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The Youth Weekend That Was

32 young bridge players came to Christchurch from all over the country: from Auckland, Tauranga, Cambridge, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Westport, Rangiora, Christchurch and Dunedin. Here they all are:

Y W 19 The group.jpg

They played an Individual with Mackenzie scoring a cool 73%. They were given a very informative lesson on Hand Evaluation, on shortages, on how to make Splinter Bids (and how not to pass them!) and on decision making in the bidding by Jane Skipper. Sam Coutts gave the young players a taste of what they can achieve in quite a short time by playing bridge, like playing Youth Bridge for New Zealand. The names of Matthew Brown and Andi Boughey, past attendees at such Weekends as this, were mentioned.

They played a Teams competition with just 0.79vp separating first and second after a 4 round 34 board competition.  There were some interesting score comparisons. In one match, a pair would have been very happy with a score of 3NTx making a vulnerable overtrick for 950. Unfortunately, that was a 14 imp loss to the successful pair at this table as the result at the other table was 4Spade-smallXX making two overtricks! Naturally, young players know how to redouble!

Winners, there, were the Macleans#3 team of Chelsea, Donny, Tony and Kevin.

A session of Crazy Bridge, with all its unusual rules, followed and after dinner, it was “Play with a Pro” where the big winners were Nic who guided Shirley Newton to 61.93% North-South and Galen who with Grant Holmes scored 61.36% East-West. There were 64 boards played by the Youth on Saturday alone.

Y W 19 Play with a pro.jpg

Close to 30 Christchurch Bridge Club members came to have a relaxed session of bridge with the young players. There were freshly baked scones, jam and cream to compensate for any bad score. Club caterer, Thea, was on hand all weekend to try and achieve the impossible… fill up the young players! 

After the Teams final on Sunday, Jane Lennon presented a very slick “Bridge Sleuths” quiz using Kahoot software with answers being sent at lightening speed from their mobile phones. Did you know the name of the Chairman of the Board of New Zealand Bridge? Well, a few got the answer right from the multiple choice of 4 “Al(l) an’s” given. There were 25 questions to answer. Each team of 2 had a pseudonym title…and I am delighted to report that the winners used the title “Richard Solomon”. Definitely something in that name. Well chosen, Lydia and Jack.

The NZ Bridge Co-Ordinator, Jan France, had a session finding out what NZ Bridge could do to help us get more Youth players.
These were the main points which they suggested:

  • A closed Facebook group
  • Schools Bridge (during class) – school Bridge should be run by clubs in schools not necessarily schools
  • Youth Nights/Session
  • Shorter sessions
  • Email list to keep in touch
  • Cheap or free  lessons and tournament entry for young people

.….and finally after lunch it was the usual chaos of Speedball Bridge where the chocolate prizes were given for finishing just about anywhere.

                                         DURING and AFTER

y w 19   during.jpg         y w 19 after.jpg 

organized chaos”                        and back to normality the day after
                                                       ( mess!)

Hopefully, they all learnt a little more about the game but more importantly learnt that bridge is a game young people can play and enjoy together…not just bridge but all the other games played in the breaks.

Do they look like they are enjoying themselves?

   Y W 19 Libby Jack Tymek Ellena.jpg  Y W 19  Lydia Janel Fred Eric.jpg Y W 19 Evie Rosie Tim Eric.jpg 
   Libby, Jack, Ellena and Tymek                    Fred, Donny, Lydia and Janel                   Tim, Eric, Evie and Rosie

Thanks to the Christchurch Club for hosting the event, to all those who billeted the young players, to those who played bridge with them, and to those who helped: Susan, Peg, Thea, Jane, David, Jane, Derek, Lance, Jan and Sam.

Hopefully we will see some of them at next month’s Youth Teams in Hamilton and all of them playing bridge around New Zealand in the next few, well, many years.

Richard Solomon





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