Monday 21 December 2009

Nearly Christmas !

I LOVE Christmas - all the family round, seeing friends, the decorations, the Christmas music (yeah yeah, I know a lot is hackneyed, but it is still fun). And - joy of joys - we have SNOW !! Real, proper, snow - the sort that comes over your shoes ! Yes, it is **** cold (-7.5 last night) but it is also beautiful and very Christmassy. And here is a picture of Mark clearing the path between the house and the office, across where the railway lines used to run.
So this isn't going to be a long and involved blog, as it is really just to wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas and a truly excellent, properous and Happy New Year for 2010.
And I will be back in the New Year with bridge news !
all the best from Anna & Mark xxx

Wednesday 25 November 2009

I cannot BELIEVE ...

... that we - no, not we - YOU have raised more money than last year for Children in Need - you bridge players never cease to amaze me ! The number of clubs that held raffles, had parties and set out to enjoy the event is just wonderful, and between you you have raised over £57,000 - an enormous amount and Mark and I can't tell you how thrilled we are. Thank you. Thank you all so so so much.

We went to the Children in Need night at the BBC which was amazing - we had invitations to the reception where to my joy I met Nick from the Apprentice (he is just wonderful!), got to meet THREE Dragons from Dragons Den and then met Prince Arthur from the series Merlin ... it was very exciting! Then we went to the show (after the news) and presented YOUR cheque to Terry Wogan. All very enjoyable - not so good was driving the 2-hour journey home at 02.00 in thick fog, but Mark is wonderful and did it in good time. Mind you we were a bit tired the next day! But thank you all for making that possible as well ... we had a wonderful time.

Now, to some news and information. I am really pleased to be able to give you the good news that the WBF Women's OnLine Bridge Tournaments are starting again on 1st December ... click here to find out more about them and do join us if you can and provided you are female of course :-). It is an enjoyable and social event for women players and we would love to have your company.

I have set up the start of a mailing list for Philadelphia, so do email me if you would like to be on it, then I can keep you up to date with news. There is also a list for Press, one for TDs and one for people interested in Women's bridge, so if you want those as well, do let me know - just give me your name (first and last names please), your country, and which lists you want to join and I will do the rest!

The EBU has posted information about what will happen next year regarding Simultaneous Pairs and P2P, so please click here where you can read about it.

Finally, our American friends will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow (Thursday) so Mark and I wish them all a very enjoyable day, whatever they happen to be doing !

Look after yourselves, and I will be in touch again soon ...

Friday 9 October 2009

blowing a gale ...

As I started to write this, it was blowing a HOWLING gale, the windows are rattling and the draughts are amazing !! But I am cosy with the fire on, so all is well :-). Now it is just wet, wet, wet but never mind.

Now what news - well, lots of news, mainly about Philadelphia and the World Bridge Series next October - it is being held from 1st - 16th October and every bridge player should try and join us there - this is the BIG one and is going to be an amazing event, with many different Championship events and the ACBL regional alongside. Don't leave it too long before booking your hotel rooms, because they are going to fill up very quickly as the WBF has managed to get excellent rates (and fabulous playing conditions !)

Philadelphia looks amazing too - I saw the promotional DVD and just can't wait to go there and experience it all. So just go to my website and you will find all the details there - click here!

Of course, we are only just beyond the wonderful World Teams Championship in Brazil - I can't tell you want a wonderful job Ernesto d'Orsi did there, it was a truly truly memorable event. There are a number of documents and bulletins available from this event - you can click here to find them.

Our own ECatsBridge for Children in Need Sim Pairs is coming up soon - the usual 5 days of it (I must be off my trolley!). Do join us if you can. I will put the club lists up as soon as I can, probably next week, so you can find a club to play at. All the details will be in the Sims section on the website.

More in due course ....

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Home Safe .. normal service will be resumed shortly!

We are home safe ! The Championships rounded off with one of the best Victory Banquets ever, and we danced the night away with a great band playing many of the old favourites! Enormous fun...

Sunday was a loooooooong day, as we had to wait until 11.45 pm for our flight, which was on time thank goodness, and returned us safely to London where we landed at 3.15 and finally got back to our Railway Station around 6 pm. Time to unpack, have a glass of wine and a nice risotto and head for bed. Mark has woken with the "Championship Sore Throat" this morning. Every Championship produces some bug or other and this one is not nice ... even Mark Horton lost his voice for three days ! So I am expecting "my" Mark to be languishing for the rest of the week, and just keeping my fingers crossed that I don't get it. Anyway, I woke about 10.30 and am now going to try and catch up with my email etc.

