Free entries

The view was expressed that it had been a mistake to do away with the free entries for the Ranked Masters Pairs for those who gained landmark promotions, since it was a good introduction to tournament bridge and they often brought paying partners with them.

A suggestion was made that we should offer a number of free entries to the Summer Meeting to those who had never been to one.


  • As repeated on a separate forum but related to this

    My thought would be to provide an incentive to both a new pair (i.e. has not attended this type of event for the last few years or at all) (e.g. half price entry) and to the associated club (a half price entry to a regular attendee/pair). If neither were going to attend, then it's a win for the county/EBU, and if only the new player wasn't going to attend, then it's an increased entry with no change in revenue (which isn't a problem).

  • I suspect one of the problems getting new players to attend congresses is that they simply don't know what to expect, and maybe suspect that it isn't really intended for people like them. Winning a prize in, say, a county competition that provided free entry to Eastbourne might help with persuading people in that position that yes, we do want them at the congress, and also give them the incentive to give it a go because the cost is less.

    (I also think perhaps the more regular attenders could help overcome this fear of the unknown by each thinking of a pair at their local club who they think might actually find attendance worthwhile and asking them whether they had thought of going - and providing a bit of an explanation of why they should, if they seem at all interested....)

  • Bear in mind there might be some pairs comprised of an experienced player and someone attending for the first time. I suggest offering the free entry at player rather than pair level.

    However, as well as that how about offering a deal that if a pair contains one player who has not played any comparable* EBU competition before then both players in the partnership get free entry? That might encourage some experienced tournament players to offer a game to members of their club they know who would like to give it a try (especially if you adopt the suggestion of a parallel handicap event, as suggested in another thread).

    (Encouraging experienced tournament players to pair up with newcomers seems to me a great way of giving the newcomer confidence to attend in the first place and is likely to increase the chance they come back, hopefully next time with a regular partner. In fact, under my suggestion, that newcomer could get two free entries in a row if the next time they bring a partner who has not themselves played in any comparable EBU competition.)

    (* You could group certain events / competitions to define comparability for this purpose.)

  • I love Alan's point about just gently encouraging others by word of mouth. When Brighton was in decline I had just started teaching and said to my class of ten: "you love bridge, and you love the seaside, why not try Brighton"
    They hadn't heard all the bad press about cost and parking so looked into it and..... seven out of 10 went to the really easy and had a great time....

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • How about giving free entries to a revitalised Eastbourne mid week programme as prizes from the EBU Sim Pairs competitions? You could have stratified prizes so everyone got a chance. The prizes could be funded from the Sims Entries and limited to one per person per year.
    You could do the same with Funbridge - have a monthly 'prize' pairs with free entries to Eastbourne midweek funded from the (possibly slightly increased) Entries.

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

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