In a report about White House Junior Internationals 2020 this event was told to have started in 1993.
This is a little beside the actual facts. So a history lesson is at its place.
In the autumn of 1992 Jan Rijnaarts and Fons van Bokhoven, two great guys from ‘s-Hertogenbosch with love for (junior)bridge, got the splendid idea to organise an international junior team event. They got in contact with the coach of the Dutch juniors and in January 1993 eight countries competed in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (better known as Den Bosch) in the first International Youth Bridge Festival.
Juniors never show any restraint in bidding. In the first event Roland Rohowski of Germany showed a great example of bluff poker:
Since 5was an easy make, and 5already one off, the one extra down in 6 did not matter. And it created a big issue for South who was not up to the task and ‘saved safely’ in 7for down two. It turned out to be England that won this first event by beating Germany in the final.
Jan and Fons would up to 2004 enable the, as you can imagine wildly delighted, Dutch junior coach to spend give or take some one and a half million guilders for the development of junior bridge. This included the yearly Youth Bridge Festival Den Bosch.
In 2005 the international junior event moved to Amsterdam, where ‘bridge and chess pub’ Twee Klaveren (2) hosted the ten teams competition by means, and supported by, of founder and pub owner Giovanni Falavigna. Poland won.
Joao Passasarinho, npc of Portugal, reported on fabulous bidding in an impressive deal by one of his juniors, Nuno Matos:
As you will understand the lead was A, ruffed by declarer who played three rounds of clubs endplaying west who returned a diamond. Declarer had two discards but still had a choice to make:K or Q finesse. You don’t bid this slam to go down and declarer played 10 and finessed for an excellent 920.
A big smile by the Portuguese junior especially when he found out the biding sequence at the other table: 1 natural , followed by three passes; for one time juniors bid very cautious.
Max Abram and Herman Drenkelford, two lovers of bridge and Amsterdam based business men, bought Het Witte Huis (a former canteen of a tennis club) in 2002 and rebuilt it to a great bridge club. And they invited the juniors to play the team event in 2006 in Het Witte Huis, so at that point it became White House Junior Internationals.
15-20 march 2020
15-20 march 2020 will become the 15-th year ‘WHJI’ will take place in Het Witte Huis, still with Max and Herman as the main sponsors. Bob Drijver and Tim Heeres who in their period as junior played themselves many times in Het Witte Huis took on with great enthusiasm the organisation in 2017 and will certainly take care of a great tournament.
In 2019 the final was won on the very last board by Denmark (down 73-79) who grabbed a game swing to overtake Israel (83-79). Dutch juniors Guy Medes de Léon and Thibo Sprinkhuizen won the prize of the best bid hand:
So I look forward to Sunday 15 march 2020 for the opening of White House Junior Internationals (forget the name calling and let us call it the 28-the version of the Dutch junior internationals) followed by the Pro-am Patton.
Roland Rohowski (june 26 2014)
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