And, of course, keep an eye on the EBU Simultaneous Pairs which is running today and tomorrow!

Watch this space for future blogs, won't you - not quite daily but I will try and update regularly!

Saturday 12 September 2009

all over bar the shouting

As I type this, USA 2 are 45 IMPs ahead with one board to play, so ... they have beaten Italy and won the Bermuda Bowl !

And that's it ... all over until next time !

It's been a great Championship - lots of exciting bridge or so they tell me .. I only watched the nail biting ending of the Seniors yesterday, and a few boards at the end of the Bermuda Bowl but I know a lot of people have had a great deal of enjoyment and excitement and that's brilliant!

Thank you to the many of you who have followed my blog ... don't forget me, as I will update it in future, not just at the Championships, so keep an eye out for future information.

Look after yourselves - we start the long journey back to England tomorrow and I will be in the office when I re-surface :-)

Goodbye, and, as they say ... thanks for all the fish


Friday 11 September 2009

oh fantastic

What a marvellous few moments :-)

The English Seniors team has just won the World Seniors Championship AND the Chinese Women's team has just won the Venice Cup ! How exciting is that ? Here are the Senior Team - from the left, David Price, Paul Hackett, Coli Simpson, Peter Baxter (NPC) Gunner Hallberg, John Holland and Ross Harper. What a great bunch of guys (and they were all very huggable tonight !)
The EBU Press Release about the team can be found by clicking here

I have just been drinking Champagne in the Press Room courtesy of Ross Harper (thank you so much Ross) .... it was great to see the English Seniors Win - David Price said that now he knows what it feels like he would like to do it again :-)

As for the Chinese Women's team - that is very special - they have been "up there" so many times and, indeed, lost to the English women by just 1 (yes ONE ) IMP last year in Beijing, but have never one a World Championship, so tonight's win creates four Grand Masters at a stroke and I am so very happy for them.

So ... just excellent. And we still have the Bermuda Bowl Final to be resolved ... all so exciting ... and Mark is better too, so life is good :-)

Thursday 10 September 2009

Getting there ...

Last night I was taken out to a Churrasco restaurant, which was really amazing - it was great fun and we had a lovely evening. Sadly Mark isn't very well, so didn't come with us - he is still in bed today, languishing which is a real shame but I am sure he will be OK tomorrow ..

This morning sees the last of the Executive Meetings, where they consider the minutes from all the committee meetings that have been held during the week. I have a meeting at 2 to look at a new bridge teaching site and consider how best to translate it to English and publish it, then "the boss" wants to go through some photographs with me, to choose some for a book about the WBF.

I suspect tonight will be a nice quiet one - maybe just room service - and an early night ! I could certainly do with one ...

Wednesday 9 September 2009

getting calmer

Mark made a video of the storm we had yesterday and has posted it on Youtube ... with apologies for the expletive in the middle!

Much quieter here today - no sun, but not raining either .

Had a meeting this morning about all the technical stuff for Philadelphia ... it is going to be a very big event indeed (do join us !) and will be brilliant, but it does mean that the technical side is going to be very complex without doubt. I have - like a good girl - typed up notes from the meeting, and now am waiting for another meetng, this time with Anna Maria Torlontano, Chairman of our Women's Committee, to make sure we know what we have to do when we get home! It is funny how it goes really start a Championship and two and a half weeks loom ahead, so you seem to have masses of time to get things done, meetings held, decisions made. Then you get to this point, with just 3 days to go and starting thinking "oh ***** I haven't talked to xx about this", or discussed this point with members of that committee and so forth, and now everything goes into major panic mode !

We are delighted this year though - with the excellent organisation done by Ernesto d'Orsi, and the way the event is run, we don't have the responsibility for the Victory Banquet - everyone is invited, and all the teams and delegations have to do is to confirm to the Brazilian Hospitality team that they will be there. Such bliss after the normal hectic rush to get tickets out to the right people and so forth.

Carol and I have the task now of ensuring that all the documents from the meetings are put onto a memory stick for each member of the Executive - that's quite simple really but we still have a number to scan in, so I guess I had better go and get on with it !

More tomorrow ....

Tuesday 8 September 2009

A real doozy ...

of a storm is raging around us at the moment ... thunder, lightening and torrential rain! It looks like the middle of the night it is so dark ! I confess to loving storms and almost wish I could go out in it - would be drenched in seconds but it would be fun !

