Boss and Robinson win Spring Congress Pairs

Nick Boss and Claire Robinson took the main prize at the Spring Bank Holiday Congress this weekend, winning the A Final of the Pairs event. They finished 2% clear of Martin Jones and Matthew Brown in second, who were another 2% clear of Jason Hackett and Gwynn Davis. The B Final was even less close, with Tony Waterlow and David Kendrick comfortably winning, almost 4% ahead of Bryony Youngs and Michael Byrne, who in turn were 4% ahead of Giles Woodruff and Gerard Thompson. Mike Huggins and Irene Robinson won the Swiss Pairs.

In the Swiss Teams on Monday, the Jones team won all their matches to finish up 20 VPs ahead of Taylor and Hooper (who won the B Stratification) in joint second. Congratulations to David Jones, Gary Watson, Julian Gibson and Malcolm Oliver.

Entries open for 2015 Premier league

Applications are now being taken for the 2015 Premier League. The event will be held on the weekends of 12th–13th September, 31st October – 1st November, and 6th-8th November, with slightly different schedules for Divisions 1 and 2. Please see the event webpage for further details.

The closing date for entries is 31st May 2015. The entry fee is £720.00 per team. Please email your team details to

Bridge - an Olympic sport in 2020?

The World Bridge Federation has been invited by the organisers of the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo to submit an application for bridge to be included in the Games.

Bridge was one of 33 sports specifically approached by the organising committee. After a two-part application process the Tokyo committee will then make a recommendation to the International Olympic Committee for its consideration.

Whilst the likelihood of bridge ultimately being chosen may be small, it is noteworthy that bridge should be included in this list of 'sports', and that it meets the criteria for consideration of the Olympic organising committee.

The Summer Meeting is moving to Eastbourne in 2016

The EBU Board has decided that the Summer Meeting in 2016 and beyond will be moving from Brighton to Eastbourne. The 2015 Summer Meeting will be in Brighton as before.

This decision is based on a number of factors, and takes in to account the feedback received from members in the survey which was undertaken late last year. The move to Eastbourne addresses a number of concerns expressed during the survey – in particular the cost and availability of accommodation and parking in Brighton – whilst maintaining the ‘holiday resort’ location which was appealing to the majority of the respondents. The new venue will also lead to a reduction in the cost of holding the event, and this will be passed on through a reduction in the entry fees. More details on these prices will be available in 2016.

We hope that the move to Eastbourne will be a great success, and the event will be well supported, but that does not mean we aren’t determined to make the 2015 Summer Meeting the best it can be. We will continue to provide the high quality competitions, lectures, and training courses which you have come to expect at the Summer Meeting, and hope that you will join us to say a fond farewell to Brighton.

Those entering the full congress in Brighton in 2015 will receive a £50 discount on their entry for the full congress in Eastbourne in 2016 (juniors entering at half price will receive a £25 reduction). We hope this is further incentive to play in both 2015 and 2016, and make them great events to end one era, and start the next.

Ireland win Teltscher Trophy, England third

The Teltscher Trophy has been won by Ireland. England were third in event - the competition for senior teams from the 'Home Nations', previously known as the Senior Camrose - which took place 15th to 17th May in Gormanstown, Co. Meath.

England were represented by: Brian Senior, Norman Selway, Nick Irens, Tony Forrester, and David Kendrick, with Simon Cochemé as NPC. They are pictured from right to left. They finished on 97.54 VPs after the ten matches, with Ireland first on 123.90, and Scotland second on 111.39.

Simon contributed a blog entry as a prelude to the competition. You can read it here.

Chairman announces scoring software changes

At the Shareholders meeting on Wednesday 13th May the Chairman announced some changes to scoring software which would take place later in the year.

The EBU, most counties, and some clubs, have used Jeff Smith’s scoring program for some time. From October this suite of programs will be managed and supported from Aylesbury and will be renamed as EBUScore with the existing suite of separate programs for pairs, teams etc maintained. We have acquired the suite of programs from Jeff and thank him for his generosity in developing and supporting these programs for some years now at little or no cost to those using them.

We will announce details regarding support for these programs later in the summer. Our intention is that the programs will remain available to clubs at no purchase cost. Newly affiliated clubs will be offered a free copy of the programs. Details about updates and support will follow.

Clubs who currently use Scorebridge or another program may switch to EBUScore if they wish but may continue to use their existing program if that is their preference. The EBU are committed to maintaining the common interface (USEBIO) which allows all compliant scoring programs to talk to EBU systems.

EBUTA Manager wanted

English Bridge Education and Development - the national charity for the promotion and development of bridge - is seeking to appoint someone to the position of EBUTA Manager.

This part time position will involve the day to day running of EBUTA - the organisation for bridge teachers - and the implementation of strategic plans to help the organisation develop and grow.

