December 15, 2014: Students of Washoe County high schools and middle schools are meeting at the Grand Sierra Resort on December 27th to participate in their first intramural tournament of the season. The event is held each year as a part of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) Reno Regional Tournament sponsored by District 20 of the ACBL. In this Youth tournament, beginning students have the option of competing in a Mini-Bridge format or in a regular duplicate bridge format. In either case, those finishing high in the placement or rankings of the tournaments will be awarded as many as 30-50 RYBAP achievement points. At the close of the school year and after the completion of competition at the Year-End Open Pairs Tournament, the winner of the RYB-WCSD College Tuition Scholarship will be awarded to the individual accumulating the highest number of combined Silver RYBAP points (earned for skill) and Black RYBAP points (earned for effort). This year participation in the Mid-Winter Youth Tournament is expected to be higher than last year when high schools were first admitted to the Reno Youth Bridge program. The Tournament is free to all members and begins with registration at 9:00 to 9:45AM and the game will get underway at 10:00AM. At about 11:30AM, some treats will be distributed to quell appetites and both events will conclude at 1:30PM. From the playing room on the lower level students will serpentine to a smaller meeting room on the second floor for a light lunch of sandwiches or Pizza provided for by the ACBL Reno Unit. The award ceremony will take place during lunch and Students will be available for pick up no later than 2:30PM. The Directors of Reno Youth Bridge have determined that this tournament is open to youth bridge players from outside member clubs who are in the Reno Tahoe area during the Christmas – New Year’s vacation break. If 4 or 5 members of such a youth program would like come and play in a challenge team match, Dan Green, President of Reno Youth Bridge, Inc. has said the Directors of Reno Youth Bridge will be pleased to set up such an event. Parents are welcome to kibitz (watch at a table) and they are welcome to join the Students for lunch following the tournament subject only to student first come privileges.

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Three new members of RYB Board of Directors

August 15, 2014: Kathy Lane, President of Reno Youth Bridge, has announced the election of three new members, Mike Slattery, Don Parsons and Susan Powell, to serve on the Reno Youth Bridge Board of Directors for the next year. The appointments followed Bud Brewer’s retirement at the end of the entity’s fiscal year, July 30,2014. Mike Slattery and Don Parsons were also elected as Vice Presidents and Susan Powell as Vice President and Treasurer. The three new members will enrich the Board’s efforts to continue the growth and development of Reno Youth Bridge’s after school activity program for teaching Washoe County students to learn and play Bridge, the game that enhances academic achievement. Mike Slattery and Susan Powell joined Reno Youth Bridge as RYB Instructors during the 2013 fall and 2014 spring semesters serving at McQueen High School and Desert Heights Elementary School respectively. Don Parsons is an active and experienced player of Contract Bridge here in Reno. On August 11th WCSD starts a new school year and Reno Youth Bridge will be recruiting new students and faculty representatives for all the schools in the District. Over 300 students registered to become members of after school Bridge Clubs last year among 14 of the District’s High Schools, Middle Schools and Elementary Schools. Three District wide Intramural duplicate bridge tournaments were held at the Grand Sierra Resort, John Ascuagas Golden Nugget hotel and the Reno Bridge Center to determine the winner of a $1000 College Tuition Scholarship along with over $3000 worth of Gift Certificates awarded to the top 20 students in competition for Reno Youth Bridge Achievement Points during the school year.

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Wischer & Boge Win Year-end Pairs Championships

June 7, 2014:  Andrew Wischer and Meredith Boge played almost flawless bridge to score a monstrous 65% game in the Reno Youth Bridge-WCSD Pairs Championships today at the Reno Bridge Center.  Careful defensive play and declarer play helped the pair rise to the top of the field when the scores were in.  Twenty Six partnerships competed in the event which was the final RYB tournament of the year in which over three hundred students registered last Fall to become members of the RYB bridge teaching Program.  Andrew and Meredith are students at Galena High School where Julia McGrath is the Club’s Faculty Representative and Sally Hertz and Rich Scoggins are the RYB Instructors at the school.  This is Meredith’s first year learning and playing the game of Bridge as a member of the Glena Bridge Club.  Andrew is a three year veteran of the RYB program having been a member of the Shaw Middle School Team that won the 2012-2013 WCSD-RYB Team Game Championships and had their names engraved on the  Tournament’s prestigious Silver Cup Trophy.  A one year possession of the Silver Cup is awarded to the School whose team wins the Spring Team Game Championships in that year.  In second place in the Pairs event was the partnership of Brenna Spackman and Kat Kallas, both three year veterans of the RYB after school Bridge teaching programs and leaders in their respective Clubs.  Brenna is a member of AACT High School Bridge Club where Dan Green is the RYB Instructor and Kat, another rising player is a student member of the High Desert Montessori Charter School’s Bridge Club where Hope Davis is the Faculty Representative and Molly Rakestraw is the RYB Instructor.  High Desert was a member of the 2008 Pilot after school bridge class program initiated by RYB with cooperation from the Washoe County School District.

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Sarah MacHarg Charges into the Lead

May 23,2014: Deciding she just wanted it more, Sarah MacHarg has moved to the top of the rankings for the Reno Youth Bridge Achievement Plan competition.  Sarah, shown here with Shashank Addagarla, a good youth player in his own right, is a 3rd year student member of RYB and has become a fine youth player.  As a member of the Davidson Bridge Club, she has also led the team’s success in winning the RYB Silver Cup this last April.  Now working to earn RYBAP points( black for effort, silver for skill),  Sarah is showing that she is learning the nuances of the game. Sarah has been piling up those Silver points in recent weekend quizzes as well as placing high in tournament play at the Reno Bridge center.  Sarah played in the recent Non Life Masters tournament at the Reno Bridge club with Director Kathy Lane and she and Kathy scored a very nice 53% game to place 4th among 19 tables.  Way to go Sarah.  The Year-end Reno Youth Bridge Pairs Championship is scheduled for June 7th and although Sarah has not indicated which of her Club members she plans to partner with it is almost a certainty that she will be close to if not on top at the end of the tournament.

