Junior bridge and minibridge lessons this summer

There are a number of clubs and organisations which are running bridge and minibridge sessions during the summer, giving youngsters a fun way to spend some of their school holidays, and allowing them to take their first steps in bridge.

A list is available on the EBED website. If you know of any others then please let us know.

EBED will also be holding the annual Junior Teach-In at Loughborough University on 1st-3rd September - see here for more details.

Bridge is a sport, says preliminary ruling in European Court VAT case

We are very pleased that a report prepared by the European Court of Justice has concluded that contract bridge should be considered a sport for VAT purposes.

This is a non-binding recommendation, but if confirmed later this year the EBU would no longer need to charge VAT on entry fees to its competitions, and would receive a rebate on VAT which it had previously paid. This will have huge benefits as it will allow us to invest further in the game, and make entries to EBU competitions cheaper, thus allowing more people to enjoy playing bridge, and enabling more to experience the social and mental benefits that playing bridge offers. The final judgement is expected in the autumn.

Advocate General Maciej Szpunar gave his opinion that for the purposes of the VAT exemption a definition of ‘sport’ had different components, key among which was that it was intended to be understood as “training of mental or physical fitness in a way that is generally beneficial to the health and well-being of citizens”. He recognised that bridge met these criteria and also that the International Olympic Committee was one of a number of organisations which “expressly include mental sports or endorse activities without a physical element”, concluding that this implies that they be “generally regarded as similar to established sports”.

EBU Chairman, Jeremy Dhondy, welcomed the Advocate General’s report, saying:

    “I am delighted at this decision made today which I very much hope will be upheld by the judges who heard the case. It is a vindication of our view that bridge should be regarded as a sport with all the advantages that brings both for bridge as a game and also for our members and prospective members. We want our game to play its full part as an activity to promote social inclusion and welcome the judgement of the European Court.”

Update: The case was discussed on Radio 4's 'Law in Action' on Tuesday 20th June. You can listen to that here (scroll to 23:04).

Maurice Freedman: 1934-2017

Middlesex CBA have reported the death of Maurice Freedman. Maurice made a significant contribution to bridge in London, Middlesex and Berks & Bucks, and played in the first friendly international between England and the Netherlands. His obituary is on the MCBA website.

European Open Championships continue this week

The European Open Championships, taking place in Montecatini, in Italy, continue this week with Open, Women's & Seniors Teams, and Open, Women's & Seniors Pairs competitions.

Success for English players was in short supply in the first week, though Tracy Capal and David Sherman finished second in the EBL Cup, just 0.06% behind the winners.

There are many EBU members taking part in the various competitions - lists of the participants can seen via this link.

There is coverage of the event on Bridge Base Online from 9:30am to the early evening each day.

Also at the event, the inaugural class of the EBL Hall of Fame will be inducted, with Nicola Smith and John Holland amongst those who will be honoured.

Entries open for European Open Team trials

The EBU will hold trials for pairs to represent the England Open Team in the 2018 European Team Championships.
The trials, scored by Ximps, will be held over 4 full days, 12th to 15th January 2018, at the Young Chelsea BC. The top two pairs will be selected for the team, plus Tony Forrester & Andrew Robson who have been pre-selected.
The number of pairs in the trials will be limited. Applications should be made to dawn@ebu.co.uk by 7th November 2017. Accepted pairs will be notified by 10th November. The cost of entry is £150 per player.

Change of venue for Northern Midweek Congress & Autumn Really Easy Weekend

Due to circumstances beyond our control it has been necessary to change the venue for the Northern Midweek Congress. It will now be held in Harrogate, and not in Wakefield as previously advertised. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

The congress takes place Tuesday 22nd to Thursday 24th August, with a Championship Pairs on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a Swiss Teams on Thursday.

It has also been necessary to change the venue of the Really Easy Weekend in October. It will now be held in Warwick, rather than Stratford-upon-Avon.

Really Easy weekends are 'house parties', designed for novice players, below the rank of Master and lower than a Jack on the NGS scale.

Kent wins Pachabo Cup

The Pachabo Cup has been won by the Kent team of Peter Law, Phil Bailey, Michael Hampton & Patrick Collins.

The Pachabo Cup is contested by the holders of the teams-of-four Championship of each County Association of EBU, and 29 teams took part in the event held on 10th - 11th June. It uses a hybrid system of scoring, combining both 'point-a-board' and IMPs converted to VPs.

Kent finished on 200.5 points, with the Manchester team of Andrew Woodcock, Catherine Draper, John Hassett & Jeff Morris second on 197. Staffs & Shrops were third with 193 and Dorset fourth with 188.5.

Universal Membership rebates processed

Members who have played more than 150 club sessions in the 2016-17 financial year (1st April to 31st March) are entitled to a rebate on the Universal Membership subscription payments which they have paid. These rebates have been processed and are being held as credits on the members' EBU accounts. If you have a rebate you can see it by logging in to My EBU (for more details on this, click 'read more').

These credits can be used for entry to competitions or for purchase through The Bridge Warehouse.

Please note: these credits cannot be applied online - to use a credit for purchases or entries please telephone the Competitions Department (01296 317203) or Bridge Warehouse (01296 397851).

If you would prefer to have your credit transferred to you by BACS, then please contact julie@ebu.co.uk or call 01296 317200.

Laws of Duplicate Bridge to be updated in 2017

The World Bridge Federation will be updating the Laws of Duplicate Bridge in 2017, and these will come in to effect in competitions in England from the start of August.

You can buy a copy of the new law book now.

Please note that the WBF have notified us of two errors in the text - see here for more details.

This video from the EBU's Chief Tournament Director, Gordon Rainsford, explains a little more about the introduction of the laws, and the impact it will have on some of the more commonly occurring situations - those covered in our 'How Can I Help You?' series of videos.

Courses will be organised by English Bridge Education and Development to help TDs update their knowledge of the Laws. More information on those will be available soon.

Welcome to three newly affiliated clubs

Welcome to three clubs which have recently affiliated with the EBU:

  • Cutthorpe Friendly Afternoon BC, Derbyshire - a new, friendly club, which plays at Cutthorpe Village Hall in Chesterfield. They start on 13th July, and there will be sessions on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, plus Sim Pairs and 'full day' events.
  • Market Harborough BC, Leicestershire - an established club in the centre of the town, which plays on Monday evenings.
  • Friends BC, Middlesex - They play in Hatch End, and will be hosting heats of Sim Pairs during the summer, with regular weekly sessions starting in September
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