Page 0032


August 2014 English Bridge

HOW things are being done by

our national body seems mud dled,

strange and grossly unfair

to both men and women -

actually degrading for them

both for different reasons.

I can understand there being

an Open team (men and women

able to be selected) but fail to

understand why there should be

a separate Women's team if there

is no equivalent Men's team

(what about sexism, fairness and

equal opportunities for all!).

Do the women really want to be

considered to be so inferior to

the men (at the highest level)

they have to play in their own

competitions? In all other forms

of competition run under the

auspices of the EBU, from club

to congress level, there is no


Strangely, though, under the

current policy the rules for

selecting EBU junior or under

twenty-one teams seem to be

very different - they are just

teams, consisting of both sexes!

I cannot believe I am the first

to question the situation so why

does terrible inequity exist in a

modern world? Is it a case of the

'elephant in the room' that no

one wants to admit exists, let

alone speak about it? One dare

not suggest that the EBU are

saying that to ensure women can

play at the highest echelon of the

game, i.e. European or World

Championship level, we have to

invent a special event!

An interesting follow-up

ques tion is: over the last twentyfive

years, what is the percentage

for men/women representing

England - an EBU Open team -

in the European or World


It would seem that the EBU is

not alone in this Open and

Women thing. Seemingly there

is the same team make-up

(policy?) with the European

Bridge League, the World Bridge

Federation, the Mind Sports

Games not to mention

individual countries such as the

USA! Are all these organisations

actually saying: 'An Open team

will, on the whole, mainly

consist of men because, but for a

few exceptions, the women are

not good enough to achieve

Open team status. So, to give

them a chance to represent their

country we will devise for them

their own competition.'

To ensure equal opportunity

and fairness to both genders

why not just have teams, A

(Open), B (Women) and C

(Men) or allow two Open teams,

abandoning the Women's team


Terry Jacobs, Sheffield

Jeremy Dhondy, EBU Chairman,

replies: We enter competitions run

by the EBL/WBF/BGB. They deter mine

the categories, not us.

We may enter an Open Team

containing women. Several women

have, for example, represented

Great Britain or more recently

England in the Camrose Trophy.

Rose Meltzer won an open World

Championship playing for the USA

in 2001.

In Junior competition there is at

U25 level a Junior Women's

category. Again a woman can play in

the Open Junior competition and

this has happened for England in

recent times.

To answer the question about

women representing England at

Open level, then there are none

since we became England in 1999

and three since the 1930s when we

were Great Britain. Detail is

available in the archive a www.




three teams - Seniors, Women

and Open - who all won medals

in the European Champion ships

in Croatia. With the sad

demise of our football and

cricket teams, what a joy it is to

have a team sport that brings

home medals again and again.

Two years ago I was able to

travel to Dublin to watch the

bridge at first hand. This year I

had to experience the thrills,

the anguish and the ultimate

triumphs via Bridge Base

Online, the excellent, and free,

online service. We were able to

watch both tables of five

matches each session, together

with the analysis and humour

of expert commentators, par ticularly

the double act of

David Bird and Roland Wald. It

was fascinating to switch from

one table to the other seeing

the same board, one match to

another, checking on running

scores and the real-time changes

on the leader boards.

It's just a pity the success will

hardly be reported outside

bridge circles. To my mind, the

players all deserve celebrity

status - it would be great to see

Tony Forrester appearing on A

Question of Sport, or perhaps

Nevena Senior on Strictly Come


Chris Bickerdike, Helston


I'M researching bridge on TV

in the period 1935 - 1950, and

bridge on the radio, specifically the Air'. If

any readers have information

regarding either of these I

would be very grateful if they

contact me.

Shireen Mohandes,




I READ with interest Jeremy

Dhondy's leader about VAT on

bridge tournaments.

My own view is that bridge is

not a sport and I write as some one

who is still incensed at

being forced to pay a weekly

P2P fee to an organisation of

which I have no interest in

being a member.

However, the reason I am

con tacting you is to say that

Jeremy should be careful when

using examples of other, non

active, 'sports' in his attempt to

avoid paying a legitimate tax.

He compares bridge to gliding.

Surely a man of his, presumed,

intellect must realise that there

will be EBU members who

have experience of both bridge

and gliding and can therefore

comment with some authority

on the 'sportiness' of both.

On many occasions have I

left the gliding field at the end

of a long active day exhausted

both mentally and physically.

The least active part of the day

is, I agree, when actually flying

but even then, when wrestling

with a turbulent thermal, the

physical activity can be taxing

(no pun intended). I some times

leave the weekly bridge club

mentally tired, but never


This simile cannot possibly

help the EBU's case with the

taxman; they are not fools.

Keith Maywhort, by email

Jeremy Dhondy, EBU Chairman,

replies: Sorry you would rather not

be a member. Whether bridge is

regarded as a sport or not is largely

down to various authorities. For the

International Olympic Committee

and the EU it is. For the UK

government it is not (yet!). This

impacts on funding, grants and


We are not seeking to avoid

paying tax. We are seeking to have


already do. I think the key point is

the arbitrary nature of the gov ernment's

list rather than the merits

of other activities. r

Send your letters to the editor,

Elena Jeronimidis, 23 Erleigh Road, Reading RG1 5LR, or e-mail

(please include your postal address)

The editor reserves the right to condense letters. Publication does not mean the

EBU agrees with the views expressed or that the comments are factually correct.



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