by Peter Jordan
If your club does not currently run a heat of the National Pairs, why not consider doing so? One of the attractions of the event is that the heat is run in the comfort of your own club. Master Points are awarded for the club heat at three times the usual club scale, and National Green Points are awarded at all stages including this initial stage. Clubs may combine a National Pairs heat with a normal club game. Approximately the top third of competing pairs qualify for the Regional Finals. A certain amount of kudos accrues to the club and its members if they do well in the later stages of the competition.
For the 2011/12 season the EBU is introducing some changes to encourage more players and clubs to take part in the competition:
Charging StructureThe EBU entry fee for the club heats will be more than halved to £2 per pair. The club can, of course, decide whether or not to pass this charge on to its members. The fee for the Regional Finals will be increased slightly, and for those who make it through to the National Finals the entry fee will be increased to bring it in line with similar events such as the Corwen.
'A' Final and 'B' FinalThere will be two 50-pair National Finals running side-by-side. The "A" Final will be open to the top 50 Regional qualifiers as now. The "B" Final will be open to the top 50 pairs who have at most one Life Master (and no higher ranked player) in the partnership and no person in the top 60 of the Gold Point ranking list. Pairs qualifying for both the "A" and "B" Finals will have the choice of which to play in.
Policy on VisitorsWhilst it is hoped that most clubs will welcome EBU members who are visitors to the club, they are under no obligation to do so, either due to reasons of space or as a matter of general policy. If players wish to visit a club to play in a National Pairs heat, perhaps because their own club or county association is not holding a heat, they must first contact the club directly in order to ascertain the situation.
Heat Date and RegistrationA club can run a heat of the National Pairs at any time from 1 October 2011 to mid-February 2012. Club secretaries should send entry fees and detailed results for their heat on the supplied form to the EBU Competitions Department as soon as possible after the heat, and in any event by 20th February 2012. It is not necessary, but if a club wishes to register its heat in advance with the EBU, so that it can be listed among the clubs competing on the EBU website, please email the competitions department.
Please note that any affiliated club or county association may run a heat but a club heat may require the prior approval of the relevant County Association.
For full details, please see page 37 of the 2011/12 EBU Diary sent out to all EBU members with the August issue of English Bridge.