Thursday 23 December 2010

oh dear ...

It has been a pretty hectic run-up to Christmas one way and another, and I know I have neglected my blog shamefully … but at last it is just about here and I am going to close the office for a few days and RELAX !


I hope that you all have a relaxed time over Christmas … and that you have a really good, peaceful, healthy and happy New Year in 2011 !



Thursday 25 November 2010

Bridge players are amazing

Yes, we are in a recession, yes “times is hard” but yes, bridge players are generous wonderful people !


You have raised over SIXTY THOUSAND POUNDS for Children in Need. We can’t believe it ! We really didn’t think you would break last year’s magnificent total of over £58,000 and you have!


And we want to say thank you as loudly as we can ….




Anna & Mark

The ECatsBridge Team

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving ... and happy days!

First of all - to my American friends … have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Relax, enjoy and I wish you warmth, good friends and no indigestion from too much food J


For me, life is pretty frantic – the Children in Need event is still occupying a lot of my time, but for the £59,000 we have raised for the Charity it is well worth it ! I still have a few sets of results to key in, and will do them as soon as I can … and we are also waiting on the result of an appeal, but that shouldn’t take long I hope.


The European Simultaneous is running, and I am now looking ahead to the BGB Winter Pairs … all the material arrives from the printer this week ready for packing and sending on its way to get it out before Christmas. We are likely to be posting it in two batches, so if you are playing more than one day and get one set quite soon, don’t panic, the other set may be a week or so later.


I am all set up for the ECatsBridge/WBF Charity Pairs at the end of January. As things stand this will be in aid of UNICEF, and we hope as many clubs worldwide will join us as possible. We have hands for every day from Monday 24th – Saturday 29th January … different hands each night … these will be sent by email. It is strictly for fun – no prizes, no master points, just some hands to play and see how you did playing against other countries. No entry fee, just please give what you can. If your club wants the hands, please just email me and I will send them out to you.


On a personal note, we are in chaos at the moment, as the decorators are painting the hall (the one where we pulled the ceiling down and the floor up); it’s going to look wonderful when it is finished, and with the lovely high ceiling we now have, we will be able to have an even BIGGER Christmas tree (Mark is very keen on big Christmas trees!!!)


More anon …


Friday 19 November 2010

Children in Need

I can’t tell you how hectic it has been here the last week or two (or three …) in the run up to Children in Need night. All the Simultaneous Pairs are now played, and the clubs are telling us how much they have raised – you can see the list and the running total of pledges at . We will be here until early afternoon adding in more pledges as they arrive before we write “the cheque” and head into London and the BBC Studios for the show tonight …we will be in the audience from 10.30 pm so keep an eye out for us with the ECatsBridge cheque won’t you ?


It has been great fun organising it all, and we do hope everyone enjoyed playing in it – I heard that some of the hands were “challenging” !


This is going to be a very brief blog but I will try and get back to blogging regularly soon I promise J


Wish us luck tonight – and if want to make a donation, please go to the website where you can send us money for Children in Need via PayPal or using credit card ….


all the best



Friday 15 October 2010

winding down ...

Most of the work is done, and I managed a day off on Wednesday ! It was great ... Mark had been exploring as an advance party and so took me off for the day. We went down to the Liberty Bell (of course!) and it was nice and early so no queues which was excellent. Then we walked down through the parks and the old city to the Delaware and the Irish Memorial which is very moving. I shed a tear in fact ! Truly.

We walked along the river a little way, then back up to the Constitution Centre, where we saw the exhibition of the Art of the America Soldier - again very moving and interesting, followed by a short dramatisation giving a lot of the history of the growth of the Constitution - I learned a lot ! I had some knowledge of the history but it filled in a lot of gaps, believe me.

Mark then took me to lunch at the City Tavern which was yummy ... and very very filling ! After which we went back to the hotel so I could check my email, as the BGB Simultaneous Pairs are running and I obviously need to keep an eye on them. Once that was done - no panics thank goodness - we went off again in the sunshine to walk off our lunch by going through city hall, looking at some of the lovely old buildings and the splendid modern skyscrapers, past the LOVE fountain (not pink any more), past a different pink fountain - they seem to love their pink fountains here -  then down to the park and feeding the squirrels, then back via Pine where all the lovely old houses are. Altogether a really enjoyable day.

