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Encouraging youth bridge

David Davenport was a leading light of the Portland Club for several decades, before his death in 2013. He left a sizeable sum to promote bridge for the young. Simon Stocken of the David Davenport Trust is doing his best to nurture young bridge talent. He has created a super website to co-ordinate all the activities of the trust:

Do take a look and get in touch with Stocken. Bridge is certainly flourishing among those later in life, which is fantastic. However, arguably fewer young people are starting, with family bridge largely replaced by screens and social media. To get to expert level, you really need to start early; tournament bridge is suffering for the lack of new players.

I do sense a positive change — as it becomes clearer and clearer just how many benefits there are to teaching children bridge. There are some fabulous initiatives such as in Scotland, where three Highland schools schedule minibridge within the curriculum. Why don’t you seize the moment and start teaching some children, whether formally or informally? You don’t need to be an expert — far from it. In fact, to be an expert can be a handicap.

As Stocken wisely says of teaching children: “The key ingredient is simplicity. If you over-complicate, then that perception will overshadow your bridge from lesson one onwards.” Frankly, I think you could say the same for teaching any age range, indeed teaching anything at all, not just bridge.

South Deals
N-S Vul
K J 4
K J 10 7 2
Q 5 4 3
10 8 6 2
A Q 4
K J 10 8 6
W   E
Q 9 5 4 3
7 6
9 8 6 5 3
A J 7
A Q 10 9 8 5 3
A 7 2
West North East South
Dbl1 2  4 2 5 
Pass 6 3 All pass  
  1. Skimpy but shape-suitable.
  2. I like it. East has little defence to an opposing game, so makes an advance sacrifice.
  3. East-West’s clever barrage has robbed North of the chance to use Blackwood (4 NT) to ask for aces. He guesses to bid on to Six; partner has bid vulnerable to the Five-level on a suit missing two pictures, so probably has a pretty good hand elsewhere.

Today’s featured deal is a slam from the Surrey Schools Cup, bid and made by Joe Benton and Max Fleming from St Paul’s School.

Declarer won West’s spade lead in dummy and ruffed a diamond. He crossed to the jack of hearts and ruffed a second diamond (noting West’s queen). He crossed to the king of hearts and ruffed a third diamond, bringing down West’s ace.

Declarer ruffed his jack of spades with dummy’s last heart and cashed the promoted king-jack of diamonds, discarding the two low clubs. Thirteen tricks and slam made plus one.

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