Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Alan Shillitoe
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Standard. Reckon China will win one of these sooner or later. Currently bottom of the standings after day 1 - shows my level of insight…
Aug. 13
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Oh and Chris, the JTI is still happening, and I'm keeping the streak going!
Aug. 11
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And do you have the same figures for junior members?
Aug. 11
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I have a junior pair who will destroy the field at that.
Aug. 10
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We may have 500 juniors on the database (for that I take some element of credit), but how many of them play say at least once per month in an EBU sanctioned event be that school, club, county, national or whatever? I'd guess 10%.
Aug. 10
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Even back in the 90s it was qualifier and finals for the U20 and U25 pairs. Qualifying for the final was tough and the bonus was that you were granted free entry to the remainder of the Easter Congress (the final was on the Saturday) if you made it.

Even when I last played in the Schools cup in 1994, I had to get through a 7-team county heat in Essex, a 12-team regional final in London before a 2-day all-play-all 16-team final over a weekend in Birmingham.

Numbers declined rapidly from there.

There are juniors out there, but part of the difference was that these events were entered by all, not just the squad members. We have lost that connection where people now think that the big events aren't for them, just the (supposed) elite. It's clear this applies to juniors as well as the general bridge populace.

So how do we make them think it's worth their while? Will they be outclassed hopelessly? Is it worth their time and effort to travel long distances at some cost for little chance of achieving? Are we offering enough great experience instead? If they do come, will it reinforce their desire to come back and do better?
Aug. 10
Alan Shillitoe edited this comment Aug. 10
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I dunno, I know a few running Bridgies. Perhaps we just need to organise this ourselves for giggles!
Aug. 10
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Georgiana - close! It was written by Alan Sillitoe - no ‘h’ in the surname!

Mike - I disagree, at least for simplicity. I think looking at the range of likely scores for each, the ranges are usually broadly comparable, the difference being that in running the field doesn't average around 50%, it averages around what the field strength is - kind of scoring according to your running NGS if you were!

We've both no doubt met runners who score 90%+ (usually very good older age vet females I've found), but in general only relatively untrained runners score much below 50%. So the range of scores in a race wouldn't be more than about 40% from top to bottom. The likely max range in a duplicate wouldn't be more than about 40% either (30-70%) so why not just add them both together?
Aug. 9
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In all seriousness compared to the comments I made above, I honestly don't know what can be done to arrest the slide in numbers at the tournament construction level. Formats, events, locations is all slightly fiddling at the edges. Clearly a badly designed and run event will fall off a cliff the following year, but these major congresses are continuously refined and tweaked and innovated and are generally pretty well done. No Eastbourne doesn't really work for the Juniors and how they are encouraged with regards to summer needs thought, not least the format and location of the U26 pairs championship.

The only way numbers are going to get arrested long term though is through an increase in tournament playing members. This is not an issue only faced by the EBU of course. While attracting in the very young has benefits, they don't pay the bills for these events as they need subsidising. The post-retirement group more often see it as a social activity with competitive elements and may find the travelling tiring. The question is how to both attract and retain the working group while both competing for their time with family and work commitments, other more immediate pursuits and the enormous variety of other possible interests, many of which didn't exist during the game's numerical heyday. I don't know what the answer is and I don't know if the answer exists. It may be an impossible problem to solve.
Aug. 8
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I know a few running Bridge players so that was a serious suggestion. Relatively speaking I also think the average runner trains far harder than the average bridge player at all standards of both.

The running event would be far more predictable too. Given whatever my training status I could predict my running percentage within a couple of points. A good runner could guarantee a 65-75% set. An exceptional one much more and average one less. Obviously one can't do the same at the card table. So the motivation is there to work on the running as that is where you can guarantee your score.
Aug. 8
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Emily. It's an easy hill.
Aug. 7
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Eastbourne does have the option to time trial up Beachy Head on the bike though first thing in the morning when it's often still and the roads empty.
Aug. 6
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Junior entries are down for the reasons Emily stated. I could barely get a squad member to enter even with free entry. Plus accommodation options for the juniors aren't as good in Eastbourne.
Aug. 6
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If the WBF or EBL ran one at their championships with a decent format and world/euro titles at stake, would it get all the good players in?
Aug. 4
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I've played this. I seem to recall playing a 2 card major system.
Aug. 4
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I'd like to see a proper speedball championship. Played as a serious event. If Blitz Chess and other faster formats can be taken seriously, then why not speedball bridge. Three sessions of 24 boards in a day, each over in an hour and a half, slow play fines intrinsic to the game, with a good field. Make it happen someone.
Aug. 4
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We all want the same thing, but it requires plenty of people using different approaches in different situations to do it. I've no doubt that both Ian and Mike are doing great stuff because I've been involved with work that both of them have been doing. If there were more Ians and Mikes (and Joans, lots more Joans) and even another Alan or two (gulp!), the game would be in a better state!

Mike is right in that technology is not a panacea, but it is a vastly underused tool - particularly with regard to hooking in the younger demographic. One need only peruse the conversation above in this topic to see how wedded (or even welded) some are to their smartphones. There's lots of trial and error in this - we'll see if Funbridge robots take off or if some other approach is required - but lets get the ideas out there and see which ones work.
Aug. 3
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I think that where there is strong local effort to grow the game, it will do so. There are examples in England of clubs that have worked hard to gain and retain members, provide an experience that the clientele want and these are flourishing. It is extremely hard work, but it is the only way. Sadly, not everyone is prepared to put in this effort.

However, that does not mean that the internet and technology can be neglected. This is another stream to be engaged with - particularly for coaching and engaging the younger population. I have some ideas that I'm intending to bring into the junior coaching, but there is massive scope for original and inventive use. One need only take a look at how other activities have done so with streaming, videos and so on to see how utterly shambolic Bridge has been so far. And yes, online tournaments, can, will and must be part of that strategy. If online Poker is massive - and you don't get the ‘table feel’ there either - then recognise that online Bridge is also an entirely valid stream (even if a slightly different game) too.
Aug. 2
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Congratulations to Poland who retained their U16 title. The standard was higher than two years ago in Tromso. Top six qualified for the World Champs next year in Suzhou, China.

Sweden look ominous for U26 title - over a match clear with only us English of the current top teams in the standings still to play.
July 13
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English breakfast available at breakfast. There's a couple of coffee bars that also stock it.

They don't have proper sized mugs though.
July 11
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