Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Barry's Blog 2

Aylesbury felt like the hottest place in the world during July. Office temperatures soared while the staff were kept busy by a variety of seasonal events. It was the end of the Master Point season, we were preparing for the largest competition that we run, the annual Brighton Congress, and we need to chase up members who have overlooked payment of their annual subs. All of this going on, plus many other competitions and all of the other day to day stuff, all in sauna like temperatures!

Funny thing – no matter how much I check things, mistakes still happen – suppose it is human nature. It seems I passed on slightly inaccurate information in my last blog regarding the trial of bracketed knock outs. We ARE going to do this in 2007, but the venue for it is to be the 41st Brighton Congress, which will give players yet another reason to spend ten happy days in Brighton in August 2007.

What we are trialling in Kent is a bracketed Swiss teams event. In this case teams will only play against their peers in a “round robin” format. Talking to Max, we may be trying out a world first in this format – if anyone can work it out he can!

We have a group of volunteers meeting regularly addressing membership issues, and I am pleased to say that a number of development initiatives are about to hit the publicity button. I am going to my first of these meetings shortly, and I am looking forward to it.

Members have asked us a variety of questions regarding the preparation of the new Orange Book. One of the main questions is “How much does it cost”? I asked Martin Pool, the chairman of the Laws and Ethics Committee and he advised me that the cost was around 3 three pence per member. That doesn’t seem much for a book which provides all of the guidance that will ever be needed for playing in EBU competitions – especially as it does not get changed every year, in fact the last was in 1998. Worth noting that the OB and the two simple guides are on this web site and can be downloaded as desired.

Come to think of it, doesn’t 40p per week seem negligible for EBU membership? It is such a shame that more bridge players do not perceive they get value for such a small amount. In many other countries, bridge organisation membership is compulsory; in England other sports and activities (such as Golf), require that all club members automatically belong to the activities governing body. Perhaps it is about time we considered such a scheme? It would certainly result in investment into the development of the game for the benefit of all. Your comments are welcome.

Master points are a seasonal issue. The Board have determined that we will change the master point “year” to allow us to be more efficient in handling the year end. More details to come later…

Colin Porch, our master points Secretary, and many other members of staff, take many calls from members every week. The vast majority of our members are polite and appreciate the help and guidance that our professionals attempt to provide. Just occasionally a member may stray into behaviour that is unpleasant for us to manage. You will read in the August edition of English Bridge that we have implemented the Best Behaviour at Bridge - BB@B - policy at our playing tables – I would ask all of our callers to follow a similar code when dealing with our small and dedicated group of staff.

We have had a huge number of comments from members (and non members) regarding the new Alert and Announcement procedures. I have noted from various sources that many clubs started using the new procedures before August 1st and most people seem to be very happy with them. I am pretty confident that in six months people will wonder what all of the fuss was about, but changes always generate a lot of comments.

OK, ten days until Brighton starts – if you have not already entered do so now and support the largest congress of its type in Europe. If you do not support us it will not stay that way for much longer!

If I see you at the table in Brighton, please go easy on me…..I need the green points!


P.S. Definitely no errors this time – OK probably no errors!