Tuesday, 29 January 2013

House of Lords visit 2013

On 24 January the All Party Parliamentary Group demonstrated their further support for the development of duplicate bridge, by inviting eighteen pupils from two primary schools to  the Houses of Parliament to play a game of Minibridge.  The schools that attended were from London: St Peter's - Eaton Square and St Christina's School, and have been playing Minibridge for two years.

On their arrival, the children were treated to a meeting with the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness D'Souza, and then to a grand tour of the Houses of Parliament conducted by Lord Skelmersdale and Lord Hamilton.

This was followed by a Minibridge match in the River Room which the Lord Speaker had graciously made available for the event. After 8 boards of Minibridge had been played, it was announced by the Tournament Director Gordon Rainsford, that the St Christina's team had won overall. Well done to them.

The EBU extend their grateful thanks to Baroness Henig, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for organising this event. We would also like to thank the teachers Samantha Sharples (St Peter's) and Bronagh Finnison (St Christina's School) and all their pupils for demonstrating how Minibridge is a great way of learning maths and logic whilst having lots of fun.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Young Pair of the Year Award - 2010

The 2010 award for Young Pair of the Year goes to a young pair who have made great progress in a short period of time: Tommy Brass and Alex Roberts.

Despite only joined the squad in the autumn of 2009, 2010 has seen them achieve many good results, particularly at the European Youth Pairs where they narrowly missed out on a medal in the last few boards, and at the Channel Trophy where their slam bidding was responsible for many swings to England.

Their attitude is always positive, and even after a poor result the only thing you will see is laughter - and maybe a sheepish grin!

English Bridge, October 2011

Young Player of the Year Award - 2010

The 2010 Young Player of the Year award goes to Graeme Robertson, who has been a member of the Junior Squad for over five years, gaining in ability and talent throughout this time.

2010 was his highpoint as a player, as he represented England in not just one but two World Championships. In July he travelled to Taiwan as captain of the Cambridge University team in the World University Championships, having qualified by right by winning the Portland Bowl (the England universities championship). His team finished creditably considering their inexperience but Graeme's performance was first class: he played in every match and was awarded the Paul Magerman Trophy for the best defended hand, for his inspired defence to beat a 4 spade contract.

Last October he travelled to Philadelphia as part of the Under-21 team in the Junior World Championships. Graeme was part of the anchor pair that played every single board in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of the event, and his performance was critical in the teams phenomenal recovery against the Netherlands.

His sense of humour and amusing story-telling provide light relief in even the darkest of times, and he is a credit to the squad.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Young Player of the Year Award - 2009

This year's Young Player of the year award is given to Ben Paske.

2009 was only one of many fantastic years that Ben has had since starting to play bridge, and in true fashion he achieves his goals with a quiet modesty that is hard to match.

Ben was Alice Kaye's and James Paul's team-mate in the Punchbowl final, and he also had a great victory at the Northern Summer Festival of Bridge held in Scarborough, where he won the Pairs trophy from a field of 170 pairs as well as the great success in leading his team of junior players to the A final in the Brighton teams (where they came 5th), an amazing achievement for a team of all youngsters.

Ben has had other good results including the Premier League, the Brighton pairs, and international events.

However it is Ben's attitude both at and away from the table that makes this award particularly special.Wherever Ben goes you can rest assured that he will be the responsible one, looking out for his friends, making sure people are ok and always putting others before himself. As the eldest child from a family of 8 you can see where he gets his responsible attitude from and why he takes his job as being a squad member so seriously.

Michael Byrne

Young Pair of the Year Award - 2009

Alice Kaye collecting the award from Sally Bugden, Chairman, EBU
This year's young pair of the year award is awarded to Alice Kaye and James Paul.

In 2009 they cemented their university partnership with a string of successful results. In the April they were part of the team that won the Portland Bowl for Oxford University, the British University Championships that qualified their team to represent England in the European teams championship in Croatia in October.