Thursday saw me firmly back at my desk, starting to prepare the diplomas for the teams winning the Plate competitions, and generally getting lots of last minute bits and pieces done before the frantic last couple of days when everyone remembers all the things they haven't discussed or decided ! It was also Christine's birthday so we went out for a lunch together to French Bistro called Caribou and had a very enjoyable time.

Today has mainly been spent hunting out people who need to make last minute decisions, getting stuff couriered off and generally sorting through papers to make sure we take the right stuff back with us.

Maybe I will have time to "blog" tomorrow ... but maybe not. If not - I will see you when I get back to England, home and beauty! I have loved Philadelphia, but going home is always good ... back to our cats, chicken and tropical fish! And to my two daughters who are staying at the Station in my absence ...

Guess What ? It's the Liberty Bell !

Another of the amazing murals we find on the houses ... isn't it beautiful!

Walking through City Hall

Buildings in Downtown Philadelphia

Yes. It's Us. and Yes. It's the Love Fountain !

Reflections ....

Wheeeeeee - a pink fountain!

I know they are vermin but they are quite cute really!
And here are a few pictures ... hope you like them !

Monday 11 October 2010

It's a Pink Poodle Day !!

It started as a reasonably calm day which made a nice change ! Mind you I didn't sleep brilliantly but that's another story, so calm was definitely good !

Last night we went to a dinner hosted by Gianarrigo Rona, the President Elect, who will take over from José Damiani at the end of the Championships. It was a very enjoyable evening, and we had a super table, with lovely Paul Porteous and his wife Maureen, who are here to see how it all works in the hope of bidding to hold the event in four years time (fingers crossed !). Marina (Gianarrigo's PA) was with us, as was Carol, plus Mark Horton (Bulletin Editor), Brent Manley (Chief Bulletin Editor) and Ron Tacchi, all of whom are great value at a dinner - noisy and fun !!

Anna, Marina & Carol
from left Seated: Cippi Rona, José Damiani & Monique Damiani
Standing : Jimmy Ortiz Patino and Gianarrigo Rona
Gianarrigo Rona, President Elect, and his wife Cippi
Anyway, here are some pictures that you may find amusing - the one of the three of us here is me on the left, Marina in the middle and Carol on the right. Another set of Graces !! or witches depending on your point of view.

So .. back to this morning, it got a bit fraught as lunchtime approached, probably because people were getting hungry and a bit ratty ! Anyway, finally I got the bits and bobs done and Mark got me out of the door and out of the hotel to my great relief. He had discovered that there was a street party/fair happing nearby and we had great fund wandering down to it, and going through looking at all the stalls, and the people on their soap boxes sounding off about various things ! The mural was the side of a building that I saw, and it was just amazing !

The amazing mural
As we continued we came across a couple of people with their dogs ... and as you can see, they had poodles, and dye their hair ! Hence it is a Pink Poodle Day !

Pink Poodles'R'Us !
Ton & Annellie
Wandering further on we came across Ton Kooijman, who was the WBF Operations Director for many years, together with his lovely wife Annelie, enjoying cheese and wine in the sunshine. We thought of joining them, but weren't really ready to eat at that point, so wandered yet further before stopping at a French style bistro for a light lunch - yummy crepes with a salad and a glass of white wine, sitting in a pavement cafe in the sunshine. Most enjoyable !

Sadly it was then back to work. Mark spent the morning going off to a museum he particularly wants to visit ... an archaeological one, but after a long walk arrived to find it closes on Sundays ! hence his return to take me out for lunch (for which I was extremely grateful I may say). So this afternoon he decided he hadn't been educated enough so he went off to the Franklin Institute where they have a Cleopatra Exhibition which he enjoyed. I had a reasonably peaceful afternoon, preparing the papers for the Press Conference tomorrow, where we have Phil Gordon (who won over $2 million playing online poker ! ) and the Astronaut Col. Gregory Johnson coming to talk about poker, space shuttles and bridge ! Apparently Greg Johnson took an ace of spades on the last shuttle with him !! If you want to read the Press Release about it all, it is linked from the front page on

Saturday 9 October 2010

Soreeeeee ....

Two blogless days ! I haven't had time to think, never mind to write my blog. It's been incredibly hectic and I have had to try and learn new skills to cope with it !

