Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Blog 53 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The SIMS test run earlier in December was a success, and we are very grateful to those members who took the time to help us identify those aspects of the processes that needed improvement or correction. We will (or already have) acted on that input and we would like to run another test SIM in February, on the 27th, a Monday. As for the last one, it will be free of any extra fees, although normal P2P charges will apply. In addition, this time we will provide paper commentaries and hand records to any club that wants them at a cost of £8 per pack of twenty. We hope as many clubs as last time play and help us get things as near perfect as possible!

The new year will see the National Grading System kicking off after a long period of development. Look out for the next edition of English Bridge which will provide more information.

All of us at the EBU wish our members the very best seasons greetings, and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

BLOG 52 Sims 2012; Price Reduction confirmed at £2.50

I have some good news; it has now been confirmed that when we start running the Sims events from April next year our per player fee for members of our affiliated clubs will be reduced from the current level of £3 per player to £2.50. This will cover provision of commentary booklets electronically, thus saving us all a lot of expense, especially as the Royal Mail are increasing postage rates quite substantially very soon. We will continue to provide paper booklets for those clubs that prefer to get them that way and the cost will be £8 per pack of 20.

We will also be making each event available three sessions per day (but a player may play only once a day!) and five days of the week so all our clubs and their members can take advantage of this new service from the EBU.

For more information about booking your places after April 2012 contact Krys (, see the website in due course, or call the office.

We are delighted that on December 6th we will be running a simultaneous event to test our new capability. Around 90 clubs (including some from the Scottish and Welsh Bridge Unions) have signed up to help us and to take part in our event while testing our new system; we are very grateful for that help. Indeed, some web site errors have already been found by a few clubs which is, of course, just what a test is for!

We have produced a slightly different and innovative commentary for this test event, which will become evident when you see them after your game which we hope you will enjoy.

We will be maintaining direct contact with our clubs with updates on the new sims process.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Blog 51 - Simultaneous Pairs

Some of you may know that after many years of having our simultaneous pairs events run (extremely well!) by ECATS, we are now in a position to bring the running and administration of these events inside the EBU.

We have tested the software "in house" but we wish to do a full "system" test in December so that we can test run every aspect of the event.

We will be inviting all affiliated clubs to participate in this event, at NO COST! We will provide commentary details electronically and local points will be awarded according to the usual scale, but no green points.

The scheduled date for this is Tuesday December 6th.

Please put this in your diary remembering it is FREE, and help us ensure that our in house SIM management gets off to an error free start after April 1st 2012.

It is not too early to book your place. If you wish to participate please send an email to Ian Mitchell at

Please note that by "free" we mean free of a Sim Pairs charge. The sessions will still incur a regular P2P charge.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Blog 50 - Technical update...

Just a quick message to advise members that a revised "members area" is now live.

Especially good news is that we once again have the facility for members who wish to play in our tournaments to enter online. For the time being we are using PayPal, which is an internationally recognised way of making payments to suppliers. It is NOT necessary to have a PayPal account to use it, as the facility will accept credit cards in the normal way.

The new members facilities will also allow us to make further progress in the implementation of the National Grading System. There will be further details of the NGS and how it will work in due course.

You can see a brief video about how to make online bookings below, or jump in by going to the members area.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Blog 49 - Happy Birthday to us!

Happy Birthday to us!

The English Bridge Union has been around now for 75 years; there are only a few national bridge organizations around the world that are older.

A few weeks ago I was reading some obituaries of a few of the EBU’s illustrious bridge administrators and early elder statesmen. It is very clear to see how tirelessly these great bridge players worked to set up our Union in those early days. In the minutes of the 12 June 1936 it is possible to see names that now adorn our competitions, such as Lederer and Phillips, as well as seeing the immense detail they covered to set up a national organization, in those days without any technological assistance.

Over the last few years, the organization has gone through many changes – most notably when we changed to Universal Membership last year. It has been a challenging but fulfilling time to be involved in the administration of a venerable institution such as ours.

We are working on a few ideas to involve the membership in our Anniversary celebration year and I hope that as many of you as possible will join in.

I would like to wish all of our members, volunteers and staff a happy 75th Birthday.

Have a look at our special 75th Anniversary area, here.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Blog 48 - Money well spent...

I thought you might be interested in a few developments.

The EBU created a charitable trust (The EBU Youth and Education Trust) a few years ago. The initial funding was increased when we were fortunate to receive a substantial three year donation from the Milton Damerel Trust which we used for an agreed project, which is the teaching of Minibridge to school teachers and their pupils, predominantly in primary schools.

This has been in progress now for well over two years and during that time we have trained many hundreds of teachers and pupils in the game of Minibridge and have made some headway in convincing education experts of the many benefits of using bridge as a method of making mathematics fun to teach as well as assisting the social development of young people. You may recall the front cover of our February edition of English Bridge which showed some young pupils from Tunbridge Wells outside the Palace of Westminster, before they went inside to play members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Bridge.

History will record, although sadly not Hansard, that the youngsters won.

While this project continues we are also working, at the other end of the age spectrum, on getting some further evidence on the benefits of bridge playing for older people, especially in the area of warding off dementia. We have a very dedicated volunteer working hard with members of the medical and academic communities to enhance the knowledge that we have already gathered, which has proved sufficient to allow the Charity Commission to allow charitable status to the first bridge club in England, the Hitchin bridge Club.

I think it will be of interest to reproduce some words from the Charity Commission:-

"Bridge is regarded as a game involving a high degree of mental skill, being one of the components in the World Mind Games. Bridge involves logical and lateral thinking skills, planning, memory, sequencing, initiating and other high order functions and therefore, we are satisfied that it is a game which involves mental skill or exertion which, if played regularly, is a game capable of promoting health.

In reaching our conclusion that bridge is a sport or game which promotes health by involving skill or exertion, we looked at a body of research. That research identified the potential health benefits of playing bridge, and other forms of mental activity, among seniors in lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other dementia by as much as 75%, compared to those who did not exercise their minds".

We are naturally delighted that the level of academic evidence has reached this stage but we believe that more evidence will allow us to further develop the argument that bridge is a healthy and beneficial pastime from (almost) cradle to grave.

Thus the EBU is working hard not only for the future of the game in England but also for the future health of our ageing population.

If you are interested in making a donation to the English Bridge Union Youth and Education Trust please contact the Trust at our Aylesbury office, or visit our dedicated page.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Blog 47 - National Grading System

After very significant background work by the NGS working party and testing of software written by one of them, I am pleased that we are now very close to being able to put the system into live use, probably by the middle of the year. We still have work to do in determining how to present the information at various different levels.

We have tested the software with real data from that collected via the Pay to Play process and once we are ready to go live, we will do some more testing with a few clubs, so that they can check the outputs from the system and make sure that they make sense!

If you are interested, please contact me at the first instance ( . We are only looking for a few clubs, so it will be very much on a first come first served basis for trialling the software. There will be no impact at club level and no extra work to do, other than to check the results of grade changes to make sure they make sense.

As ever, the EBU would like to record their thanks to the efforts of its volunteers on the working group: Barrie Partridge, Paul Bond, Mike Christie, Peter Lee, Anthony Moon, Paul Habershon and Andy Kittridge. We must especially not forget the contributions of the late Dr John Carter and John Probst, who continues to recover from a stroke.