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Danny MilesBy MYRON LOVE
Last Sunday, Former Winnipegger Danny Miles and his teammates won the 2017 Canadian Bridge Championships which were held in Winnipeg at the Radisson Hotel downtown from April 29 to May 7. 

For Miles, this was the third time is six years that he has been a member of the Canadian Champion bridge foursome.  He was also a member of the 2012 and 2015 winning teams.
In 2012, the winning team represented Canada in the world championships in France. In 2015, Miles and his teammates represented out country in India.
Miles explains that at the world level, there are different tournaments depending on the year.  In years corresponding with the Olympic Games, every country can send an Olympic bridge team to the World Team Olympiad.
Then there is the Bermuda Bowl.  Held in odd-numbered years, the tournament is open only to teams representing each of the World Bridge Federation’s different zones.  Thus, Miles points out, only two team slots are allotted for North America.  The United States sends one team and Canada and Mexico have a playoff to determine which country sends the second team.  Miles’ tournament in India was competing in the Bermuda Bowl.  Miles and his teammates now have to face-off against the top Mexican team to determine which of the two will go to the Bermuda Bowl this year in Lyons in France.
The world championships in even, non-Olympic years are open to anyone.
The Canadian nationals in Winnipeg, Miles reports, drew about 500 bridge players from across the country.  The teams, he says, consist of four to six members. His team included a fellow Torontonian, a player from Vancouver and three Winnipeggers - playing at the highest level –with the team making it to the final eights in the playoffs.
Miles notes that there were also lower levels of competition, women’s teams and seniors teams.
Miles has been playing bridge since he was four years old – and has been a competitive player for the past 25 years.     
“I learned bridge from my baba, Frances (Miles),” he says.  “She taught the whole family. Our family was always playing cards and, as I have always been a numbers guy, I kept playing,” adds Miles who has been working in the financial and investment fields in Toronto for the past 20 years.
The bridge star began playing seriously while attending the University of Manitoba where he won two tournaments during his time there.
“There are so many different skill levels to bridge,” Miles says.  “You keep playing in the hope of getting better.  As you begin to advance to higher levels, you begin encountering players who are better than you and may well wonder if you will ever be as good as they are.  There is so much to learn. It is just a matter of keeping at it.”
At one time, he recalls, he would play every day for a period of time online and enter tournaments once or twice a month. But with a new baby at home, he says, there is not a lot of time to practice.  This past month, he only practiced one day.
While the game is attracting more retirees, people with time and their hands who are looking for some social interaction, not a lot of younger people, at least in North America, are taking up the game, Miles points out.  “In this electronic age, it has been tough to interest younger people in bridge,” he says.
In some European and Asian countries, bridge is being taught in the schools, he reports.  In some Winnipeg schools, volunteers teach bridge. And in Toronto, there is an annual daylong Easter tournament for high school students that attracts up to 500 students.   
Miles says that he gets back to Winnipeg once or twice a year to see his family.  And he adds that his 95-year-old baby is still playing bridge and sometimes calls him for advice.

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