It all started when the Press Officer for the tournament, the one with all the local contacts etc, was taken into Intensive Care with a suspected heart attack. We realised he had started to arrange a Press Conference/Breakfast for Monday morning with Phil Gordon, the poker player and Colonel Gregory Johnson, the astronaut, both of whom are playing bridge here, to come and talk about what it's like to play poker and travel in a space ship ! So guess who got the job of getting the Press Releases out and trying to contact all the local media ... yeah, that's right. I did. I spent most of the day on the phone and internet trying to find the right people to contact and emailing out information, so I am just hoping against hope that at least some of them turn up. It should be quite interesting I think ... I went to talk to Phil Gordon this afternoon, and he was really nice .. and very tall ! I got a positive crick in my neck talking to him :-)

The Meetings continue - the hand-over of the Presidency seems to be making a lot of extra work somehow, and poor Carol has done little other than deal with minutes and reports !

Last night was José's final President's Dinner, a great event held at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts ... and we were allowed to wander through some of the galleries which was most enjoyable. The dinner was great fun, and José was presented with a magnificent painting in recognition of his 16 years of Presidency. And he gave lovely Joan Gerard the most beautiful glass sculpture by Baum ... quite lovely !

The Three Graces !
I promised you a picture of my colleagues - it has become a tradition that, at each President's Dinner we have a photo of the "Three Witches" - or, as we prefer to be referred to as - the "Three Graces" so here we are. I am on the left, Christine in the centre and Carol on the right - not sure what Christine had seen so high on the wall though!
José being presented with is picture -
he is on the left, Joan is in the middle
 and Ernesto d'Orsi on the right

Joan Gerard and her husband, Ron

Our dinner table ! A good crowd ...

Henry & Dorthy Francis
Ron Tacchi
And I will finish this blog with some pictures from the party. Ron Tacchi is a dear friend who lives in France, and he is the official WBF Photographer so took most of the photos that I am putting on this blog, but obviously not the one of himself ! Henry used to be Chief Bulletin Editor for the WBF until he retired ... and it is just so great to have him here as we haven't seen him for ages ! He was reminding us of when they came to stay and we had a wonderful time taking them out and about ...

More soon (tomorrow if you are lucky!)

Wednesday 6 October 2010

So much to do - so little time !

I am afraid that yesterday just vanished and I didn't even have time to do my blog! Doing what ? You may well ask :-) I overslept a little bit - didn't get up until 7.30 tsk tsk. Crept downstairs feeling ashamed, bypassing breakfast (no great sacrifice, I really wasn't hungry) and arrived to a pile of bits and pieces. Funny really, but what with typing up letters and emails, checking I had all the right reports and things like that, next thing I knew it was 10.30 and time for a meeting with lovely Anna Maria Torlontano to arrange things for the Women's Committee Meeting on Thursday.

That done, it was time to make another series of calls about the Anti-doping tests to get those arranged, and then I set to and made a complete mess of editing our Appeals Form ... well, perhaps not a complete mess, but I did get it wrong, and it has to be re-thought rather carefully. A job for later today or tomorrow morning I think.

Mark came down later to be greeted with lots of hugs and kisses as it was his birthday. Unfortunately I just didn't have time to go out with him, but he went off on his own in the afternoon and had a lovely time shopping, which included buying new jeans at Charlies ! Can't wait to see them, but they are being altered and he has to pick them up tomorrow. He also discovered a street party was going to be held in the late afternoon, so after doing a bit of work, wandered down to that and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mark and Me having fun!

Singing ! 
The bright coloured stalls
But I really wanted to tell you about the party hosted by the ACBL and the USBF in honour of José Damiani ... it was really unusual and SUCH fun ! We were intrigued to find it was to be at Reading Market, where there are loads of the food stalls and eating places that we go to at lunchtime, and were wondering what it would be like. Well it was brilliant ! A number of the "eateries" were open and serving different types of food. One of the open areas in the middle was set up with tables and brightly coloured check cloths, so you could sit down and eat or wander around. There was wine and beer, and music and the atmosphere was just great - relaxed and really good fun ! I think you will get the gist of it from these pictures -

And that probably explains why I overslept a bit yesterday ....

