Christine and Jenna Gibbons are representing New Zealand at the Asia Pacific Bridge Championships. Play starts 9 June, finishing 17 June. Most days there are 4 matches, each 2 hours long. Play starts at 9.00 in the morning (this is not fun for some people who are barely awake, let alone intelligent at this time of the day) and finishes at 7.30pm, then they have to go and find dinner.
In the Women’s Division there are 11 Teams, so they play each team twice. China and Indonesia are the favourites. The other countries are Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Japan, India, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, China, Australia and New Zealand. There are 4 categories of competition: Open, Womens, Seniors and Mixed Sex, each competing among themselves.
Each team comprises of 3 pairs, any 2 pairs playing each match against another country. There is a non-playing Captain for each team, who decides which pairs play each match and who is responsible for all the organisation of the seating, player entries into the computer and the checking of the results of each match. But their main job is to keep the players happy and focused on the bridge and sort out all other problems and issues that arise at an International Event. Luckily English is the official language, but that does not mean that everyone speaks it. Hong Kong should be fine, but sickness can play a part and hopefully there will not be a problem with Covid.
The NZ Women have won the event as recently as 2006 in Shanghai. Christine and Jenna were part of the team. They have also been placed in the top 3 prize winners on other occasions.
The National Body NZ Bridge provides a subsidy to all players, but due to the cost of airfares (and the limitation of the size of the organisation compared to other countries) this does not cover the flights and they have to pay for accommodation near the playing area and all transport and food.
This is a fantastic event, where you are playing bridge, talking bridge, studying bridge hands, reading bridge and the rest of the world passes by. They get to meet bridge friends from other countries. There is an Opening Ceremony, where each of the Countries are introduced, and a Closing Ceremony, with Prizegiving at the end. They are proud to wear black uniforms with the NZ Silver Fern on them, like most other NZ Representatives.
We would like you all to wish Christine and Jenna the best of luck.