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Youth Day at the Firecracker Sectional
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Arthur Chen

The first-ever Firecracker Sectional Youth Day, co-hosted by the Palo Alto Unit of the ACBL and Silicon Valley Youth (SiVY) Bridge, offered a chance for many young people to play their first tournament. The day’s two youth events were open to players of all ages as long as they had no more than 5 masterpoints, with youth players playing free of charge. There was a pizza reception for Junior Players of all levels between sessions. Five Bay Area Juniors who will be playing in Istanbul next month attended the reception, and were introduced to the newer players.

Each of the 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. sessions drew 7 tables of players of all ages, with 27 youth players in all – 12 of them entering one session and 15 entering both. The majority were kids who learned bridge in the past year through either SiVY Bridge after-school programs or the prior week’s SiVY Bridge Summer camp.

After each session, the first-place winners in each direction all earned trophies. I’ve been finding that trophies are a big hit! In all, 14 youth players earned masterpoints. Several were already ACBL members, while 5 more were inspired to join that day.

I had the opportunity to observe the youngest participant in action on the following deal from the 3PM session. Nine-year-old Arthur Chen (pictured above), who was part of the Beginners’ Group at SiVY Bridge camp the previous week, held the West cards on Board 9:

Arthur
AKQ54
95
KQ853
4
North
9863
AKJ42
A10
62
East
J102
Q87
762
AKJ3
South
7
1063
J94
Q109875
D
9

Arthur
AKQ54
95
KQ853
4
North
9863
AKJ42
A10
62
Eddie
J102
Q87
762
AKJ3
South
7
1063
J94
Q109875
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
9
4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

After a conservative decision to pass by North (one of the non-juniors in the game), there were two more passes to Arthur, who opened the bidding 1. Arthur’s 11-year-old partner, Eddie Wang (who had been in the “some experience” group at camp), raised to 2. Arthur tried for game with 3, and Eddie now quickly and confidently raised to 4.

North cashed the A, K, and A, then played another diamond. Cashing the A was a losing defense, but quite natural for a newer player.

Now I was on the edge of my seat wondering whether Arthur had learned the lesson of “drawing trump” which was one of the themes taught in the beginners' group at summer camp. We had generally emphasized cardplay rather than bidding at camp.

To my great pleasure, Arthur won the Q, played a low spade to the 10, cashed the J, thencashed exactly two more high trumps from hand, demonstrating that he had learned how to both draw trump and unblock his “high cards from the short side.” Arthur and Eddie tied with two other E/W pairs for a top board for +620.

Photo

Eddie Wang

Full results and photographs from the event can be found here.

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