We didn`t go to break records. We nearly didn`t get there either(*). But the children love their bridge. They simply didn`t want to stop playing.
They went at the invitation of the Thai Bridge Federation. Eight intrepid Samui youngsters invited to start their bridge careers playing at Thailand`s top two clubs on successive days before participating in a two day National Teams event.
The Home Page announced the world age records set by the younger Samui team of four Thai girls. But we must not overlook the fact that the elder team of Samui youngsters shattered another bridge world record. And this one beats any records set by adults. Congratulations to Sonny, Sasha, Teddy and Norma.
Of the four, Norma can claim to be the youngest player to hold this endurance record for mental stamina and concentration. She had only just turned 11 at the time. What makes her achievement even more remarkable is that the young lady had never played in any club tournament before. Not to mention the fact that she had to play 88 of those boards behind the screens used nowadays for national competitions..
Here is the timetable of events and diary of the Tour in photos:
Dateline Thursday 6 October 2016. Photocall with Khunying Chodchoy Sophonpanich at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club prior to the start of the evening monthly Teams tournament starting at 7PM. 24 hands played by all 80 participants. The clock above the RSC entrance confirms the time the two Samui Teams left the club: 22h35.
Friday 7th. Less than 12 hours later at precisely 0930, they are all ready for the start of the weekly open pairs competition at the Bangkok Royal Polo Club. Once again 80 participants and 24 boards.
Saturday 8th. Competing against another 19 Teams in the National Youth Teams competition for the HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Cup. 6 rounds of 8 boards finishing at 7PM.
Sunday 9th. Starting at 10AM, the eight Samui stars complete the playing of yet another 40 boards in the Teams Consolation tournament. All over at 5PM.
136 boards played under intense pressure in 70 hours. To put their achievement in perspective, even the top players on the planet competing on three successive days for the Bermuda Bowl at the World Championships next year in France will not be able to play more than 90 boards in 72 hours.
Breaking so many records at such an early age begs this question: What Trophies and Championships will the Samui squad collect in the not too distant future! A lot, for sure.
Next stop FRANCE - SPONSOR REQUIRED
(*) I mentioned they weren`t allowed to rest. That was because the airline with the quasi monopoly on flights from Samui decided in their wisdom to inflate the agreed price of their fares by 30% at the last minute. A nasty surprise which forced the reserve players to opt out. A huge disappointment for everyone. We were so close to cancelling the whole trip at that point. Profiteering from these young ambassadors for Samui must never be allowed to happen again.
They have now been invited to France by the French Bridge Federation. To play as a side event during the senior World Bridge Championship in Lyon next August. Yes, they will be demonstrating their skills in front of journalists and TV cameras from around the globe.
Same place, same time as the World`s top bridge players are competing for the famous Bermuda Bowl.
Mail Trevor on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in sponsoring the trip.
LESSONS for GRANDAD
You should follow the Thai GRAND kiddies example!
PLAY with a SMILE.
Thailand is, after all, the land of smiles. Their joie de vivre (love of life) is evident even when the youngsters play bridge. Compare that with the stressed expressions on the faces of Europeans. Seeing them grimace as they ponder over which bid to make and which card to play, I often wonder whether it is conceivable they could ever enjoy the game
It is in their culture for Thais to laugh off partner`s errors. All too often, non thais scold and threaten their friends! Sometimes alienating them so much they become EX friends.
Bridge is not an individual sport. The Academy`s young Thais readily work together. They happily play with one another and have learnt to help and encourage each other. Avoiding critical comments at all costs.
DISCIPLINE & CONCENTRATION.
Both at the bidding stage and in observance of the rules of play, Thai bridge pupils are taught never to interrupt partner`s or opponent`s concentration, Compare that to the many not-so-young foreigners who never stop talking. Even during the bidding and playing of the cards..
In defeat be magnanimous. Do we ever hear adults congratulate their opponents when they have been beaten by skilful players?
In all sport we can often learn from the examples set by the youngsters? True or not quite true? Mail us your comments.