Anyway, we finally got the transnationals going last night, about 68 teams I believe, and the semi finals are safely under way as well, so the tension is building! All the sub committees are meeting this week, and we are getting to work on stuff for the next Championship - Philadelphia 2010. You can find information about it by clicking here

well, I started this early on today, but then got involved in doing other things - in the meantime the weather cleared and the sun almost came out but now we are having another torrential downpour - including INSIDE the corridor to our office !!

Not much else to say really - maybe something exciting will happen tomorrow :-)

Sunday 6 September 2009

sorry about yesterday ...

Yesterday started with a Women's Committee meeting - a very lively and enjoyable one - which I had to minute, then we plunged into registrations for the transnational teams, other reports to be checked and typed and somehow the dy just disappeared !! And today is going to be much the same I fear ... I am being asked to type reports and being bombarded with transnational registrations even as I type this - so it may be that you will not get a long blog today

In fact I am going to have to stop now and get on with things - sorry!

More tomorrow ....

Friday 4 September 2009

I spoke too soon !

Yesterday lunchtime it started to cloud over and the wind got up, then we had R A I N ! and parts of the city were flooded ! Seems we have the tail end of a hurricane passing us by - lightening and thunder in the evening, and the people who went to Iguazu for the day couldn't get back ... we are told that they flew in this morning and should be back at the hotel soon, but I haven't seen them yet.

The day continued to be quite quiet and peaceful, so we got quite a lot of work out of the way = and the draft timetable was sorted out for Philadelphia ... it should be approved at the meeting of the Executive today and then I will be able to publish it on the website for you. It is going to be an amazing set of Championships!

After lunch I sneaked off quietly for a while, and on switching on the TV in the room found that they were broadcasting Shaun the Sheep ! Well, it is fine in any language of course, and most entertaining, so I watched that for half an hour before returning to the computer, and it made a nice change.

Jean Paul Meyer, who is co-ordinator for the vu graph, asked me to go to be interviewed before the start of play in the evening, which was very nice of him. He asked me how long I had been working in International bridge, which was actually positively frightening ! The first Championship I was involved with was here in Sao Paulo - I didn't actually attend on that occasion, but my work with the British Bridge League had me dealing with all the hotel and flight reservations for our Women's Team who went on to win the Venice Cup - I remember staying up to get the results! It was my first "World Championship" and was really exciting. And that was backin 1985. Two years later, the British Open Team qualified to go to Jamaica for the Bermuda Bowl and on that occasion I went with the team - not to work, but as a supporter, and that is where I met Carol for the first time ... she was working as WBF Secretary, working with the then-President, Jaime Ortiz-Patino. And with two exceptions I have worked at every World Championship since!

Anywa - back to Brazil. Yesterday evening we were invited to a cocktail party given by Jerry Fleming, the President of the ACBL, which was most enjoyable ... talking to his wife we discovered that they live in New Mexico, and we recalled working at the Championships in Albuquerque, which was another really enjoyable one! Then we went up to the Piano Bar and joined Grattan for a while before retiring to bed, where we found that the film "The Queen" was on - one I hadn't seen, so we watched that before a good night's sleep.

Now I must do some work - another meeting will be starting very soon!

Thursday 3 September 2009

Another sunny one ...

I am seriously beginning to wonder if the weather ever changes ! It is another glorious day, hot and sunny ... and nice and peaceful as the Press have an outing to Guaraja (click the link to look at some pictures - it looks wonderful ...) and some of the Executive have gone off to Iguazu to see the waterfalls, so Carol and I are catching up with work in the quiet moments!

Last night we went to a cocktail party to celebrate the election of Gianarrigo as the new President, which was very enjoyable. Harvey went off to a typical Brazilian restaurant which he said was excellent - expensive and a complete meat-fest which he really enjoyed! We joined Christine and Carol in the bar for a sandwich which was all we wanted - there were lovely nibbly bits at the cocktail, and so a sandwich afterwards was just fine !

So - as I say, Carol and I are sitting quietly, she is sorting out the minutes and I am about to deal with entries for the transnational so that when the teams start getting knocked out of the round robin I am "ready to rock" and take their entries quickly ! We are also getting the adverts ready for Philadelphia next year .. note the dates, which are 1 - 16 October as that is going to be a fantastic event, with transnational championships in all series AND a regional running alongside!
Watch this space for more information about that, but do try and come if you can, it will be amazing and is open to everyone. It is YOUR chance to play in a world championship!

Now I guess I had better get on with some work - more updates tomorrow

Wednesday 2 September 2009

what a great evening we had !

