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FRANCE 2017

Next stop FRANCE

World Schools Championships

Fifteen Samui youngsters currently aged 7 to 13 have been officially invited by the French Bridge Federation to participate in this event. To demonstrate their skills in front of journalists and TV cameras from around the globe. Same place & same time as the World`s top bridge players compete for the famous      
Bermuda Bowl   

 

Trevor`s CHALLENGE

During the official 30 day mourning poeriod, an English polyglot decided to learn to recite and write the Thai national anthem in toto.

Did I succeed? Sceptics can come and challenge me to the ultimate test:  To see if I can write the anthem without any help - and without making a mistake. The challengers merely have to pledge a donation to one of HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha`s charitable foundations. She is King Bhumibol`s eldest grandchild and the lady who sponsored the bridge Cup competition in October that made the achievements of my Samui bridge pupils possible.

The challenge is open for the unofficial one year period of mourning. To show Thais that foreign guests are also keen to ensure the late King's tireless`work for children is not forgotten. 

 
FRANCE 2017
Ready for Lyon - Samui team + supporters bound for France
Ready for Lyon - Samui team + supporters bound for France

A group of Samui children - including three 8 year olds and four 9 year olds - will indeed be going to Lyon, France, at the invitation of the FFB. Representing Thailand in the

1st WORLD SCHOOLS BRIDGE CHAMPIONSHIPS.

300 youngsters (born on or after 1/1/04) will compete in a pairs competition over the weekend 19/20 August 2017.

This wonderful intitiative by the FFB (French Bridge Federation) to promote bridge to a younger audience worldwide is a great opportunity for me - and those holding similar views on the integration of young children into the adult bridge world - to at last get our messages across. 

But to avoid missing out on this golden opportunity I need help and support. To keep the momentum going before, during and after those Championships. So do the FFB and the WBF for that matter. Especially now that the International Olympic Committee have sanctioned bridge for inclusion in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Another momentous opportunity therefore also beckons next year. Check this site end April for ways you can help. In the meantime, please update me on what is happening (or not happening) in your country to encourage the youngsters to take up the game.  

I will endeavour over the next month to publish full details of the French trip. Including photos and CV's of the Samui stars who will hopefully shine in Lyon. 

I am also planning a few articles reflecting my views on what needs to be done to change the widely held perception of  bridge as a club game for old fuddy duddies. Radical changes in thinking are essential. And urgent. I will not mince matters in taking the line of national bridge federations who, like me, are desperate for ultra conservative club committees to change their attitudes: To encourage, welcome and support the youngsters instead of shutting the door in their face. Just like many of the openly hostile foreigners tried to do at my own club here in Thailand.

Fortunately the hierarchy at Thai Federation HQ gave me their full support and encouragement. Children as young as 7 are now being taught by excellent Thai coaches in schools nationwide. For their foresight, Thailand deserves most of the credit if bridge indeed proves a success at the Asian Games and becomes a full Olympic sport in 2024. By which time, those Thai schoolchildren should be highly experienced players. And probably able to compete with their much older peers on the ultimate world sporting stage! 

Trevor 2/4/17

Chumphon - Thailand under 16 National Championships, March 2017
Chumphon - Thailand under 16 National Championships, March 2017

After Bangkok, CHUMPHON was the latest venue for four of the more "experienced" players to demonstrate their skills. This time in the under 16 category at the Thailand National Championships.
 
Their first match was a team event against one of the favourites, Bangkok. But the Samui quartet battled to draw the match 28/28. On the final day, the same four of Sonny (13), Kafield (8), Pin (11) plus sister Pear (10) secured outstanding 12th and 13th placings in the pairs competitions against players aged mostly 14 and 15.

The achievements of the Academy players are becoming so well known nationwide that the entire Chiang Rai school group and their coach  - complete with trophy for the winning pair at Chumphon - followed our players back from Chumphon to Samui. To visit the school to see how we do it. Suitably impressed by what they saw, it is almost certain that exciting and attractive home and away interschool bridge matches against teams from all corners of Thailand will soon be on the curriculum. 

Next stop for the players is the SCHOOLS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in August.  In France, a more level playing field awaits: The opposition will all be under 14. That's the good news boys and girls. The not-so-good-news is that the majority of your young opponents are French who will play to a very high standard. I know because I used to teach bridge in French schools! 

The stakes will be high at the World Championships. Living on an island a long way from Bangkok where they must all go in person twice (to obtain exênsive visas and then to catch the flight), the parents need help to finance their trip. Especially the five families with set of siblings representing Thailand. If anyone might be able to help towards the costs or even 

SPONSOR

individual players or the entire team on their French adventure and during their training, please let us know: onbesbinlira@gmail.com