Tuesday 13 November 2012

Children in Need and things ..

Well, Children in Need seems to be going well - we have lots of clubs taking part, though it is a shame we lost so many with the Police thingy elections - hopefully those displaced from their own clubs will play elsewhere. You can see the up to date total on the website - http://www.ecatsbridge.com/  so watch it as it rises and lets see how close to last year's total we get !

It has been a strange summer without the BGB or EBU Sims to deal with ... we are still trying to sell the house, but haven't had any joy, although we do have a couple who seem interested, so please all of you, keep your fingers crossed for us. We really do need to move on !

We are still pretty busy on the Sims front, as the World Bridge Federation has introduced four new Simultaneous Pairs to raise money for Youth Bridge, so that we can assist some of the less developed countries - have a look at our calendar and you can see the dates there. Do join us if you can ... it is a very worthwhile cause and the entry fee is very low. All the details are here. Then there is the new Celtic Simultaneous Pairs ... the first one is in December and you can read about it here.

We had a lovely trip to Scotland earlier in the autumn, in our new motor home  ... named Badger ... We were so fed up with putting our lives on hold because of waiting to move, and getting really down about it so we had a rush of blood to the head and bought Badger and it is really great fun ! We have kitted him out with lots of bits and bobs and he will be getting internet satellite very soon so it makes it easier for us to work while we are away. I love cooking so we had a wonderful time visiting local farm shops and buying lovely local produce for me to be inventive with. The only reason for a visit to a supermarket was to buy wine ... and nothing else !!

What else - well I had a trip out to Lausanne to the WBF head office there for some meetings about Anti-Doping in bridge, which were fascinating. And we also talked a lot about the WBF website and I will be doing some work for that after January.

So - that's about it really - do join us for some of the simultaneous Pairs in the future won't you - many of the ones we run are for Charity so you can do some good while playing your favourite game !

Thursday 24 May 2012

Neglected and unloved ..

.. that's what my poor blog is. Neglected and unloved. Somehow it slips my mind, which is NOT GOOD. I really will try and do better but judging from past experience, I hope you won't hold your breath !

So - what's been happing in ECatsBridge and the bridge world. Well, Mark has been beavering away and has created a new archive area where we have old bulletins (lots of them!), old system cards (lots of them too) and old programmes from events. If you know of any that are missing and can send us hard (or soft) copy that would be great ... if it is a pdf file, though, please can you make it a searchable one, as the whole point of this archive is that you can search it. Have a go - look for a player's name, or an event, or in the systems search for a convention. It will come up with whatever it can find for you. Not bad huh ? Anyway you can find it at: http://info.ecatsbridge.com/ .

Thesystems for the European Championships in Dublin aren't there yet, becauuse the players keep sending me revised versions, and anyway I am still waiting for one or two. Once it is a complete set I will put it there, but in the meantime you can find them, with all the information about Dublin, at: www.ecatsbridge.com - go to the bit about EBL news and the links are there.

We are, of course, moving rapidly towards the World Bridge Games being held in lovely Lille in France - as normal there is a Transnational Teams - in this case it is a World Transnational Mixed Teams for you to play in if you don't make it to your National Team ! It's such a lovely event, happening during the second week of the Championships, and giving you the chance to enjoy the marvellous atmosphere not only of the World Bridge Games but because this event is part of the World Mind Sport Games, there will also be Chess, Draughts, Go and Xianqi (Chinese Chess) to enhance it all. So do give some thought to making up a team and joining us in Lille. We would love to see you there. You can find more information at www.ecatsbridge.com of course (look in the WBF section).

The world wide bridge contest is happening next weekend, alongside our Queen's Diamond Jubilee - what are you all doing to celebrate I wonder ! for all the information about the WWBC go to www.ecatsbridge.com (there's a surprise) and the link is on the front page.

The next event on our calendar is the Bill Hughes Simultaneous Pairs held in the last week in June - click here for more information about that one. The organiser has been very busy this year inviting overseas clubs to join in, so hopefully it is becoming more of an international event.

Next comes the Simultaneous Pairs in aid of Kidney Research on 12th July. Clubs wanting to join this event should email me (anna@ecats.co.uk) as soon as possible. If you are a non-affiliated English club you can still play - we have set up a separate session for non-affiliated clubs, and there will be a combined overall ranking to show where you came across the whole field. The event has booklets and so forth just as it always has done, and we welcome all comers. It is such a worthy cause and I am sure many of us know people who have had, maybe still have, kidney problems.

