On Saturday, November 21, two teams of young players "met" on BBO to contest a 12-board match. The partnerships for SiVY were Dan-Zhukov-Cameron Wheeler and Sophie Lian-Aidan Gottlieb. The partnerships for Reno were Emma Miller-Sidney Inouye and Henry Weisberg-David Weinberg. All the players except David are in high school and have played bridge for one or two years. (David, a former teacher in the Reno program who now lives in England, was recruited to fill in when one of the Reno players had to cancel at the last minute.)
The match proved competitive throughout. SiVY won three part-score swings to lead 12-0. On the fourth board, Emma Miller picked up:
♠K8 ♥AKQJ8643 ♦652
She heard her partner open 1♣, rebid 2♠ over her strong jump shift, and rebid 4♥ over her 3♥ rebid. Emma drove the hand to slam. Since her partner held ♠AQJ2 and ♦A, thirteen tricks were easy, and Reno led by a single imp.
The next two boards gave Reno 5 imps each, and SiVY was behind by double digits. Boards 7 and 8 were pushed in partscores at both tables.
On Board 9, Sophie Lian seized an opportunity to get her team back in the match:
After a routine Stayman auction, Sophie and Aidan bid the normal 4♥ contract, also reached in the other room. Sophie won the opening club lead in her hand and played ♥A, then ♥K. When North showed out on the second heart, she played ♠AK, then trumped the ♠2 in dummy, emerging with 10 tricks. The Reno declarer drew four rounds of trump before playing on spades, and found she had only 9 tricks. SiVY won 12 imps, to lead by 24 to 23.
SiVY won 7 more imps on the last three boards, all partscores, for an 8 imp victory.
When SiVY was founded almost three years ago, it focused on offering bridge classes and other bridge-related activities for middle school students--a monthly novice tournament/pizza party, Casual Friday events featuring informal play with relaxed rules and no scoring, and (Grand)Parent-Child duplicates on Sunday mornings. Most of these events were held at the Palo Alto Bridge Center, and Will Watson donated his services as director. The students enjoyed playing among themselves, but those who could also valued playing with a family member as their partner. Several parents have started bridge lessons or have resumed playing a game they gave up after college, mainly to be able to enjoy playing with their sons or daughters.
In the past year or two, many students in SiVY middle school classes have gone on to high school. Some of them have formed bridge clubs in high schools that had never had them. The students are not only continuing to build their bridge skills, they are also learning important organizational skills. SiVY provides mentors for these clubs, but the students themselves have to recruit members, find teachers willing to permit them to use their classrooms, and find appropriate times for meetings.
Plus... it's free!