ISLANDSBC TRNC’S ONLINE BRIDGE CLUB
A BRIDGE AROUND THE WORLD
From Colin Pearson (ISLANDSBC),,,,,
The successful reintroduction in March of Face to Face (FTF) bridge on Mondays in North Cyprus has had some impact on the numbers playing in the remaining online tournaments held on Fridays and Saturdays. As usual, writes Colin Pearson, we are indebted to those directors who give up their time to supervise (and often play) in these tournaments.
This quarter we have news on the Korenium Monday bridge club which continues to attract at least 3 tables per week. We include the results from the first three months of the online tournaments and a summary of where you can play bridge in July in the TRNC. As always if you are interested in joining the fun, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Wednesday Chicago bridge is expected to restart in early September 22.
Our focus this quarter on our bridge players has an international flavour and includes our long-suffering Monday Chairman Janice Harper, one of our international regulars Kunal Chander who holds the record for playing with the most partners in our online tournaments and after a certain arm twisting myself.
My first introduction to bridge was when I was 25 years old and living in Dusseldorf, Germany. I was taught to play Standard American, not even knowing that Acol existed!
I continued to play Standard American in Berlin, Florida, Doha, and Cairo before returning to England. Unfortunately, I was too busy running my own pub/restaurant in Devon for 9 years so bridge took a back seat.
I moved over to North Cyprus, newly divorced, 9 years ago to retire at the grand old age of 51. I was keen to make new friends and thought that bridge would be a great way to meet people.
I turned up to the Thursday beginners’ class at the Altankaya Hotel and was warmly welcomed. However, everyone played Acol! I then joined the Monday bridge group and was partnered with a lovely German lady called Elisabeth who also played Standard American.
I have had some very good partners over the past 9 years, Susan Cahit and Phil Conkie especially, and have learned so much.
Bridge should be a game you enjoy, learn from but have fun playing.
My journey to bridge started in 1987, when I got accustomed to rubber bridge while playing off-line with my friends and co-workers at weekends. It took a few days to understand the bidding, scoring, and playing for taking auctioned tricks and my training went on for quite a few months.
I restarted playing online after a gap of approximately 32 years and found the game had evolved and expanded in its scope. It took me some months to realize its depth too.
I am also deeply inspired by playing in a very active PANIITgroup- an organisation of alumni of all IIT (India Institute of Technology)and without the support of family, near and dears, well-wishers and critics would not have been possible to venture deep in this journey.
With time I found it is becoming my passion and I am still trying to find perfection through deep learning.I was invited to join the Islandsbc tournaments in 2020 and have been playing regularly since. It is very pleasant, and I am enjoying playing in the group asI find it a diverse and friendly environment with challenging (tricky) hands.
My background is that I come from New Delhi I have a Doctorate(Ph.D.) in Chemistry from IIT Delhi and have worked as a scientist, teaching professor, entrepreneur, and quality assurance manager. One of my teaching assignments was at Jijiga University in the capital city of Somali Region, Ethiopia, which was an altogether different experience.
Regards to all senior members whom I conversed and interacted and quite often regular partner Ms. Lalitha Scott and all the ladies.
Why I like Bridge?
‘Knowing the unknown’ always generate curiosity and is a universally known fact. Bridge fulfills this aspect apart from others such as:
- Scientific/ systematic approach and minimizing the ambiguities.
- Dynamic counting
- New experiments
- Numerous variations and variables
- Developing skill as declarers, defender, and bidding conventions
- Following rules and regulations
- Alerts and penalties
- Different strategies while scoring imps or MP
- And overall, a friendly and competitive sport where age and gender are no matter.
Many of the above pertains to life and living aspects too (Editor’s note “and it also can delayearly onset Alzheimer’s”)
I have been cajoling colleagues to give their experiences of playing bridge over the last two years and when someone asked why I hadn’t contributed I realised I would have to tell all.
How I learnt– Boarding school in Brackley Northampton seems an unlikely place to start but having been kicked out between 2.00 and 4.30 pm every Saturday and Sunday during term time – I discovered that the Deputy Headmaster ran a bridge game. I must confess that the prospect of getting out of the rain and a selection of Mr Kipling Apricot tarts was more than a sufficient draw for a 14-year-old.
At Liverpool University I studied hard with fellow Maths colleagues to improve my game but fortunately switched to Psychology in my first year otherwise I would have joined the 50% of my colleagues who didn’t complete the first year due to their enthusiasm for bridge over their studies. We also for some reason used alias’s when we played – my partner and I were Anna and Sigmund Freud.
The 1980’s was the most productive part of my bridge career – the University Maths PHD students were mostly on a sabbatical when my partner and I won the Oxford County Pairs competition in 1986. Thereafter it was all downhill.
Bridge abroad – a colonial guide to bridge
Egypt – 2000 – 2004
Based in Cairo in the early years of this century it was possible to play any day of the week. I played in Gezira at the Al Ahly football club where the standard was pretty high, but tournaments didn’t start until 8:00 p.m. in the evening and often finished after midnight. I learnt the importance of drinking Egyptian coffee to stay awake. Cairo was notable at that time for being able to walk safely home in the evening and observe families with young children playing in the parks at 1.00 a.m. in the morning during the hot summers.
South Cyprus 2004 – 2007
I was based in South Cyprus for three years and played at one of the two clubs in Nicosia. At that time players from the North often visited the club and the standard was quite high. Not high enough by international comparison as one of the better players advised me that the only occasion the Republic of Cyprus didn’t come bottom of the international tournaments was when the Palestinians entered a team.
Solomon Islands 2008 – 2011
The British influence had mostly been dissipated by the time I spent 3 years there from 2008. One of the last vestiges was a small bridge community where matches were mostly played in people’s homes often involving a perilous trip on badly rutted roads in teeming tropical rain. When they did move to a hotel in the capital Honiara you had to brave the local’s enthusiasm for chewing beetle nuts (it gives a sort of coffee high I am told) which when expelled leaves an indelible dark red stain on whatever it falls on. Doesn’t do much for their dental hygiene either. The tropical flowers at the Honiara Public Market are impressive although you are advised not to try the salt ?fresh fish.
Sri Lanka – 2012
Columbo the capital of Sri Lanka had a high standard of bridge at its main bridge club when I was there in 2012. Sri Lankans had taken to the game with great enthusiasm. In true colonial style the bridge club formed part of a wider complex of tennis and bowls club. You could however order from 10 different types of tea at the break.
Philippines – 2016 – 2018
Between 2015 and 2018 I played at the British Manila club which had a very high standard, and 7 hour matches of 64 boards on a Saturday was often a gruelling experience. Photos going back 80 years showed the main club in its early splendour. When I played with Stephen Williamson (an American who helped us set up Islandsbc online club and who featured in the January 2022 article) we occasional won something. He had gained the distinction over a 10-year period of getting into the top 500 US players. Filipinos have an interesting sense of humour (or at least the westernised ones do) with this sign in a restaurant.
I have also managed to play in both New Zealand and Australia where my children reside. As might be expected the standards are good and it is easy to find partners.
There were 3 countries that I worked in that unfortunately I was unable to track down a Bridge club. Timor Leste in 2013 despite its Portuguese heritage. Libya in 2014 was too dangerous to go out at night to find a club and Laos PDR (Please don’t Rush) in 2019 which had few foreigners and no tradition of bridge.
In my recent trip to Georgia in 2021 COVID prevented the Tbilisi club operating whilst I was there. However, I am included in consultant bids for Cambodia and Romania this year so ever hopeful I will find something there even if the stay will be short