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DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

It was certainly a very happy birthday yesterday for Valentina.

Despite her physical handicap, she made it to my party to celebrate her own big day. By her own admission she is a crazy Rumanian lady.

I can certainly go along with that self assessment after partnering her at the club the past two weeks. 

But, with equal certainty, I can say that she is a very good bridge player.

Trevor 1838 on 22/7/21

Your QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Online or Face to Face. Where does bridge go from here?

How can we play competitive F2F bridge NOW?

Will bridge clubs survive?

Will table fees increase when clubs reopen?

When will “clinically vulnerable players” be able to safely return to the bridge table?

In the perceived absence of any sensible and useful guidance from bridge administrators, I endeavour to reassure players via my diagnoses and prescriptiona for resolving common concerns. You can read my analyses on the “Keep Bridge Alive” page.

Trevor 22h40 on 10/1/21

Update 23/2/21.
Update 23/2/21.

The ACES mobile club - and especially the bridge school - is now in full swing. Last week it was the French connection when Irish and English were invited to join Thierry at his home in Santa Cruz. Yesterday it was the turn of our friends in Palmmar. This time it was Gaby and Juergen from Hamburg honouring us with their presence.

Trevor 15h00 23/2/21

DINNER DATES in Tenerife

Life goes on at ACES with the ever popular Bridge (or Rummikub) sessions with dinner. For 4 persons only, they are afternoon games played outdoors starting at 3pm. Dinner is likewise served on the terrace. Charge inclusive of table fee plus 3 course dinner with drinks is E12 p.p.

Here are the home-made menus available:

Menu 1

Cream of spinach soup

Duck in orange sauce

Lemon or Chocolate Cheesecake

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Menu 2

Tuna, mushroom, leek and red pepper tart

Roast chicken with three veg

Mixed fruit crumble

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Menu 3

Cheese tart

Tagliatelli puttanesca

Kiwi tart 

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Menu 4

Leek and potato soup with stilton

Steak and kidney pie with 3 veg

Fruit salad

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Menu 5

Melon and cured Iberian ham

Salmon and potato bake

Lemon tart

Menu 6

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Fish soup

Albondigas in tomato sauce

Apple pie and ice cream

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Dinner dates can be enjoyed as much by beginners as by experienced players in search of competitive bridge. 

You will need to provide evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that you are not a carrier of the virus. To protect the existing members of the “ACES bubble” of which several are, like me, categorised as “clinically extremely vulnerable”. That assessment will be subjective and based on my experience over several decades of working with severely ill cystic fibrosis sufferers. They necessarily had to avoid close contact at all costs with anybody suffering from even the most innocuous of viruses (such as the common cold) which could prove fatal to CF sufferers. 

Trevor 00h05 on 20/7/21

Los GIGANTES, Tenerife
Los GIGANTES, Tenerife

An ACES bridge star finds serenity at the foot of the giant cliffs from which this coastal resort gets its name

TMW 12/2/21.

Intergenerational (IG) concept
The very young have the distinct advantage of actually being able to see their partners
The very young have the distinct advantage of actually being able to see their partners
World Bridge Federation (Asia Pacific) Zone President with the under 16`s
World Bridge Federation (Asia Pacific) Zone President with the under 16`s
The STORY SO FAR

The World Bridge federation (WBF) is sponsoring a project at Stirling University where an Intergenerational  Bridge Club has just been set up. In simple terms, it is a club where youngsters and the not-so-young learn and play the game together. The WBF website article announcing the project starts off:

"The University Bridge Club has been set up as part of a series of research projects into the health and well-being benefits of playing the card game”

And it finishes thus:

“This collaborative research project will look at what drives people to take up bridge and keep playing throughout their lives. It will also explore the role a hobby can play in friendships and personal communities, as well as how it creates a sense of belonging and collective identity within and across generations”.

Whilst I welcome this initiative by the WBF, the remit of the University means that the researchers will not be able to address the sensitive subject of why the game is haemorrhaging players.

Through the new ACES club and this website, we will be doing our best to promote the aims of the Stirling project. But we will also address the problems of intergenerational bridge where the players` ages, circumstances and expectations are so different. As a good example, I will take this opportunity to touch on one intergenerational problem right now. A problem for which the senior players must take the blame, but for which the juniors are paying the price  

CHEATING 

The "C" word is one that has been largely taboo in the publications emanating from the WBF and National Associations. This is despite the ever increasing high profile worldwide cheating scandals. In trying now to promote the merits of intergenerational bridge without also researching and dealing with the cheats more effectively, I fear they might run up against a brick wall at Stirling, The pictures top and bottom of this page show one of the reasons why:

 

young children TRYING o enjoy themselves playing bridge

behind hideous screens 

 

Inevitably, on arrival at that venue, the 8 and 10 year old pair (pictured top left) asked why all competitors were expected to play 6 hours of bridge (48 boards) in one day behind screens. No teacher can explain the inexplicable. All one can say in avoiding the C word, is to joke that they were lucky to be so short that they could at least see each other. But that response will not be sufficient for intelligent youngsters and their parents who can work out the stark truth for themselves. And who wiill then inevitably ask themselves the question as to whether they want to participate in a sport where cheating must be so rife that it requires such absurd measures to be applied. 

