My Eastbourne proposal

Given the complaints about lack of activity, I'll add this to the discussion. Some of the ideas will look familiar to those who have read my posts in other threads.

I think the way forward for Eastbourne is -
* No Seniors Congress running alongside.
* Midweek events lasting a day or two, not single-session stuff.
* Pairs events at the start of the week, Teams events at the end of the week. That way, it's very easy for a pair to decide to stay for the event after the Harold Poster, or for a team to decide to turn up for the event before the Four Stars.

Something like this:

First Weekend - Harold Poster

Sunday evening+Monday - Three-session IMP pairs with qualifier/semi-final/final (all-play-all). Monday evening consolation final could be IMPs with overtricks not counting, ~6 minutes per board.

Tuesday - Barometered pairs, perhaps.

Wednesday-Friday afternoon - A major teams event (hopefully).
* Day 1 = six groups, seeded, you play a round-robin within your group. Top two qualify from each group.
* Day 2 = Qualifiers play two knockout matches, playing down to three remaining teams. Meanwhile, the non-qualifiers play a swiss; this serves both as a consolation event, and, for the leader at the appropriate point, a way into the semi-finals of the main event. The day finishes with the semi-finals and the conclusion of the consolation swiss.
* Day 3 = Final of the teams (32 boards). Non-qualifiers, and new arrivals, play a BAM.

Second Weekend - Four Stars.

In theory I'd like to find room for a Patton-scored Swiss Teams in there somewhere, but I think it would be better to try this out elsewhere first.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • Micky
    I like this very much with only one exception...
    I'm normally exhausted at the end of the Harold Poster Pairs so would like Sunday evening off
    So maybe run your follow-on Pairs on Monday/Tuesday?
    I like the Teams idea very much indeed... would you allow a decent dinner break?

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • edited September 2019

    @Peter said:
    Micky
    I like this very much with only one exception...
    I'm normally exhausted at the end of the Harold Poster Pairs so would like Sunday evening off
    So maybe run your follow-on Pairs on Monday/Tuesday?
    I like the Teams idea very much indeed... would you allow a decent dinner break?

    Hey Peter, thanks for the positive feedback. Interesting idea - if not starting a new event on the first Sunday evening, it would probably be better to have the Four Stars the first weekend and the Harold Poster the second weekend.

    Given that the Harold Poster has a definite finish time, and the Four Stars does not, this would make more sense in terms of travel arrangements too - better to have the HP last (so people can get home, book train tickets in advance, etc) rather than having it the first weekend (when we would rather people were staying for the next event!).

    I think this schedule is an improvement on the one above:

    • 1st weekend - Four Stars.
    • Sunday evening - Single-session BAM (would probably start before the Four Stars finals finished).
    • Mon - Group stages for my KO event as above.
    • Tues - 2*knockout matches, plus second-chance swiss.
    • Weds - Semi-finals and final of KO. Could potentially have a "B-final" as well consisting of 2nd-6th from the Swiss and the three teams that lost in the knockout on the Tuesday evening. Patton Swiss Teams for non-qualifiers.
    • Thurs - Midweek pairs qualifier.
    • Fri daytime - Midweek pairs, all-play-all final (this session can be longer due to the later start on Friday evening).
    • 2nd weekend - Harold Poster.
  • I think these ideas have a lot of merit. However, there is a problem with attracting people to play in multi-session events, particularly since many of the non-expert pairs prefer to go for a walk or enjoy the seaside in Eastbourne during the afternoon (and arguably are the types of players that we need to do more to attract). Meanwhile, local pairs who came for a couple of afternoon sessions would not want to commit to longer events. The other problem lies in persuading the EBU to completely change the events that they offer, when many of the trophies or awards offered have a reasonably long tradition (not that tradition is a reason to avoid change!).

    If a way could be devised such that pairs/teams can enter events for single sessions, that could be more popular. For example, in your scenario, you would ideally have something like the following:

    Mon pm - Group stage for KO
    Mon eve - Open event for pm qualifiers; More groups for KO (non-qualifiers from pm have second chance and new players can still join at this stage)
    Tue - Knockout matches; Second-chance swiss (with the opportunity to join in the evening / withdraw after the afternoon; Open to non-players on Monday)
    Wed - Knockout finals; B Final and Hybrid Swiss Teams (again with the opportunity to join in the evening / withdraw after the afternoon)
    Thu - Midweek pairs qualifier (people can play in only 1 of the 2 sessions but cannot qualify)
    Fri - Midweek final, Open event for non-players on Thursday

    The biggest issue with many of these is not having enough people to make these viable... (particularly the midweek KO teams which has proved problematic in recent years).

