Blue Points were introduced just over a year ago, and the Tournament Committee would like to receive your views on the scheme.
The Tournament Committee recognised that many members, including those who joined under Universal Membership, are unable or unwilling to travel to EBU competitions. This makes it difficult to collect National (Green) masterpoints, which in turn prevents progression through the masterpoint ranks. Also, Clubs and Counties have trouble attracting players to their open events if they cannot award Green Points. Consequently, a new type of masterpoint, called Blue Points, was introduced on 1 January 2013.
The object of the new system is to facilitate more local events where members can earn points counting towards ranks currently requiring Greens. Thus, all masterpoint ranks will allow up to 50 Green Points to be replaced by Blue Points in the ratio of 3 Blue = 1 Green. Members will, therefore, be able to reach Premier Regional rank entirely with Blues, or with a combination of Blues and Greens, but will require Greens for higher ranks. Blue Point awards will use the current Local Point scales (100 Local = 1 Blue).
Newent Bridge Club has found their Swiss Teams event has benefited from the introduction of blue points:
The 36th Newent Bowl competition took place on 23rd February 2014. This Swiss Teams event attracted 24 teams mainly from Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, with one team from Wales. For the second year running, Blue Points were on offer, and tournament director Martin Lee ensured that everything ran very smoothly.
Last year, Newent Bridge Club celebrated 40 years since its founding, so the club was quite young when it held the first competition for the handsome trophy known as the Newent Bowl. Throughout its history, the contest has been well-supported by local bridge players from Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Indeed, the competition made a good contribution to the clubs finances in days when all costs were much more modest than they are now!
Since acquiring a Duplimate machine and BridgeMates, the club has been enjoying greater success, and is growing. Upgrading the Newent Bowl competition to a Blue Point event seemed to be a logical step, demonstrating the clubs commitment to offering competitive bridge in a friendly and sociable atmosphere. Newent was the first club in the county to offer Blue Points, and the need for approval from the GCBA also raised the profile of the event, bringing it wider attention.
The advantages of Blue Points are that members have the possibility of progressing more quickly up the Master Point rankings without having to travel very far, which suits our older members; and it suits our newer and less-experienced members, who can take their first steps in playing with county players, but in the security of their own club, with many friends around them. A delicious afternoon tea also helps to enhance the friendly and sociable atmosphere.
Chairman Paul Ford said that he was pleased that the event was so well-supported by members of Newent Bridge Club, and thanked the committee and the catering team for all the work they had put in to make the event so enjoyable.
Are blue points proving to be beneficial for your club and your members? Do you feel the initiative is achieving its aims? Does your club, or your members, have any feedback which you wish to share? The Tournament Committee would love to hear from you, so please contact us and your comments will be passed on.