As the seasons roll by, another edition of Tournament Focus is upon us. Space is limited, so Ill start off with a blatant plug. The new timetable at Brighton is now up on the web, and the new weekend events have been described at length in English Bridge. If youve been giving it a miss for a year or two, have a look the decreased level of commitment required and the shifting of starting times will hopefully be attractive to those within driving or commuting distance, and I expect the atmosphere to be sufficiently relaxed to allow those less hardened tournament players to feel comfortable playing in a prestigious competition without too much pressure!
The EBUs taking responsibility for simultaneous pairs events is bearing fruit, offering greater scope to play at reduced prices (modestly reduced Im not going to pretend that prices have been slashed in half). The team at EBU HQ has worked hard and well to make this a success. I hope you enjoy taking part in the special 75th Anniversary, with hands selected and commentated upon by the ever-astute Brian Senior. It promises to be an event to remember.
Another technical development that has got people excited is the National Grading System. This is a massive achievement on behalf of Mike Christie, Barry and the team, and has galvanised a lot of bridge players into caring about their status for the first time in years. Ive never been a great fan of master points, and like many have a rather blasé approach to them. But its a bit difficult to be blasé about the NGS. Well done all round.
At both club level and national level I think more and more people are playing more bridge: some coming to it afresh, some coming to it again after a gap. I dont know what the reasons are perhaps one is that in straitened times it can be a better economic bet than a lot of other forms of entertainment. Whatever the reasons are, though, the EBU is committed to making the most of the opportunity, making competitions responsive to what you, the players want. If we give you what you want, youll turn out to play more, which will create more funding for development, propagating interest in the greatest of card games.