Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Friday, 17 October 2008
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Friday, 10 October 2008
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Monday, 6 October 2008
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Saturday, 4 October 2008
Friday, 3 October 2008
Well, I arrived in China safely after a very uneventful if somewhat boring flight … I am lucky as jet lag doesn’t seem to affect me. We landed at about 9.20 and were taken by shuttle to the Beijing International Convention Centre to collect our badges – unfortunate that, as someone else had collected them on our behalf and brought them to the hotel and the other convention centre, the CNCC, so off we shuttled again over to our hotel. I am very lucky to be staying at the Beijing Intercontinental, and very nice it is too – my room is enormous with all “mod cons”.
The usual chaos greeted us of course – it is amazing how everything seems to come together though, and as I write this we are heading for the Welcome Cocktail which is being held here for the Open, Women’s and Senior Teams and then we go off to the Opening Ceremony for the Youth Teams which is being held at the Indoor Sports Centre.
We are right in the heart of the Olympic Village here – there is a “bridge” between the hotel and the CNCC and as we walk across we can see the Birds Nest Stadium and the Water Cube – not much to look at during the day, but spectacular at night.
The playing rooms are in the area that was used to stage the Olympic Fencing competitions and is enormous, very well lit and a great area for the teams games. I haven’t had a chance to get to the auditorium where the vu graph is being held but I am told it is magnificent!
I will try and keep a blog going (and get some pictures up) so that you can get a bit of a “behind the scenes” flavour of the event. So do come back for more !
Saturday, 30 August 2008
I did manage to escape the chains that bind me to my desk last weekend though, and we took Mark's beloved Mustang to "The Nats" ... the national hotrod get-together. It was great fun. I know many of you who know me will laugh at the thought, but we spent the weekend camping, and I have the picture to prove it - have a look at my Flickr page - just click here!
But - back to the bridge world. Next week sees the Welsh Simultaneous running, then on 15th & 16th it is the English one, and next thing we know we are into October and it is time for the BGB Sims. There are a number of other ones happening as well, of course, like the EBU Schools and Minibridge and Students sims ... just have a look at the calendar which goes right through to 2010 for dates of forthcoming events. And don't forget our very own event - the ECatsBridge for Children In Need pairs to be held over 5 days (different hands each day ...) in November. Very close to our hearts this one, and we hope as many people as possible will join us - and that goes for overseas clubs too ...you are so welcome, believe me!
Can I just remind those of you going to Beijing for the Championships to check a few of the regulations - particularly those about anti-doping, the dress code, the fact the Brown Sticker and HUM systems are NOT permitted at any time, that if you are defending against a Multi 2 diamond you may take your defences to the table and such like ... most of these are in the FAQ area on my website, so please check it out. As I put updates on the site about Beijing they will appear here by the way.
And now I must stop before I bore you to distraction - and anyway, it is time to go and get a coffee before starting on checking the ID forms and making sure we have them all. Keep your fingers crossed for me that my Visa comes through OK won't you !!
Thursday, 7 August 2008
Anyway - what's new ? Well, all the preparation for Beijing is in full (and I mean FULL) swing. For those of you interested in the Transnational Mixed Teams please please register and get all your ID forms filled in and so forth - I have just put up some FAQ pages on the site to try and help with all the questions you may have about the event.
It is all very exciting despite the work, and I am sure will be great fun. I am looking forward to seeing the Olympics starting tomorrow and seeing some of the places where we will be in October. Keep an eye on the pages on the site though as that is where I will be posting updates.
On a slightly more mundane level, the BGB Summer Pairs has been and gone (along with summer I think ...), and we hope to finalise that early next week, when I will post the master point lists and so forth.
The packs are about to go out for the EBU Autumn Pairs - can't wait, as I keep tripping over the sacks, but I forgot to phone the post office today. Oops ... but I was otherwise occupied as our wonderful Victorian drains decided not to be as wonderful as normal !! Luckily I have always lived in old houses so am used to coping. We are also working on getting everything ready for the WBU simultaneous and all the material for the BGB Autumn Pairs is here too - arrrrrrrrrrgghhh! That will go out next week, very early I know but with Beijing in the offing it just has to be. Email me if you haven't entered any of these and would like to and I will sort it out for you. Once I have got them out of my hair I must get the booklets for our own ECatsBridge for Children in Need event off to the printers!
Don't forget to have a look at Mark's Silverlight application with the photographs will you ? His next article in PCPro is all about how he did it so if you want you can buy a copy and read all about it !!
