Silicon Valley Youth Bridge

Summer Camp 2016


June 20-24.
Players who were not playing regularly in open duplicate games
26 campers aged 10 to 15
9 beginners
17 more experienced
21 tournament participants

22 volunteers

Silicon Valley Youth Bridge (SiVY Bridge) held its third bridge camp for young players June 20 through June 24. This year, campers included players aged 10 to 15 who have not played regularly in open duplicate games. The goal of the camp was to provide a casual and social atmosphere for introducing beginners to the game and offering more experienced players an opportunity to practice against their peers and learn new techniques.

The 26 campers were divided into three groups. Nine beginners, some of whom had never played any card games, learned basic bridge under the leadership of Elianna Meyerson. The other 17 campers worked with experienced mentors, under the direction of Randy Ryals, Cheryl Haines, and Frank Smoot. The campers were especially excited to work with mentors who were also SiVY youth players, including Kevin Huang, Michael Hu, and Isha Thapa.

By the end of the week, even the least experienced campers had learned the rules of the game and the procedures of duplicate well enough to keep up the pace in a 10-board tournament on Friday afternoon, attended by 21 of them. More experienced campers had been introduced to new strategies in both card play and bidding. For example, Victoria Stukalova learned a little bridge from her parents and her sister, who plays at Berkeley, and she hopes to continue bridge as a family activity. She commented that she had never really understood Blackwood before she learned about it at Camp. Campers were also introduced to takeout doubles, which were useful on several hands during the tournament, the Stayman convention, and Michaels cue bids. Cheryl Haines commented that she was impressed by how quickly some the campers absorbed and began to use the newly introduced conventions.

Some of this year’s campers were introduced to bridge at SiVY after-school classes, and many were encouraged to attend by family members who play bridge. Roger Fan was an exception. He said that his mother really wanted him to come. When asked if she plays bridge, Roger answered, “No, but she said I should come because ‘bridge is a thinking game.’”

The tournament concluded with pizza and cake for all the players and volunteers. When Cheryl Haines asked the campers if they thought they’d continue to play, they responded with an enthusiastic chorus of “yesses.” Many of them lingered even after they finished their food, poring over the hand records and asking their mentors how they could have done better on some of the hands.

Our Wonderful Volunteers

Bridge Camp, like all SiVY activities, was an all-volunteer effort. In addition to camp organizer Randy Ryals and the lead teachers (Cheryl Haines, Elianna Meyerson, Randy Ryals and Frank Smoot), eighteen other volunteers were involved, either as table mentors or in performing the many other jobs required for smooth operation. Camp would not have been possible without their efforts. Tthe volunteers, as a group, devoted over 300 hours to Camp—not including planning and preparation time.

Special thanks are due to Qing Lu, the mother of our youth mentor Michael Hu. The food she prepared was one of the highlights of Bridge Camp, for both campers and volunteers. Also special thanks to Unit 503 for allowing use of the bridge club for the Friday Tournament.

If you would like to contribute to SiVY's efforts to introduce young people to the challenge of bridge, consider joining us as Volunteer or making a tax deductible Donation.

The Best Birthday Ever

Charlie Narasin’s mother, a bridge player herself, said she has tried unsuccessfully to interest Charlie’s two older siblings in the game. She was happy that Charlie came home from camp every day talking about bridge, especially on Thursday, which was her birthday. She said, “It was the best birthday present I could have gotten, to hear him talk about the bridge hands he played. He really seems to be getting into it.”

Apparently he is—Charlie and his partner, Tiep Nguyen, finished first East-West in Strat A (for the more experienced players) in Friday’s tournament, with a 71% score. The North-South Strat A winners were Michael Song and Max Zhang. In Strat B, winners were Edward Han and Jamin Xie, North-South, and Roger Fan and Valerie MacIsaac, East-West. All received trophies, and several also earned their very first American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) masterpoints.