The WBF Elections happened yesterday, and Gianarrigo Rona from Italy will be the new WBF President starting next year after the Championship in Philadelphia, so I am looking forward to working with him. There was a general feeling of relaxation now that is out of the way, and we were invited to a dinner given by Ernesto d'Orsi last night. We started with cocktails by the pool (and for once I was very good and kicked off with orange juice so felt very virtuous!). Then we moved in to the restaurant, where we joined with friends on an excellent table, so not only did we thoroughly enjoy the very good food and excellent wine, we had great company as well with Carol and her son Mark, Christine, Marina who is Gianarrigo's PA, Grattan Endicott, Max Bavin (Chief TD for the WBF) and Yashar and his wife - Yashar is curator of the card exhibiton that I told you about a few days ago.

We were really quite late to bed, and I must confess to some reluctance to getting up this morning ! But I duly struggled out of my "treacle well" ... Alice in Wonderland fans will understand that reference ... and down to breakfast. Then into my office where it has been a decidedly hectic morning, with emails flying in all directions, systems to change and post onto the website, photocopying to be done of documents for the Executive. arghhhhhhhhhhhh.

There is a helipad here, just off the hotel's mini golf course, and the helicopter has just flown in - it sounded as though it was going to land in this office it was so close! I wonder who it was!

There are some photos on my Facebook ... do have a look!

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Tuesday morning ...

Well, yesterday was nothing if not stressful for our IT Manager Harvey as the hotel lost the internet completely ! The frustrating thing was that it was totally outside his control - indeed it was outside the hotel's control as the Service Provider had managed to "lose" a 10M pipe ! The hotel has a backup solution, which gave us a very very very slow connection that limped us through the day, but poor Harvey was bombarded with questions everywhere he went! It finally got back up and running late last night thank goodness.

The meetings continue this morning, with, I am told a very long discussion on the By Laws and statutes of the WBF. Carol is taking the minutes and I really don't envy her that task. I don't seem to have stopped for breath all morning somehow, but it has been little fiddly things like trying to match up the stapler we have with the right sized staples ! We finally tracked some down, but it means a shopping trip for someone to get more ... funny how sometimes the little things prove so awkward. Then there were the systems to print for the teams playing on VuGraph, more to print for a pair that pre-registered one system and is now playing something completely different. Definately frowned upon that was ...

There was the projector and computer to set up for the video presentations in the Council Meeting room - Bernard Delange who does the vugraph presentation always has a projector and screen we can use, and Mark helped us get it all set up smoothly so that all Carol has to do is double click an icon to get it going when it is to be played. Seems such a simple thing, but it is surprising how long it takes

The nice things that make such a difference though are things like the free coffee machine and, of course, a water fountain that have been provided in our office - we really do appreciate that !

The sun is shining outside, and Mark managed to take a beer and relax by the pool for a while yesterday - not too long, he didn't want to fry ! But at least he got some time in the sun ... I must admit that as far as I am concerned it really is a bit too hot and I prefer to look out from the comfort of an airconditioned room. Sadly the only daylight in the office comes from skylights, and they are frosted glass, but in the mornings we can hear the bird song which is nice.

So ... now I had better get back to work. This evening we are invited to an official dinner given by Ernesto d'Orsi which should be great fun and we are really looking forward to it.

Oh - I almost forgot. Mark von Linstow took this picture at the Opening Ceremony showing the giant hands that I told you about in an earlier blog, so Ithought you would like to see it ... on stage are Jose Damiani - WBF President, and Ernesto d'Orsi, Zone 3 President and a Past President of the WBF (Jose is on the left)

More tomorrow ....

Monday 31 August 2009

... another enjoyable evening !

Well it looks like this blog is going to be a morning-after blog rather than a night-before blog ! Somehow 6pm and the closing of the office for the night creeps up on me and then I don't have time, and although I take the computer up to the room each night, I don't actually plug it in so ...

Anyway, what happened yesterday. Well, play got under way, the office got into full swing ready for today's Executive Council meetings so the photocopier was humming all day.

I was very sad to hear of the death of Peter Czerniewski - I didn't know him well, but the dealings I had with him were always a great pleasure and I am sure anyone reading this will wish to join me in sending sincere condolences to Pam, his wife and his family. He will be much missed in the bridge World. I am also told that Masud Saleem of Pakistan has died after a long illness. He used to partner Zia Mahmood and was, I am told, a national hero in the Pakistan bridge world.