    I personally have no issue with swapping around the pairs and teams, but I can't say I know much about the logistics. It's worth noting though that many of the timing changes are to allow people to have dinner at a more suitable time, so moving events around to "take advantage" of these may defeat the point of that. I'd also hope that the speedball events are retained (particularly as a junior) - could there be a 10am-11:30 speedball-style event on 1 or 2 days as a trial?

    The core issue is people only wanting to play 1 session, but this structure could help make events more interesting for those staying throughout the week.

  • Dropping out of Swiss events is common in the States - pairs who feel they can't do well any more cut their losses and either take the rest of the session off or find another event to play in. I suspect that "non-qualifying drop-ins" would be more of a headache for TDs. But, certainly, new entrants could be accepted for the consolation events on the Wednesday, and the Friday afternoon, in my schedule; and there could be strategically timed Jack-high events.

    Regarding the existing Eastbourne events - many of them have already become sims which just happen to have a heat at Eastbourne. I see no reason why the Eastbourne heat should be sacrosanct.

  • edited October 2019

    If we did go for a pairs end of the week, and a teams end of the week
    Then something like an Andrew Robson MasterClass on the Wednesday might encourage people to stay the whole ten days........

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • I think it's central to the mid-week events that people can play in as many or as few as they want, and that they will often look to play with many different partners, often not deciding until the last minute whether they are going to play. As such I don't think multi-session events are a good idea, though two-session events might be. However, I do think we could do something to give extra interest to those who play in most of them. Perhaps a ladder based on place-points from all the mid-week events? That would mean that the more events you played in, the better your chances.

    Also MickyB's proposed mid-week teams event assumes a significant entry, which I don't think is supported by the uptake of the mid-week teams in its final years.

  • edited October 2019

    @gordonrainsford said:
    I think it's central to the mid-week events that people can play in as many or as few as they want, and that they will often look to play with many different partners, often not deciding until the last minute whether they are going to play.

    If I had to sum up my thoughts on how the EBU calendar could be improved into one sentence, it would be, "not all congresses need to appeal to all players; but all events within each congress should try to appeal to the same players".

    I've suggested elsewhere that we should have "a mixed congress" and a "restricted NGS congress". No-one is going to play bridge every weekend, but once you've got players attending one event, it's relatively easy to get them to stay for another event the next day.

    Our current Eastbourne schedule fails this test, as the midweek events don't appeal to most of the weekend players. There are people who, right now, would take the view,

    "I am interested in the two weekend events, but I have no interest in the midweek stuff. I can't be bothered travelling to Eastbourne twice, so I'll just play one of the weekends"

    who, with my schedule, would stay for 4, 6 or 10 days.

    If wanting to keep the "single-session seaside congress" alive, I think it would be better to hold it separately, over a long weekend. Perhaps make Scarborough the congress for single-session events (with a ladder), and Eastbourne the congress for multiple-day events?

    @gordonrainsford said:
    Also MickyB's proposed mid-week teams event assumes a significant entry, which I don't think is supported by the uptake of the mid-week teams in its final years.

    I don't think that's a fair comparison, for the reasons I've outlined above. The old midweek KO wouldn't appeal to anyone who -
    * didn't want to stay for five days.
    * had no interest in the evening (single-session, pairs or mixed) events.
    * wanted to play more teams bridge if they were knocked out.

    This schedule would get some of the teams who were playing the weekend to stay for longer; it may also attract entries to both teams events (especially from abroad) by making the trip worthwhile.

  • This seems to have evolved into a wider discussion of the best way forward for Eastbourne Midweek
    Let's not forget the very good points, including several by David Muller in the original E/B Midweek Thread.
    If Midweek is to be saved we probably need a paradigm shift somewhere
    Which is going to mean letting some things go (like when you prune a tree) in order to allow new growth

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • I think Gordon correctly describes the views of the current midweek players, who are enjoying a week at the seaside with the chance to play a bit more bridge than they usually would on holiday.

