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Devon Falk and Cody Yau of Shaw Middle School win Reno Youth Bridge First Annual Tournament

By: Bud Brewer

It seems entirely appropriate that the first annual Reno Youth Duplicate Bridge Tournament, at the Reno Bridge Center, in Reno, NV, would be held Saturday afternoon, June 6th, “D” day, as members of the Country’s “Greatest Generation” came together with some of its youngest generation to test their skills competing in the World’s most popular card game, Contract Bridge.

Eight student partnership teams from five schools participating in Washoe County School District’s Pilot After-School Activity bridge teaching program assembled at the Center to play 24 duplicated hands against each other to see how well they could bid and play in contrast to their opponents. At the same time, members of the Reno ACBL Unit, mostly seniors, were competing side by side in their regular Saturday Club game. The contrast of seniors and juniors exhibiting what they have learned in a competitive venue was striking. When the scores were totaled after the game, Devon Falk and Cody Yau, of Shaw Middle School ended with the highest total number of match points to be declared the winner. In Saturday’s tournament, they managed to score a total of 44½ match points or a whopping 61.81% game yet they finished only ½ point ahead of the second place team of Harley DeGuzman, Elijah Lyons and Soren DuPlessis of the High Desert Montessori Charter School who scored 44 points or 61.11%. The winner of this year’s competition, Cody Yau, said that they were able to score well by using standard bidding conventions and playing conservatively. Good defense relies on cooperation between the players who must be efficient in keeping track of all the cards and suits played and those remaining outstanding. Five points behind with 39 1/2 points in third place was the team of Alex Peterson and Trevor Swetkovich of Billinghurst Middle School. Only one point further back in fourth place was the pair of Alexis Jones and Robert Wagner, also of Shaw who finished fourth.

Kathy Lane, President of Reno Youth Bridge, Inc. says the non-profit company expects to expand this fully funded after-school bridge teaching program to four or five additional Washoe County Middle Schools in the coming school year. Ms. Lane reports the RYB budget for teacher services, text books, playing equipment and teacher material is approximately $1500 per school for the 2009-2010 school years. Funding comes from donations by individuals and family members in the community who are interested in supporting Youth Bridge.