So ... to today. Still battling with the Appeals form (deep joy).  A couple of meetings. A report to the Executive on the World Wide Bridge Contest which would have been easier had I remembered that I needed to make it ... being given 10 minutes warning caused a bit of panic, but at least it meant I had a good reason for brevity which I think was probably appreciated ! Anyway they seemed to appreciate the work we had done which is the main thing !

and now - I guess it is back to the Appeals form ! Oh goody. More tomorrow ....

Monday 4 October 2010

Yukky rain ...

So - I left you last night to go out with Carol, but it turned out to be Carol, Marina and John & Adele Wignall, so the six of us headed across the road to The Melting Pot ... a fondue restaurant. They just managed to fit us in and we had a really great evening. The food was good, the wine was fine but the company was best ! One of the great joys of these Championships is meeting up with friends that we only see once a year and being with them and having fun and last night really epitomised it.

Not too early up this morning but woke to a grey dull day which got steadily greyer and duller with rain sweeping across, so Mark decided that trying to solve XML problems and things like that was better than going for a walk and taking photographs. I spent the day trying to arrange anti-doping tests - it only took me 15 phone calls !! And it still isn't fully sorted, but it looks as though we are getting there anyway.

The Mixed pairs finishes tonight - you can go to the links on my website for results etc, as I will be closed down before I know who won - the medal ceremony is at 8 and then we are going to a reception given by the ACBL and USBF to honour Jose Damiani (the WBF President) who will be stepping down at the end of this Championship after 16 years in office. I can't tell you how much I am going to miss him! Mind you he will still be around as Past President but even so it will be really strange ..

It is all quite silent here at the moment, as play is going on. Although our office is tucked round the corner, we are still aware of the rise in noise levels as the players arrive for the start of play and even more so when play finishes !

So what else. Not much of interest really. Our printer decided not to print anymore which was irritating but Harvey (the IT manager) dismantled and then re-mantled it and it stopped sulking and got on with the job. I fixed a template for appeals. I printed lots of papers for the Women's Committee Meeting on Thursday. alll rather uninteresting really. But interspersed by friends coming to the office to be social (or bring more work!) and the day flew by.

As I am sure tomorrow also will !

Another day another dollar ..

Last night we went out with Marina from Italy, and found that she had never been to a Hard Rock Café ! Fortunately there is one opposite the hotel so we were able to rectify this dreadful omission and had a really enjoyable evening with her. I haven't forgotten my promise of photographs of my colleagues, but there just hasn't been time today to do anything about it ...

The day started all too early when we found ourselves wide awake at 05.30 ... NOT what I had in mind I can assure you. Got bored quite quickly so decided to get up and head for the shower followed by Starbucks for breakfast! Went to the office to try and fix the XML files that we send to the EBU (with a marked lack of success I might say, thanks to Microsoft having done something very very strange to the security settings! Then my wretched email decided to stop working and it took a long battle before Mark found the right magic wand to get going again ... what a start to the day !! So much for our intention of getting lots of work done in the peace and quiet before anyone else arrived. Never mind - maybe tomorrow :-)

Anyway, after that it was all fairly hectic with people in and out of the office all day discussing different aspects of the Championships, the future, the programme, the meeting of congress etc etc etc.

Carol has had the photocopier going all day, getting the papers ready for the Executive Meetings ... I think it was about ready to disappear in a puff of blue smoke by the end of the day, but hopefully it will have cooled down before tomorrow when it will doubtless get another work-out !

We managed to escape for a short while at lunch time and headed for Reading Market again - it really is great there as you can choose from so many different types of foods! We had a taste of "Gator Gumbo" but decided to stick with Jambalaya for Mark and Creole Chicken for me, while the others found a very nice salad bar! Mental note was made though to find something much lighter tomorrow so that we can sample some of the wonderful flavours of icecream that you can get !

Now it is the evening and time to shut the machine down and head off with Carol for a glass of red and then dinner.

More tomorrow ....

Saturday 2 October 2010

Up and Running

Well, when I signed off last night it was to go to the opening ceremony. I confess they are not always my favourite occasions, but this one was truly excellent. The Mayor of Philadelphia made a most entertaining (and not too long ...) speech, the other speeches were also fun and short - everyone seemed to be rather keen on the shopping facilities here in Philly, which got mentioned several times ! We were all delighted when José Damiani, the WBF President, especially thanked Joan Gerard who has done so so so much work to make this event happen ... Joan got a very well deserved standing ovation and is pictured here with José.