    But midweek is not sustainable with just those players. I was one of them - we had 12 tables throughout. It's not good, and it's getting worse.

    I agree with Mike's plan because I think the way to revitalize the Summer Meeting is to give our stronger players a reason to stay for the week. A major new teams event seems to be the most likely way to achieve that. I like the plan of starting teams on the Monday, and starting pairs on either Wednesday evening or Thursday. Personally I'd have the final of the teams played concurrently with the pairs event on Thursday, in order to allow for longer matches in the knockout phase.

    Of course, you couldn't just slip a midweek teams event back into the schedule and expect to get a large entry. But I think it has a chance of working if you make a big enough deal of it. Tell people that we have a major new event in the calendar, and that it's going to be our equivalent of the ACBL's Spingold/Vanderbilt. Play long matches in the later rounds, and give plenty of master points. This type of event can still attract those players who aren't right at the top of the game, provided that it's structured so that they always get to play a few matches against good teams, and the consolation events are sufficiently interesting.

  • edited October 2019

    @gordonrainsford said:
    I think it's central to the mid-week events that people can play in as many or as few as they want, and that they will often look to play with many different partners, often not deciding until the last minute whether they are going to play. As such I don't think multi-session events are a good idea, though two-session events might be. However, I do think we could do something to give extra interest to those who play in most of them. Perhaps a ladder based on place-points from all the mid-week events? That would mean that the more events you played in, the better your chances.

    Good points Gordon.... then how about:

    Fri/Sat/Sun: Harold Poster Pairs

    Mon: Afternoon Midweek Pairs Qualifier (maybe bracketed); Evening PWE (Countrywide) [No Seniors Pairs]
    Tue: Afternoon Midweek Pairs Finals(Top; Mid; Other/New); Evening GCH Fox (Countrywide) [No Senior Pairs]

    Wed: Aft Open Midweek Swiss Teams (replaces Senior S/T, same format); Eve Mixed Pivot Teams (Countrywide)
    Thu: Aft Open Midweek Swiss Teams (replaces Senior S/T, same format); Eve Mixed Pairs (Countrywide)

    Fri: Afternoon(A) :Midweek Top 14 All play all Final (Top 14 Pairs based on highest 3 midweek Eastbourne finishes)
    Fri Afternoon (B): If sufficient interest a 'Next 14 Midweek B Final as Above'
    Fri Afternoon Open Pairs of some format

    Fri Eve/Sat/Sun: Four Star Teams

    I realise some work needs to be done on an algorithm to compute 'highest three midweek finishes'
    but I'm sure it could be done and could add that extra element you were seeking

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • Hi Peter,

    I think your suggestions above could work really well, and they all offer the opportunity to only play one-session in theory while making it a bit more interesting for those staying for both during the afternoons. There's the added bonus too of retaining the midweek evening trophy competitions, although as Michael said during the meeting I reckon reserving the trophy for Eastbourne players could be the way forward. The seniors have their own Eastbourne congress after all, so there is no reason to have a separate set of senior events at this one (I could imagine people choosing to only attend one or the other of these congresses, and maybe we just need to remove one for the other to be viable in future, as sad as that might be).

    The NGS has already provided the scope for computing the top finishes through its ability to convert X-IMPs into a matchpoint score for a rough comparison. Alternatively, you could go along a handicap theme and base it on the top 14 pairs by comparison to their par score, although that may not be popular.

    I don't know what access the EBU has to the venue throughout the week, but a short morning session (speedball-style but probably more formal) from 10am to 12 could be popular (from my personal experience, there was very little to do and we would have been happy to pay an extra £10 for a few midweek mornings). I would hope that this could be scored properly, with county-scale masterpoints or similar and perhaps a reduced NGS weighting - even if only 5 or 6 tables turn up, it's an extra source of revenue and there would still be plenty of time for lunch. This could also be a good opportunity for less experienced directors to run a club-style session with support if needed.

    If we want to attract a wide range of players who want to stay for a longer period, I really think that flexibility is key - this will mean some extra work for TDs between and at the start of sessions when working out whether qualifiers have turned up etc.; However, I'm sure TDs would prefer to do that with a larger field compared to setting up and running normal club movements for the majority of the week.

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