October 2016

Lib Dem leader gives support to VAT-free bridge

Tim Farron MP, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, has written to the EBU in support of our efforts to have bridge recognised as an activity on which no VAT should be charged for competition entries.

Writing to EBU Chairman, Jeremy Dhondy, Mr Farron said he "fully support(ed)" the EBU's efforts, and he would "take the opportunity to support the removal of VAT from entry fees for Bridge tournaments whenever possible".

Mr Farron has previously spoken out against the imposition on VAT on chess competitions, and has recognised the positive benefits of playing both mind sports. "In common with the 100+ sports and activities that are exempt from VAT, (bridge) provides a stimulating and useful way to spend leisure time", Mr Farron wrote. When speaking about the case involving chess he called on the government to "adopt a common sense approach".

The EBU's case has been referred to the European Court for a ruling on whether the European Union's directive that sporting activities should be exempt from VAT includes mind sports. As the decision can be applied retrospectively it is not believed that 'Brexit' will have any impact on the case. The date of the hearing is not yet known.

Multiple winners at Really Easy Weekend

The Really Easy Weekend took place in Alfriston, in Sussex, on 28th - 30th October, with numerous different winners across the four competitions. Seven different pairs won during the long weekend of bridge aimed at less experienced players seeking to combine competitive bridge with the social aspects of a residential event.

The main event, Sunday's Swiss Pairs, was won by Lynda Riecken & David Riecken (both Oxon). They scored 94 VPs in six matches. Although they lost twice they picked up 9 VPs in both matches, and scored two maximums, so finished well clear of the field. Ivor Richards & Jill Richards (both Sussex) were second on 78 VPs.

The other winners were:

  • Friday evening pairs: Ivor Richards & Jill Richards and Richard Pocock (Surrey) & Dave Spink (Kent)
  • Saturday afternoon pairs: Ann Bartle & Ian Bartle (both Sussex) and Kathy Bennis & Roy Greenbaum (both Sussex)
  • Saturday evening pairs: Ann Bartle & Ian Bartle/Anna Collett & Michelle Cox (both Surrey) (tied) and Rica Hene & Mary Anne St Clair-Ford

The next Really Easy Weekend will take place in Wroxton, near Banbury, on 31st March - 2nd April 2017.

Rosen team continues to lead Premier League

The Rosen team continues to lead Division 1 of the Premier League after the second weekend of matches in Manchester, but by a much narrower margin.

The team of Neil Rosen, Martin Jones, Kay Preddy, Norman Selway, Ian Draper & Jeremy Willans started the weekend ahead by over 7 VPs, but saw this advantage cut to just 0.31 VPs by the Allfrey team who rose from fourth. The Allfrey team would be leading but for a 0.5 VP penalty for slow play. The De Botton team, which started second, is now in third, just over 10 VPs further back.

Division 2 is being led by Simon Gillis, Simon Cope, Peter Crouch, Alan Mould & Gary Hyett, after rising from fourth at the start of weekend. The Penfold team is second, and the Harris team third, swapping places across the weekend.

The event concludes in Solihull 5th - 6th November.

Holder team wins Gerard Faulkner Salver

Bob Holder, Bill Charlwood, Dick Davey, Phil Thornton & Nigel Wolfendale have won the Gerard Faulkner Salver for the Seniors Knockout Teams.

In a closely contested final they beat the team of Patrick Collins, Richard Butland, Bill Hirst, David Kendrick, Peter Law & John Reardon by just 8 IMPs. The largest lead held by either side at the end of any of the six sessions was just 11 IMPs to the Holder team prior to the final session.

Rosen team leads Premier League

The first rounds of the Premier League took place in London on 22nd & 23rd October, and the Rosen team finished the weekend atop Division 1.

The team of Neil Rosen, Martin Jones, Kay Preddy & Norman Selway won six of their seven matches (losing only the first match of the competition) and finished on 89.45 VPs (Ian Draper & Jeremy Willans will play for the team on other weekends). The De Botton team are second on 82.87, with the Hinden team on 75.99.

Division 2 is being led by the team of Richard Bowdery, Ollie Burgess, Richard Hillman & Andrew Woodcock. They are on 75.26 VPs after six matches. The Harris team is second on 74.32 and the Penfold team is third on 73.65 VPs.

The second weekend of matches is 29th-30th October in Manchester. The event concludes in Solihull the following weekend.

Granville & Sadie win Two Star Pairs, while juniors shine in teams

The Two Star Pairs at the Autumn Congress has been won by Richard Granville & Graham Sadie (pictured). They qualified in sixth place for the final and then went on to win with a score of 55.95%. Abbey Smith & Martin Jones were second with 55.26% with Roger Gibbons & David Kendrick in third.

