Silicon Valley Youth Bridge

2017 Firecracker Youth Day

Firecracker Sectional
Santa Clara Convention Center
June 29-July 2

Saturday July 1 was “Youth Day” at this year’s Firecracker Sectional. The tournament featured a special 0-5 point beginner pair game, in which many SiVY Youth competed. 19 of the 28 participants in the first session were youth players and 13 of the 16 players in the second session were kids. Record numbers of SiVY youth also played in the other Sectional events – a total of 55 youth entries were purchased in regular events that day. Across Newcomer and Other games, 48 youth (under 26 years old) played at 10:00 a.m. and 39 at 3:00 p.m.

The Newcomer Game provided a venue for our pizza party and summer camp players to try out their first tournament. Five of the players had attended summer camp the week before. Cameron King played in the 10 a.m. session having only just learned bridge for the first time at camp!

A particularly successful pairing were Thomas Cai and Taranee Cao, who met for the first time at Youth Day. Thomas, a UC Berkeley student, and Taranee, a Stanford student, set aside school rivalries to play two very successful sessions, earning the First Overall prize for the day.

JJ Eng, who originally learned to play bridge at Graham Middle School, didn’t know his plans until the last minute and decided to come anyway. Luckily, Jessie Cai, who is on vacation from China, also decided to come without a partner so the two paired up for the 10 a.m. game. Jessie, wanting to play again at 3:00 p.m., found an adult partner for the 99’er game and placed 2nd in her direction and 3rd overall in the event. Not knowing the English words for the cards didn’t affect her playing ability!

Between sessions youth from the 0-5 and the other games were invited to enjoy lunch outside under the trees. About 35 young players participated in the pizza party, some discussing hands and others just enjoying spending time with their friends. A special privilege was having Chris Compton, the World Champion and winner of the most masterpoints in the ACBL in 2016, join the players for conversation and hand analysis during the pizza party.

Throughout the tournament there was unprecedented youth representation. According to Nancy Boyd, Head Director, “the Firecracker Sectional had more than 40 tables of youth entries (under age 26) over the course of the five day tournament.  This is four times as many tables as were represented at the recent California Capital Regional (which, by-the-way, was seven days).”

Many of these sessions were no doubt logged by the 25 SiVY-sponsored players practicing for the Youth North American Bridge Championships (NABC) later in the month.