Tue, 14 May 2002

Bridge players vying for Rp 30m, HK trip

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

After completing the first five rounds of the National Bridge League (LBN) on Sunday, local bridge players are now set for the final round of matches with high hopes of winning the competition, and a place on the national team for the Intercity Bridge Championship in Hong Kong.

The league, which began in January, plays each series at the end of the month in 16 cities and towns. The final series will be on June 2.

Bert Toar Polii, from the organizing committee, said that in Jakarta alone there were 122 pairs involved in the competition. But only 32 appeared in Sunday's matches at the Bulungan Bridge Center, in which the pairing of Mas Prananta and Bayusunu ended up on top with 337.2 points.

The committee has yet to finalize the computing so as to give out the national rankings prior to the final series.

Forty-eight pairs will qualify for the semifinals at the end of June. The number of qualifiers will be based on a quota system, which the committee has drawn up for the provinces.

The quota varies from province to province, taking into account the number of bridge masters in each.

"Jakarta, which is home to a lot of "Life Masters" should see more qualifiers to the semifinals than any other province," Bert said.

Fourteen pairs will go to the finals, along with another 10 pairs, who get automatic berths, due to their strong national rankings. The semifinals and finals will run for four days from June 29 to July 2.

Bert said that apart from the large portion of the Rp 30 million they were to be awarded, the winners and runner-ups would be invited to the Intercity Bridge Championship, which is scheduled for July 30 to August 4.

"We also want to propose to Gabsi (the country's contract- bridge governing body) that those two best pairs be included in a national team for international tournaments in the future," he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

"I think that (the league) is one of the fairest means of selecting players. It should ensure that we are able to keep a link between newcomers and veterans," he said, himself the winner of the 1986 Intercity event, where he paired with Memed Hendrawan.