Warwickshire juniors visit House of Lords

On Wednesday junior bridge players, some from Bentley Heath C of E Primary School and others who are members of Warwickshire CBA, visited the House of Lords to play bridge and minibridge with the Peers.

The visit, arranged by Baroness Henig and members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Bridge, began with a tour of the Palace of Westminster, before the children played bridge and minibridge with six Peers and EBU Board Member, and leading international player, Heather Dhondy.

The scores were very close, with all players acquitting themselves well, though ultimately the juniors narrowly lost.

Prior to the visit BBC Coventry and Warwickshire visited Bentley Heath to play a hand of minibridge, and also talked to the Chairman of the APPG, Bob Blackman MP.

Photographs from the visit are available below from Warwickshire CBA.

7th European Open Championships underway

The 7th European Open Championships has started in Tromso, Norway. Many English players are involved in the event which includes pairs and teams events in open, women's, senior and mixed categories, and runs from Saturday 27th June to Saturday 11th July.

For information on the progress of the English players, please use the read more link.

The event is being shown on Bridge Base Online with play starting at 10am and concluding around 7:30pm on most days.

New Members Area available to preview

We've been hard at work on updating the Members Area and are pleased to release a beta preview today, which we're calling My EBU. It's not a finished product and there are a few features still missing, but we're excited about some of the changes and wanted to let members take a look at what we've been up to and try out some of the new things.

Notable changes include a much revamped sessions history, which shows a lot more data about team games, and a brand new NGS information page with a new graph and a log of how your NGS grade has changed recently.

Manchester wins National Inter-County Leagues Finals

The National Finals of the Inter-County Leagues took place at Coventry Bridge Club on Sunday 28th June.

Congratulations to Manchester who won the 'A' final, Hertfordshire for winning the 'B' final, and to Devon who won the 'C' final.

Pictured are the Manchester team (L to R: John Currie, Gary Hyett, Rodney Lighton, Michael Newman Michael Byrne, John Holland, Tom Slater, Alec Smalley).

50 days to the Summer Meeting - get your £50 discount

On Thursday 25th June there were 50 days until the start of the Summer Meeting so start planning your visit, arranging your partners, and booking your accommodation. You can get information on much of this through the ‘pre-congress’ page, which also has a comments board where you can try to find a partner or team mates for the event. We hope you will be joining us to make the last Summer Meeting at Brighton a great event.

Entries are now being taken for all the events – the Weekend Challenge and One Day Events, the Really Easy Congress, the Mercian Travel Seniors Congress, the Under 25 Pairs, and the TD training courses.

If you wish to enter please contact the Competitions Department on 01296 317203/219 or by email to comps@ebu.co.uk, or you can book online through the members area.

Those that book for the full congress will be eligible for a £50 discount off entry to the full congress in 2016 when the event moves to Eastbourne. We hope this makes entering the full congress great value, even if you don’t play on every day, and you will join us for a large portion of the event.

We look forward to seeing you in Brighton.

Children want to play more games, survey says

Simon Barb of English Bridge Education and Development spoke on Wednesday to BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester about young people playing card games. This was in response to an article in the national media saying that young people and their families are playing fewer card and board games.

Simon talks about the work of the charity in introducing bridge to school children, and the benefits it offers, and the appetite which he believes exists amongst young people for such games.

The latter point is confirmed in the survey which reports that despite the fall in numbers playing, children actually showed a desire for playing such games, with 67% per cent saying they'd like to give them a try.

EBED and the EBU are working to provide opportunities for young people to play, including the Junior Teach-In (see below) which gives children of all ages and abilities the chance to learn bridge, or improve their game.

All youngsters welcome at the Junior Teach-In

The Junior Teach-In will take place in August, and is a great weekend for all young bridge players - whether they are learning the game for the first time, or are already established players.

Everyone under 21 is welcome regardless of ability or previous experience, and gives a chance to learn to play bridge - or improve their game - meet like-minded people, and have a great weekend of bridge, sports and social activities.

Everyone can learn to play - younger players can learn the basics of the game; older teenagers can join an accelerated course and go from ‘novice to player’ in a weekend. Experience of other card games is not essential. No matter what your background, this game is enjoyable for all.

Participants can take part in the EBED Junior Awards Scheme and earn Certificates of Achievement during the weekend as they progress through the levels.

Whilst the emphasis is on playing bridge, there is plenty of time in the schedule for socialising and other sporting activities, including the annual rounders match.

Accompanying adults are welcome, and there is a dedicated bridge programme for those ‘non-youngsters’ wishing to play.

The event is held at Loughborough University on 28th - 30th August 2015. For more information please see the website of the event organisers, English Bridge Education and Development, the national charity for the promotion and development of bridge. An early bird price is available until 10th July.

Phil Philbrick: 1918 – 2015

Phil (Fred) Philbrick, a former member of the EBU board, has died aged 96.

Phil served on the EBU board during the 1970s, during which time he helped restructure the EBU’s teaching programme, and was also involved in bridge administration in many forms and in many locations. He served on the EBU’s Laws & Ethics committee, worked as a tournament director, including in Malaysia having served in the Far East during World War II, and later ran many bridge holidays, both in the UK and overseas, in conjunction with Margaret Hancock. Phil was described as an archetypal Sergeant Major, who was very organised and ran his Bridge events with military precision, but also with a good sense of humour

An accomplished player, and excellent administrator, Phil was also equally enthusiastic about introducing bridge to a new audience. He founded clubs in Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and three in Salisbury, including a now defunct club at the Spinal Injury Unit at Odstock Hospital. Even when he and his wife had to go into a care home a few years ago, he still managed to get into Salisbury in his buggy and arrange for bridge sessions to take place in the home. He was very active in charity work, which was celebrated in 1980 by his becoming first a life member of St John’s, then being appointed an Officer of the Order.

He married Cecilia in 1944, and despite his busy work life and numerous pastimes, still found time to have six children.

This obituary includes content written by Fred Hotchen and John Polley

The funeral will be on 2nd July 2015 at 12:00 in The Church of The Holy Redeemer, Bishopdown Salisbury. All enquiries to Will Case & Partners, Tel : 01722-414521. The family asks that any donations in his memory be made to British Heart Foundation or Age UK.

Extra places may be available at Rhodes Congress

Following the previous announcement that the Bridge Overseas Rhodes Congress was full we have been able to negotiate a small increase in the capacity. There may therefore be a small number of places available.

Please contact Bridge Overseas on 0800 0346 246 to enquire about the availability of accommodation and to make a booking. Space is limited, and places may not be available, so please ensure you have booked with Bridge Overseas before booking flights or any other travel plans.

The Bridge Overseas Rhodes Congress takes place in Ixia on 7th to 13th October.

Those who have booked accommodation with Bridge Overseas, but have not yet paid the bridge congress fees to the EBU, are guaranteed a place on the congress, but should pay their bridge fees to the EBU in the near future. To do so please contact the Competitions Department on 01296 317203.

Bridge won't be part of the 2020 Olympics

The shortlist has been announced for the second stage of the application process for sports wishing to join the Olympics programme for 2020. Sadly bridge did not make the list.

Last month the World Bridge Federation was specifically approached by the organising committee and asked to make a proposal to be included amongst the sports at the Tokyo games.

The eight shortlisted federations are: baseball/softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, surfing and wushu.

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