The Young Bridge Challenge took place this weekend, Saturday 6th March with young players enjoying an afternoon of bridge, this year held online via RealBridge.
Eighty-one players – from the Isle of Wight to Glasgow – fought hard over five hours to win the sought after trophies.
The participating teams began with four rounds of Swiss Teams Qualifying. The leading four teams eligible for the Schools’ Cup (team members all from the same school) transferred to a Knock-out format for the Schools’ Cup whilst the remaining teams continued to compete for the Harry Scully Trophy and the School's Plate.
Three of the four teams to progress to the knock-out format were, St Pauls Boys 1, High School of Glasgow and Haberdashers 1. There was a tie for the fourth place available, between Eton College and Loughborough Grammar School 1. A few minutes of drama followed, with the director of the event, Rob Sassoon, going through the procedure for the split tie. Then came his response, Eton progressed in virtue of having played overall stronger opponents over the four rounds.
In the semi-final, Eton then went on to beat St Paul’s Boys 1 28-13, whilst Haberdashers 1 prevailed over High School of Glasgow 37-18, in a match where the Habs boys bid the grand slam that makes in board 1, whilst the Scottish ones bid the grand that does not make in board 2.
In the final, after five of six boards the two teams were separated by only 1 IMP. In the last board a weak NT opening was doubled at both tables; the Haberdashers sat the double and Eton collected 11 tricks. In the other room the Eton pair found a run-out in 2S, duly doubled, but they escaped for minus three, denying the holders to retain the Trophy. This is the first victory for Eton College since they won the first ever Schools Cup in 1966.
In the playoff High School of Glasgow beat St Paul’s 1 21-8.
The final places for the School’s Cup were:
2nd Haberdashers 1 (James Cater, Ben Lewis, Eamon Broderick & Yasinthan Vickneswaran)
3rd High School of Glasgow (Kevin Ren, Michael Kennedy, Harry Stuart & Alexander Duncan)
4th St Paul’s 1 (Eduard Hueffer, Christophe Hueffer, Louis Kirkpatrick & Rehman Oomer)
Meanwhile, Loughborough Grammar School 1 (Robert Nutkins, Alex Nelson, Neil Ruikar, Thibault Crosnier) shook off the disappointment of having missed out on the finals on a split tie by retaining the School Plate, reserved to the highest placing school in the consolation event.
In the Harry Scully Trophy (for teams formed by more than one school) the Fegarty brothers were trying for the hat trick. Having lost their team mates from the past two years (who this year were playing for their schools) they teamed up with the Gardner brothers.
Everything seemed to go according to plan and they led the event after the four qualifying rounds of the Swiss Teams. In the penultimate round though the team of Lucy Norman, Charlotte Bedford, Venetia Anoyrkatis and Bjorn Ahl beat the leaders 12-8, enough to overtake them by 1 IMP. Both teams went on to win the last round 19-1, so the new leaders held on to their victory.
The final places for the Harry Scully Trophy were:
3rd Freddie Beneat, Zoe Soonawalla, Jay Vyas & Finn Sheedy
More importantly, everyone had a good time; from beginners to internationals, from primary school children to sixth-formers, it was a great day of bridge.
The event was organised by English Bridge Education and Development.
Giorgio Provenza, EBED CEO, would like to personally thank Steve, Rob, Gordon, Stuart, Duncan, Tom, Caroline, Sarah, Helen, Ann, Holly, Linda, Julia, Sammy. Without their help this event would not have been possible.
See you all next year!