Systems restrictions and strength of fields

One member felt that it would be an improvement to limit the permitted systems.

Another made the point that as our events have become smaller, so too have they become stronger. He said that whereas he would in the past have expected to come in the middle of the field, nowadays that is much harder to achieve. The term "cannon fodder" was used by more than one person from the floor.


  • i agree that the reduction in numbers makes the average standard stronger. This deters weaker players from entering reducing field sizes still further. Although we were amongst the weaker players we had no issues of poor behaviour with opponents during the recent congress. The most enjoyable opponents to play against were often the strongest players (despite the result)

  • I don't think that systems should be restricted in main events - at the moment they are Level 4, the same as most club events, so if systems were restricted it would actually mean that club events were less restricted, would it not?

    I actually think that the Jack High events should be Level 4 as well - Level 2 seems bizarre for that event when I haven't seen anyone playing in them who isn't used to club bridge which would be at Level 4.

  • I am sure that level-4 systems (confusion) plays a much smaller part in good players' scores than does simple card play.

    I am sure that (defending against ) level-4 system plays a much smaller part than bad behaviour in discouraging newcomers from playing in these events.

    The extra hassle created by restricting system is therefore not worthwhile.

  • My experience is that what puts players off moving to the environment of better qualified players is playing against complex and incomprehensible systems. It's very off-putting to have every bid alerted.
    I much prefer playing against players who more or less play the same system as I do.


  • edited September 2019

    I played in a club pairs challenge final event yesterday (i.e. masterpoint winners in a given week at club level were invited to play in a 36-board multiple pairs event at county level), and was pleased to see lots of people who rarely play in county competitions (with many who had never played at all). The event was played with almost all pairs having very standard Acol systems so that wasn't a problem. However, a combination of some very tricky boards (not the county's fault of course; just the nature of a "strange" set of random boards) and these newcomers inevitably struggling to score highly led to a few of the pairs I spoke to saying they wouldn't want to return. I should emphasise that the event was very well organised with a tea break, so it was purely the strength of field that acted as a deterrent.

    There are very few county events anymore that are targeted at these types of players - those willing to play at county level but needing an incentive (e.g. having qualified) and not necessarily the strongest - could counties be tempted to heavily subsidise a nine-high type one-day event? I was also thinking that it could be run as two sessions - an 18-board qualifier and then an A and B final (top half and bottom half). In that scenario, everyone would be playing at a level they are comfortable at, and 3/4s of the field will get 50%+ in either the first or second session. It could be combined with a seminar beforehand or some sort of introduction by the county, and winners could be offered a cup and free entry to an EBU jack-high congress (instead of a cash prize).

    I should add that this club pairs format is already very effective in attracting players who don't often play in other county events, and I suspect the fact that you've qualified is one of the main incentives here. Perhaps clubs could run a nine-high ladder, with the top X individuals qualifying (using an individual ladder so that they can pair up people who are free for the "final") - if the ladder requires a large number of sessions, then many of clubs' regular attendees (who would presumably be more interested compared to infrequent visitors) would qualify just by exceeding their NGS grade once in a while.

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