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Are Senior Events Killing the Game?

Many people argue against the notion of "limited" games. I for one think that restricted events such as 0-5, 99ers, and other mini-events are fantastic. If someone prefers to compete with players of their level, then having these games available makes their bridge experience much more enjoyable.

That being said, I recently played in some of the Open Pair games at the Rye Regional.

The regional schedule includes a 10am + 3pm Senior Pairs and a 1pm + 7pm Open Pairs. What has happened at this regional, along with many others, is that the senior games are extremely well-populated while the open game is dwindling down to 1 or 2 sections. At the end of the Senior Pairs, a 6+ section game comes to a close, and since it is such a huge event, the winners get an overwhelming feeling of gratification. Those of us in the Open Pairs, which one might think is the "main event", are left feeling like we played a side event.

Why is there a restricted event that permits 90% (guessing) of the bridge population and excludes so few? How can we expect younger players to get the tournament bug when the "shock and awe" of playing in a huge field is no longer there? Do seniors really play in these games because they don't want to play against younger competition? Or is it because of the starting times or size of field?

My suggestion is to eliminate the Senior Pairs to restore the Open Pairs to its rightful status as the main event. If one pairs event is too restrictive, then have one slower, laid-back game and another faster, more intense game.

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