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!