Young bridge player heading for Turkey

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 13/05/2014
Vicki Boutone
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/ Fairfax NZ
HONING SKILLS: Lochiel teen Vicki Boutone is heading to Turkey in August this year to compete in the bridge World Youth Teams Championship.

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When people think of the game bridge, a thriving youth social scene complete with international travel doesn't often come to mind.

Lochiel teenager Vicki Bouton is proof the older player stereotype is not completely accurate. The 18-year-old was selected to play for the New Zealand youth bridge team at the world championships in Turkey later this year.

"It has got that stereotype [of older players]," Bouton said.

"It's a lot of fun. The people are pretty cool."

She was the only girl in the six-strong team, which includes Otago players Sam Coutts, Sam Bailey and Glenn Coutts, and North Islanders Matthew Brown and Nick Jacob.

Bouton, who had been playing since she was 11, said she really only took up the game after her father encouraged her to play.

By the time she was 15, she was hooked, she said. The allure of the game was simple - it was a lot of fun, and provided a good challenge.

"It's mentally challenging, you've got to be thinking all the time."

Her game tactic was straightforward too.

"I'm really friendly, I'll just talk them into submission," she said.

Talking and socialising made up a large part of the game for the youth players. Most of Bouton's friends were bridge players and she met her boyfriend, who was also in the Turkey-bound team, through bridge too, she said.

Since the game was all about teamwork and partnership, it was difficult to practice ahead of worlds, but there were always tournaments where she could hone her skill, as well as playing online, she said.

The team will travel to Istanbul, Turkey, in August.

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