August 2017 English Bridge
From the Chairman by Jeremy Dhondy
arry Capal, our General Manager has retired.
He has been in post since 2006 and been
fundamental in managing very significant
changes to the EBU. Universal Membership, the
founding of the charity EBED and our new IT
system come to mind amongst others. I'd like to
thank him for everything he has done and wish him
a peaceful and enjoyable retirement. His successor is
Gordon Rainsford who took over in July and we are
in good hands (see page 54).
HOW WILL THE NGS DEVELOP?
We held a consultation with clubs recently on
aspects of the future of the NGS. I'd like to thank
those who participated and came up with some very
well put points. We accept most of them and the
exemptions allowed for hosts and playing directors
will continue. You can see more detail on page 37.
ONE BRIDGE CROSSED FOR VAT RULING
As many of you will know the European Court's
Advocate General issued a preliminary opinion on
our VAT case. He said that bridge should be
regarded as a sport and it was not necessary for
there to be a significant physical dimension for it to
be so. The judges who heard the case are not bound
by his opinion and will rule definitively later this
year. While by no means a certainty we will win, it is
an encouraging signal and my fingers are crossed.
NEW LAWS FOR AUGUST
On 1 August new laws come into force. There is a
new law book available from the Bridge Warehouse,
national TDs have been trained on the changes. The
article on page 44 outlines the most relevant.
EBU TIE-IN FOR ONLINE BRIDGE
THE EBU has put a toe in the water as far as
online bridge is concerned. Matches can be played
online in several competitions if both sides wish
and there is an online knock out event each year. We
did have some online games a while ago with BBO
but these did not garner great attendance and were
discontinued. Part of the difficulty was the time of
day and part the problem of finding partners.
We've now entered an agreement with Funbridge,
www.funbridge.com. This will allow players to play
in a tournament at any time over a 24 hour period
and the game will be with robots, so no more
finding your own partner! It can be played on
computer (Windows or Mac), tablet or phone and
will start in September. More details on page 21.
A FEW MORE GRAND MASTER RANKS
If you get to be a Grand Master then you are in
the top few of our membership but there is a higher
rank (Premier Grand Master) achieved by under
0.5% of our membership. The gap between the two
is large - from 600 to 1500 green points. To bridge
the gap, from 1 August, there are stars so, for
example, you can be a 1* Grand Master with 800 or
more green points. There is detail on the website.
APPLAUDING THE GREATS
It's a busy time in the international game at
present. Many players were at the European Open
Championships in Montecatini in June and the
European Bridge League introduced a Hall of Fame
for its greatest past players in open, women's and
senior categories. Two people from England were
honoured for their achievements over many years.
They were Nicola Smith in the Womens Series and
John Holland in the Seniors Series. Both are world
champions and congratulations to them for being
in the inaugural intake.
One of the greatest players the game has known
was inducted in the Open Series: Benito Garozzo.
At 89 he is still playing, he won a silver medal in the
Seniors Series in Montecatini and has been selected
to play for the open Italian team in the Bermuda
Bowl in Lyon later this month. I was lucky enough
to play against him in Montecatini thus ticking
off something from my bucket list. Gives us all
hope perhaps? r