After the speeches, in came the Philadelphia Mummers and wow were they good fun ! They paraded in in their costumes and played noisy, fun music which totally lifted the spirits and really kicked the Championship off to a great start. There was an excellent buffet supper provided, with plenty of wine, and lots of people to chat to. A most enjoyable occasion all round.

Today was an early start - it always needs to be at the beginning, with registrations still happening, but 432 pairs sat down to play the Mixed Pairs ... scheduled start time 11.00 am and actual start time an amazing 11.07 am - a new World Record !It was an interesting day, with various bits and pieces needing sorting out, including things like the Draws for the Youth Championships, letters to Embassies to try and help people get their visas, sorting out notices for the Bulletin and starting to photocopy the reports for all the Executive Meetings and get them into the folders.

We took time out for lunch and went over to the Reading Market again - this time we ate at the Oyster Bar, and I had some great fried shrimp while Mark went for the calamari ! Carol indulged herself with oysters and Marina had the shrimp salad. But of course this is America, and what they call shrimp I call large prawns. Yum!

Sadly no time to have a nice afternoon snooze, it was back to the office fairly smartly after that, to get on with the work. But Mark decided to go for a walk, taking his camera with him, and came back with some great shots including this one of the small child paddling in a pink - yes a bright pink - fountain! There was a wedding as well ... it seems it is called the "Love Fountain" and you can see why !

He also found a street market and had a great time wandering about, and then on his way back bought me a necklace from the shop in the foyer. Wasn't that nice of him !

Now it is nearly 7 pm local time and I am going to close the computer, wander upstairs to our room for a glass of wine and then potter out with Marina to find a restaurant for a light snack (we are still quite full after lunch !).

But that reminds me  ... I am talking about these people and you don't know who they are. So I will try and get some pictures and "introduce" you to my colleagues in a future blog, so do watch this space

Friday 1 October 2010

And so it begins ...

We have had a hectic time getting set up – Carol, Christine, Martine & I have probably the poshest office we have ever had, with a great big conference table and executive chairs. An added bonus is windows – I don’t know why but often our offices seem to be in the basement or some other windowless area, so it is nice to be able to have some daylight here. I will get the camera out later and take some pics so you can see for yourself.

The city is delightful – I hadn’t realised it is the 5th largest city in the US, and it is friendly and buzzing. There is a food market opposite the hotel where we can get almost any cuisine we fancy at lunch time … today we ate Amish food, which is what I would describe as homely and very good !

Last night we were invited to go to Danny & JoAnn Sprung’s apartment for a “launch party” … and it was so much fun. This picture is me with Bill Pollack, the President of the United States Bridge Federation, and the other one is just some of the delicious food! It was a wonderful welcome to the event, and we felt very privileged to be invited.

In about half an hour the Opening Ceremony will begin, and finally we will get the “show on the road”, with play starting at 11 tomorrow morning. And from here on in I will try and do a blog daily to let you know more about how it is all going and what is happening here – but not about the bridge ! You can find links to the results, bulletins, other blogs etc by clicking here, and that is where all the bridge hands will be.

Friday 17 September 2010

On a countdown ...

To Philadelphia and the World Bridge Series. It is going to be SUCH fun !

If you haven’t entered yet, it isn’t too late – click here for some more information about it …
If you are coming and want to download systems from the very few pairs who have registered them in advance, you can click here to find them (and the ones for the Youth Championships as well …)

What news have I other than that ? Well, not a lot really – we had a great weekend last weekend, attending Mark Horton’s wedding to Liz Granato, which was lovely.

 Then we went over to Aberporth where we stayed in a lovely hotel – the Penrallt. Very comfy, beautifully quiet and what a gorgeous part of the world. We were very lucky on the Sunday as the sun shone for us as we walked in the Preseli hills to find the source of the bluestones that are in Stonehenge – it was a glorious walk and of course fascinating for us as we are so interested in Neolithic archaeology ! The next day it reverted to rain … lots and lots of rain ! We went to the CAT centre and got soaked – and no, nothing to do with furry purry things, it is the Centre for Alternative Technology and we had a great time despite the weather’s best efforts!

