June 2017

EBU members reach finals of WBF's World Wide Bridge Contest

Two pairs of EBU members have won heats of the WBF's World Wide Bridge Contest, earning them an invitation to compete in the finals in Beijing in September. The prize includes accommodation and a contribution towards their travel costs.

David Price & Jenny Price, of Suffolk, playing at Clare Duplicate BC, won their heat on 8th May, beating over 500 pairs playing in 11 countries.
Vandana Wadhar & Kirit Wadhar of Middlesex, won their heat on 2nd June, beating over 2300 pairs playing in 22 countries.

Joining them in the finals is one of David's former international teammates, Dick Shek, who qualified at his club in Malaysia, plus pairs from all continents.

The finals take place 21st – 24th September.

Nicola Smith and John Holland inducted to EBL Hall of Fame

At a ceremony which took place at the European Open Championships, in Montecatini, Italy, Nicola Smith and John Holland were inducted in the EBL Hall of Fame.

Nicola has played in the European Championships 24 times for Great Britain and England's Women's Team, winning a gold medal on eight occasions. She has also won numerous other medals, including gold in the Venice Cup twice. She was awarded an MBE in 1995 for her contribution to bridge.

John has played in the last six European Championships, the most recent four appearances in the Senior's event in which he won a gold medal in 2014. He also won the D'Orsi Bowl - the 'Senior World Championships' - in 2009.

The Hall of Fame was established to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the formation EBL, and the other inaugural inductees were:
Open - Paul Chemla (France), Benito Garozzo (Italy), Geir Helgemo (Norway/Monaco), Julian Klukowski (Poland)
Women - Bep Vriend (Netherlands), Sylvie Willard (France)
Senior - Apolinary Kowalski (Poland)

Byrne team wins Hubert Phillips Bowl

Fiona Brown, Ollie Burgess, Michael Byrne & Hugh McGann have won the Hubert Phillips Bowl, the EBU's knockout mixed pivot team competition.

They beat Jeff Smith, Jackie Pye, Alan Mould & John Holland in the final on Sunday 25th June.

The match was hosted by Manchester Bridge Club, with over 30 kibitzers in attendance, including 5 of the players who, the previous day, had won the Garden Cities Trophy.

This was a first time win for all of the victors - of the 8 players only John had previously won the event (6 times between 1983 and 1996).

Manchester wins Garden Cities Trophy

The Garden Cities Trophy has been won by Manchester Bridge Club for the fifth time.

The competition is for each county's 'teams-of-eight champions', and the final featured the eight teams which qualified from the Regional Finals which took place in May.

The Manchester team of John Hassett, Rhona Goldenfield, Bernard Goldenfield, Michael Newman, Jeff Morris, David Debbage, Edward Levy & Robert Myers finished on 110 VPs, well ahead of Nottingham BC (82 VPs) in second, and Bristol BC (79 VPs) in third.

England team for Venice Cup announced

The team to represent England in the Venice Cup at the World Team Championships has been announced. The team competing in Lyon in August will be:

Sally Brock & Fiona Brown
Catherine Draper & Nicola Smith
Sandra Penfold & Nevena Senior
NPC: Derek Patterson; Coach: David Burn

England will be aiming to win a third consecutive medal in the Venice Cup.

Little success for English players at European Open Championships

The European Open Championships, which took place in Montecatini, in Italy, concluded on Saturday, with English players missing out on the medals in the main events.

The only pair to finish on the podium were Tracy Capal and David Sherman, who finished second in one of the side events - the EBL Cup - just 0.06% behind the winners.

The top finishers were:
Open Pairs: Artur Malinowski & David Bakhshi - 12th; Chris Jagger & Jeffrey Allerton - 16th; Nick Sandqvist & Christophe Grosset - 25th.
Women's Pairs: Sally Brock & Debbie Sandford - 5th; Pauline Cohen & Lizzie Godfrey - 7th; Fiona Brown & Susanna Gross - 17th.
Senior Pairs: Jeremy Dhondy & David Kendrick - 14th.
Senior Teams: Richard Chamberlain, Jeremy Dhondy, David Kendrick, Patrick Shields - quarterfinals
EBL Cup: Tracy Capal & David Sherman - 2nd
IMP Pairs: David Gold & Kevin Castner - 5th
BAM Teams: Marion Robertson, Richard Bowley, Simon Cope, Michael Byrne, Kieran Dyke - 9th

Also at the event, the inaugural class of the EBL Hall of Fame was inducted, with Nicola Smith and John Holland amongst those honoured.

Maurice Freedman: 1934-2017

Middlesex CBA have reported the death of Maurice Freedman. Maurice made a significant contribution to bridge in London, Middlesex and Berks & Bucks, and played in the first friendly international between England and the Netherlands. His obituary is on the MCBA website.

Amendment to the 2017 law book

Following a meeting of the WBF Management Committee, Law 26B has been amended.

See http://www.worldbridge.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/RevisedLaw26B.pdf

Law 26B now reads:
When an offending player’s call is withdrawn and it is not replaced by a comparable call, then if he becomes a defender declarer may, at the offender’s partner’s first turn to lead (which may be the opening lead) prohibit offender’s partner from leading any (one) suit which has not been specified in the legal auction by the offender. Such prohibition continues for as long as the offender’s partner retains the lead.

We would suggest making a permanent change in your new law book. The alteration can be easily made with a pen, or you can print this document, cut it to a sensible size, and affix it in your book at the top of page 53.

Bridge is a sport, says preliminary ruling in European Court VAT case

We are very pleased that a report prepared by the European Court of Justice has concluded that contract bridge should be considered a sport for VAT purposes.

This is a non-binding recommendation, but if confirmed later this year the EBU would no longer need to charge VAT on entry fees to its competitions, and would receive a rebate on VAT which it had previously paid. This will have huge benefits as it will allow us to invest further in the game, and make entries to EBU competitions cheaper, thus allowing more people to enjoy playing bridge, and enabling more to experience the social and mental benefits that playing bridge offers. The final judgement is expected in the autumn.

Advocate General Maciej Szpunar gave his opinion that for the purposes of the VAT exemption a definition of ‘sport’ had different components, key among which was that it was intended to be understood as “training of mental or physical fitness in a way that is generally beneficial to the health and well-being of citizens”. He recognised that bridge met these criteria and also that the International Olympic Committee was one of a number of organisations which “expressly include mental sports or endorse activities without a physical element”, concluding that this implies that they be “generally regarded as similar to established sports”.

EBU Chairman, Jeremy Dhondy, welcomed the Advocate General’s report, saying:

    “I am delighted at this decision made today which I very much hope will be upheld by the judges who heard the case. It is a vindication of our view that bridge should be regarded as a sport with all the advantages that brings both for bridge as a game and also for our members and prospective members. We want our game to play its full part as an activity to promote social inclusion and welcome the judgement of the European Court.”

Update: The case was discussed on Radio 4's 'Law in Action' on Tuesday 20th June. You can listen to that here (scroll to 23:04).

Change of venue for Northern Midweek Congress & Autumn Really Easy Weekend

Due to circumstances beyond our control it has been necessary to change the venue for the Northern Midweek Congress. It will now be held in Harrogate, and not in Wakefield as previously advertised. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

The congress takes place Tuesday 22nd to Thursday 24th August, with a Championship Pairs on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a Swiss Teams on Thursday.

It has also been necessary to change the venue of the Really Easy Weekend in October. It will now be held in Warwick, rather than Stratford-upon-Avon.

Really Easy weekends are 'house parties', designed for novice players, below the rank of Master and lower than a Jack on the NGS scale.