Bridge team takes on the world

Members of the New Zealand contract bridge youth team practise in Dunedin yesterday. They are  (from left) Sam Bailey (23), of Dunedin, Glenn Coutts (22), of Dunedin, Vicki Bouton (18), of Invercargill, Matthew Brown (18), of Auckland, Sam Coutts (25), of Dunedin, and Nick Jacob (24), of Auckland. Photo by Shawn McAvinue.
Members of the New Zealand contract bridge youth team practise in Dunedin yesterday. They are (from left) Sam Bailey (23), of Dunedin, Glenn Coutts (22), of Dunedin, Vicki Bouton (18), of Invercargill, Matthew Brown (18), of Auckland, Sam Coutts (25), of Dunedin, and Nick Jacob (24), of Auckland. Photo by Shawn McAvinue.

A New Zealand youth contract bridge team stacked with players from Dunedin and Invercargill is due to land in Turkey on Friday for the world championships.

Member Nick Jacob said the team would play against 21 countries in the World Youth Teams Championships at Koc University, Istanbul.

The 10 days of ''high intensity'' competition would start on August 13 and a week of qualifying games would decide the eight teams for the ''knock-out'' competition.

''If we do qualify, it will be a real big success. It's a very tough event.''

The best countries playing included Israel, the United States, Norway, Denmark, Poland and France.

The best past New Zealand youth performance was a silver medal in 1995.

The New Zealand Contract Bridge Association was funding the team's air fares, accommodation, meals and entry fee - the first time it had bankrolled a youth team in about seven years, Mr Jacob said.

The funding was restarted because the team was getting good results, he said.

The team would tour Istanbul for four days before the tournament and travel for a week in Turkey afterwards, including Gallipoli.

The team members were good mates, which was important because the team had three playing partnerships.

''The partnerships are a step below marriage and step above a long-term relationship,'' Mr Jacob said.

A good bridge player needed an even temperament, logic and deduction, he said.

He urged more young people to play bridge and be exposed to a new social environment, which placed no limitation on age.

''If you play rugby or cricket you're socialising with guys your age, but when you play bridge you meet a bunch of guys, and girls, of a similar age but also older - it's quite a nice mentoring experience.''

To qualify for the youth team, participants needed to be younger than 26 before the championships.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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