Silicon Valley Youth Bridge

Stanford Splash

On April 13 and 14, 2013 Stanford hosted its Spring “Splash” program – two days of classes for 7th through 12th graders in topics ranging from Literature to Knitting to Quantum Physics to Bridge. Stanford students Ted Sanders and Emily Kelly led the bridge session with help from Debbie Rosenberg, her son Kevin, and several volunteer helpers from the Stanford and Palo Alto clubs. The session included 24 kids – 6 girls and 18 boys – ranging in age from 7th to 12th grade.

At the beginning of the class, by show of hands only 4 of the 24 kids had played bridge before. After just 5 minutes, the students were dealing hands and taking tricks. And after just two hours, they had learned the basics of bridge play and bidding.

To learn more about how to create our own youth bridge program, we asked several of the kids why they took this class. The most common reason seemed to be that they had a parent or other relative who plays bridge.

Stanford Splash participants learning to play bridge. 9th grader Julian Sul partners with his 10th grade brother Jeffrey. Opponents are Sanjana Balagere, 8th grade, and Elise Meike, 7th grade.

A typical story is that of Rajiv Nelakanti, a 7th grader at Cupertino Middle School. His dad Bhava has been a bridge player since college. Rajiv got interested in the game watching his dad and friends. When Rajiv saw the class in the Splash catalog, he signed up! At his table, Rajiv was the “pro” – showing the other kids how to sort and hold their cards and talking strategy with them.

Another student, Ray Aldridge, is in high school in Menlo Park. He couldn’t wait to tell his Grandmother that he had taken a bridge class. Ray was so excited to play the game that he insisted we take his picture and hopes to show off an article in the bridge newspaper that features him playing the game she loves.

Read the ACBL article about Stanford Splash.

Splash attendees and other students, if you'd like to receive more information about Youth Bridge please sign up here.

Many thanks to the Palo Alto Unit for donating funds to support the Splash bridge class. The class represents a first step in creating a larger youth bridge program for our area. If you’d like to help with building and delivering the program, teaching classes, or in any other way, please sign up now.