In the evening, Jimmy Ortiz-Patino, the President Emeritus of the World Bridge Federation invited us to a cocktail party for the opening of his antique Card Exhibition - he has one of the greatest collections of antique playing cards in the world, and it was completely fascinating ... cards from the 15th Century onwards all beautifully displayed in glass cabinets. We had a good look round but I for one will certainly be going back to have another look and examine some of them more closely.

Then into the Piano Bar for a bite to eat and so to bed ... (isn't Samual Pepys useful!)

Sunday 30 August 2009

better late than never ....

It was my intention to write this after the Opening Ceremony, but what with one thing and another it was about 1am when I got back to my room and .... sleep took over!

Yesterday we got into our office, and started getting properly settled - we are in the basement of the hotel although thank goodness there is some natural light from skylights, and the office is very large to accommodate the three of us - Carol, Christine and myself - in comfort with plenty of space for other people to come and work if they wish to. The photocopier has arrived, and our computers are plugged in and online, so work is well underway with Carol producing all the papers for the Executive Council Meetings, and Christine sorting out all manner of things. As for me, somehow there always seems to be plenty to do!

We stopped work at about 6 to go and change for the Opening Ceremony which was to be held in the theatre adjacent to the hotel. It is a lovely theatre, with lots of space, and with an impressive set comprising two ENORMOUS hands holding a projection screen on which was displayed the WBF Flag. The speeches were not too long, and then we had a famous concert pianist playing the Brazilian National Anthem and other pieces, followed by a show devised by Ernesto d'Orsi outlining the musical culture of Brazil; this included a fascinating dance routine and I was sad that my daughter Vickie, who teaches dance, could not see it as it was so unlike anything I have seen before and I am sure she would have been fascinated!

Following the Ceremony there was a cocktail party with delicious canapes (especially the little hot ones!) and various pasta dishes. However, unfortunately Mark had received a text message from Harvey asking for help with programming the Sonic Wall - a job that needs two very clear heads - so he missed all of this. But as it was all ending, they finished so we met up in the bar where they demolished beer and a toasted sandwich and chips before we all retired rather later than intended.

Now it is 10 am and I really (really) must do some work ! Play starts at 11, so all the teams are busy psyching themselves up - as are the TDs of course.
More to follow ...

Friday 28 August 2009

Getting there ...

welll things are starting to happen thank goodness.

As far as the Secretariat is concerned, we still don't have an office, but Carol, Christine and I have been working in José's suite and our own rooms so that at least we can get a head start. Our office-to-be has actually been moved from the room it should have been in to a much bigger one next to the WBF Meeting room, and the tables and chairs are all in place ready to use. We are waiting for 220 volt sockets to be installed so that we can plug in the printers and hubs and also need the big photocopier to arrive then we will install ourselves and our laptops and can really start to get on with things.

As far as the other offices are concerned, the Brazilian hospitality team is handing out the very nice bags and badges, and the vu-graph studio is being set up by Bernard and his team - a really big job that one.

The playing rooms are having all the tables and screens built (they arrive sort of flat-packed) and there is a star-wars style projector (pictures to follow) with a MASSIVE screen in place to put up the results. The scoring team have got all their computers up and running and are all networked which is good news as well.

The not-so ready bit is the Press and Bulletin room, which is still occupied by a banking conference, as is the room to be used for a special exhibition of playing cards courtesy of Jaime Ortiz Patino - I am really looking forward to seeing that as it is, I am told, unsurpassed.

Harvey Fox - the WBF IT manager - has joined us for a peaceful drink in the room, and tomorrow morning no doubt all hell will break loose as we start meetings - Tournament Appeals Committee, Tournament Directors and Captains' Meeeting - followed by the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night ... so watch this space :-)

Thursday 27 August 2009

A free day !

Well, we can't get into our office until tomorrow, so Jose said we could go out today and enjoy the sunshine, and we weren't going to argue about that !

We had an excellent breakfast - it is a truly splendid buffet ! Watched the parrots at the bird table outside for a few minutes, and also saw a humming bird collecting nectar from the Birds of Paradise flowers, then headed off for a recommended shopping centre the Cidade Jardim Shopping - recommended for its very VERY expensive and exclusive shops ! We (Carol, her Mark, "my" Mark and I) had a lovely wander round admiring a lot of things there is no way we could afford, then headed for a less expensive mall (Iguatemi Shopping) where we might be able to afford something.