Finally (finally) the sun has decided to shine, so I am rather hoping that my little vegetable patch will start to grow ... it's been pathetic so far ! I can just about rustle up enough lettuce leaves and herbs for a nice herb salad, but that's about it so far this year. I think the mice ate all the peas I sowed, and the kittencs haven't managed to eat the mice (yet!).

Anyway- time to get back to the Rules and Regulations for the World Championships, oh joy !

take care and I will try and be better about blogging more regularly, though I say that every time don't I !


Wednesday 21 March 2012

Apologies ...

... for not having posted for a while - quite a good reason actually, as I have had a problem with my eye, and have been struggling to keep my work at the screen to a minimum ! Turned out to be a very large cyst on the bottom lid and five cysts on the top lid ! Easily dealt with once the hospital appointment came through, and much much better now. Makes you realise just how precious sight is though - one friend of ours, an IT journalist, suddenly lost the sight of one eye and is threatened with losing the sight in the other, and that really is terrible. I have been slightly incapacitated no more than that, but I now have some inkling of what he is going through and my heart goes out to him.

What with that and trying to sell the house ... very depressing that we can't seem to manage it but then again, worse things happen at sea, as they say ! But spring is springing, the daffodils are out, the little birds are singing their hearts out and the sun is shining. It's lovely to have the office door open again, despite the kittens rocketing in and out and sending papers in all directions or landing on my keyboard and deleting things accidentally !

What news in the bridge world ? Well quite a lot actually ! Despite no longer being involved with the EBU or BGB Sims, which the EBU have taken over in their entirity, including writing their own scoring program, I seem to be very busy which is good (pays the bills anyway !!). We have just finished the Charity Challenge - I am keying in the last of the results for clubs who can't do it themselves, then we will give it a day or two and finalise that one. We had to run it as two sessions as the EBU won't permit non-affiliated English clubs to play in a licenced event, so we divided it into affiliated and non and were very pleased to have 26 non affiliated clubs taking part just for the fun of it and to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Charity. Thank you to all who took part and especially to many of you who generously donated extra funds for the Charity over and above the entry fee. We will be sending the Charity a good sum after expenses have been deducted, which is great news.

I am now starting work on publicity for the World Wide Bridge Contest - again unfortunately the EBU won't permit non-affiliated English Clubs to participate, so players wishing to take part will need to find an affiliated club in England to play at, or go to Wales or Scotland ! It's a good event, and we do hope lots of clubs will join us.
We will still be running the WBU Simultaneous Pairs (March and September). These are Green Pointed, and the entry fee is £2.50 per player and we send out the normal organiser pack just as we always have done, so do join us for those if you can.  Our own Children in Need event is in November as usual of course - the EBU allows non affiliated clubs to play in that one which is great and again, we will be sending out booklets as normal.

We are rapidly approaching the WBF online womens' bridge Festival - full details of that are at: http://www.wbfwomensbridgeclub.org/ so if you are a woman player or know of any who would like to join in, do have a look at the site and register if you have not already done so. It is running from 16th - 22nd April and promises to be good fun.

The 2012 World University Teams Championships organised by FISU  will be held from 9th - 15th July 2012 ... read more . Do let any bridge playing / university attending youngsters you know about this as it is going to be a great event.

And of course - the World Championships ! The date and venue for these has now been confirmed as Lille - at the Grand Palais - a really good venue. It is the 2nd World Mind Sport Games, so as well as the 14th World Bridge Series there will be Chess, Draughts and Go Championships and, by invitation, Xianqi - Chinese Chess. The dates are 9th - 23rd August. The event is for National, Open, Women's and Seniors Teams, but there is also a Transnational Mixed Teams Championship, open to players who are members in good standing of their NBO which probably means that you could play ! In a World Championship ! How cool is that. A Mixed Team must be made up of two Mixed Partnerships, so - have a think about it and book the dates. The Transnational will actually start on 17th August ... click here for more information and do keep coming back as we will be posting more details on the site as soon as they become available.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Did anyone notice ...

... what happened to January ... normally it seems quite a slow month but this one has whizzed past without me noticing !