Only a few weeks later they did tremendously well in reaching the final of the Punchbowl at the Spring Fours, coming back from a huge amount down at half time to close within only a few imps. Their opponents were a star studded team of internationals including Ralph Katz (only a few months before he won his first Bermuda Bowl). One of the current England European team commented how impressive it was that they were able to get back into the match using controlled agression in so few boards.

At the end of the Year Alice and James had their crowning achievement when they were part of the team to win the Under 25 Channel trophy for England for the first time in 14 years. Despite an unlucky start where they were actually lying 4th after a few matches they showed true English grit and won in the final set.
Michael Byrne

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Can you help send our Under 21s to the World Championships in Philadelphia?

The Under 21s have received a late invitation to attend the World Championships in Philadelphia. This invitation was a surprise and the Under 21s are doing all they can to raise funds to be able to attend the event taking place in October. We hope that they will be able to go one better than the Silver Medal they received in the Beijing World Mind Sports Games in 2008.

If you are interested in helping the team please contact Michael Byrne, Squad Manager at: abbot_hugo@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

European Youth Championships 2009

Hands up all those who know anything about Poiana Brasov, apart from the fact that it is the venue for The European Bridge League’s 22nd European Youth Championships.

Well, reading from the EBL’s website I have gleaned some small pieces of information. It is a ski-resort close to Romania’s seventh largest city, Brasov, in the central region of the country known as Transylvania, better known perhaps for its links with the Dracula story than bridge. The town has a spectacular setting in a mountainous area. The scenery looks dramatic and no doubt there will be some drama at the bridge table.
There are three team competitions and England has a team participating in each category, Under 26, Under 21 and Under 26 Girls.

The largest competition is the Under 26 and when the tournament gets underway this week on Thursday there will be 23 teams including the England Squad. Twenty three rounds are squashed into nine days with just one rest day. Those of you who think that a congress is tough should try one of these Championships. Matches are of twenty boards. The rate of play is quite slow because with screens eight and a half minutes is allowed for each hand. That is two hours fifty minutes a match and on almost every day there are three matches. That makes for a long day starting at 10.30 am.

Chris Dixon is non-playing captain of the squad and he organised an exhibition match in the spectacular setting of Bath’s Pump Room as a warm-up for the team on the weekend of 4/5 July, before the flights out to Romania on Wednesday.

The U26 England team played three twenty board matches against our World Champion Women’s team from the Mindsport Games in 2008. The surroundings were somewhat unusual as tourists enjoying Bath’s wonderful attraction wandered past the bridge players. Music from a trio in the restaurant provided a unique atmosphere, but the players appeared completely unfazed as they concentrated on the match in hand.

Mike Bell and Ed Jones started the match against Catherine Draper and Ann Rosen

At the second table Fiona Brown and Alex Morris were up against Heather Dhondy and Nevena Senior, watched here by Ben Green the team coach.

The teams were welcomed by the city of Bath and the Pump Room. The two team captains, Chris Dixon and Pat Davis, start the day in relaxed fashion.

Passers-by watch as the match proceeds.

The first match was a tough one for the U26s and the Women’s team showed their mettle, coming out on top by 52 IMPs and 25-5 VPs. There were lots of swings in this match and unfortunately for the U26 team far too many went to the experienced World Champions. Match Two was a much tighter affair, with less swings, but with a 28 IMP margin to the Women’s team, another loss was recorded by the Juniors, 11-19. Pride was very much at stake in the final match and it was close throughout. The Juniors were losing by just one swing at the halfway mark , but outscored their opponents 14-0 in the second half to achieve a fighting win by just four imps and a 16-14 margin.

There was some good bidding and play by both teams, but perhaps the Juniors were shown the level of concentration and determination required by their more experienced opponents. As a preparation for the forthcoming tournament, it was really worthwhile and the team have followed it up with more work with Chris Dixon and Ben Green.

Hopefully all this work will be reflected in a good performance in Brasov. Details about the tournament will increasingly appear at the official website, with results and bulletins. BBO will doubtless have some coverage and as we get to hear about it we will publish links here.

The Under 26 team is:

Alex Morris and Fiona Brown

Chris Owen and John Atthey

Ed Jones and Mike Bell

NPC Chris Dixon and coach Ben Green