In the end we didn't actually buy much, but had a lovely lunch in the restaurant on the 3rd floor (also highly recommended) which wasn't outrageously expensive, and wandered round the vast - and I do mean vast - shopping centre, eventually stopping only at the supermarket to stock up on things like tonic water! Carol examined most of the jewellry shops in the hope of finding some earrings to match a ring that she has, but failed dismally on this occasion. But we did see one of Bernard Gitton's Timeflow water clocks which is in the central atrium there - absolutely fascinating and the two Marks could have watched it for hours I think.

Then back to the hotel to check on emails, write this blog and put our feet up before we wander down to the piano bar for something to eat and drink this evening.

A lot of players seem to have arrived now, with plenty more to come no doubt. 90% of the staff are here I think, we certainly seem to have bumped into plenty of them ! It is great to see everyone again after a year ... we only meet up at the Championships, so last time was Beijing.

So - more tomorrow !

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Safe arrival

Well, after a truly excellent flight with TAM airlines, I am safely ensconced in the Hotel Transamerica in Sao Paulo, with a view of the city from the window, and a very comfortable room. I landed at 05.10 (bit early in the day for me, but never mind) and whizzed through customs control and baggage, then it was about an hour through quite heavy traffic to get to the hotel. My room was ready despite the ungodly hour, so I was able to unpack, shower, change and go down and have some breakfast. yes they did serve it on the plane but I really can't wake up and eat immediately, so I had passed on that one, and was glad to have it at the hotel. It was a fabulous buffet, but I stuck to a roll and jam this morning.

I met up with Harvey (IT Manager), Tomas and Calle (Scoring team), Maurizio (Operations Director), Jean-Claude Beineix and his wife Odile and other members of the "working team" and we went off to have a look around the facilities here - the playing rooms look excellent as far as I can tell, and I am sure the offices will be fine although we couldn't see most of them as there were other conferences in progress.

Then back up to my room to check on my email etc - there is free internet throughout the hotel - wireless everywhere and a DSL cable in the bedrooms which is brilliant ! So I worked until lunchtime when I went down to meet up with my "partner in crime" and great working colleague, Carol who had arrived with her son, Mark and also with Ernesto d'Orsi, a past President of the WBF, a member of the Executive Council and - most important of all - the On Site Organiser of the Championship and a dear friend and colleague. We all had lunch together in the hotel buffet-restaurant - a really great lunch, where I was able to have the local dish of Feijoada - a black bean stew with different meats that is really delicious! Google Feijoada and you will find a full description and various recipes.

Next came some work with Calle to try and sort out who will play with who in the different teams so that he can make the line-ups easier for the Captains to register, and back to the room to clear the last of my email.

Now it is 6.15pm local time, though my head is telling me it is later - it is 10.15pm back in England, but I am sure I will get used to it quickly, it is only a four hour difference after all. Anyway, it is time to stop and relax with a book for a bit before going down to meet Jose Damiani, the WBF President, when he arrives from France, then probably room service for a "light bite" and an early night as no doubt we will be up and running big time tomorrow.

Watch this space ! I will try and keep you updated as we go along ...

Saturday 22 August 2009

Frantically getting organised ...

... ready to leave for Brazil and the World Championships, where I will try and do a daily blog as I did from Beijing last year. You can find links to the results pages, bulletins etc and other blogs from the Championships by clicking here.

It isn't just a matter of organising a suitcase, it is making sure I take all the data, and all the right leads for the computer, the Blackberry etc etc etc but I am sure I will manage, especially with Mark keeping his normal watchful eye on me !

On the home front, the WBU Simultaneous Pairs is at the beginning of September, closely followed by the EBU pairs in mid-September. The material for both of these has been sent out, but if you still want to enter, fear not - my trusty PA, Karen, has promised to come in and post it out for me!

As soon as I come home, we will be packing the material for the BGB Autumn Pairs and then it is Children in Need time ... I wonder if we can do as well as we did last year - we sent them over £56,000 which was just amazing. Do join us for any (or indeed all) of these if you can .. you can find the dates and link to more information on our Calendar page.

So - watch this space for more "inside" information from Brazil - don't expect hands and things though, I will be telling you about all the behind-the-scenes stuff :-)


Tuesday 21 July 2009

The wedding

this is actually going to be a very quick blog, because I am a) very tired and b) have to get on with some work as my email box is overflowing after having the weekend off for my daughter's wedding.

But I just wanted to let you know that it was a wonderful wonderful day ! It went really well - the sun came out at the right moments (the storm happened while we were in the church!).

A happy, happy, happy day. You can find a few photos on my Facebook thingy - just click here to go to it.

