What do I do?
by Gill Pain

I'm writing this on a ferry, going up and down, up and down, well you get the idea! We are returning from the IoM after running a successful set of TD courses. I thought you might like to know a little about my job with the EBU (Tournament organisation) and some of the things I do.

My main responsibility is the competitions we run each month. These vary from being very large and relatively simple to organise to the smaller finals and trials which need a lot more thought and consideration. Max will have already booked the venues, anything up to three years in advance. so all I have to do is make sure we have equipment and staff there on the day. Tables, cloths and bidding boxes are easy, but then I start to think about the computers and BridgeMates and what special movements may be required. Once these have been decided, I can calculate exactly how the boards need be dealt, i.e. how many in a set and how many sets! The TD staff will have been booked some time in advance, but sometimes I need to find someone extra or sometimes lay one off when the numbers are not as expected. You can see how necessary it is for the players to enter in advance as much as possible.

I recently had a greater challenge when I scored the Portland Pairs here in the office while it was taking place. In the past it has been scored on ECats as a sim pairs, but this is a 2-session event, and I thought this year we should try scoring it ourselves. EBU events are scored using Jeff Smith's program mostly these days, and this is particularly suitable for simultaneous events with 10 or so heats. The TDs at the heats scored each heat individually and then emailed me the data files for each session, which I then combined to get an overall score for each session. Unfortunately, the session "tops" were not the same, and I had to bring in Ian Mitchell to apply "expertise". We had surprisingly few scoring queries - only two -and the results were finalised Tuesday teatime.

In fact I've spent quite a lot of the last three months on a less challenging project, my life has centred around unwrapping 16,000 packs of new playing cards. You start with an empty bin to put the wrapping in. It's cellophane so you carefully slash the back of the pack where the jokers are and peel off the clear, static, crystal cellophane, sliding the 3 jokers out, and holding tightly with the wrapper you drop it into the bin. It rises in the air sticking to your hand. You pull it off with the other hand and do the next pack. After a dozen or so packs, each time you put your arm near the bin, six empty wrappers leap to you arm and cling to it. The more you attempt to dislodge them the more wrappers appear!

I have been, and will be again, extremely grateful for Lisa's help with this project.