Bridg­ing the age gap

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By BEN ROGERS

CARD player Re­becca Wood bridg­ing the gen­er­a­tion gap.

The 23-year-old AUT math­e­mat­i­cal sciences stu­dent has just been se­lected for the na­tional women’s bridge team.

It will be a fam­ily af­fair when she rep­re­sents her coun­try be­cause her play­ing part­ner just hap­pens to be her mum, Rachelle Pelk­man.

‘‘Mum had a big break from bridge and I got her back into it by get­ting her to play with me,’’ Wood says.

‘‘You feel like you know what they are think­ing about when you play with fam­ily mem­bers. Other part­ner­ships don’t have that.’’

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The Re­muera res­i­dent started play­ing bridge when she was 16 to help her with crit­i­cal think­ing while study­ing for her NCEA level one ex­ams.

Wood taught her­self on­line and then per­suaded her mum to take her to the Auck­land Bridge Club on Re­muera Rd.

‘‘Mum took me to bridge to scare me off from play­ing the game, but it didn’t work.’’

Wood, a num­bers per­son, was hooked from the get-go.

‘‘There is a lot of logic, there is a lot of prob­lem solv­ing.

‘‘You are al­ways try­ing to work out what the op­po­nents have in their hands.’’

‘‘You have 52 cards to count and you have about three min­utes to work out what ev­ery­one has, it helps with crit­i­cal think­ing.’’

Wood and her mum will rep­re­sent New Zealand at the Asia-Pa­cific Fed­er­a­tion Cham­pi­onship in May and they hope to bring home the ti­tle.

But she will first rep­re­sent the New Zealand youth side in the un­der-26 tour­na­ment start­ing on April 1, also in Bangkok.

Wood’s play­ing part­ner will be from Christchurch.

‘‘It’s re­ally hard play­ing with some­one you don’t know that well,’’ she says.

‘‘You can’t be an­gry at each other, you just have to do your best and you all need to un­der­stand that.’’

Wood says bridge is a lot like 500, where play­ers bid against each other for the num­ber of tricks, but bridge re­quires strate­gies.

‘‘You don’t have to be amaz­ing to play, it’s ac­tu­ally a re­ally fun game,’’ she says.

‘‘There are a lot of play­ers who aren’t great at maths but are still re­ally good play­ers.’’

Wood says the game is be­com­ing more popular and new faces are com­ing into the bridge club all the time. On­line ver­sions are in­tro­duc­ing it to a whole new gen­er­a­tion as one of the most popular card games in the world.

‘‘Just give it a go and en­joy Wood says.

‘‘It’s a re­ally so­cial game and it’s not just a game for 80-year-olds like every­body thinks.’’

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Photo: BEN ROGERS

Build­ing bridges: Re­becca Wood, 23, rep­re­sents a new gen­er­a­tion of bridge play­ers.

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