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Bridge Part of Stanford Splash

In California’s Silicon Valley, a small group recently took its first step in building a comprehensive youth bridge program at an event called Stanford Splash.

Splash is a program for local 7th through 12th graders held at Stanford University – two days of classes in topics ranging from literature to knitting to quantum physics to bridge. Stanford students Ted Sanders and Emily Kelly led the bridge session with help from local pro and world champion Debbie Rosenberg, her son Kevin, and several volunteers from the Stanford and Palo Alto clubs. The session included 24 kids – 6 girls and 18 boys – ranging in age from 7th to 12th grade.

At the beginning of the class, by show of hands only 4 of the 24 kids had played bridge before. After just 5 minutes, the students were dealing hands and taking tricks. Within two hours they had learned the basics of bridge play and bidding.

“It was really fun to watch kids take to the game quickly and enthusiastically. Some of the questions that came up were pretty unexpected – things like ‘can you wink at your partner to signal?’ and ‘How about sending an IM?’” said volunteer Cheryl Haines. “With all this concern about following the rules, maybe these kids are our future Tournament Directors!”

For the Palo Alto Unit (Unit 503) who sponsored the class, Stanford Splash represents the first step in building a comprehensive youth bridge program. The plans so far include offering free after school classes in the fall and monthly pizza and bridge parties at the local club.

"The Splash class was a great start for our Youth Bridge program. The students were enthusiastic and engaged, with many of them asking about how to learn more,” said Debbie Rosenberg. “There are Splash type programs held at several universities around the U.S., and it would be awesome to see bridge offered at every one. It was an inspiring day.”

kids playing bridge at Stanford Splash

Stanford Splash participants learning to play bridge. 9th grader Julian Sul partners with his 10th grade brother Jeffrey. Opponents are Sanjana Balagere, 8th grade, and Elise Meike, 7th grade.