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Young people encouraged to take up game described as the ‘figure skating’ of the card world

PUBLISHED: 13:28 22 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:28 22 July 2018

Members of the Afternoon Bridge Club (ABC) enjoying playing at their base at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Members of the Afternoon Bridge Club (ABC) enjoying playing at their base at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Young people are being encouraged to take up a game that is being likened to the figure skating of the card playing world.

Imogen La Chapelle, 16, the youngest member of the Afternoon Bridge Club (ABC) enjoying playing at their base at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYImogen La Chapelle, 16, the youngest member of the Afternoon Bridge Club (ABC) enjoying playing at their base at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

It may have the reputation of being an older person’s pursuit but The Norfolk Contract Bridge Association is trying to encourage youngsters to take up Bridge in order to boost their academic potential.

Requiring concentration, focus, mental arithmetic and problem solving skills the benefits of Bridge are easily translated into the classroom.

Karen Read, from Norfolk Contract Bridge said: “There are studies that show that some versions of bridge show an increase in maths performance because you’re thinking of numbers all the time.

“During a match the adrenaline gets going and it’s very exciting, it really requires people’s concentration.”

Members of the Afternoon Bridge Club (ABC) enjoying playing at their base at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMembers of the Afternoon Bridge Club (ABC) enjoying playing at their base at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Competing in pairs or teams bridge partners bid and then play cards to win tricks and points. Mrs Read said: “The important thing is that you cannot play it on your own and it’s your partner who you’ve got to trust.

“You’ve got to learn to work with your partner. It’s like the figure skating of the card playing world you have absolutely got to trust your partner you don’t know what cards your partner has got.”

One of the youngest players competing in Norfolk, within two years of taking up the game, 16-year-old Imogen La Chapelle, from Norwich, has played for England and regularly competes across the country and Europe.

Introduced to bridge by her father she explained what she enjoyed about the game: “It’s one of those things where you never stop learning. It’s very addictive and I enjoy learning so much. I always want to try and get better.”

Members of the Afternoon Bridge Club (ABC) enjoying playing at their base at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMembers of the Afternoon Bridge Club (ABC) enjoying playing at their base at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Adding that she would like to see more young players in Norfolk Miss la Chapelle said: “It’s a great way to meet new people because you have got to sit across a table from someone and interact.”

To encourage more youngsters to have a go at bridge, from September The Norfolk Contract Bridge Association will be running a pilot scheme in schools in the Great Yarmouth area, to find more about the scheme or to become involved contact: norfolkcontractbridge@gmail.com

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