venture.
Success on hands like these has much to do with keeping a clear head and adopting a plan that has a chance of success. Declarer counted only nine top tricks and applied the aphorism, “When the contract is in doubt, look to see whether you can set up a side suit.”
In this case, the only suit to be considered was Spades. As a suit missing six cards is most likely to break 4-2, declarer planned to ruff two Spades in dummy.
After winning the first trick with the Ace of Clubs, declarer cashed the Ace of Spades and ruffed a Spade low. After returning to hand with the Ace of Diamonds, declarer ruffed a second Spade with dummy’s King of trumps, rather than a low card, which would have been overruffed and seen the contract defeated.
Next declarer cashed the King of Diamonds and threw the three of Clubs from hand.
When all of that had passed off well, declarer drew three rounds of trumps with the Ace, Queen and Jack.
Now, East was helpless when declarer cashed the King of Spades - he could do no better than ruff this and play a club. Declarer now ruffed and cashed his good Spades to land the contract. Well played.
Notice that this is the only slam that makes ...
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