Bridge masters win championship

Michael Hess of Wilton and Gary Miyashiro of West Redding have returned home from the Summer North American Bridge Championships as winners. The pair, along with the other members of their team, Barry Bragin of Prospect, Weiling Zhao of Brookfield, and Susan and Michael Smith of Newington, defeated 22 teams from across the country in the competition that took place July 19-23 in Toronto,

In an email to Wilton Senior Activities Director Lizabeth Doty, where Hess teaches bridge, he said, “I thought our team might do well this week but to actually win the North American championship was beyond expectations.”

Their prize is masterpoints, and “recognition in the bridge community and satisfaction,” Hess said before the event. Hess is a level 5 gold master with more than 2,500 masterpoints. The 85 points he receives from winning this tournament will get him well on his way to the next level, sapphire life master for which he needs 3,500 points.

The team represented District 25 — the New England Bridge Conference — of the American Contract Bridge League in the competition. Hess, Miyashiro, Bragin, and Zhao qualified for the championship after winning a regional tournament in Sturbridge, Mass., in April. They added the Smiths as an extra pair for Toronto.

The original team members all play out of the Newtown Bridge Club at Edmond Town Hall. Miyashiro is president of the club.

Hess teaches bridge at the Wilton Senior Center, Rolling Hills Country Club, and Wilton Continuing Education and in the fall he will teach at Staples High School.