CTV in Toronto has a great feature about bridge and local youth playing the game. The Annual School Bridge Tournament was held yesterday with 127 tables. Almost 500 kids participated!

Click here to watch the video.

North’s Bridge team beat out four other high schools to win the first ever online high school Bridge tournament.

North Bridge pairs captured first and second places to win the tournament, which took place on Sunday, April 2, 2017. Freshmen Amit Vallabh and Jacob Teszler won first place, while freshman Alex Ivanov and sophomore Hannah Liu tied for second.

Five high schools from across the country took part in this first ever interscholastic online Bridge tournament. Along with Newton North, students from High Technology HS (NJ). The Siena School (Washington D.C), Scarsdale HS (NY), and Thomas Jefferson HS (VA) participated in the pairs tournament.

“All high schools have tournaments like in Debate, Mock Trial, and Model UN,” said Vallabh, captain of the NNHS Bridge team, “but there’s nothing for Bridge.” He added, “That’s why I wanted to start one.”
But unlike other interscholastic competitions where students compete face-to-face, this one was played online. Vallabh partnered with Bridge Base, the largest online Bridge site where thousands of people, including juniors, across the world can be playing at any given time. “We’re each playing from home,” said Vallabh. A total of 20 students played in the high school tournament today.

Jeff Lehman, who coaches the Newton North team and is also president of New England Youth Bridge, says Bridge is particularly suited for the high school mind. “Each Bridge hand is like a new puzzle,” he said, “it requires one pair of players to work together toward a common goal using logic and strategy.” Once they learn, Lehman added, they’re hooked for a lifetime.

Yet, Bridge has had trouble gaining traction in schools. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, both avid players, even pledged $1million in 2005 to promote Bridge in schools.

“The biggest challenge has been finding other high school teams,” said Vallabh. While many youth play individually, few high schools actually field Bridge teams. Vallabh started researching schools in September last year. In the end, five high schools competed.

Results:

1. Newton North HS/MA – Jacob Teszler and Amit Vallabh – j_teszler and amitjv (60.23%)
2. High Technology HS/NJ – Kyle Lui and Justin Wang – slenderest and ndoshi10 (56.82%)
2. Newton North HS/MA – Alexander Ivanov and Hannah Liu – liunator01 and Alex_lv (56.82%)
4. The Siena School/D.C. – Colin Buckley and Harry Han – colinlb and hhlegend (53.41%)
5. Scarsdale HS/NY – Sam Saxon and Katie Yang – ktyang99 and melon123 (51.14%)
6. Thomas Jefferson HS/VA – Joshua Pan and Sean Yang – jpan84 and 2019tyang (47.73%)
6. High Technology HS/NJ – Eric Chai and Kyle Lui – dragonkyro and dodzor (47.73%)
8. The Siena School/D.C. – Jillian Khoo and Molly Schindler – Jill9012 and moop1246 (46.59%)
9. Thomas Jefferson HS/VA – Edward Cheng and Robert Cheng – upii and nystrk42 (44.32%)
10. Scarsdale HS/NY – Eric Wei and Maxwell Zhao – summitwei and thepier1 (35.23%)

Vallabh says he hopes this tournament will encourage other high schools to start their own Bridge teams. “People think Bridge is for old people,” says Vallabh, who began playing in 1st grade. “It’s not.”

The United States Bridge Federation junior program, directed by Michael Rosenberg, provides players under the age of 26 with USBF mentors to improve the quality of our junior teams in international competition. As part of the program, practice sessions are held on Bridge Base Online (BBO), where the juniors play team matches and the mentors analyze and comment on their play. The matches are 15 boards, IMP scored, and take about 90 minutes.

The program has recently instituted “Monday Celebrity Guest Night”, where, on the first Monday of each month, a world-class player sits in, partners a junior and plays in a team match.

On Monday, March 6th, beginning at 7pm Eastern, the celebrity guest will be Bob Hamman. Larry Cohen and George Jacobs will provide commentary. Kibitzers are invited to watch by logging on to BBO, going to the “Vugraph room” and joining the tables designated “USBFJR.”

In January Geoff Hampson participated and in February, Brad Moss. In future months it is expected that the juniors will be joined by Bobby Levin, Mike Passell and John Kranyak, among others. The USBF is most appreciative of the voluntary contributions these top players are making.

Second Qualifying event brackets:

Day 1

Day 2


Here are the final results of the second qualifying stage:

University of Chicago 27 VPs
Carleton College 21 VPs
Columbia 12 VPs

Northwestern 25 VPs
Harvey Mudd 24 VPs
Rice University 11 VPs

The top two teams from each bracket have qualified for the finals in Toronto. The following is the complete list of qualifiers from both competitions:

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of California, Berkeley
Georgia Tech University
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of Chicago
Northwestern University
Harvey Mudd College
Carleton College

WannaPlayBridge.com
High School Bridge Camp 2017
Sunday, June 11 – Saturday June 17
Missouri Western State University
St. Joseph, MO

For more information, click here.

Mary Lynch, a middle school teacher at North Star Charter School, taught the school bridge program to a class of 30 students. They ended the quarter long class with a duplicate tournament hosted by the Duluth Duplicate Bridge Club in Duluth Minnesota.

Each student received an ACBL neon yellow backpack at the end of the quarter and trophies were awarded the top three pairs.

To read the article from the Duluth Budgeteer, click here.

For the full article click here.
Evan Berman, a senior at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, talks about what fuels his interest in the card game of bridge. For the full article click here.
For the full article from the Washington Post, click here.
For the full article from Sports Illustrated, click here.
Youth and Junior entries
Coupons will be made available for Junior members in good standing for entry into events at NABCs:

  1. Any player under the age of 21 years will be entitled to coupons that can be used for any event. These coupons will have a value of $10 per session.
  2. Any player 19 years and under will be granted free plays for each session of regionally rated events.
  3. Players under the age of 26 years named to teams to represent Zone 2 NBOs in world competitions for NABCs occurring between the time they are named to the team and the world championship will receive free plays at NABCs when playing with members of their team or members of another team representing a Zone 2 NBO.
  4. Players under the age of 26 years named to teams to represent Zone 2 NBOs in world competitions for NABCs occurring between the time they are named to the team and the world championship will receive free plays at NABCs when playing with members of their team or members of another team representing a Zone 2 NBO.
For the full story, click here.