Anyway, the team consists of a team from a club, a team from a county and an "officials" team - which is, of course, the only way that I could possibly creep into a representative team. The English team is picked by the EBU Chairman and he cast his net widely.
Being a "friendly" the arrangements for playing are, of course, very convivial. All visiting players are accommodated in private houses. The match itself was played in the University of Ireland, Galway so it was very nice indeed and served to make us feel important!
Each team plays its counterpart twice and the others once. At the end of the first day we had a lead of just four victory points which was VERY close. The second day started with all three of our teams winning their matches and we took what proved to be an unassailable lead, though it got severely trimmed by the end! The English now lead 9-6 in the series, breaking a string of three consecutive wins by our Irish counterparts. There will be a more detailed article in due course in English Bridge - there were several superb hands which are worthy of comment, though not by me!
Before we got to Galway my team, the Officials, first went to Dublin for a chat with the management team there and of course we played bridge in the evening in the superb surroundings of the Templeogue Bridge centre, which is part of the CBAI complex. Again, great fun; I was partnered with a very bubbly Irish International who was VERY tolerant of my overall play. Thanks Gilda - great experience for me!
I can confirm my overall experience of playing bridge in Ireland - something mentioned in a previous blog, as excellent. Everything just happens - without much ado about anything. Not one director call that I can remember in 80 hands of bridge!
Closer to home, we are again working on improving the implementation of the Best Behaviour @ Bridge policy brought in last year. We are trying to get standardised penalties published so that all players will be aware of what they are letting themselves in for if the â€œred mistâ€ rises! It would also be nice if BB@B was adopted for use in all of our clubs but that is a matter for each club to consider.
I am pleased to say that the Bracketed Teams in Canterbury in March was a success. This first ever EBU "bracketed" tournament was run by the Kent Association as an attempt to vary their programme from the traditional Swiss Team/Swiss Pairs formula. Of course, not everyone was happy but most seemed to be, with the responses to a post tournament survey being conclusively in favour, at least of trying more. Forty six teams took part, with about a dozen people either brand new or fairly new to Green Point events participating, which was one of the main points of the new formula. I am fairly confident that the trial of such events will continue.
Finally, I have been given the green light by the EBU Board to do some more detailed work on a national player rating system to run alongside the well established master point scheme. This will be a long term project as it requires several things to be in place before it can come into being.
I will, of course, keep you updated on progress.