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 Bridgebase.com (BBO) and maybe we could play a few hands from time to time. Until then, good Luck and may all your slams be “Grand”.
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.Learn More
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.Learn More
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 www.BridgeBase.com 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.Learn More
Reno Youth Bridge Mini-Bridge Mid Winter Championships
December 28th, 2013: Smit Shah and Yash Shah of Sparks High School, sitting North South, won the over-all high score in the Reno Youth Bridge mini-Bridge Championship Pairs division with a very nice 62.87% game and received 2.26 Regional Red Points. Kathryn Swezey and Cassie Ramage from Galena High School won the East West Section of the Championships and were second overall earning 1.70 Regional Red Points.
Smit and Yash Shah are experienced Mini-Bridge players having the benefit of being members of the Sparks Middle School Bridge Club for the past two years, but playing in their first competitive event, Cassie Ramage and Kathryn Swezey managed to slip ahead of Chris Lin and Jimmy Cheng of McQueen High School who also were playing in their first competitive event finishing with a score of at 56.64% and earning 1.27 Regional Red Points. In Fourth place overall were Johnathan Canfield of Depoali Middle School and Kolton Kallas of High Desert Montessori Charter school, both earning .95 Regional Red Points. In Fifth Place overall was the partnership of Ryan Brown and Milan Menta from McQueen High School earning .72 Regional Red Points. Others finishing well up in their section rankings were Clayton John and Wyatt Lorenszen of Hillside Elementary, Alex Magdaleno and Branden Heredia-Nunez of Sparks Middle School and Austin Lee and Samantha Palacios of McQueen High School.
This Mid-Winter event was the first opportunity for Washoe County School District High School Bridge Clubs to participate in an intramural Regional Duplicate Bridge Tournament and gain the experience ever so important to being able to be competitive in this game. The Sparks High School Bridge Club members and AACT Club Members are taught by RYB Instructor Dan Green and the Galena High School Bridge club members are taught by RYB Instructors Rich Scoggin and Sally Hertz. Mike Slattery is the RYB instructor for McQueen High School
Reno Youth Bridge Duplicate Mid-Winter Pairs Championship
Concurrently with the Mini Bridge Pairs Championship was a regular contract bridge tournament for returning Reno Youth Bridge Club members who had experience in the second level of bridge, that of bidding. The regular bridge tournament was a seven table event in which the twosome of Sarah MacHarg and Sashank Addagarla of the Davidson Academy cruised to a huge score of 71.75% and winning 6.07 Regional Red Points. Sarah and Shashank have been the beneficiaries of intensive online practice and learning with their instructor David Weinberg. In second place with very respectable score of 59.91% earning them 4.55 Regional Red Points was the partnership of Domonique Calvillo and Merideth Boge, from Galena High School. In Third place over all were Giovanney Zuniga and Erin Walsh of AACT High School with a 57.5% game receiving 3.41 Regional Red points. 4th and 5th place overall went to Ash Bhardwaj and Preet Shah, 2.51 Regional Red Points and Hayden Davis of Depoali Middle School and Emma Miller of McQueen High School, 1.92 Regional Red Points.
Reno Youth Bridge provided a light lunch for all the participants, their parents and the Faculty Representatives and RYB Instructors after which, Bud Brewer, Administrative Director of RYB, presented the Mid-Winter Trophies to the winners. The tournament could not be held without the help and participation of the Faculty Representatives for each school bridge Club and all the volunteer bridge enthusiasts who make this tournament a success. The Mid-Winter Tournament is the first of three Major Tournaments sponsored by Reno Youth Bridge, Inc. The next tournament will be the 2013-2014 Bridge Team Championships on Aril 26th at which each school will organize one or more four man teams to play in competition to win the one year possession of the RYB Silver Cup for their School Trophy Case.
During the Tournament, Billy Miller, a popular bridge columnist in the ACBL Monthly Bridge Bulletin (and member of the winning Knock Out team on Friday of this week) informed Bud Brewer that he wanted to donate the amount of $150.00 to be used to buy an ACBL Youth Membership for ten of the Reno Youth Bridge Club Members. Joining him in also making a gift of $75.00 to RYB for an additional five Memberships was Roger McNay of Portland Oregon. Bryan Russell, the Reno Regional Head Director asked Bud if he could have an extra-large Reno Youth Bridge Game polo shirt to wear during the remaining days of the Reno Regional and at the next Regional for which he will be the Head Director. The support of this kind from people outside our area is very much appreciated.
Saturday Morn Reno Mini – 9.0 Tables
MPs Rank Names Score
2.26 1 Smit Shah – Yash Shah, 62.87%
1.70 2 Kathryn Swezey – Cassie Ramage, 59.78%
1.27 3 Chris Lin – Jimmy Cheng, 56.64%
0.95 4 Jonathan Canfield – Kolton Kallas, 56.40%
0.72 5 Ryan Brown – Milan Menta, 56.06%
Saturday Morn Reno Youth – 7.0 Tables / Based on 16 Tables
MPs Rank Names Score
6.07 1 Sarah MacHarg – Shashank Addagarla, 71.75%
4.55 2 Dominique Calvillo – Merideth Boge, 59.91%
3.41 3 Gio Zuniga – Erin Walsh, 57.50%
2.56 4 Arsh Bhardwaj – Preet Shah, 49.52%
1.92 5 Hayden Davis – Emma Miller, 48.25%
The Race to win RYB College Scholarship
December 31, 2013: Dominique Calvillo made a strong move to catch Arsh Bhandwaj, of Sparks Middle School in the race for the lead in the RYBAP Achievement Program. Although Dom received a bundle of points for his finish in the Mid-Winter tournament, by consistent club meeting attendance, making sure to participate in each weekend quiz during the Fall Semester, placing 3rd in his section, Arsh held on to a 10 1/2 point lead by placing 5th overall in the Mid-Winter. The RYBAP Achievement Plan awards a $1000 college or Trade School Tuition Scholarship to the student who accumulates the highest number of RYBAP achievement points of which a certain minimum number must be Silver Points. Also moving up as a result of winning the East West Section of the Mini-Bridge Pairs contest were Cassie Ramage and Kathryn Swezey thus enabling them to reach 3rd and 4th place respectively. They made this big jump in part by consistent attendance at Club meetings and taking week end quizzes as well as winning their section in the Mini Bridge Tournament. The race after that tightens up with Smit and Yash Shah moving up sharply due to their win in the Mini-Pairs event. Further gains are going to be available for those attending the weekend teaching table and playing online with one of the teachers or directors. The next big change probably will take place right after the Spring Team Game results get figured in.
While early in the competition which runs until June of 2014, Arsh and Dom are letting it be known that they want to earn that scholarship. The award is still well within the reach of any registered member of Reno Youth Bridge at this time however as many RYBAP points are available ahead to those students who make it a point to participate in each Club meeting, each Major Tournaments, play on the Saturday Morning Teaching Table and take the weekend quiz. All it takes is a little effort to learn the basics of the game of bridge and use every opportunity to practice online or at school Club meetings. Beginning in January the Teaching lesson plan will shift from just play of the hand to include learning bidding systems and a few conventions for partners to communicate the trick taking values in their hand to each other thus enabling them to reach good makeable contracts and maximize their potential scores. Students will begin to use the Bidding boxes which allow silent communication thus eliminating voice influences. By introducing the Bidding element, students will begin to enjoy the full scope of bidding and play of the hand in the game of Contract Bridge.Learn More