More later

Monday 13 July 2009


don't you just HATE programs that change their parameters when you upgrade them ? After doing a lot of work on the systems for Brazil, I discovered that Adobe wasn't embedding all the fonts, so the suit symbols from the CCE program showed as []{} ... and I have had to re-do them all ! Talk about irritating. Meant I had to do some work over the weekend to make sure it worked properly as well, which was not what I had intended. Oh well, these things happen I guess. Trouble was it didn't show up on my system becuase the font is actually installed, it is only on computers without the latest CCE that are affected. Maddening.

A good weekend otherwise though - even though sometimes I wonder when I look at the emails on a Monday morning!

The Bill Hughes pairs has finished, and I will be finalising it very shortly; the Kidney Research Pairs is "nearly there"! Don't forget the BGB Summer Pairs at the end of the month - that is a green point event, and the lists of clubs are here.

We nearly have all the names of all the teams for the World Championships, so it is all starting to get interesting, and it won't be too long before we do the draw. Do think about entering the Transnational Teams - such a great event. Information about Brazil can be found on the WBF site, and also here on ECatsBridge

Finally, something I should have done last week is to pay tribute to one of the great players of our time - Dick Freeman. I didn't know Dick very well, but when I had contact with him he was such a lovely person ... he will be much missed, obviously by his family but also by his team mates and many many friends in the bridge world.

more soon ...

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Time for a resolution !

To try and update this blog on a much more regular basis, even if it is shorter ! Otherwise it gets to a point where I dread doing it ... and where there is too much to say. So do keep checking back because I promise to try hard !

At the moment I am frantically registering convention cards for the World Championships - they are sent in a multiplicity of formats which I convert to PDF and then they will be posted on the website for the other teams to download so that they can prepare for the fray ! Not the most exciting job in the world, I admit, but one that needs doing.

And it doesn't leave much time for anything else, as they all seem to arrive right on the deadline! Ho Hum.

But I have found time to go and inspect the new additions to the family - three lovely chickens, named Heather, Grace and Claire, who are settling into their new home well and will (we hope) soon start to provide us with lovely fresh eggs!

More in a few days ... back to the systems (arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

Thursday 28 May 2009

Sim Pairs news (mainly!)

Well, we are on track for the World Wide Bridge Contest, happening next week (5th & 6th June) so do try and find a club to play in - the list of UK clubs is on our site - just click here to go directly the page, and the ACBL has a list of US & Canadian clubs on their site - click here for that. It promises to be an excellent event with the usual great commentary from Eric Kokish ... mind you he doesn't always get it right so ... let's see what happens !

We are being asked what will happen next year with regard to Simultaneous Pairs when the new P2P regulations are introduced by the EBU.

The four EBU events (2 in May and 2 in September) will only be open to EBU affiliated clubs, but the others that we score – the BGB events and all the Charity events, the World, European and any other non-EBU events will be unaffected, and everyone will be welcome to participate whether or not they are affiliated to the Union.

We will be working with the EBU regarding the automatic registration of Master Points for all events and our new file format fully supports this.

I am working to "get ahead" this year, because the World Championships in Brazil are earlier than normal - I will be going at the end of August, so I have to be super-organised in order to be ready for all the Autumn events. I can't believe that I have already done most of the work to prepare for all the events including our own Children in Need Pairs in November!

Information about the World Championships is on the website of course, and will be added to quite frequently now it is starting t get closer - why don't you join us out there and play in the Transnational Open Teams - it's a great event and what a chance to meet all those top players !

Mark whisked me away to Wales for a weekend, now that I am just about over the pneumonia - he thought it would do me good and it did !! Have a look at the pictures - click here to see them. It was such fun and we had a great time. It is really funny though, when we go to new places (I haven't been to North Wales for about 20 years and only went to Prestatyn then ...) I tend to spot all the places on the map where I know there are Bridge Clubs from the Sim Pairs ! It was great fun seeing where Ynys Mon play, or passing Dollgellau (another club I "know") - and finally learning how to pronounce one or two of the place names! North Wales is beautiful, and I can highly recommend it !

Now I had better get back to the final frequency checks from the recent EBU Event so that I can close it and send out the results and Master points. Then I can stop work and go and sow some more carrots ...

look after yourselves, and I am sure we will be in touch again soon

Wednesday 22 April 2009

What a start to spring !

