The EBU is continuing to make firm decisions three months in advance of scheduled events and is clearly not in a position to confirm any live EBU events yet. However, the information below should give some idea of our plans and expectations for the rest of this month and the first part of the coming year.
All online congress and competition events run by the EBU listed below will be held on RealBridge, which not only provides a better playing experience over the alternatives, but also allows us more freedom with the formats we use, the prices we charge and the prizes we give. We do not however have any plans currently to vary our offering of regular daily online games on BBO.
Forthcoming online competitions run by EBU
Year End Congress - 27-30 Dec
National Point-a-Board Teams - 23-24 Jan
Harrogate Spring Congress - 13 - 14 Feb
Ranked Masters Pairs - 27-28 Feb
Portland Pairs - 28 Mar
This year the Portland Pairs will be run by the EBU as a single two-session event on RealBridge, rather than having heats in clubs around the country.
Easter Festival - 2-5 Apr
We will run this online, but if it proves possible to run such an event in a live venue, we will do so and have a hybrid congress, with some playing live and others online.
National Pairs Final - 10-11 Apr
We will allow those who qualified in a heat last year to enter for this year’s final if they do so before the qualifying heats take place, even if they do not qualify again. This means that the final may be larger than usual.
Schapiro Spring Foursomes - 30 Apr-4 May
While we hope we may be able to run this event live, we are also currently considering the feasibility of running the Spring Fours online while maintaining its current classic format, if a live event is not possible by then.
Forthcoming online competitions to be run by clubs, on BBO, RealBridge or any other platform
Masters Pairs - 28 Feb
This is the event for members below the rank of Regional Master, competing for the Ann Staveley trophy. It is a two-session event run by clubs on any platform they choose (BBO, RealBridge, BCL, Stepbridge) as long as they can provide us with USEBIO files of results. Any club that wished to run a Masters Pairs event should tell email@example.com so that she can publicise it on our website.
National Pairs Regional Heats - 21 Mar
Special arrangements. This year the Regional Heats will only be run by clubs, not centrally by the EBU, and there will be no additional charge to the clubs than the two-session UMS. This is not only a qualifying event for the National Pairs final but there are also five regional trophies awarded based on the organising clubs’ geographical locations. Clubs will be able to run this event on any platform they choose (BBO, RealBridge, BCL, Stepbridge) as long as they can provide us with USEBIO files of results. Any club that wished to run a National Pairs heat should tell firstname.lastname@example.org so that she can publicise it on our website.
Future County-representative events
We intend this event to go ahead, whether online or live and whether with regional finals or only a larger national final. This means counties should continue to run their qualifying events.
We intend this event to go ahead, whether online or live, and we will allow all counties one extra qualification space so that they can enter the winners of last year’s qualifier if they wish, even if they do not qualify again.
We intend this event to go ahead, whether online or live, and we will allow all counties to enter teams of up to eight players, to give them more flexibility to include the winners of last year’s qualifier if they wish.
Sim Pairs events will continue and in 2021 will be charged at the price set at the start of 2020, providing prizes according to the same schedule. Please note that the first Tuesday Sim Pairs on 12 January 2021 will be in memory of Peter Jordan, the EBU’s widely-known and much-loved Competitions department member who for many years was also responsible for running our overseas congresses. Barbara Jordan will be donating trophies for the winners on that day.
County Congresses and One-day Green-pointed events
A number of counties who did not use their dates this year are now applying to re-schedule them for the early part of next year. While we will try to be flexible and accommodate these changes as much as we can, we will not allow clashes with EBU events or the scheduled events of other counties. While geographical location is less limiting on players entering events, there is still as strong correlation for county events and so we will not allow nearby counties to run events on the same weekend unless they agree to it between themselves.
The prices for our online congresses and competitions are significantly lower than they would have been face to face (about 20% less), but reflect the fact that green-pointed events always attract a premium. Players are also saving a significant amount of money in travel and accommodation costs.
We have been working hard to keep bridge going since last March, but with no end to the pandemic expected soon, we also need to work hard to keep the EBU going. Despite taking advantage of all government support that has been available, making a number of staff redundant and cutting costs everywhere we can, we are still using our reserves at an unsustainable rate. With the furlough scheme coming to an end this will only get worse.
Competitions are one way of raising the money necessary for the EBU's survival and we will be following this pricing strategy for all our online congresses and major competitions.
The view further ahead
Some of our events have proved to be particularly well-suited to be run online, so it is likely that even after we are able to run events face-to-face, we may rearrange our competitions calendar to maintain some online events, with the intention of having fewer, but hopefully larger and more special, face-to-face events.