January 2017

Erichsen & Brown win Lady Milne Trials

Helen Erichsen & Fiona Brown have won the trials to represent England in the 2017 Lady Milne competition.

They dominated the event, finishing with a XIMP score of 160.43. Heather Bakhshi & Claire Robinson were in second place with 106.42, a further 20 points ahead of the field, and the two pairs will join an as-yet-unselected pair to contest the Lady Milne Trophy in Wrexham on 21st - 23rd April.

February issue of English Bridge out now

The February issue of English Bridge is out now, and will be delivered to all eligible members in the next few days. The online version is also available via My EBU - see here for more details on accessing and using the online version.

The online version includes lots of extra content - including extra quizzes by some of the contributors to test what you learnt, and full answers to the Christmas quiz - plus all the content of the printed issue.

We are also carrying out a survey over the next six weeks to get your thoughts on the magazine - see here for details.

Club gets funding from council for TD training course

A Hampshire club has received funding from its local Borough Council so that members could attend a Tournament Director training course organised by English Bridge Education and Development.

Three members of Chilworth Bridge Club attended the course thanks to a grant from Test Valley Borough Council. The club hopes that the training will enable directors to run sessions throughout the year, thereby encouraging the valuable social and intellectual interaction the bridge can provide to residents in the area, particularly older players. Other clubs may wish to follow Chilworth's lead and approach their local council for support.

Chilworth BC is not affiliated to the EBU, but the courses run by EBED are available to all bridge clubs, whether affiliated or not - affiliated clubs receive a discount which is funded by the EBU. More details on EBED's TD courses are available here.

Hinden team wins National Point-a-Board Teams

The National Point-a-Board Teams - a new event on the calendar - has been won by the team of Frances Hinden, Graham Osborne, Jeffrey Allerton (all Surrey) & Chris Jagger (Cambs & Hunts).

They were the top qualifiers from their section, and went on to extend their lead in the 49 board final, ultimately winning by 4.7 points. The team of Kitty Teltscher (Surrey), Brian Senior (Yorks), Colin Simpson (Berks & Bucks) & Nevena Senior (Middlesex) were second. The consolation final was won by the team of Andrew Black, Gunnar Hallberg, Phil King (all London) & Andrew McIntosh (Middlesex).

The competition was previously part of the National Teams Congress, which has now split in two with the National Swiss Teams Congress taking place in May in Solihull.

The win for the Hinden team moves them up to 14th= after four events in the Player of the Year Championship.

EBU denied leave to appeal court ruling; VAT case to be heard in March

The EBU is disappointed to report that it has been denied leave to appeal the ruling given following 2015's Judicial Review of Sport England's definition of 'sport', and how it relates to bridge.

At the hearing which took place on Thursday (19th January) Lady Justice Macur determined that despite the arguments put forward by the EBU's legal team (which can be read here), there was insufficient prospect of the decision being overturned to warrant the court holding an appeal hearing.

This is the final action which the EBU will be taking in its current attempts to have Sport England recognise bridge as a 'sport'.

This decision has no impact on the VAT case which will go to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on 2nd March. This was referred to the court by the British courts, in order to seek clarification on the EU's directive that no VAT should be charged on sporting activities, and whether this should apply to bridge. Bridge is already exempt from VAT in a number of EU countries, and it is in the interests of all member states for a clear definition to be sought. 'Brexit' will therefore have no affect on the case, and in addition a positive ruling could results in a rebate on VAT which has previously been paid.

Two court dates upcoming relating to sporting status of bridge

Two court hearings, relating to the 'sporting status' of bridge, will be held in the next few weeks.

The first will be at the Court of Appeal today (Thursday 19th January). The EBU will seek permission to appeal the verdict, given in October 2015, following the Judicial Review of Sport England's definition of 'sport', and how it relates to bridge. The EBU's legal representatives will argue that errors in law were made when the verdict was considered, and that important issues were overlooked. These arguments are explained in this press release.

The ongoing VAT case will go to the European Court of Justice on 2nd March in Luxembourg. This was referred to the court by the British courts, in order to seek clarification on the EU's directive that no VAT should be charged on sporting activities, and whether this should apply to bridge.

Edwards team wins Silver Plate

The Edwards team, from Derbyshire, have won the Silver Plate, beating the Stevenson team in the final by a single IMP.

Richard Edwards, Alex Hogg, Peter Kelly & Robert Ross played for the winners in the final, with Don Smedley and John Griffin having also played for the team in earlier rounds. They led by 26 IMPs after one-third of the 48 board final, but the Stevenson team (David Stevenson, Liz Commins, Simon Edwards, Julian Merrill, Paddy Murphy, Paul Roberts - all Merseyside & Cheshire) pegged them back, and it was only the result on board 48 - a 12 IMP gain for Edwards - that saw the Derbyshire side take the trophy.

This was the second time this team of six have won the competition - the consolation event for those knocked out of the Gold Cup in the early stages - having been victorious in 2008. Alex and Peter also won in 1999.

Discounted/Free Software for Bridge Clubs that are Charities

Thank you to John Fleming, Secretary of Oxford Bridge Club CIO, who wrote to share the club's discovery that the software industry is willing to provide some free or discounted software to qualifying charities, including Bridge Clubs. Under the scheme the club was able to acquire free G Suite software from Google and heavily discounted software from Microsoft.

You find out more information on the scheme at https://www.tt-exchange.org/.

England 2nd after first weekend of Camrose Trophy

England are in second place after the first weekend of the Camrose Trophy. As host for the weekend, England put homefield advantage to good effect, picking up big wins in the first three matches. A come from behind victory in the fourth match set up a match versus Ireland with top spot at stake. The Irish got off to a strong start, but England kept the deficit small, so Ireland will travel to Scotland in March for second weekend with a narrow lead. Wales are in third, just over 20 VPs back.

England were represented by: Alexander Allfrey & Andrew Robson; Tony Forrester & David Bakhshi; Mike Bell & David Gold; NPC: Martin Jones

Martin contributed a few small articles to our blog, which is available here.

The competition concludes in Scotland on 3rd - 5th March. The team for the second weekend is: Frances Hinden & Graham Osborne, Jeffrey Allerton & Chris Jagger, Neil Rosen & Martin Jones, NPC: David Burn; and they will be seeking to retain the trophy which England won emphatically in 2016.