No-one can trump young bridge player

Bridge player Ramon Quennell enjoys the friendships he has made through the game. PHOTO: SIMON...
Bridge player Ramon Quennell enjoys the friendships he has made through the game. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
A young pupil is proving bridge can be compelling at any age.

Ramon Quennell is only 16 but he his love for the strategic card game has already given him the chance to compete internationally.

His journey into the world of bridge began two years ago, inspired by his mother’s interest in the game.

"She was quite good and she just thought that I’d really like bridge."

The Otago Bridge Club was offering lessons and so he began playing and learning.

"I got really into it, and I did like it."

He began spending more time mastering the complexities of the game.

"It is a partnership game."

Four people are organised into two pairs, and the goal of the game is to try to get the best possible score that you can on each set of cards you are dealt.

"A lot of people think it is luck based because they just might get all of the really good cards."

But the what made it not luck-based was as well as playing the one table, players were also competing against other teams of players.

"There are a bunch of tables all playing ... sets of four people all playing the same set of cards."

Even if your team had a strong hand it had to be better than all the others in the room to get a good score, he said.

Players work in pairs, trying to communicate and strategise with their partner through the bids they make and the way they play their cards.

When another player was unable to attend, Ramon was invited to travel to the Netherlands last July to take part in the 15th European National and Transnational Youth Pairs Championships in Veldhoven.

The experience was "the best three weeks of my life", he said.

He made new friends, in particular among the American and Greek players, and he enjoyed developing his bridge skills.

Although he was there for bridge, he also enjoyed playing other sports, including volleyball and squash.

"I really got into basketball because they had this big indoor gym area."

Ramon has a wide variety of sporting interests, including playing cricket, football and badminton.

"I probably do a bit too much stuff ... I also do chess."

This included going to the National Interschools Chess finals in Auckland last year.

But the challenge of bridge still draws his attention, and he has been able to encourage his friends to also discover the pleasure of the game.

Ramon is not sure what the future holds, but he would like to be known as a good player in the New Zealand playing scene, and would enjoy winning some of the more prestigious tournaments.

"I just want to play bridge with a lot of people that I like.

"I’ve already made lots of friendships playing bridge."