ACES Bridge & Chess Club
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During the official 30 day mourning poeriod in 2017, an English polyglot decided to learn to recite and write the Thai national anthem in toto.

Did I succeed? Sceptics canwere able to come and challenge me to the ultimate test:  To see if I could write the anthem without any help - and without making a mistake. The challengers merely had 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.

Two years on, the challenge remains open. To show Thais that foreign guests are also keen to ensure the late King's tireless`work for children is never forgotten. 


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   


Chess corner
WHY CHESS and BRIDGE go together


Why these `mindsports' go hand in hand

Both were on the shortlist for inclusion in the next Olympic Games***. And, according to the pro-inclusion lobbyists, the requirements to succeed at either were similar: concentration, logical thought, mathematics ability, discipline, mental stamina etc.

The main difference is that chess is an individual game. No partner to blame in defeat at chess. There is at the bridge table!

It certainly seems to be true that those who play chess will learn the principles of playing bridge very quickly and vice versa.

Most chess players took up the game early in life. Usually at school. Whereas the majority of registered bridge players probably only took up the game when they approached or reached retirement age.

A similar phenomenon is noticeable with ball games. If someone is good at tennis, he would invariably also excel at squash and badminton and, probably,  snooker as well. That is down to brain and eye coordination I guess. 

The conclusion I drew from all the above facts and statistics was that, if I wanted to find young bridge champions, I should look for them in the nearest chess club. And that is what I did. At the school where I opened the bridge Academy. I took the pick of the most talented seven and eight year old chess players and asked if they wanted to try playing bridge. Many budding chess grandmasters took to the card game like ducks to water. And, they didn`t want to give up playing either bridge or chess. Which suggests both these mindgames are equally challenging and equally enjoyable. So why do senior citizens take up bridge but not chess? 

Come and give chess a try. Sessions at the club every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon.

Trevor 9/11/16   

***As explained on the BKK tour page, a big step has now been taken towards the inclusion of bridge in the 2024 Olympics. It is being included in the 2018 Asian Games which are organised by the IOC.

Why are most Grandmasters Russian


Russia`s chess grandmasters

Since moving to Thailand, I have formed the impression that more people worldwide play chess than bridge. Given that millions of people play bridge in almost 200 countries affiliated to the World Bridge Federation, that means there must be a phenomenal number of chess players on the planet.

Samui is not a particularly big island - perhaps 100,000 live here all year round - but the proportion of chess players is striking. Perhaps 3000 can play. Even the Thais. But all the best players seem to be Russian. In every age group. 

Take a look at the photos. 20 children playing chess at ISS. Mostly aged 5 to 9 years. 16 of them are Russian. At least 2 of the Russian 7 year olds are capable of beating what I would call the average adult European or transatlantic chess player. And they make their moves in record time. Which disproves what I previously thought: that Kasparov, Karpov, Spassky & co. were only world champions because they played more slowly and seriously to wear down the opposition. 

On balance, it probably isn`t in their genes. Watching them and playing against Russian children, it is not difficult to be impressed by their powers of concentration. Evident from the facial expressions in the pictures:

And they can play game after game without getting bored. As for their speed of play, perhaps their domestic lives means their brains are tuned to more logical thought than we English. Not sure.

One other interesting statistic I have stumbled across is that nearly every Russian youngster has a father and grandfather who played chess in a club. In other words, everyone was taught and encouraged to play chess in Russia.  

Perhaps then the sheer weight of numbers playing ensured that, statistically, Russia would inevitably produce more grandmasters. Or perhaps it is the fact that large numbers of players increases the numbers in competitions which raises the standards. Certainly that is the case at ISS.  

Will visitors to this page of the website please give me their opinion. Because when I am beaten by a 7 year old, I ask myself whether I could have played as well and as quickly as him at the same age. A rhetorical question because the answer has to be no. I want to know why.

T 14/11/16