Bart starting playing bridge in high school in Hamilton after he and his buddies tired of such lesser card games as euchre and hearts, although Bart is the only one to have carried on after becoming "hooked " on duplicate. From high school, he took his act to the University of Waterloo where he resuscitated a college duplicate club which was dying after well-known Canadian junior Eric Sutherland left. "That's one of the big problems with junior bridge," Bart says, "one person may do a lot but when that person leaves a college, there's usually no one to carry on. The Waterloo club has gone through a series of highs and lows because of that."
Bart has now moved to Simon Fraser University where he is working on a master's degree in computer science. Although he would like to build up bridge on local campuses, he recognizes it is a difficult challenge. "There is not a big active contingent of bridge players, or even card players, at UBC and SFU," he notes. "At Waterloo, a lot of people were already playing some type of cards so it was easier to convert them." He believes one reason is the West Coast itself. "It's hard to advertise a club involved only in playing cards when there's so much else to do in Vancouver."
One way to create interest is to start in the high schools and that requires an enthusiastic teacher. "A few years ago, only about 100 junior players were registered with the ACBL. The next year there were 300 because of Ed O'Reilly in Kingston. He was a high school teacher who taught his students bridge, got them enthusiastic about it and enrolled them in the ACBL junior program. What we need are more teachers like that."
Since Bart is a computer science student, it is no surprise one
of his first projects with local bridge is to put the Vancouver
Bridge Centre on the Internet. He calls his Web site
a "work in progress," and hopes to develop it into a shining example of what club Web sites could and should be.
"A Web site should have all the nice homey things, like special games, winners, bridge hands and so on. Wouldn't it be nice if you could go home right after a club game, get onto the Internet the next day and see how you placed. That's what my goal is and with ACBLScore it should not be that difficult."
Although the Web is currently filled with a lot of "garbage,"
Bart says the real future of the Internet is in the dissemination
of information. "The more information rather than links or
advertising which a site provides, the better. There are some
good information sites out there. A site providing a compilation
of basic systems is a good use of the Web
The ACBL club listings
is also good (
). Before I go on
vacation, I look up the area's clubs and if I can fit it into my
schedule, I take in a game."
Although he likes to play weak no trumps with regular partners,
and was starting to learn a strong club canape system before he
left Ontario, he has mostly stuck to Standard American in
Vancouver. "I prefer it with unfamiliar partners.
a lot of agreements and I find that very difficult when feeling
out new partners." He has still to form a regular partnership in
Vancouver but admits to some potential partners.
"I have been playing with Phil Hernandez and we seem to hit it off. I really enjoyed playing with Brian Russell at the Calcutta, Mike Neagu, even though I only played with him once, is fabulous and I like the spirit of Martin Henneberger."
Despite his love for bridge and his love of computers, Bart does not play a lot of computer bridge. "It's too addicting. I have work to do."