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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Cassi Ramage from Galena vaults into the RYBAP Lead

March 28, 2014: By taking the  weekend quiz every week and playing online with a Director, Cassie Ramage has shown her heels to other students in the top 20 rankings for the RYBAP college scholarship this week.  Not very far behind we find Sarah MacHarg, Arsh Bhardwaj , Kathryn Swezey and Giovanney Zuniga all within a good effort on the Weekend quiz or a couple of sessions online with Directors Dan Green or Bud Brewer that could get them into the lead.  Playing with teachers or a RYB Director online is probably the best way to gain Black points and you get some specific advice on how to bid better and play your hand better too.  For those that take the weekend quiz however, they have an extra benefit available and that is the earning of silver points for each correct answer.  Other than rankings in the two remaining tournaments, the Team Game, April 26th and the Year end Pairs Championships June 7th, taking the weekend quiz is the principal source of Silver points.  While over $4000 in Scholarship and gift certificates will be awarded to the top twenty finishers in the RYBAP race, a special award is being developed for the student who accumulates the highest number of Silver Points.  This will be something very highly sought after when announced before the April Team Game Championships are played. To see all twenty positions click on RYBAP top 20 Standing in the menu above.

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RYBAP Race tightens up

March 7, 2014: Giovanney Zuniga and Erwin Walsh of AACT High School have made a big move in the race for accumulating RYBAP points this past month as they are going online and playing regularly with Dan Green, a RYB Director. For each 12 hands played online with a Director or a Teacher, (Dan is both a Director and a Teacher); the student earns 5 RYBAP points. Playing once or twice online each week these students not only get a lesson but earn 5-10 RYBAP points each week. To continue to stay close or even move forward, other students are going to have to devote an hour or two each weekend or on holidays to invite a Director to play with them and or take the weekend quiz and at the same time being consistent in their attendance at Club meetings or request a session on the Learning Table (worth 5 Points). All the students in the top 50-75 positions have a good chance to rise in the standings in the next month as they work and practice with Directors or Teachers and then rank high in the April 26th Team Game Championships. Consistency and effort are worth 1-5 points a week but frequent play on BBO online can result in many points accumulated fast. All this practice makes it even more likely that big chunks of points from high rankings at the Team Game and Year end tournaments will be won and they can cinch moving up the ladder fast.

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Some Students figured it out

February 6, 2014: Some students in the Reno Youth Bridge Teaching program have figured out how to rise to the top 20 positions in the RYBAP race to receive the 2013-2014 College Scholarship that RYB awards to the Bridge Club Member who accumulates the most RYBAP Points during the school year.  It really is simple.  All you have to do is to take the weekend quiz and or play on the Saturday Teaching table each week and maybe go online to and play 12 hands with your instructor or a RYB Director and their total accumulated points begin to skyrocket.  These students have discovered that each 60-90 minutes on BBO playing at least 12 hands with their Instructor or a Director earns them 5-20 times the points awarded for attendance at each Club meeting.  They also are taking advantage of the potential for up to 15 points, 5 of which are silver by joining the Saturday teaching Table and taking the weekend Quiz.  Earning 5 to 25 points some silver are all available each week for a couple or three hours playing and learning Bridge. Several students have made it a point to take the weekend quiz each week and are now among the top ten of the group that will receive gift certificates or College Scholarship valued at over 3000 at year end.

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