Chairman's Message - Lockdown Blues

March 26, 2020

Well, we’re not quite 100% locked down, but it feels like it. The streets are deserted, supermarkets are counting people in and out, and we’re getting used to speaking to people from six feet away. This, in time, will pass. The world we wake up to will be different from the world we know. We will have got used to a different type of behaviour, and to doing different things. For many of you, the temporary loss of bridge from your lives will be a great blow. Oddly, my regular partners seem to be showing signs of relief rather than anything else, but that’s by the way. Nothing can replace the feeling of actually going to a bridge club. The friends, the enemies, sitting down, hearing the director announce the movement (prior to changing it five minutes later when the latecomers arrive), and then finally leaning forward to pull the cards from the board for the first hand of the evening. What will it be? A scattered eight count? A respectable opener or – really? So many points that it takes you three goes to count them? Then, as the evening progresses, bemoaning your bad luck during the tea break, and finally waiting for the results. That’s what we can’t have now, that’s what is going to be missing from our lives for the next few months. We’re doing our best to find ways to help eat away at the boredom until we can all get back to normal. We have an on-line league We have a general guide to on-line bridge We have a user guide for the neophyte And we have an excellent piece from Tim Anderson, our Membership Development Officer As you will probably have seen elsewhere on the web site, numbers continue to rise and on Tuesday 24th March we had 64 tables for one of our games on BBO. The price of our BBO games is going up to $1.50 but 50c of that will be going directly to clubs – we intend to do this by reducing the club affiliation fee which will particularly benefit smaller clubs. We are looking at doing something extra over the Easter weekend. At the moment we think that will probably be a ladder, with some extra master points. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to run Swiss Teams, but we may have some extra IMP pairs games. A number of clubs have managed to run their own club-only games, using BBO-approved directors. This, of course, is an excellent idea if you can manage it. One of the ways I’m personally keeping sane during a period of near-lockdown and working from home is not to count upwards (One day in isolation. Two. Three…) but to count down. I have decided, completely arbitrarily, that the current full lockdown will be lifted on April 30th. Consequently, this isn’t Day 7 at home, it’s T minus 35. If the lockdown lasts longer, I’ll just set myself a new target. Try it, it has a surprisingly beneficial effect. Just think, it’s T minus 90 days until you’ll be able to go back to the bridge club, and have another crack at your lifetime nemesis, who always has the luck of the very Devil when he plays against you… Stay safe, stay sane. Ian Payn Chairman, EBU