And in between the work (and the showers and thunderstorms) I can be found knee deep in weeds as I try to keep control of my veggie patch - I am VERY proud of myself, as at the moment we are completely self sufficient for salads and vegetables. My first year of doing it and we have lots of potatoes, carrots, beans (3 sorts), lettuces, beetroot, peas and onions. I am really chuffed and so enjoying doing it. So you can think of me at weekends, weeding away like a good 'un!
Now I am going to stop wittering on and go and do some more work ... look after yourselves won't you - let's hope we get some better weather soon so we can have a barbecue or two !
Monday, 28 July 2008
If you are off to Beijing, please make sure you have sent in your ID Accreditation form and digital photograph - all the information on my website - click here to go to it. Also please make sure you are listed on the WBF Site (but be patient - we are still putting the entries in !)
I am keeping this very short this time ... because the main thing to tell you is that Mark has made a really superb Deep Zoom photographic record using old pictures sent to us by the ACBL - have a look at it (click here) and see how many of the great players you can spot! You can enlarge the pictures by just zooming in using your mouse wheel, and click and drag to move them around. There are around 500 pictures there for you to have a look at and enjoy! It will download a small piece of Microsoft Software (silverlight) onto your computer but I promise it is quite safe!
I will try not to leave it so long before I put up another blog !!
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Fortunately the cottage we rent there has a broadband connection, so my work didn't get neglected and I was able to keep on top of it all while I was away - and there is quite a bit of it at the moment one way and another!
The World Wide Bridge Contest is being played on Friday 6 & Saturday 7 June, so our servers are all eagerly awaiting the onslaught of results and players looking to see how they have done - details of that can be found by clicking here.
The European Championships in Pau will be starting soon, and you will be able to watch the online vu graph on BBO of course, and download all the bulletins and results etc from the EBL Website. I will be posting a link to the players convention cards on the pages about Pau at ECatsBridge, where you can find details of the draws as well.
After that, it is time to set the sights firmly on Beijing and the World Mind Sport Games - we are getting more information about this for the teams, and I am running a mailing list so if you want to receive details as they become available, please just email me with your name and country and tell me you want to be added to the list.
For those of you interested in Simultaneous Pairs, now that the EBU has decided to progress with the "pay to play" strategy, you may like to know that their events will, I understand, be restricted to EBU affiliated clubs. However, I am assured that the BGB events and certainly all the Charity events will, as normal, be open to all comers, and master points will be awarded. We are not yet quite sure how this will work, but don't worry as I am sure we will manage to work something out!
And now I must go back to my email and get on with some more "real" work! I will try not to leave putting up a blog quite so long next time :-)
Friday, 18 April 2008
While I was gone, my assistant (well, actually my lovely elder daughter on this occasion!) packed up the master points etc for the Charity Challenge and the WBU sims (the Master point lists are on the site if you want to download them and see how well you did) and they will be in the post on Monday with my apologies for them being a bit later than normal.
We are working on the frequencies for the BGB events held earlier this month and will be emailing any queries to the clubs (and on keying in the ones that have been sent to us) and then I will get the material out for the World Wide. Of course the EBU Sims are in between and the booklets for the BGB Summer sims are with the printers, and the ones for the EBU Autumn Sims are with the proof-reader ... do you get the feeling this is a not-stop process ? I do !!
Incidentally, I am being asked a lot about what will happen with the new EBU Strategy proposalsECatsBridge Sim for Children in Need) will be open to everyone, including non EBU affiliated clubs. It is not yet decided what will happen about the BGB events but there is a meeting later this month and hopefully I will be able to post an answer to that here afterwards - so watch this space!
The WBF/BBO Women's Festival was a great success - if you didn't take part this year but would like a reminder about it before it happens again next year, drop me an email and I will add you to the mailing list. And don't forget if you want updates about Beijing and the World Championships, email me and I will add you to the mailing list for that. I also run a Press List and a Tournament Directors list, so if you want to be added to any or all, let me know - just tell me your name, which country you are in and which list you want to join : click here to email me! And I have only just thought of it, but if you want I can email you to tell you I have put a new blog ... let me know :-) After all, you really enjoy my deathless prose don't you?
What else ? Oh yes - a reminder about Pau and the European Championships ... if you are playing please let me have your systems as soon as you can. The deadline is 10 May but it really does help if you can get them in earlier !
So that's about it until next time ... Watch this space, as they say ... I'll be back !
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Anyway, there is plenty of fun bridge coming your way this spring, kicking off with the WBF / BBO Women's Festival at the beginning of April - you must register by 1st April if you want to play in this so do log on and get your registration done quickly!
