As the national organisation for duplicate bridge, the EBU runs an extensive calendar of competitions, including annual congresses, knockout teams’ competitions played in members’ homes, holidays abroad and online games. In addition, our counties also run many events themselves and so too do our clubs.
This means there should be plenty for all our members to play in, with events to suit every need, preference and experience level. However, probably only about 10% of our membership take part in the events we run directly as a national organisation. This could be because the other 90% have no interest in playing outside their clubs, but while that may well be true of quite a number of you, I am sure there are many others who would like to play a bit further afield if only we would provide the right events for them.
We have tried to aim some events at our less experienced members, such as Really Easy Weekends and Jack-High Swiss Pairs, which seem to be enjoyed by those who take part, but the numbers they attract are relatively small. We understand that the cost of national events is off-putting to many of our members and we also know that some prefer to play in the familiar surroundings of their local club.
With this in mind, last year we made a change to the Masters Pairs, the annual event for those below the rank of Regional Master: we asked clubs around the country to run it for us so that the heats would cover more of the country and the entry fees could be lower. 11 clubs signed up for this and the outcome was that the entry was over 240 pairs, a four-fold increase on the previous year.
Encouraged by the success of this, we have decided that next year the regional finals for the National Pairs will be organised in the same way, run and promoted by a range of clubs around the country, offering much lower entry fees than formerly, and we hope that will encourage many more to take part in them.
At the recent Summer Meeting in Eastbourne we held a very well-attended discussion about the future of EBU competitions and following it we set up a forum to continue the discussions. We have heard from many of our regular congress attenders about what they would like, but what I would also like is for you, our club players, to tell us if you would like us to be organising more events aimed at you and what format you would like them to take.
One possibility might be a handicap competition, run across the country like the Masters Pairs, but scored based on the NGS of each of the pairs. Would you like an event like that? Do you have other ideas for events you would like to see us run? If so, do please sign up at the forum and let us know what you would like. You need to be approved, but this is just to stop spammers and any application will be routinely accepted as long as it mentions bridge in the reason for joining!
One final unrelated matter before I finish: from next year the annual EBU diary will be sent out on an “opt in” basis, to save money and help the environment. So if you would like a printed copy of the diary, free to all members, you will need to tick a box on your record at My EBU. I suggest doing it now to avoid forgetting to do it later, though you can expect many more reminders about it in the next year or so!
Gordon Rainsford September 2019