U16s top the table in WBF Youth Online Championship

The England U16 team competing in the 2019 World Bridge Federation Youth Online Championship, have finished top of the table, 10 VPs ahead of China in second place.

NPC Giorgio Provenza has written a new blog, with updates on the U16 squad's progress throughout and what's next on their journey. You can read it below.

I can’t believe it’s been almost 10 months since the last time I have been in touch.

At that time, we were on our way back from China, having competed in the U16 World Championship.

A lot has happened in the meantime; half of that team has outgrown the category – Andy, Liam and Oscar have now moved to the U21s, where they keep proving their worth.

Our squad has added many new recruits and it consists now of about 20 girls and boys.

Back in March we started competing in the 2nd WBF Youth Online Championship. Those who have been following us might remember that last year – in the very first edition of this competition – the team won the silver medal, losing in the final only to the mighty Chinese team.

Eight kids have been selected to play this event:

    Jasmine Bakhshi & Henry Rose
    Dido Coley & Jamie Fegarty
    Kim Hudson & Theo Sinclair
    Freddie Beneat & James Cater

Nineteen teams from four continents are taking part and the first stage consists of seven 14-board matches, after which the first eight teams progress to the K.O. stage.

The team have been absolutely brilliant, winning all their seven matches and topping the table, 10 VPs ahead of China in 2nd place. We are now waiting to know the opponent for the quarter finals.

If you want to see them in action, this is the link to the last match we played, against the USA.

Some information about this event can be found on the World Bridge youth site. I warn you though, the website is not updated regularly!

Another big event awaits us this summer; in the 2nd week of July we will be heading to Norway for the European Championship, where we will try our best to qualify for next year's World Championships. The team for Norway can have a maximum of 6 players; the top three pairs listed above have been selected.

Preparation for it is well under way. The team played the Spring Foursomes back in May – courtesy of a generous donation – and will meet again face to face in London at the end of June, when we will be guests of Andrew Robson's Bridge Club. If all of this, plus online training, plus school exams, plus the other commitments these kids have (it is not just bridge they are good at) wasn’t enough, they have also taken upon themselves the task of promoting the game of bridge among other young people.

They have been running school assemblies, writing in the school’s newsletters, teaching in their schools’ bridge clubs.

They have even been approaching local and national papers asking to cover their stories. This is an article that has recently appeared in a couple of papers in the SW London area.

They are also planning to set up a Facebook page to upload videos before and during the Norway campaign, all with the goal of showing other kids how much fun the game of bridge is.

And it doesn’t end with Norway!

Five of the six kids who will be playing in the Euros will be over age next year. So the team for 2020 is work in progress.

The very weekend we fly to Oslo, the rest of the squad will gather for a weekend of training, where Meena Samani and Helen Erichsen will put their skills at the service of the talents of the new rising stars of English junior bridge.

The squad will be joining the Southern Counties Junior Camp. It’s an event open to any junior of any ability, including minibridge. And it’s not too late to sign up for it. If you know anyone who could be interested, please direct them to the SCCBA website and they may be the next Andrew Robson!

Another great event for junior players is the Junior Teach-In at the end of August, organized by EBED. More info here. It’s the perfect way to finish off the summer!

We will be there and scouting for new talent. Last year’s Junior Teach-In was where I first came across Kim Hudson. At that time, she had barely played any duplicate club bridge and nine months later she is part of the team.

Who wants to be next?