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All comments by Simon Stocken
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Thanks Debbie - please feel free to send me anything and everything concerning youth bridge - my name @gmail.com
May 18, 2017
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time you wrote a book David (if you've already done so then another book)…. while we are on Florida you might enjoy the author Carl Hiaasen…
May 18, 2017
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Thanks Richard - I tried to find that information but it eluded me.

Yes David you are right. My remark was somewhat flippant - Juniors are not going to solve vugraph staffing issues anytime soon…..
May 13, 2017
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Two of the great players in the game were Rixi Markus and Fritzi Gordon - both capable of holding their own against the men. I think Rixi played in the Open Team.

My use of child labour is provocative and not accurate in what I was suggesting. I'm suggesting juniors (which goes to U25 level) get opportunities to operate vugraph - invaluable experience. Those still at school have opportunities at weekends to get involved. Those over 18 have fewer constraints. Vugraph matches happen in holiday time also.
May 12, 2017
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Child-Labour…..

Have juniors operate the vugraph. Juniors - rightly - get lots of support. In Israel I learnt that there is an expectation for those who receive this support to give back and they do. Lots of junior players in the UK go on to support those coming through especially once they go beyond U25

We could make it a contractual obligation for juniors and even pay them something too.

The benefits are wide spread - great experience for juniors to sit and watch top players is just one benefit. Junior female players can run vugraphs for the womens events
May 12, 2017
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Joann - just because it was wonky does not make it a bad idea. All new technology is wonky to begin with. The idea is still a great one - the technology just needs to improve. I agree it must be seamless.

We also have video potential as an additional feature. Vugraph is far from perfect - there are always continuity breaks or errors in my experience. How long has vugraph been around? It does not seem to have evolved much. Bridge players and bridge organisations tend to settle for something that works ok. Okay is only good enough initially - there are numerous improvements that could be made.

Vugraph operators - how many man-hours (woman-hours anyone? not for me) does this use up? The operators are skilled people whose hourly rate is way above average in terms of what they would earn by doing their ‘normal’ job.

Tablets are unlikely to be the solution at present - the players I believe don't want them and bridge is a card game.

David Wetzel's comment below nails the issue
May 12, 2017
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I've now watched the video. It's excellent - one of the best adverts for youth bridge I've ever seen. I will certainly be using it. Bridge makes news when it challenges peoples' pre-conceived notions - in this case that notion is “old person's game” - I got the stat recently - average age 72 (from one of the WBF officers). The other assumption is bridge is for the priveleged - the majority of schools offering bridge are private schools. This is why I went to Raibidpura in India and am now in South Africa. One of the best school bridge clubs in England (in terms of numbers) is Westminster Harris - a non-fee paying academy. The headmaster runs the club - he thinks bridge should be deemed a sport - and runs it for two hours when other children play sport. Muslem girls and boys make up a significant proportion of the 40 pupils who attend each week. Sport is less appealing/culturally unsuitable for the girls in particular.
May 12, 2017
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Yes John - I've been teaching bridge since I walked out of university - and now my whole family have followed me into the profession. I've recently moved from teaching mostly “ladies-who-lunch” (which I also love) to teaching children which is of course infinitely more fulfilling. I'm employed part-time by a Foundation, dedicated to bringing bridge into schools and to teach the game to children.

I have some radical ideas and hope to show-case some of these in Toronto in July. Is this where you are based?

I'm currently towards the end of a tour, mostly of my own initiative, which began in India and finds me now in South Africa where the African Zonals are being held, sowing bridge seeds. India was most successful, largely thanks to Amareshe Deshpande, Morten Bilde, and Rajesh Tibrewalde. I visited a township school yesterday where the principal was receptive to the idea of introducing bridge.

My final country before returning to London is Botswana - the only African nation with a decent youth bridge program backed by government. The support only goes so far and I'm hoping to help support them to bring two teams to Lyon (U16 and U21) - the WBF has also pledged some support. They need 8 return flights paid for per team plus accommodation - I am confident that a crowd-funder could make that happen.

I've set up a website:
www.bridge4kids.co.uk

I do need to update it. Travelling a lot this year it seems.

I've been doing this for 18 months now. I look forward to meeting. I don't always get all the messages through bridge-winners so feel free to contact me via the site or via email - my name with gmail on the end. Thanks for the links - my apologies for the slow reply. I've only just seen it today.
May 11, 2017
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Design a bridge table that reads the cards and the bids (bar-coded?) and do away with the vugraph operators…..?
May 11, 2017
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Sounds a wonderful idea.
May 10, 2017
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Good to hear so many voices that are appalled by this. Unsportsmanlike conduct is an offence in many games (yellow card in football/soccer) These opponents are demonstrating it in spades, whatever age their opponents. Once the law sanctions this behaviour then the game is into its death spiral. Many many players have given up playing competitive bridge precisely because of these types of experiences
April 20, 2017
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Steve I agree with you on this point: the Foundation I work for - dedicated to teaching bridge to kids and in schools - has twice turned down applications to fund bridge-playing children going abroad. The job is done already for them - they play bridge, they love it they are good at it. Our remit is getting kids introduced - the rank-and-file you speak of.
April 20, 2017
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Dave - 100% agree.
This is totally part of my agenda.
Let the kids have the forcing pass - in my version of the bidding box there are Passes and there are Forcing Passes.

I've been teaching in schools now for 18 months.
At one school every single contract is doubled and redoubled - it's a high profile boys school.
April 20, 2017
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ACBL membership (or EBU membership) is not the desired outcome. Getting kids playing bridge is the desired outcome. The two are almost mutually exclusive IMO.
April 20, 2017
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It is certainly not a death spiral Nat - Amareshe, Morten Bilde and myself (and many others I'm sure) have some exciting and radical ideas that I am convinced will help bring the game to a younger audience. I wish to protect my ideas before I reveal them publicly. My experience in India recently has added to my conviction and optimism.
April 20, 2017
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It's a great app and getting better - Amareshe had to show me the solution to the first problem at the highest level (and I consider myself no slouch) - it was a one-suited squeeze hand.
April 20, 2017
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My dad taught me and my three siblings bridge. All four of us make a living out of bridge (my brothers a very good living indeed). Both parents now go on the bridge holidays my siblings offer and teach independently as well. All this because we were taught bridge and after a degree in Classics I knocked on the door of The London School of Bridge. As a profession it is deeply fulfilling. My job is to teach bridge in schools and to kids. I believe it is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child - to introduce them to the world's greatest sedentary game, while ensuring better brain development and quite possibly a longer lifespan.

Bah humbug!
April 20, 2017
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This thread is like gold dust for me - thank you. I've just added a comment on the article below. I explain a little what I am up to.

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/chess-philanthropist/
April 20, 2017
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Thanks John - great videos. It all helps. Where are you based? Will you be in Toronto in July?
April 20, 2017
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I'm working on this in other countries - I hope to be able to provide a universal method in due course. I'm also building up a list of success stories in other countries which will help convince those in charge of youth education.
April 20, 2017
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