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Gold Coast Congress is for Novices too!!

From Ian Hammond

gcc (525K)

My wife Frances and I took Bridge lessons in early 2016 played in supervised sessions at Nedlands Bridge Club for about 18 months and during this time also ventured into open club sessions during 2017. We heard about the Gold Coast Congress from friends (both Directors) who live in Newcastle and play Gold Coast every year. They suggested we 'give it a go' despite our tiny number of MPs, as there are many opportunities for 'novice' players to play within their pay grade and have a thoroughly enjoyable time. They were absolutely right. Even the main Bobby Richman Pairs competition held over three days (5 sessions), has open, intermediate, restricted and novice sections.

We went online, entered everything we could, except the teams events, as we did not know anyone else who was going with as few MPs as us. By the time the congress started in February we had amassed a total of 6MP each, so we seriously fulfilled the criteria for novice status: less than 100MP. There are also two other sections for bridge beginners: Rookies with less than 10MP and another category that is less than 50MP. We played in them all.

The playing days are full with 24 boards per session: not too stressful. For novices, most days are two sessions. It is worth noting that Bidding Boxes are not used, and some practice with paper bidding slips is a good idea, as this is standard on the East Coast. Also, the cards are not in the usual plastic 'boards' but are contained within cardboard pockets, which take a bit of getting used to.

We had a great time. During the week we played in 11 full sessions. The event organisation was superb, the Directors were most helpful and special instruction booklets outlining expected behaviour and important bridge rules were given to all novice players. It is a bit daunting to turn up to an event with 3000 people playing bridge, most of whom are much more experienced. We found everyone to be friendly, the bridge was enjoyable, we learnt a lot and also got value from the Celebrity Bridge lessons held on most days. Playing in the <100MP events was particularly enjoyable and less challenging than our club sessions in Perth.

Despite our lack of experience we did have an occasional 'win' and managed to add 1.8 Gold Points to our total. What more could we ask?

So, if you fancy a treat, gird your loins, book your flights and get ready for Gold in 2019. You will not be disappointed. Anyone for teams??


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