Page 0056

3:30pm: The session regroups after a quick break

for food (obviously most of the Juniors go for a

nutritious salad?). The day normally finishes with a

set of themed boards and everyone tries to find a

spectacular lead - often catastrophic when a 2 is led

from A-K-Q-J-2 against 3NT.

6:00pm: After a quick discussion of the boards,

the training breaks for the Saturday. Most people

would have thought that was enough bridge for the

day but I assure you the hand records stay out after

the session has ended - much to the

bewilderment of the general public.

Sunday

10:30am: An optimistic

start time. Most of the

players are not looking

fresh. The majority have

been playing bridge until

the early hours of the

morning. Sunday centres

around playing long sets in

preparation for the big

championships where three

gruelling sets of 20 boards a

day is the norm. Players are

out to impress the coach but the focus is on making

mistakes here and now rather than in the

competition a month down the line.

1.00pm: The infamous post-mortem. 'Never bid

that again' and the sound of a board pen glancing

off a player resonate around the room. This is a

relaxed environment for people to review boards.

The discussion is light-hearted and the emphasis is

upon learning rather than criticism. And a board

pen doesn't sting that much!

4.00pm: The weekend closes. Alan makes sure

there is no one left behind (this has only happened

once) and locks up the bridge club. r

56 English Bridge February 2016 www.ebu.co.uk

Behind the scenes . . . by Kyle Lam

Junior training weekends

Junior training weekends

click

link

THE ENGLISH Juniors are currently training for

the World Championships to be held next summer.

A crucial element of their preparation is training

weekends. We go behind the scenes to look at a

typical weekend for the young elite:

Saturday

12:00 noon: The proposed kick-off time. The

Young Chelsea Bridge Club is looking fairly empty.

Juniors are not famed for their punctuality. Cue the

usual flurry of text messages varying from 'The dog

ate my train ticket' to 'Sorry, I might be a bit late

because I'm in the wrong city'.

12:30pm: Alan Shillitoe, the U25 squad manager,

is rescued from his solitude

as members start to trickle

in. A worksheet is issued.

This time it is 'Test your

Suitplay 4' which bears a

surprising resemblance to

the previous weekend's

'Test your Suitplay 3'. Any

complaints about

repetitiveness are quickly

silenced when it is pointed

out that most responses are

still incorrect.

1:00pm: Guest speaker, Graham Osborne, arrives

and the theme of the weekend, 'Opening Leads' is

announced. We are extremely lucky to have the

opportunity to listen to expert players such as Chris

Jagger, Frances Hinden and Jason Hackett (to name

only a few) talk about aspects of the game that are

often glossed over. A quiz with a few problems is

handed around and the problems are discussed in

small groups.

After a long enough period of time for most of

the Juniors to have given up, the discussion is

opened up to the whole room and the answers are

revealed. Although finding out whether you are

right or wrong is important, hearing the thought

process behind the answer is so much more

valuable.

Interested in joining a

junior squad and

possibly playing for

England? Read

Alan Shillitoe's

article online, page 67

Kyle Lam plays for the Cambridge team

that won the universities' 2015 Portland

Bowl. See photo online, page 65

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