For more information on this exciting opportunity please visit

Bridge as a sport – the Judicial Review

Bridge has again been in the headlines recently, with reports in the national media on the case involving the EBU, Sport England, and whether ‘bridge is a sport’.

In the most recent hearing Mr Justice Mostyn ruled that a judicial review could be undertaken against Sport England’s refusal to recognise bridge as a sport. This is a first step in the legal process to have Sport England recognise bridge as a sport, so whilst it is not a definitive decision in itself it is an important and positive step towards a favourable ruling and a reversal of Sport England’s position.

Sport England is the organisation which determines which activities are recognised as sports in England, and it chooses to use a 1992 definition provided by the European Sports Charter. This definition refers to “sport and physical recreation”, which Sport England has chosen to interpret as excluding all Mind Sports. The last time Parliament assessed the issue of ‘what is a sport’ was when considering the Charities Act in 2011, and on that occasion it specifically included Mind Sports. The Charity Commission now recognises as ‘sports’, activities which promote health involving physical or mental skill or exertion, and as such includes bridge as a sport. As you will know, English Bridge Education and Development, and some county bridge associations and clubs are now recognised as charities due to the public benefit offered by playing bridge. The EBU therefore believes that the position of Sport England in respect to bridge is contrary to the most recent legislation. It is also at odds with the position of the International Olympic Committee, the European Union, and the governments of other European countries (including Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland), who all recognise bridge as a sport.

A reversal of Sport England’s position would give the opportunity for the EBU, and counties and clubs, to receive funding (whether from national or local sources), which can be used, for example, for the development of playing facilities, or for teaching initiatives, whether for children or adult players. It would also enable bridge to receive greater opportunities to be included in the pursuits available to certain groups. These factors would enable, for example, greater exposure to school children, or to those older people who may be affected by social isolation or cognitive decline. It would also be an important step in the EBU’s case with HMRC regarding VAT.

The EBU hopes that a favourable outcome will be to the benefit of its members, but also to all current, and potential, bridge players in the country, and to society as a whole. We hope that irrespective of personal opinion of what constitutes a ‘sport’, all members will appreciate the inconsistencies in Sport England’s position, and that the benefits of playing bridge deserve the greater exposure that a change in their stance could generate.

Given that bridge is currently in the public’s thoughts we would encourage you to contact your local media, or your local MP (perhaps after May 7th), and extol the virtues of bridge. You need not address the issue of whether it is, or isn’t, a sport – that is something which will ultimately hinge on a legal ruling – but please explain why it is such a worthwhile pursuit and should get the greater prominence and funding which the status of ‘sport’ would allow it to receive. Any positive response which your contribution receives may aid the EBU’s case, but more significantly can help increase interest in bridge in your local area.

Links to press coverage and media interviews are available by reading more...

Annual County TD training programme soon

The annual County TD training programme starts on May 16th with the County TD Preparation Day to be held at the Aylesbury office, followed in October by the 2-day County Course at the Coventry Hilton.

Full details are available here.

Garden Cities finalists known

The Regional Finals of the Garden Cities trophy took place on 9th May in four locations. The top two teams at each qualified for the National Finals, which will take place on 13th June.

Northern Final
1st Bolton BC Lancashire Jeff Smith, Austin Barnes, Rod Greenhalgh, Stuart Norris, Paul Williams, Hilda Williams, Desmond King, Mike Nicholson
2nd Manchester BC Manchester Catherine Draper, Andrew Woodcock, Michael Byrne, Michael Newman, Alan Mould, John Holland, John Hassett, Jeff Morris
Midlands Final
1st Coventry & N. Warks BC Warwickshire Stephen Green, Martin Jones, David Kenward, Roger Bryant, George Cuthbertson, Ian Handley, Garry Watson, David Jones
2nd Cambridge BC Cambs & Hunts Paul Barden, Jonathan Mestel, Julian Wightwick, Catherine Jagger, Catherine Curtis, Paul Fegarty, Jon Cooke, David Kendrick
South-West Final
1st Bristol BC Avon Aidan Schofield, Mike Huggins, Steve Tomlinson, Robert Covill, Tim Brierley, Mike Elliott, Trevor Ward, Rob Lawy
2nd Allendale BC Dorset Jeremy Dhondy, Mike Pownall, Mark Hooper, Krzysztof Ginda, John Gardner, Margot Wilson-Gardner, James Dutton, Shirley Dutton
South-East Final
1st Chislehurst BC Kent Derek Patterson, Keith Ashcroft, Jon Chapman, Bill Charlwood, John Griffiths, John Hemington, Peter Law, Michael Prior
2nd Selsdon BC Surrey Denny Wade, Jagdish Aggarwal, Robin Clarke, Rosemarie Thompson, Steve Irwin, Tony Cherrett, Nick Press, David Elvin
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