It's been a bit of a sad one really - my last ever BGB Simultaneous after more years than I care to remember. As you will probably know by know, the EBU has decided to take it over, calling it the British Simultaneous Pairs, I think, and running it themselves. And of course they are doing the EBU Simultaneous pairs as well - we will do the Bridge England one on 7th February, and it seems the Stratified ones in March and then that's it. Mind you, when we first started doing Sims, the EBU thought it would never catch on and didn't start using us for quite a while!
BUT - ECatsBridge will still be running plenty of events so you won't lose usthat easily ! We have all the Charity Pairs and will still run the World Wide and the European so watch this space for news of all those won't you ?

The Charity Challenge is the next one which will be on Thursday 8th March. It is in aid of the Prostate Cancer Charity this year which I am sure you will agree is a very very worthwhile cause ... did you know that it is the most common cancer in men ? I didn't.

Because the terms of the EBU licence for English clubs state that, in order to receive overall master points, only affiliated EBU clubs may participate, we are running two separate sessions for this event.

One will be for the EBU affiliated clubs, plus all the Scottish and Welsh clubs and any overseas clubs wishing to join us.
The other will be for the non-affiliated clubs, but we will also display an overall ranking list so people can see where they came in the whole event. That way the non-affiliated clubs are not left out in the cold !

Because of all this we have offered to reduce the entry fee from the normal £3.50 per player to £3.20 per player, as the EBU members will all still have to pay the P2P charge, and we don't see why the non affiliated clubs should have to pay extra to cover licence fees etc. We are DELIGHTED to have had a lot of clubs email us though, and say that they will still collect the £3.50 per player so that the Charity is not disadvantaged. Isn't that lovely of them ? And we are hoping that some clubs will run raffles etc to help raise additional funds. Please, if you can, go along and play in the event - I will put up a list of participating clubs around mid-February so you can try and find a club near you.
I am constantly being asked about the 2012 World Mind Sport Games - where and when will they be held ? I am sorry but I don't have an answer yet, but I will announce any decision as soon as I hear about it, and send out press releases, newsletters etc as well as putting it onto the website. Incidentally if you want to register for our newsletters, please click here and just follow the on-screen instructions.
Mark and I are both looking for additional work to fill the gap left by the loss of the BGB and EBU Sims and hope to be working with some different websites soon. And we will be adding to the information on the ECatsBridge site in our spare moments, so do watch for that, as hopefully you will find things there to interest you.

We are really hoping to move this year - we have been here 17 years (yes really !) and both want a change. So please keep your fingers crossed that we can sell the Station ... because of the nature of our work, being 99% internet based, we can work wherever we are on the planet as long as we have a good Broadband connection and with the modern developments in satellite broadband even if the landlines don't support it, we can make it happen wherever we go !

So ... the world (well the UK) is our oyster and we may yet head to the far North ! Watch this space for news ...

Monday 19 December 2011

So this is Christmas ...

... or very nearly - presents are all bought and some of them wrapped up. Tree is up and looking very festive. And I am very excited as all the family are coming here for Christmas - My daughters, Vickie and Catherine, my granddaughter, Jasmine (she's Vickie's daughter), Catherine's husband Mark and their baby son, Sammy who I haven't seen since September when he was 2 days old; Mark's sons (that's "my" Mark - Mark Newton) are both coming, Tim and Oliver and then throw into the mix my 10 year old cat Phercad, the new Cloud kittens and it's going to be gloriously chaotic. And wonderful. And I can't wait!

On the work front, all the "have to" jobs have been done so anything I do this week is a bonus for next year. Everything is in place for the BGB Simultaneous Pairs in January - the last BGG event I will be doing, and I am ready for the WBF/ECats Charity pairs at the end of January.

Admittedly there is quite a long list of "New Year" jobs, but I will come back refreshed after the break and really look forward to tackling them with zest !! I hope !!

So really what remains is to wish any of you reading this a very very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and (dare I wish it) Prosperous New Year.

love to you all

Tuesday 29 November 2011

CiN, Kittens & bridge

So - we have been back from the Championships for AGES and I haven't caught up with my blog at all. Sorry about that, but what with coming home with two small kittens (Nimbus and Cirrus - two Chocolate Burmese boys), with the Children in Need Sims on top of us, it was all just a bit much !

