Update – 16th June, 2014

A bridge teacher  from Hyderabad, C. D. Kumar, visited Raibidpura for three weeks to conduct a bridge workshop (for adults and children) in the heat of summer. The temperature in the middle of the day regularly peaked at 45 degrees Centigrade (113 degrees Fahrenheit) – so hats off to his commitment. This was his second workshop for the villagers.

The World Youth Teams Championships are to be held in Istanbul, Turkey from 13th to 23rd August 2014. Two boys and two girls from Raibidpura (selected by C.D. Kumar) will join juniors from elsewhere to be a part of the Indian contingent.

Prior to C.D. Kumar’s visit, Mr. and Mrs Vahalia from Ahmedabad had visited Raibidpura to conduct a bridge workshop during the first three weeks of April. This was their second workshop in the village too. (https://bridgebhasha.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/bridge-workshop-at-raibidpura/).

On 22nd and 23rd April, Larry Cohen’s Bridge Cruise was scheduled to dock at Mumbai. Larry had expressed an interest in meeting the Raibidpura villagers – the plan was for Larry to interact with the villagers and kids at Nashik (about 4 hours by car from Mumbai and 7 hours from Raibidpura) which, during this time, happened to host the Summer Nationals. The villagers were really looking forward to this visit, but unfortunately due to a combination of factors this meeting did not happen. Then much to their surprise, Larry sent them loads of his Bridge material. (This neatly packed parcel was photographed by Deepak Verma, who is ever willing to provide photos for this blog.)

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Other donations to the Kisan Bridge Club include a much needed room cooler given by Arun Jain and a set of bidding workbooks (Whirlwind Bridge) sent by Melissa Bernhardt and Patty Tucker. These well-organised workbooks form the foundation of C.D. Kumar’s teaching of SAYC to the villagers, and in fact a few of the books have been translated into Hindi, courtesy C. Dayal from Goa. Thank you all for your generosity.

……………………………

A Report on the Bridge Workshop (written by C.D. Kumar)

After a hectic journey (via Nagpur), I reached Raibidpura around 20.00 hrs. on 1st May, having started my sojourn on the 30th of April, 2014, at 10.00 hrs from Hyderabad. There was a night-halt at Nagpur on the 30th of April, 2014.

Deepak Verma & Sunil Verma picked me up from the bus-stop just prior to the ancient Jain town of Oon. On the same day, after dinner, it was heart warming to meet bridge-friends at the ‘Bridge Mandir’ (since for me it is not a club). As I was dead tired from the journey, I opted out to relax and so the workshop started the next day.

I was a bit perplexed to know from all of them that Mr. Parimal Vahalia taught them the Precision System. This, despite my sending an email as to what exactly I had taught them with respect to SAYC during my last workshop, hoping that he would pick up on SAYC where I left off.

I did have some deliberations with the villagers as to whether they wanted PRECISION or SAYC and unequivocally all of them wanted SAYC to be continued. Luckily, it took precisely 2 days to bring all the players back on track to SAYC and the actual classes started from the 4th of May, 2014, but not before a comprehensive review was conducted of what all had been taught during my last visit in January 2014.

A mutually agreed schedule was drawn up:

12.00 noon to 15.00 hrs.                              Classes for Junior Group [under 25]

15.30 hrs. to 17.30 hrs.                                Classes for Mini-Bridge Group

20.00 hrs onwards (unlimited time)          Classes for Senior Group

(50% of the time was catered to practical sessions)

I had drawn a detailed plan for the topics that need be covered together with a view to translating all the topics/lessons into Hindi, although I am…well, quite very poor in Hindi.

Theory & practical went hand in glove as planned (with all the participants enjoying my gender-free Hindi). It was totally a period of 18 studious, strenuous and focused bridge-sessions which I feel went fruitfully.

In between, we had an IMP-Pairs’ event with 6 tables [12 pairs] – a mixture of seniors and juniors – on the 11th of May, 2014.

A written test was conducted on the 20th of May, 2014 for the juniors. Finally, selection trials were conducted for the juniors on the 21st of May, 2014 on the basis of master-points-pair-event over a twin-session of 15 boards each [totally, 30 boards], using Howell movement. The ranking was given depending on the master points scored during the selection trials and accordingly, the names of the boys and girls pairs that topped in the competition were given to the Bridge Federation of India (as part of the Indian Junior team for the World Youth Championships in Istanbul).

Somehow, the Mini-Bridge group hardly turned up for the workshop, but that never came in the way of the other two groups [juniors & seniors] surging ahead.

Another amazing experience, what could be termed as a ‘micro-bridge’ batch, was seeing tiny newcomers (both boys and girls) who took 2 to 3 days just to learn to hold the cards together! MiniBridge was taught to them and that went on for quite some time. It was a bolt from the sky when this enthusiastic group asked then me to teach them bidding; when I was totally taken aback! Unfortunately, their earnest desire could be met for only one day as their request came on the day prior to my departure date from Raibidpura.

Before my next scheduled trip, I requested a few senior players to guide the juniors, promising them to send the requisite material – by e-mail or by courier. Further, with the Hindi version of the SAYC available with them, it will be very easy to communicate via phone as I have a photocopy of the same.

 Highlights of my visit:

The way they received me was an unforgettable event. Right from a 6-year-old through to the 60-year-old, you feel that warmth. This has been an experience of a life-time in spite of the language barrier.

I cannot possibly forget the hospitality that was extended to me. The temperature soared to 45 degrees Celsius and I was still very comfortable. How? Because, Kamal Verma & Deepak Verma looked after me with Karbuja-fruit & different juices to combat that intense heat and Shivaram Patelji, right through my stay, ensured that the room cooler always worked well.

When the junior batch could not attend the classes for a couple of days, they felt guilty conscious and repeatedly said ‘sorry’ to me. I could really feel their ‘sorry’, which no doubt came from the bottom of their hearts. So I am indeed lucky to have such students.

The practical sessions went off equally nicely, although there were some hiccups during the course of the bidding process.

I was presented with 2 CDs together with 2 text books of Mr. Larry Cohen, one on ‘Doubles & Re Doubles’ and the other on ‘The Law of Total Tricks’. I thanked them for the same and I want to thank Mr. Larry Cohen but, unfortunately, I have no access to his e-mail. Hence, I request my friend Mr. Amaresh Deshpande to thank the author on by behalf.

And if one wants to know how I could be there for 3 solid weeks, cheerful all the time, the credit goes to all of them in general & Devdas Vermaji in particular. Last, but not the least, on the day of my departure Mr. Devdas Vermaji, Kailash Vermaji & Mulchand Vermaji came to see me off right up to Khargone (22 km away) – and you want to know the time then? It was 6.30 in the morning!

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