Source: Las Vegas NABC Bulletin 7 Junior bridge players from across North America and as far away as Bermuda and China are registered to begin play in the 12th annual Youth North American Bridge Championships, which kicks off today with pairs playing at 10 a.m. and teams playing at 2 p.m. Cardrook pairs, designed for those who are newer to the game, are offered each session. The three-day event operates under the ACBL’s education department, led by Stephanie Threlkeld, manager of education and communications and Shaneka Cunningham, education program coordinator. “The Youth NABC is a great opportunity for Junior players to not only experience the thrill of competitive bridge, but to also develop lifelong friends,” Threlkeld said. “Many look forward to coming back and catching up with former partners year after year, and for us, it’s wonderful to see the improvement in their bridge play.” More than 200 players pre-registered. They range in age from 6 to 19, with an average of 13. There are several large groups of players from areas with successful youth programs. They come from California (40), New Jersey (35), Florida (34), Bermuda (24), Ontario, Canada (18), Washington (17), New York (10) and Illinois (6). Players are also coming from 10 other states and Mexico and China. Registration is free to ACBL members 20 years of age and younger with less than 5000 masterpoints. Nonmembers can join for $5 at registration. All play is in the Brera Ballroom on the third floor of the hotel. Each player receives a T-shirt and a book bag, and lunch is provided daily. The closing reception, which includes the presentation of awards and prize drawings, is scheduled for Saturday at 5:30 p.m. With approximately 4000 youth learning to play bridge in schools, the Youth NABC was created to give youth players 20 years and younger the opportunity to compete against their peers on a national level. First held in Atlanta in 2008 and organized by Patty Tucker, the Youth NABC draws more than 200 youth bridge players from around the world for three days of bridge competition, culminating with an awards ceremony. Scholarships will be awarded to the winners of Friday’s Baron Barclay National Youth Open Pairs ($1000 each) and the winners of Saturday’s National Youth Swiss Teams ($4000 total). Youth NABC participants also vote on one player to receive the Master Point Press Sportsmanship Award, which includes a trophy and $1000 college scholarship. Peer nominations are based on fairness, self-control, respect and courtesy. Ashley Thomas, a rising high school junior from Williamsburg VA, was the recipient of the 2018 award. “Ashley embodies the spirit of the Sportsmanship Award,” Threlkeld said. “Throughout the tournament, she always had a smile on her face and a willing and helpful attitude with the younger players.” Don’t forget – you can still enter for the 6th World Youth Open Bridge Championships being held in Croatia from 20 – 29 August. Don’t forget to follow us @