Then back to work. And today we have the Tour of England cycle race coming through right past us here at the station ! We will be out there with the cameras and when I get pics of that and our holiday on flickr I will give you a link, but that requires a bit of time !! And tomorrow I am off to a course on Artisan Bread Making for the day, which should be great fun J

So back to bridge – you don’t want all my witterings about my life ! The WBU and EBU sims ran peacefully (I still have a couple of heats to enter) and now I am looking forward to the BGB event in October and, of course, to Children in Need in November !

And now I must get back to work … I will be doing (or trying to do …) a daily blog from the Championships, so watch this space !

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Such fun ...

Lots of things happening at the moment and most of them are fun stuff ! We are about to have the ceiling raised in our hallway (it was “dropped” by the previous people and looks rather odd for a railway station entrance). So … mess and chaos will ensue no doubt, but it won’t be the first time.


Tim (Mark’s son) and his girlfriend have found a place to rent and will be moving out – we are so pleased for them, it will be so much nicer for them than the “bed-sit” we were able to provide on Platform 2. They will be able to stretch out a bit and spread their wings! They will be taking some of the furniture from the spare room, so poor Mark is going to get nagged to build me a lovely big cupboard. Railway stations tend to lack things like the “cupboard under the stairs” for the vacuum cleaner and things like that, so it will be great if we can make a hidden space for those instead of having them lurking!


On the work front … well, the Welsh Sim Pairs is at the beginning of September, so not long now … not too late for clubs to enter if they want to though! Just email me and let me know. And the English Sims are in the second week – the Monday and Tuesday. Again, entries are still welcome!


Philadelphia and the World Bridge Series Championships loom large of course. I am currently working on the Youth system cards and they will go up on the web site ere long. It’s going to be an AMAZING event – and another one that it isn’t too late to enter! All the details are on my site, and of course on the WBF Site at www.worldbridge.or and the USBF site at  . Why not come along and enjoy the experience of playing in the Championship events – so exciting and such fun!


We are planning to go to the NATS (=car show with hot rods!) this weekend, and take Sally, Mark’s beloved 1966 Mustang Convertible so we are hoping for good weather, not like yesterday when we had torrential rain ! So keep your fingers crossed for us.


More anon …


Thursday 12 August 2010

Oh dear it's been AGES

I am sorry, but what with going to Scotland (yes, my beloved Orkney again ... and Islay as well so that Mark could enjoy the distilleries) then coming back to a load of work for Sims and World Championships and things, I am afraid my blog has taken a bit of a back seat ! And I haven’t even put up any photographs from our trips yet, but when I do I will let you know !


So, what have I been doing? Well, the BGB Summer Pairs has been and gone, and I have sent the file of master points in to the EBU – the lists are on the website as normal, just click here to find them. And the pens etc will be sent out to the clubs this afternoon or tomorrow depending on when I actually get up to the post office.


Then there have been lots of bits and pieces to do for the World Championships of course – I hope lots of you are coming to Philadelphia because it is going to be amazing !


The material for the Welsh Bridge Union Simultaneous Pairs at the beginning of September has been posted, as have the packs for the EBU one on 13th & 14th – they should be reaching their destinations in the next few days. I will get the club lists onto the site for all of these as soon as I can. The EBU one will come up in the Forthcoming events in the next few days. Now I need to turn my attention to the BGB Autumn Pairs and then the Children in Need event of course – it’s non stop isn’t it !


Another job that comes my way is the Diamond Bridge Website – and hasn’t Mike Swanson got some fantastic holidays and cruises coming up ! Wow ! I think being pampered on the Queen Mary 2 sounds just amazing. I can dream can’t I ??


There is a new Facebook bridge site, by the way, for university bridge players so – if you know anyone at University who plays bridge, do send them along to Uni Bridge – a quick search will soon find it.


And that’s about it for now – hopefully I have made up for the long silence, and I will try and do better in future I promise J

Friday 16 July 2010

2010 Philadelphia, 2011, Eindhoven in the Netherlands .. and the inevitable Simultaneous Pairs of course !

The 2010 World Bridge Series is heading towards us apace ... not long now so do go to and register: registering and paying in advance will save you queuing for hours when you get the venue which means you can do more interesting things with the spare time like going to see the Liberty Bell or drinking coffee with friends you haven’t seen since the last Bridge championship!