Happily on this occasion, the President of the Asia Pacific Zone of the WBF, Esther Sophonpanich, made a lovely gesture by inviting us all to lunch. That memorable occasion for the girls helped banish all thoughts of our teams of world record holders giving up bridge. But, sadly, I did lose a dozen other bridge students (including adults} because of the adverse publicity those screens created back at the schools and the club.

Unfortunately, screens are increasingly becoming the norm for all generations. Not just the top players but thousands of ordinary club players who are required to play behind screens if they advance beyond the preliminary round in national competitions. Often against their friends from other local clubs - and even if it is a competition for relative beginners. i.e. for people who wouldn`t know how to cheat.

Hardly surprising that newcomers to the game then immediately decide to give up playing competitive bridge altogether. Citing the obvious reasons: Playing behind screens is both impersonal and stressful for the older generations. Clearly an anti cheating measure that has now gone too far. It is totally out of proportion to the problem. 

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Thankfully all is not doom and gloom in the bridge world. Far from it. Asia has shown us that intergenerational bridge is the way forward.

As the bubbly little Thai lady (top picture) announced to her Mum shortly after taking up the game at 7 years 

 

”Playing bridge is such fun” 

 

With youngsters playing, the enthusiasm is infectious. Bridge will always therefore be fun for the not-so-young players around them 

We must all work together to try and keep it that way

 

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STOP PRESS
STOP PRESS

Anyone who has read thus far, will probably be wondering what I am thinking in the wake of the latest bridge scandal that hit the headlines over the weekend. A question I will not shy away from. Especially when it relates to a problem that I do not want swept under the carpet. Cheating. 

My philosophy has always been that good news comes out of bad news. The bad news in this particular case is that one of the World`s "top" players has just been banned for a year. In reality he was not a top player at all. No surprise whatsoever for me that it has happened yet again. It will inevitably happen again and again. Whatever anti-cheating measures are introduced. As in all sports nowadays.

It is obvious that I knew this would happen again. Otherwise I would not have put the above article on the site a month before this story broke.  So what? For me it doesn`t matter. If the cheats want to carry on cheating, let them play their own tournaments. Cheat v cheat. They wouldn`t enjoy that very much. Too stressful for them.

Meanwhile us mere mortals can get on with doing what we enjoy most: Playing bridge together with people who all share our love for the game. Bridge will always be magical for us.

The good news is that we have reason to remain optimistic about the future of bridge because, paradoxically, there is no such thing as bad publicity. I helped prove that theory in the wake of the infamous raid on the Pattaya bridge club in Thailand four years ago. In fairness to the Thai authorities, if the truth about that affair were fully known, the Thais would come out smiling and the expats who were briefly incarcerated would admit they only had themselves to blame. 

But culpability is irrelevant four years on. What is relevant now is that the huge amount of adverse publicity given to the affair meant that 70 million Thais heard about bridge for the first time. And it also led to the Thai Bridge Federation being even more determined to prove their critics wrong. With spectacular success. Thai boys and girls are now being taught the game in schools all over the kingdom from the age of SEVEN. If you doubt my words, above is a picture of the school teams from Chiang Rai in the extreme north of Thailand. They are pictured with three girls aged 8, 10 and 11 who live one thousand five hundred kilometres away on an island in the South of the country. All gathered together for a fortnight of bridge competitons in the national championdhip. Which a Chiang Rai team won.

If the name Chiang Rai rings a bell, it is because that is where the cave boys all came from. The ones who were so dramatically rescued in 2018. With all the bridge world watching. And they came out smiling. There is a very good chance therefore that, as I write this article, those boy heroes are playing bridge with the group of champions pictured above. 

Out of respect for the courage and determination those boys showed in the face of adversity, let`s not spoil their fun by talking any more about one disgraced cheat, 

Enough said. 

Trevor

4/3/19

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

 

In fairness to the WBF, let me quote the opening comment on the YOUTH development of their website:

"The World Bridge Federation is committed to the promotion of Youth Bridge, which we strongly believe represents the future of our wonderful sport"

 

I appreciate that they and the other NBO`s have made phenomenal progress in recent years in pursuit of those aims. With the FFB leading the way through a youth programme which has resulted in there being over

100,000 registered bridge players as young as nine years of age in French schools.

For that, we congratulate them. But there is always room for improvement:

"The task of the WBF Youth and Sub-Committees is to analyze the youth worldwide situation &

to propose to the WBF Executive Council improvements and future strategies in order to develop Bridge"

In providing the input for their continuing debate,

I make no excuses for being the spokesperson for the kids!!!  

Trevor. 1st February 2019

Updated 18th March

Down to business for the youngsters
Down to business for the youngsters
CHEERS! Mum, a dad, coach, a President & five cute world champions
CHEERS! Mum, a dad, coach, a President & five cute world champions