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Reno Youth Bridge Final Pairs Tournament

May 8, 2014: Kathy Lane has announced that the final tournament of this school year will be held January 7th at the Reno Bridge Center starting with registration at 9:30 AM and finishing at 2:30 PM following the Award Ceremony at which a luncheon will be served.  Completing their 6th year of teaching High School, Middle School and Elementary students how to play bridge, Reno Youth Bridge had over 300 students register this year  in 14 after school Bridge Clubs at Washoe County Schools.  The final tournament is to be the 2014 Pairs Championships and the victorious partnership will have their names engraved on the Year End Trophy shown here.  Also at stake of course is the final ranking of students in the Reno Youth Bridge Achievement Program which awards a $1000 College Scholarship to the student accumulating the highest number of RYB Achievement Points during the school year.  In addition over $3000 in gift certificates are earned by the top 20 ranked students in the RYBAP competition and two members of the participating school faculties who’s teams have either won the Spring Team Game Championship or set the record for the aggregate number of students who attended the Major tournaments sponsored by Reno Youth Bridge. The teachers win a $250 Gift certificate redeemable at one of Reno’s finest Department Stores.  Last year, the winners of the RYB Year End Pairs Championship were Matt Oakley and Shashank Addagarla of the Davidson Academy.  It is well known that learning and playing games like bridge do enhance the critical learning process and students who take up the game will have a social activity in which to participate for their lifetime.  Bridge Clubs in the  Washoe County School District are attracting more and more members as students begin to discover just what a wonderful game bridge is and how it makes you think, make inferences from opponents behavior and solve problems by doing some basic math that helps exercise the brain.  One of the Faculty Representatives speaking in a meeting of individuals and corporations that contribute financial support for the program described Bridge as “basketball for the Brain” and that is a good description of how the sport of bridge helps students accelerate in academic achievement.

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Bud Brewer to Retire

May 31,2014: It has been my sincere pleasure to have been associated with the members of the Board of Directors of Reno Youth Bridge, Inc. (RYB) for the past 6 years and to be a part of the teaching of Duplicate Contract Bridge to the Students of Washoe County School District. From 30 or so students in a 3 school pilot program back in 2008 annual student registration in after school RYB Bridge Clubs has grown to over 300 participating students in 14 high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools in the Reno Sparks area.

There is something special about sharing your knowledge and experience among young students who may or may not have some athletic skill which they can use to become part of a competitive endeavor, but that notwithstanding, they and many of their fellow students most of which otherwise would be excluded from organized sports due to limited physical skills, can learn and play the game of bridge thus becoming full participants in intramural competition. You know the youngsters I am talking about, they are found in the stands watching and cheering for their school’s basketball or football teams at various sports venues. But learning Bridge gives them the opportunity to put their minds at work and to be able to go down on the “playing field” so to speak and take a seat at a different venue, the bridge table, and compete head to head against teams of other schools in the District and that is fun!

On top of all that, studies have shown that learning and playing bridge enhances academic achievement, especially in math subjects, inferential analysis, basic problem solving and other creative thinking. I have watched students who were in the 6th grade when we began teaching and are now in high school. They have begun to develop the thinking process that enables them to communicate effectively with partner in a code like language we call “Bridge Speak”, a group of 15 numerals, words or combination thereof and make reasonable conclusions about the contracts that should be reached and then be successful in the play of the hand to win. This is a long way from “Whist”, an early form of Bridge taught to our beginners, yet it is just the start of a lifetime of enjoyment exercising the brain and interacting cognitively with people from all over the world.

I have been privileged to work with some very dedicated and smart people who have contributed greatly to the success of Reno Youth Bridge, Inc. Our President Kathy Lane, a professional bridge teacher and Tournament Director who always kept us on the right course and expressed a positive attitude toward even the least promising students we were trying to teach; Molly Rakestraw, our Corporate Secretary and also a professional bridge teacher, always had constructive ideas for how to motivate learning; Dan Green the indefatigable bridge expert who teaches students at multiple school bridge clubs as well as online at the teaching table or at tables with national as well as international experts; David Weinberg, author of our RYB “Bridge Notes” text and syllabus and an IT expert who manages the data files needed for administration of the program; and John Barber, a retired business executive and all-around expert on human behavior whose perspective on how to do certain business functions was of great help to me in my role as Treasurer and Administrative Managing Director. I feel very comfortable saying that I believe Reno Youth Bridge, Inc. will flourish under the leadership and administration by this group of very hard working Board Members who contribute their time and energy to the success of Reno Youth Bridge, Inc.

It is with heavy heart but satisfying spirit that I say goodbye to my association with Reno Youth Bridge, Inc. and the students and teachers of Washoe County School System and prepare along with my wife for our departure from the Reno Community to rejoin our family in Southern California. I invite all those wonderful youth who have been members of RYB, their parents and their faculty members associated with our Youth program to look for me “BREW775” on (BBO) and maybe we could play a few hands from time to time. Until then, good Luck and may all your slams be “Grand”.

Bud Brewer

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