It is going to be such a great event and I am looking forward to meeting up with lots of friends there myself !


And now I hear that 2011 will be in the Netherlands – I just send out a Press release about it, which says:


The 2011 World Teams Championships, comprising the Bermuda Bowl, the Venice Cup Seniors Bowl and the World Transnational Open Teams Championships will be held at the NH Conference Centre  Koningshof in Veldhoven, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.


The Opening Ceremony will be on 15th October, and the official awards ceremony will be on 29th October 2011.


There is other information (like the cost of rooms at the Conference centre) and things like that, which you can email me for if you want, and information about the area can be found at :


It looks like a great venue and should be an excellent event, so do join us for the World Open Teams Championships if you can ...


Next Monday and Tuesday sees the BGB Summer Pairs – to find a club near you, click here for the usual maps and lists of clubs. Hope you enjoy it if you do manage to play !




Wednesday 7 July 2010

long silence ...

Sorry but I have been away. Not as many of you may think, at the European Championships, but on holiday on Orkney with my younger daughter and her husband ... having a wonderful time with extremely good weather which was a blessing J


In the meantime the European Championships have come and gone – all the bulletins and results can be found on the EBL Website at of course, and good reading they make as well !


And we are steadily working our way towards Philadelphia and the World Championships ... I recently sent out a Press release from the organisers which said:


This year, The World Bridge Series Championships (WBSC) will be held in the USA 1-16 October 2010!  It is the first such event to be held in the United States since 1994 and approximately 100 nations are expected to participate in the world series, represented by thousands of the world’s best play­ers competing for world titles.  Along with the WBSC, the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) District 4 will be hosting a two week World Bridge Federation Regional tournament, which will enable bridge players of all abilities to share in the excitement!  The World Youth Team Championships (Pre-qualification  required) will also take place in Philadelphia at this time.  WBF Master Points will be given out for these events.  Our sincerest thanks to the United States Bridge Federation (USBF) and the ACBL for their support and sponsorship. 

 For WBSC schedules, housing, and additional information please click on the following links:






Brochure -


So now you know – do join us in Philadelphia if you can – it is going to be so much fun !!


Wednesday 23 June 2010

European Championships and Sims (again !)

We have packed and posted the UK results from the World Wide Simultaneous Pairs ... and the list of English overall master points has been sent to the EBU for registration.


We have also packed and posted the material for the BGB Simultaneous Pairs at the end of July ... I wanted to get that out before people started going on holiday.


Both these went 2nd class yesterday so should be dropping through letter boxes towards the end of the week.


The European Teams Championships is kicking off this week (makes a change from football !) Details of the BBO matches, where to find the results and bulletins and – if you find it interesting – all the convention cards for the teams are linked from :


So do watch and “cheer” your teams on !



Wednesday 16 June 2010

me and dates

I don’t know what it is about me and dates ... I just keep getting them wrong ! For those of you I emailed yesterday, I have already emailed again to confirm that the Kidney Research pairs is actually on THURSDAY 8TH July, and not 7th as I stated.


But having grown three grey hairs as a result of that one, it was then pointed out that I had put the dates of the EBU event wrongly as well – it is on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th September ... I put the day right but got the dates wrong, as 12th & 13th !


One day I will learn a) to triple check and b) not to do these emails at the end of a long and tiring day.


So apologies if I confused you – hopefully this will put the record straight!


Thursday 10 June 2010

Forthcoming Sims ...

Great news : The EBU has agreed that non affiliated English clubs can be included in the Kidney Research and Charity Challenge Simultaneous pairs as well as in the Children in Need event! See for their statement which is on the front page and has all the details.


The Kidney Research Pairs is on 7th July ... and Mike Rogerson would love to hear from new clubs who want to join in! You can email me and I will pass it on if you would like to take part.


All clubs are welcome – the entry fee is just £2.00 per player and it is such a worthwhile cause.


We will soon be sending the booklets to the printers for the Welsh Sim Pairs in September – they are running it over five days this time, with different hands each night ... The dates are Monday 6th, Tuesday 7th, Wednesday 8th, Thursday 9th and Friday 10th September.


The WBU is a very small NBO, and really does need supporting by as many clubs as possible, so if you fancy playing in it, do see if your club would join them. The funds go to support the Welsh Air Ambulance, as well as development of bridge in Wales.