The Satellite Final, contested by the next twenty teams in the qualifying round, was won by Tracy Capal & David Sherman. The Swiss Pairs - for those not reaching one of the finals and those who played only on the second day - was won by Heather Bakhshi & Claire Robinson.

The one day multiple teams events on Sunday featured three finals, with two of the trophies going to junior (or junior-heavy) teams. The main final, for the Eastbourne Bowl, was won by the team of Sam Behrens, Ben Norton, Stephen Kennedy & Michael Alishaw. The under-21s finished on 45 IMPs, well clear of the team in second - Liz Commins, David Stevenson, Dee Lindon & Pete Lindon.

The secondary teams final, for the Burlington Cup, was won by the team of Andrew McIntosh, Alistair Kent, Andrew Black & Gunnar Hallberg.

Mirroring their U21 counterparts, the team of Liz Gahan, Liam Sanderson & Jasmine Bakhshi - all U16 internationals - plus David Bakhshi swept to victory in the consolation final for the Sussex Cup, finishing 49 IMPs clear of the field.

Alongside the main events taking place at Peterborough there was a Really Easy Afternoon being held at various clubs around the country. The winners were Andrew Ferguson & Mary Ferguson with 66.90%, narrowly ahead of Ron Reising & Inger Beaty-Pownall. Both pairs took part at Richmond BC. The leading pairs at other heats were Janice Ford & Barry Hughes at Watford (3rd), Julian Patten & Heather Tarbard at Lymington (4th), and David Bostock & Rodney French at Exeter (11th).The leading 'b' stratification pair were Pam Rice & Heather Binding who played at Exeter and finished in 15th of the 64 pairs.

Swadling & Gidman, and Talbot team, win main events at Lake Garda

The Overseas Congress at Lake Garda finished yesterday, with the main competitions, the Swiss Pairs and Swiss Teams, having been won by Lorna Swadling & Alistair Gidman (both Oxon), and by Talbot team.

Lorna & Alistair won the three-session Swiss Pairs by a single VP from Sue Woodcock & Stuart Clarke (both Lancs). They started the final session in 14th place, but four large victories saw them leap up to the top spot. Peter Bowles & Warner Solomon (both Devon) led with two matches to play, but defeat to the eventual top two pairs saw them drop to third.

The three-session Swiss Teams was won by Denis Talbot, Kathy Talbot (both Oxon), Chris Taylor (Essex) & David Wing (London) with 140 VPs from their ten matches; pictured here receiving their trophies from Hannah Williams of event sponsors Bridge Overseas. They were undefeated in their first nine matches, and were already assured of victory before defeat in their final match. The team of Tom Gisborne, Sandy Davies (both Yorks), Joyce Skelton (Worcs) & Pam Pearce (Gloucs) were second on 132 VPs, and Sue Woodcock, Nick Woodcock, Stuart Clarke & Susan Fjortoft (all Lancs) were third on 127 VPs.

The other winners at the congress were:

  • Pre-congress Pairs - Denis Murphy & Pearl Murphy (both Yorks)
  • Open Pairs - Kathy Talbot & Chris Taylor
  • Pivot Teams - red section: Nick Woodcock, Sue Woodcock, Susan Fjortoft, Stuart Clarke; white section: Heather Harvey, Susan Pell, Christina Powne, Carole Kelly (all Yorks)
  • Mixed Pairs - Howard Basden-Smith & Sue Rankin (both Channel Islands) (on split tie with Simon Stokes (Leics) & Carolyn Fisher (Warks))
  • Men's Pairs - Nelson Stephens & David Jones (both Avon)
  • Women's pairs - Tuula Lehtinen & Jackie Rumball (both Channel Islands)

The results from all the competitions at the congress, and pictures of the winners, can be seen via the links below.

Gillis team wins Gold Cup

The Gold Cup has been won by the team of Simon Gillis, Zia Mahmood (both London), Espen Erichsen (Kent), Boye Brogeland, Espen Lindqvist & Tom Hanlon.

The semi-finals and finals of the competition, which is organised by Bridge Great Britain, took place at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club on 8th & 9th October. In the semi-finals the Gillis team beat the De Botton team, and the Brock team defeated the Allfrey team.

The Gillis team went on to win the final against the Brock team - Sally Brock, Barry Myers (both Berks & Bucks) Neil Rosen & Martin Jones (both Middlesex) (plus Robert Sheehan (London) who did not play in the final stages) (see picture here) - by 95 IMPs.

This was a second victory in the competition for Simon and Zia - they won together in 2010 - and a first success for the rest of the team.

The results are available via the BGB website.

Details of 2017 European Youth Bridge Team Championships announced

The European Bridge League have announced details of the 2017 European Youth Bridge Team Championships. The event will take place in Samorin, in Slovakia, from 8th to 15th of July 2017. The Championships consist of four series: U26 Open, U26 Women, U21 and U16.

Schedule details are available here