Then come the BGB Simultaneous Pairs - all three of them - starting on 8th April; click here to find the club lists so you can see where you want to play ... if your club is listed at the bottom of the page, do try and send me the postcode of the premises so that we can pinpoint you on the map - much more fun! We won't put your contact number if you don't want us to, but we can add your website if you have one. And if you don't why not consider joining the ECatsBridge Club so you can put your results up using our scoring system - just £50+VAT for a whole year?
At the end of next week, my hall is going to disappear under all the material for the World Wide Bridge Contest (I will try and remember to post a picture up in my next blog!), so to save me tripping over it, do let me know as soon as you can if you want me to send you the booklets etc then Mark won't get cross with me when he tries to get through the front door!
Did you know that we stock Andrew Robson's books in the ECatsBridge Shop ? And that we have a special offer of bar-coded cards (5 bar code) for duplimate machines from the World Championships in Shanghai? They are used, of course, so no pretty boxes or cellophane, they are just held together with elastic bands, but truly they look brand new (only used a few times of course) and are less expensive than buying new. Plus you get the fun of playing with cards that the World Champions used !
That's about it for now - have a very Happy Easter ... I hope the bunny is good to you and brings you some lovely chocolate!
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
And so we are heading towards the end of February - with an extra day tagged on this year. We have been enjoying some wonderful weather though, brilliant sunshine, which has enticed me into the garden to start clearing at one end to create a vegetable patch!
We have been working on some fun new mapping software (well, Mark has been doing the work, and tearing his hair out over it at times!!); it will be used to display the whereabouts of clubs planning to play in the national Simultaneous Pairs, and the first time will be for the Charity Challenge - just click here to get to the right page.
And on the bridge front - well, I have sent out the material for the Charity Challenge and the BGB April Simultaneous Pairs ... these are not limited to UK clubs incidentally, so if any of you clubs "out there" want to join us, do get in touch. I have typeset the booklets for the World Wide ... now that really IS a world wide event, and we hope clubs from everywhere will come and join us for that one; again, email me if you are interested and we can set it up for you.
I have put a bit of information up about Pau and the European Championships for those of you heading for France in the summer (please note, all you teams, that I need the systems registered with me by 10th May ... including the Seniors this time!), and there is a lot about the World Mind Sport Games in Beijing of course. And please remember the Womens' Bridge Festival Online - do email your female friends and tell them about that one, please !!
Finally - did you know that I organise mailing lists ? At the moment I have one for information about Beijing - so that when I put up new details, or get additional information I can let people know, I have another for TDs, so as I get more information about the Laws or appeals or things that might interest TDs and so forth ... or if you have a particular area of interest, let me know and I will think about setting up a separate mailing list about it! Within reason of course :-) Anyway, if you want to be added to my Beijing or TD list, drop me an email and let me know, remembering to tell me who you are and which country you are in please !
Monday, 21 January 2008
We had a fun time on New Year's day ... got up very early (05.00 !) and drove to London to watch Soho waking up ! Then we went to watch the New Year Parade which was great ... photos are on my Flickr account if you are interested.
I was very sad then to hear of the death of a dear friend, Raymond Brock ... such a sadness. His obituary can be found on the EBU Website if you want to read it. I am sure you will want to join me in sending condolences to his wife, Sally, and the two children. The funeral was incredibly moving and was a fitting farewell for a great man.
So ... on the bridge front what gives ?
Well, the end of March will see me finishing my work as EBU webmaster - the EBU is going to take the job back in-house. I will be sorry to stop doing that work as it has been interesting to do, but all good things come to an end.
The main thing on the work front has been getting the WBF / BBO On Line Women's Bridge Festival ready to rock ! It will be held in April and should be great fun, so all you women out there who like to play on line, click here to go to the website to find out all about it ! Women from all over the world are welcome to play - the more the merrier - just sign up and join in !
There have been a number of Simultaneous Pairs already this year, and the Charity Challenge is coming up on March 13th in aid of Action Medical Research, so do join us for that if you can. Lots more for the future as well, so have a look at the Calendar for other dates.
It's going to be a busy year, what with the European Championships in Pau (I don't go to that, just deal with all the systems) and of course the World Mind Sport Games in Beijing so there is plenty to look forward to ! If you are involved in Youth Bridge, please please make sure that your National Bridge Organisation is sending a team to the Junior Championships (or a pair or an individual if they can't manage a team!) It is so important that as many countries as possible send a Junior team - for this one the players can be aged up to 28. Click here for more details. and make sure your NBO knows that the Juniors will get free accommodation and all meals and that it is also hoped that air flights will be provided free for them as well.