For more than a century, bridge was an elite sport played only by the aristocracy. Children were not allowed in clubs. That image is changing rapidly. Thailand is the perfect example. Introduced by the King of Thailand over 100 years ago after he had learned the game studying at Cambridge University, it remained a sport played by the rich and famous until well into the 21st century. When I first went to Thailand in 2013, children aged 13 and above had started to be encouraged to learn to play. Now, in 2023, children as young as seven years are learning to play as part of the curriculum at schools all over the country. Irrespective of their families status or financial means.
I was at the heart of that project coaching youngsters from Chang Mai and Chang Rai in the far north to Chumphon, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Koh Samui in the South. Like everyone at Thai Federation HQ, we were determined that every child should be able to learn the game FREE of CHARGE.
Having helped revolutionize the image of the game in Asia, I have taken on the challenge of preparing a SPANISH under 16 TEAM for the 2025 European Youth Championships. A relatively straightforward task compared with the logistical and language problems faced in Thailand. However, to achieve that objective and produce a competitive team within an 18 month time scale requires sponsorship if we are to offer the opportunity to every child.
The Canary Islands has the largest concentration of Spanish bridge players. With plenty of help available from competent local players, the training school is being based in Tenerife where I have been resident the past five years.
Next month, a TEN year old boy is coming from mainland Spain to play for the first time in a major bridge tournament organised by the AEB. I like to think that, in future, all families willing to take their talented young children to major events should receive financial assistance with the cost of accmmodation and travel.
Whilst the costs of helping to bring youngsters to the islands may be significant, the rewards for attaining our objective of competing at the high profile euros in 2025 are sky high. Not just for the boost it will give to the Spanish Bridge Association's Impulsa programme, but for sponsors as well. For more details, potential sponsors should contact me by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trevor 08h00 20/11/23
Junior BRIDGE RYDER CUP
EUROPE v CHINA
Inaugural tournament for youngsters aged 9 to 16
This will be held in either October or December 2024 as part of a joint venture with
ARONA CHESS CLUB
who will be inviting the best players from around the chess world - including teams from India and Chna who participated in the clubs inaugural international chess tournament.