I must apologise to many of you who have had to wait for answers to emails / telephone calls and so forth ... I got a shocking cold the week before Easter but as we had planned to go away for the Easter Weekend, I did my best to ignore it, and at 04.00 on Good Friday morning Mark and I headed North for the weekend. I did the first 5 hours driving, but soon after I handed over the steering wheel I started to feel really ill! By the time we reached our destination I was running a high temperature, and went to the doctor, who diagnosed pneumonia and prescribed some VERY strong "horse pills". I was incapacitated for a week - I couldn't even face having Mark drive me home, and I am still a bit weak and feeble even now and having to rest in the afternoons. So many apologies if you haven't had replies etc - please feel free to nag and I will do my best to help ! And I am sure that normal service will be resumed soon !

The BGB Simultaneous Pairs took place last week, and the TD will be checking the frequencies later this week so that we can send out the queries on those. The EBU Simultaneous Pairs is at the beginning of May and I have just put the clubs lists up, so have a look and see if there is a club near you where you can play. Fast on the heels of that one comes the World Wide Bridge Contest - as usual the commentary is a long one by Eric Kokish and excellent value, so do join us for that if you can.

We are all working towards the Bermuda Bowl which is being held in Sao Paulo and should be enormous fun - and of course there are the Junior Championships in Turkey, so any of you under-25s should have a look at the details for those.

That's about it for now - you can probably tell that I am tired by the short message ! Iwill put a new blog up when I feel a bit better


Thursday 5 March 2009

Time marches on ... no pun intended !

What on earth happened to February - it just vanished, and it is normally quite a "slow" month because I am so keen on spring starting ! But this year it flew by and now the days are getting longer and the temperature is rising. Mark gave me a weather station for Christmas, which is great fun - you can see what it is like here by going to our "weather page" - nothing to do with bridge of course and that makes it even better!

I have spent quite a bit of time honing my bread-making skills in the dark winter days - such a lovely homely, warming thing to do and the results are great as well (most of the time anyway!). And now the weather is improving I can get into the garden and grow some nice vegetables to go with the bread ... I hope ! little green things are coming up in the greenhouse anyway, so I am very hopeful that they will be yummy in due course.

As for bridge - well it hasn't been exactly quiet on that front ! I have been trying to get ahead with the Simultaneous Pairs, though not with enormous success I must admit, as I have had things like the WBF Anti Doping regulations to deal with - only to typeset I hasten to add, I don't have any part in writing those I can assure you ! 

The BGB January pairs is, of course, done and dusted, and the WBU St David's Day ones are in full swing. The Charity Challenge happens next week, and my hall is full of the booklets for the BGB one in April. The EBU one for May is all ready to go to the printer and the booklets for the World Wide will go off soon as well; the Summer BGB is waiting to be typeset and the ones for the rest of the year are all with the commentators for them to try and second guess what everyone will do on the hands ! I don't envy them that job I can tell you !

The World Championships will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil - as normal there will be a Transnational Open Teams, so if you fancy a trip to Brazil, now's your chance ! All the details are on the website of course ... and will be updated as more information is made available, so do check back won't you?

Now I must go back to work ... time to get the photographs together for a presentation that the President of the WBF is making in Denver!

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Is it Spring yet ?

We've had some chilly times this winter haven't we ? I don't mind too much actually - would rather have frost and sun than rain! But there are little signs of spring ... my daffodils have poked their little green tips out of the soil, and the birds are starting to be noisy! 

The BGB Winter Simultaneous Pairs has happened, and we are starting down the road of the frequency checks; the material for the Charity Challenge Cup is due for delivery very shortly, so that will be on its way to the participating clubs (let me know if you haven't entered yet and want to do so, won't you ?) and I am getting the material prepared for the printers for the Spring ones - the WBU at the beginning of March, then the BGB AND the EBU have Spring Pairs, the BGB in April and the EBU in May.

The WBF Charity Pairs is next week, in aid of UNICEF - it isn't too late to enter as I send it all by email, and we welcome clubs from all over the world, so do get in touch if you would like to play in this one. And I need to get to work on the World Wide Bridge Contest stuff for June ... and start the planning for the BGB Summer and all the Autumn Sims ! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

You can find the full calendar of the events we run by clicking here so if there are any that your club would like to play in, well, just email me and we will sort it out !

There isn't a lot of other news - we haven't really started on the work for the 2009 World Championships in Sao Paulo yet, though it won't be long now. And no doubt there will be information going up about the EBL Open Teams in San Remo, Italy in June ... have a look at the website and you will see links to both those events on the left hand side, but there isn't much there at the moment - a case of "watch this space" I guess!

And keep watch out for my blogs - I will be putting information up here as the year progresses ! 

Look after yourselves ...