Qualicum Beach hosts duplicate bridge tourney

Sectional tournament to bring hundreds of players

Hundreds of duplicate bridge players from across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland will make their annual pilgrimage to Parksville Qualicum Beach as the area’s four local duplicate bridge clubs host a sectional tournament May 4-6 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.

It also provides an opportunity for local players with less experience to get a feel for big-tournament competition without the high stakes.

The tourney is one of seven sectionals on the Island, and will offer competition in A (players with more than 750 points), B (players with 200 to 750 points) and C (players with fewer than 200 points) categories. For the first time, organizer Janet Woolgar said, there will be a special C category session for players to form their own group and not have to tackle the higher-ranked “big boys,” a grouping ideally suited for players drawn more to the social aspect of duplicate bridge than the competitive play.

In addition, novice players with fewer than 20 points can drop by and play in this special game for no cost. The C-only event will be played Friday, May 4, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Those wishing to take part simply need to arrive at the Civic Centre by 12:15 p.m. and say they are a novice. There will be a handout to explain how it all works. Those with questions are encouraged to contact Janet Woolgar at 250-248-0459 or woolgarjanet@gmail.com.

The tournament will continue through Sunday at the civic centre. It is not open to spectators, Woolgar added.

She did add that Qualicum Beach is lucky to have Matt Smith return home to serve as the tournament director. Smith grew up in Parksville and played bridge at the first bridge club in the area, which was run by his mother, Joan Smith. The family moved to Victoria and Matt soon started directing — first at his local club, then assisting at sectionals before becoming the lead director.

He was promoted to regionals and then to nationals, and has become among the most sought-after directors for bridge tournaments all over the world, said Woolgar.

— NEWS staff

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