Competitors head to Mount for Bridge Congress

The 37th National Bridge Congress is being held in Mount Maunganui this weekend. Supplied photo.

Following the AIMS games, locals will be seeing a different type of sports team around town from the last week of September. 

At first glance they might not look like highly-honed athletes that often book out the Stadium, but for many competing in the National Bridge Congress, these athletes practice for hours a day, travel the country chasing rating points and are at their peak mental state to enable them to concentrate and count cards for 10 hours a day for eight days straight. 

NZ Bridge is hosting the upcoming 37th National Bridge Congress, being held in Mount Maunganui from September 23 to September 30.

This highly anticipated event marks the second time the congress has been held in Mount Maunganui, showcasing the region's strong influence and appeal within the bridge community. 

The National Bridge Congress brings together a diverse array of players, ranging from strong international-level competitors, those who have attended all 37 congresses, to those who have just learnt and are attending for the first time.

This unique blend of players fosters an exciting and enriching environment that promotes the growth and development of bridge across the nation. 

Some of those who have registered already include Adam Kaplan, 27-year-old Bridge professional from NYC and we welcome the Bridge Black team and many of the Australian national team who competed in Morocco at the world champs last month. 

Traditionally attracting more than 700 players throughout the week, this year's congress is, for the first time, part of the World Bridge Tour, attracting international players to New Zealand. The event serves as a platform for players to compete, learn, and network, all under the shared love for this strategic and competitive card game. 

"We are really happy to bring back the National Bridge Congress to Mount Maunganui," says NZ Bridge Congress Manager, Teri Logie, who is also Club Captain for the Mount Maunganui Bridge Club.

"It is a testament to the region's appeal and the strong Bridge community that exists here. This event is a celebration of our game, and we look forward to providing players, both seasoned and aspiring, with an unforgettable week of Bridge, camaraderie, and skill-building opportunities."

The National Bridge Congress brings a range of players, contributing to the Bay of Plenty Tourism with 80 per cent of those attending from outside the Bay, and over 60 players from our friends across the ditch in Australia. 

"Based on early registrations – we are expecting to exceed that this year and it includes some of the young stars attending from abroad who were attracted by the World Tour Status," says NZ Bridge Events Manager, Bridget Hannaway.

"The average length of stay last year was six days and they were more likely to eat out every night bringing a lot of much needed revenue to the region.  

"Throughout the congress, participants can expect an exciting lineup of tournaments, challenging competitions, and social events designed to foster connections and promote the sharing of bridge knowledge. We are very grateful to have received funding support from Tourism BOP, Tauranga City Council, TECT and the NZ Bridge Foundation, to hold this event.

"The scenic coastal location of Mount Maunganui adds to the attraction, offering people an opportunity to enjoy the local environment and hospitality during their downtime."

NZ Bridge invites both local and international bridge players to join in this socially and mentally stimulating event and embrace the joys of Bridge within New Zealand's vibrant community.

For more information and registration details, people are encouraged to visit the official NZ Bridge website at www.playbridge.co.nz.   

About NZ Bridge: 
Bridge is a card game for four players, played as a partnership two against two using points of the compass to designate their position at the table.

They use one pack of cards at a time and the pack contains fifty-two cards (no jokers). Having shuffled the pack the cards are dealt clockwise, one at a time until each player has 13 cards, after which the bidding phase begins.  

Bridge is a game for life. Played by all ages, across the world, Bridge becomes a lifelong fascination and an instant community for all who play it.   

NZ Bridge Inc is the governing organisation that oversees Bridge in New Zealand and is one of 104 countries affiliated to the World Bridge Federation.   

New Zealand Bridge has around 12,700 registered Bridge players who belong to 110 affiliated clubs from Kerikeri in Northland to Invercargill in the South.

The Waikato Bay of Plenty region is the second-largest region for Bridge players in NZ with more than 2000 Bridge players. The game is truly international with millions of registered Bridge players all over the globe.    

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