EBU denied leave to appeal court ruling; VAT case to be heard in March

The EBU is disappointed to report that it has been denied leave to appeal the ruling given following 2015's Judicial Review of Sport England's definition of 'sport', and how it relates to bridge.

At the hearing which took place on Thursday (19th January) Lady Justice Macur determined that despite the arguments put forward by the EBU's legal team (which can be read here), there was insufficient prospect of the decision being overturned to warrant the court holding an appeal hearing.

This is the final action which the EBU will be taking in its current attempts to have Sport England recognise bridge as a 'sport'.

This decision has no impact on the VAT case which will go to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on 2nd March. This was referred to the court by the British courts, in order to seek clarification on the EU's directive that no VAT should be charged on sporting activities, and whether this should apply to bridge. Bridge is already exempt from VAT in a number of EU countries, and it is in the interests of all member states for a clear definition to be sought. 'Brexit' will therefore have no affect on the case, and in addition a positive ruling could results in a rebate on VAT which has previously been paid.

Edwards team wins Silver Plate

The Edwards team, from Derbyshire, have won the Silver Plate, beating the Stevenson team in the final by a single IMP.

Richard Edwards, Alex Hogg, Peter Kelly & Robert Ross played for the winners in the final, with Don Smedley and John Griffin having also played for the team in earlier rounds. They led by 26 IMPs after one-third of the 48 board final, but the Stevenson team (David Stevenson, Liz Commins, Simon Edwards, Julian Merrill, Paddy Murphy, Paul Roberts - all Merseyside & Cheshire) pegged them back, and it was only the result on board 48 - a 12 IMP gain for Edwards - that saw the Derbyshire side take the trophy.

This was the second time this team of six have won the competition - the consolation event for those knocked out of the Gold Cup in the early stages - having been victorious in 2008. Alex and Peter also won in 1999.

Sandra Landy: 1938 - 2017

The EBU is sad to learn of the death of Sandra Landy.

Sandra made an enormous contribution to British and English bridge as a player, an administrator, and teacher. She represented Great Britain in major international competitions on 27 occasions, winning gold medals seven times. She also made 11 appearances for England in the Lady Milne competition and played in England's Camrose Trophy team twice. She was a mentor within the team for many future stars of the game, and also acted as NPC for a number of junior teams, helping to develop the next generation of players. Sandra received the EBU's Diamond Award in January 2016 in recognition of her excellence and success over a sustained period for England's international teams. She was also very successful in domestic bridge, winning the majority of the EBU's major competitions.

She served on the EBU Board for seven years, the Selection Committee for a total of 15 years, and for six years on the Tournament Committee.

For many Sandra's greatest contribution was as a bridge teacher. As well as teaching at a 'local' level she made an enormous contribution to the teaching of bridge nationally through her work in developing 'Bridge for All'. Sandra's articles on the topic were part of English Bridge magazine for almost a decade.

Sue Maxwell, Education Manager of English Bridge Education and Development, and one of Sandra's former colleagues when she worked for the EBU, writes:

    "Sandra’s most enduring legacy to the game was the creation of the Bridge for All Learning programme.
    Sandra was appointed by the EBU in the mid-90s as project manger with a brief to devise a national learning programme. Standard English Acol was devised as the basic system. In 1997 Beginning Bridge Book One and Continuing Bridge Book Two course work books were published. The Really Easy series of companion books soon followed along with system summary cards and practice play books.
    The enduring popularity of the Bridge for All programme still provides new students to the game with a structure within which to learn and play and progress from classroom to club room."

She will be sadly missed by all in the bridge community. WBF President Gianarrigo Rona, in expressing his condolences, said Sandra was "a great champion... but above all (she) was a great person".

Sandra's funeral was held on Friday 13th January at the All Saints Church in Hove.

England 2nd after first weekend of Camrose Trophy

England are in second place after the first weekend of the Camrose Trophy. As host for the weekend, England put homefield advantage to good effect, picking up big wins in the first three matches. A come from behind victory in the fourth match set up a match versus Ireland with top spot at stake. The Irish got off to a strong start, but England kept the deficit small, so Ireland will travel to Scotland in March for second weekend with a narrow lead. Wales are in third, just over 20 VPs back.

England were represented by: Alexander Allfrey & Andrew Robson; Tony Forrester & David Bakhshi; Mike Bell & David Gold; NPC: Martin Jones

Martin contributed a few small articles to our blog, which is available here.

The competition concludes in Scotland on 3rd - 5th March. The team for the second weekend is: Frances Hinden & Graham Osborne, Jeffrey Allerton & Chris Jagger, Neil Rosen & Martin Jones, NPC: David Burn; and they will be seeking to retain the trophy which England won emphatically in 2016.

Hallberg & King, and Rosen team, win main events at Year End Congress

2016 concluded with the traditional Year End Congresses, held in London and Blackpool - the latter hosting again after a two year break when the congress was at Dunkenhalgh.

The main winners were:
Stratified Swiss Pairs - Gunnar Hallberg & Phil King (both London) (see picture here)
Stratified Swiss Teams - Neil Rosen, Anne Rosen (both Middlesex), Jeremy Willans & Ian Draper (both Kent) (main picture)
Open Pairs - Ben Norton (Leics) & Daniel Winter (Yorks) (see picture here)
Mixed Pairs - Szczepan Smoczynski & Gitte Hecht-Johansen (both London) (see picture here)
Really Easy Afternoon - Kay Vowles & Geoff Vowles (both Herts)

More details are available by clicking 'read more' below.

Three in a row for Mould & Holland at Blackpool Year End Congress

2016 concluded with the traditional Year End Congresses, held in London and Blackpool - the latter hosting again after a two year break when the congress was at Dunkenhalgh.

The Stratified Swiss Pairs competition at the Blackpool Year End Congress was won by Alan Mould & John Holland (both Manchester) for the third consecutive year. The Stratified Swiss Teams competition was won by Hannah Cornfield, Rowena Clow (both London), Jason Hackett (Staffs & Shrops) & Richard Bowdery (Berks & Bucks) (see picture here). The Open Pairs was won by Jason Hackett & Richard Bowdery (see picture here). The Mixed Pairs was won by Ron Birch & Lin Birch (both Warks) (see picture here).

More details are available by clicking 'read more' below.

Tournament Bridge in England: 1925-1945

Those who have an interest in bridge history will hopefully enjoy reading this book over the festive period. Written by keen bridge historian Richard Fleet, it looks, as the title suggests, at the competitions that took place during a key period in the game's history. He also focuses on some of the main contributors, personalities, and great players of the era.

Thanks to Richard for all his work in putting this together and for sharing it with us all.

Prize Vouchers - redeem yours by 1st May

Please be aware that prize vouchers - which were last issued at congresses in 2009 (thereafter prizes have been credited directly to your EBU account) - will not be accepted after 1st May 2017.

Please search your drawers to unearth any you may still have. If you find any then please send them to:
Accounts, English Bridge Union, Broadfields, Bicester Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8AZ.

We hope that you will include an entry for a forthcoming congress, or an order from the EBU Shop, so they can be used for payment for that. But if not then they can be credited to your account for future use or withdrawal.

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