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August 2017 English Bridge

Performance Counts

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).


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.


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.


On 1 August new laws come into force. There is a

new law book available from the Bridge Warehouse, and our

national TDs have been trained on the changes. The

article on page 44 outlines the most relevant.


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, 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.


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.


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


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