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Best Bridge Players Battle It Out For Top Spots At National Congress

The New Zealand National Bridge Congress was a hugely successful event hosted last week, with some thrilling competitions and triumphant winners.

The event, which brings together the best Bridge players from across New Zealand and beyond, for a week-long competition, was hosted online this year first time in its 35-year history.

Highlights included an exciting win in the New Zealand Teams’ category from the mainly Australian based team which included three expat Kiwis living in Sydney; Liam Milne, James Coutts, Nick Jacob, along with Alex Smirnov and Andy Hung, Glenn Coutts playing out of Dunedin was the sole NZ based player in the team.

In second place a team that included 23-year-old Bridge stars Jeremy Fraser-Hoskin (Auckland) and Jack James (Palmerston North). Jeremy has just become a Grand Master (coveted title of achievement in Bridge conferred by the national body) Jack is very close to achieving this too. They punched well above their weight and beat what could be considered the NZ open team in the semi-final – a thrilling result!

The Open Pairs were won by NZ representatives Ashley Bach and Michael Cornell.

A father daughter team took out the Open Swiss Pairs. Susan Humphries played from her home in Sydney and her Dad Denis Humphries played from his Auckland home.

Brother and Sister pairing Michael Wilcox (Kairangi club in Wellington) and Liz Wilcox (Rotorua) won the Open Restricted Pairs.

Anna Kalma from NZ Bridge shares “The event has gone really well. For the first time, we hosted Congress online using an English bridge playing platform called Realbridge. We chose this platform because all the competitors can see and hear each other which mimics sitting in the room and as well as the more social aspects of being able to chat and converse - it minimises the possibility of dubious tactics such as unauthorised communication being shared with your partner.

Around 550 participants have taken part in the competitions. This was about the number expected at Mt Maunganui. We have had over 100 Australians participating include a few from Perth so they needed to adjust to a 6am start each day to match our 11am start time. There was also a team from South America that entered who had to play late at night finishing around 2am local time.

It is always preferable to be playing live at the table but Realbridge is the next best thing and it was great to hold an event celebrating both the best players in Australasia but also catering for the up and coming and newer players who competed as well.”

Players competed for over $22,000 in prize money across the 10 events.

Bridge is a trick taking game and shares similarities with Whist and Five Hundred. Bridge is played by all ages, across the world. Bridge combines strategy, logic, intuition, and fun. It is about more than just the game; it brings together people from all ages and social groups and research studies have shown that Bridge also benefits personal wellbeing and brain health.

NZ Bridge Inc is the governing organisation that oversees Bridge in New Zealand and is one of 104 countries affiliated to the World Bridge Federation.

New Zealand Bridge has around 14,000 registered Bridge players who belong to 110 affiliated clubs from Kerikeri in Northland down to Invercargill in the South.

© Scoop Media

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