Friday, 24 August 2007

Barry's Blog 17

I am recently back from Brighton, having spent both weekends and a few weekdays there. This year the Hilton Metropole seemed to be trying very hard. I have had a number of complimentary emails and broadly speaking people seemed to have a good time. Interestingly, especially bearing in mind that numbers seem to be dropping every year, the numbers at Brighton have held up very well indeed. A number of people have commented on the excellent atmosphere at the Congress this year.

It was good to have many visitors from overseas, including many Irish players who were using the tough competition in Brighton as a warm up for the upcoming World Championships. They also took away a lot of prizes!

Our competition staff and tournament directors run a logistically difficult event over ten days, with consummate skill. Not many people will know that our major events at Brighton are the largest "single field" events run anywhere in the bridge world (according to the world's number one tournament director); something to be proud of for all that help run and organise it.

I was particularly happy that we ran the Really Easy Congress during the midweek; around twenty tables played over two days; in some cases people were playing in their first Congress after only having played for six months, which I think is great for them and pretty good for the future of Bridge, but we need lots more of them, that's for sure. The feedback as the people were leaving was excellent: "I had a wonderful time, will be back next year"; "I can't wait for the next time"; "Perhaps we can try the not-so-easy Congress!".
To follow this up we will be running a "Really Easy Weekend" next April and we will soon have a website for newcomers called "ReallyEasyBridge" which should be very helpful for those concerned.

During the period in Brighton we ran another Partner Teacher training course and it is pleasing to see this programme gaining traction, with many more courses planned for the next twelve months.

The consultation over the Board's proposals continues and is now producing some very constructive input. The consultation period has been extended to allow for revised proposals (yet to be provided) to be given enough time for sensible comment. I know some people were upset at the tone of my last blog, but frankly it was necessary. Things are much better now, I am pleased to say.

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