March 2018

England reach Quarter Finals at White House Juniors

Two England teams competed in the White House Junior Internationals in the Netherlands, with nineteen (predominantly European) countries represented.

The England teams are:

  • White - Laura Covill & Siyu Ren and Ewa Wieczorek & Olivia Bailey
  • Red - Michael Alishaw & Stephen Kennedy and Shahzaad Natt & Ben Norton

England Red started the competition well, topping its group in the first round-robin phase, and then reaching the quarter finals, but were then knocked out at that stage. England White finished 7th out of 12 in its group, narrowly missing out on a spot in the 'A' semi-final by 2 VPs (top six qualified), and then missed out on the knock-out phase.

Preston BC opens new facilities thanks to lottery grant

Preston Bridge Club have recently celebrated the official opening of their new facilities, with EBU Chairman Jeremy Dhondy joining them at the event. You can read more about the opening in the Lancashire Post Online.

The project was helped by funding from The Big Lottery, which enabled the purchase of new equipment, including Bridgemates, dealing machines, computers and kitchen equipment. They were aided in the application process by Third Sector Consultancy (TSC), who have also helped Somerset CBA's application, and are currently working with English Bridge Education & Development.

Any clubs or counties thinking of applying for lottery funding through Awards for All may wish to use TSC's services. Either contact them directly, or contact Club Liaison Officer, Bev Purvis (, who can put you in touch with them.

Thoresen & Erichsen win Portland Pairs

Jon Thoresen & Helen Erichsen have won the Portland Pairs. This Mixed Pairs competition was played at twelve venues around the country, and scored across all 284 participating pairs.

Jon & Helen played at Tunbridge Wells and finished with a score of 64.68%. Nathalie Shashou & Nick Sandqvist, who played at Richmond, were second with 60.63%, and Jill Mumford & John Eyre, who played at Welwyn Garden City, were third with 60.41%.

Changes to the National Grading Scheme

Changes have been introduced to the National Grading Scheme. These were made in response to feedback received during the consultation of clubs which took place last year.

  • The grade of players with 'mature' grades will not change when they partner players who have played fewer than 150 graded boards. The session will not count towards the grade of the more experienced player, but will count towards the grade of the less experienced player. It is hoped that this will stop people being deterred from acting as a host or mentor at their club due to concerns they have about how it might affect their NGS.
  • Grades will be published once you have played 150 boards (previously 300) but they will change more quickly than before to enable new players to reach an appropriate grade sooner. A grade will still be considered 'evolving' until you have played 1000 boards, at which point it 'matures'.

These changes are now in effect.

2018-2023 strategy document developed

The EBU Board considered all responses to the consultation through Counties on its draft 2018-2023 strategy document at its meeting on 21st March. Most Counties seemed content with the overall strategy. There were, however, a number of constructive suggestions to clarify the approach, and many of these have been included in a revised document which the Board has now agreed. It will be published later in the spring and will be included in the June edition of English Bridge.

In particular the Board has taken on the need to be clearer that this is a directional document, that needs to be underpinned by firm operational plans, whilst also taking heed of the advice not to over-stretch limited and often voluntary resources i.e. the implementation of the strategy needs to be phased with the most urgent items perhaps being investing in seeking new members, including juniors, and in a more structured approach to teaching through EBED. With this in mind the 2018/9 budget, which was agreed at the same Board meeting, has been drawn up accordingly, whilst seeking counterbalancing economies in other areas.

April issue of English Bridge out now

The April 2018 issue of English Bridge is out now.

The online version, which contains extra content, is available via My EBU (use the 'Magazine' link in the top right corner of the My EBU webpage). More information on accessing and using the online version is available here.

Please note the change to the policy for the distribution of magazines to households of more than one EBU member, with only one copy sent except to those households opting in to receive more - please see here for more details.

The print featured on the cover can be purchased, with proceeds supporting the junior teams competing in the World Championships in China - see p.59 (or here) for details.

Over 50 youngsters play in Warwickshire's Junior Challenge

On Friday, 16th March, Warwickshire CBA welcomed over 50 Year 5 & 6 pupils from two local schools to West Midlands Bridge Club to take part in their annual Junior Challenge.

At the end of the afternoon 15 participants were awarded certificates for completing the Minibridge part of EBED's Junior Award Scheme.

They also participated in the minibridge section of EBED's Students and Schools National Simultaneous Pairs which is taking place this spring. The hands can be played up until 31st March, so there is still chance for groups to take part.

The event was supported by WCBA, West Midlands Bridge Club and EBED, and their thanks goes to schools and staff for giving WCBA the opportunity to introduce the pupils to the wonders of the game of bridge.

Alishaw & Kennedy top of National Pairs qualifiers

The Regional Finals of the National Pairs took place on Sunday - albeit with a reduced number of venues as a result of cancellations due to the bad weather.

The leading pair, when the event was scored across all the venues, were Michael Alishaw & Stephen Kennedy (who played at the Patcham heat) - they were also leading qualifiers in 2016. David Norman & Roger Eddleston (Patcham) in second and Tom Gisborne & Sandy Davies (Bradford) in third.

The top 50 pairs will be invited to take part in the National Finals which will be held in Coventry (not in Wyboston or Daventry as previously stated)

There were also prizes for those with the best score when the event was scored within each region. These were won by:

Region Name Heat
Northern Region Tom Gisborne & Sandy Davies (picture) Bradford
Midlands Region Jimmy Ledger & David Thomas (picture) Solihull
Eastern Region Ufuk Cotuk & Mark Tilley (picture) Stamford
South East Region Michael Alishaw & Stephen Kennedy (picture) Patcham
South West Region All heats cancelled

Colin Simpson: 1948 - 2018

We are sad to learn of the death of Colin Simpson.

Colin was a recipient of the EBU's Diamond Award in 2017 for his excellence and success over a sustained period for England's international teams. He was a Senior World and European Champion, and had represented England's Open and Senior teams in 13 World and European competitions.

His friends and team mates have described him as a great player, and a lovely man to spend time with both at, and away from, the table.

Update: His funeral is on Thursday 29th March at 11am at GreenAcres, Woodland Burials, Potkiln Lane, Jordans, HP9 2XB followed by a reception at Beaconsfield Golf Club. Everyone is welcome. No flowers. No donations.

His obituary is available here.