So - Children in Need - well, what a dream We - well - all you wonderful bridge players - have now raised over half a million for Children in Need over the past 10 years. How cool is that ! And it looks as though this year is going to be at least as good as last year ! We are still getting cheques in, and a lot of clubs haven't actually emailed to tell me how much they raised, so there are lots of nice suprises in the post. I am still staggered by some of the clubs - the Ace of Clubs for raising over £1,800, Adur Valley with over £1,600 and Summertown with over £1,100. But somehow singling those out seems a bit off, given how magnificently some of the other clubs rose to the challenge of fund raising - I just can thank you all enough.

We were fortunate enough to be sent tickets for the BBC show, which was enormous fun. They didn't present any of the cheques this year, which was a bit sad, but I am told that the ticker tape thanked the bridge players at one point. The show was great - we were a bit worried as there weren't any seats left, but in the end we stood very close to the stage and the four hours just flew past ... though I do admit that my feet were getting a little tired about 20 minutes from the end! Then we drove home in thick fog which wasn't so good - Mark insisted on doing all the driving which was magnificent of him, especially as we had to go via Felixstowe, adding an hour to the journey, to drop my daughter, Vickie back home, as she had to teach exam classes (ballet, tap and modern) at 10 on Saturday morning. She said her feet have only just recovered, but it was worth it as all her students passed their exam the following Monday :-).

Just waiting for a couple of queries on the scores to be answered then I will finalise it, do the master points and ... start looking forward to next year !

In quick succession that was followed by the European Sims, which is now over (master points to be sorted there too !) and now I am starting to gird my loins for the BGB Winter Pairs - the last BGB we will ever do !

The kittens settled in very quickly and are fun, naughty, affectionate and playful. the purrs start the moment they are picked up and they are deliberately naughty running into rooms they are not allowed in - the hall is one - and then lying down waiting to be picked up and cuddled. They have learnt that they are not allowed on the kitchen work surfaces which at least means they jump down in a hurry when we walk into the room :-). Our Maine Coon, Phercad, looks ENORMOUS beside them and they are still a bit wary, in an inquisitive way, when he is around. But his tail is a source of endless fascination. When he feels they are getting a bit uppity he hisses and they back off, but he is being very good with them, and just retreating with dignity when it all gets too much. Nimbus is the adventurous one, doesn't look before he leaps, which results in some embarrassing tumbles. Cirrus is far more serious, carefully judging the distance before jumping on something, and giving careful consideration to the world around him. They have their last injections on Thursday and then can be introduced to the big wide world outside the windows.Luckily we have a very safe back garden where they can explore to their hearts content ! And then we can get the litter tray out of the sitting room ... hurrah !!

so that's about it for now - hope you like the piccies of the kitties :-)

Friday 28 October 2011

Nearly there ... wherever "there" is !!

These have been brilliant championships ! Lots of work, but you expect that, but also lots of socialising which has been really good fun ... we had the Staff Dinner last night where we were all presented with plaques to remember the event by; the night before was the sponsor's dinner, but sadly I couldn't go to that because I had to be here for the Anti Doping tests, but I understand it was - fabulous!!

Tonight we are off out with friends from the Bulletin and Press Room for dinner at a local curry house - something of a tradition at these events.

We escaped for a brief while this morning - Marina (PA to the WBF President), Carol (Secretary to the WBF Executive Council), Sevinc (Member of the Executive Council) and I - to go to a shop in Veldhoven - a really amazing Garden Centre but the real reason for going there was their Christmas department which was just gorgeous. We all spent too much money on new decorations ready to be squirreled away for a month when we get home, before putting on our trees !

As for the bridge - well, it got pretty exciting yesterday with the semi finals, to the point where even I was watching the results coming through and I confess that is a rarity ! One of the matches was won by 0.3 IMP ... talk about close ! And a lot of the other matches were close as well. Now we just hope that the finals will be as good - it is quite sad when you have good semi finals and then the final turns out to be a big disappointment.

The duplication of the boards is done and dusted - can you believe, the team duplicated 50,052 boards over the two weeks!

The trophies are all here and polished, and looking splendid and ready for presentation on Saturday. Speeches are being written (oh I DO hope they keep them short !) and, of course, all the last minute things are being remembered that haven't been done during the week !

I am going home with a number of joyous tasks, like re-sectioning all the Conditions of Contest, setting up World Simultaneous Pairs to raise money for Junior Bridge (well that will be quite fun actually!), setting up contact lists for Junior Administrators, Tournament Directors and things like that. All interesting but time consuming.

And of course very soon after we get home we have the Children in Need Sims - fingers crossed lots of people come and play in that. I will get the club lists up as soon as I can once I get back !