English clubs must be affiliated, but it is Green Pointed, and the entry fee is just £2.50 per player (P2P charges still apply for English clubs); do get in touch if you want to play – just email me – . Clubs from other countries are, of course, very welcome J


I was at my computer all weekend with the World Wide Bridge Contest running – it went very well and has now been finalised ... and people certainly appeared to enjoy it. The booklets are really good, thanks to Eric Kokish. So it was a good opportunity for me to get ahead with some tasks in between answering the queries and so forth. My task for tomorrow is to do all the master point stuff – a complex one this, so bear with me for a day or two while I sort it out.



Thursday 3 June 2010

EBU Sims Results

The two EBU Spring Pairs are now finalised, and I have sent the file off to the EBU for direct registration of the points for the English Clubs. I am told that it will take about a month for them to appear on your records. If you go to the website, the list of awards is there in pdf format for you to download and have a look at if you are interested.


The ones from the BGB Spring Pairs will, I am told, appear on your records next week sometime.


That’s all – just a snippet of information today !

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Sims and Systems!

Well, the World Wide contest is on Friday and Saturday – do try and find a club to play at, because it is great fun and Eric Kokish’s commentary is brilliant !! Details are here


I must thank Transglobal Express who have done a wonderful job whizzing the packages of booklets to clubs all over the world in record time for us. Good service guys, well done ! If you need packs sent out, give them a rock. They do a great job.


The systems for the European Championships are all on the website now (well, nearly all – we are waiting for one or two to come through). They can be found at: and for those of you interested in such things I am sure will make fascinating reading!


The Championship starts on 22nd June in Ostend, and will be great I am sure. I won’t be there but I will, like many thousands of other people, be watching the results and reading the bulletins on Internet.


We had a lovely weekend in France for the Bank Holiday – it was Ron Tacchi’s birthday and we “channelled” over with Mark Horton and his future wife Liz and stayed in a very nice Auberge for the weekend. Lots of Ron’s family were there and a good time was had by all. Despite the rather inclement weather!


Now it is time to stop and go and pull up a few weeds that have grown enormously in my absence ! More soon ....

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Looking beyond the World Wide ..

The World Wide Simultaneous Pairs is nearly on us. The EBU simultaneous pairs is soon to be finalised. And I am looking forward – to November and the Children in Need pairs ! Yes already. Our lovely commentators – Liz McGowan, Sally Brock, Mark Horton, Julian Pottage and – a newcomer to the “commentator bank”, Mike Swanson of Diamond Bridge ( who have all done their stuff and all of them have done it free of charge so that we can keep the expenses down. Aren’t they lovely ? And now I am typesetting the booklets ... not the most inspiring jobs in the world, but Chris Evans on i-player through my headphones helps!


Of course, there are the EBU and BGB sims before that, but they are all done, dusted and ready for printing believe it or not. I HATE fire fighting so do try very hard to keep ahead of the game !


I have recently heard that a friend of mine, Barnet Shenkin who now lives in America (used to live in Scotland) has launched a new website ... a free club to join free bridge tips, stories and articles, hands that you can play out on the site and members have a number of free online lectures – so it’s all happening there. Check it out at :


Well, that’s about enough for today – time to stop and go shopping for supper J



Friday 21 May 2010

Yet another Senior Moment

When I did the results for the BGB Simultaneous Pairs, I looked at the letter from last year, and thought – ah. I am not sending master points for the English Clubs – they are being direct registered. So I duly re-wrote the letter and cover sheet to say that, for the English Clubs, no master points were included as they were being registered directly. Only the envelopes for the other NBOs (Home Unions) would have points included.


Then with great care I printed last year’s letter by mistake. Which said that points were included. Which they aren’t of course.


And until I got the first email querying it a couple of days later I didn’t realise. So – sorry to have caused confusion. BUT, rest assured, all you English Clubs, I have sent off the file to the EBU and I am sure they will be registered them all direct for you.


I am going to make my horrid summer cold my excuse – my head feels as if it is stuffed with cotton wool, and that is stopping my two brain cells from working properly. And I am coughing like an idiot and feeling VERY sorry for me L ... but I am sure it will get better and the weekend is nearly here with our first BBQ party to look forward to – this year we are determined to steer away from the inevitable burgers and sausages so I am marinading a butterflied leg of lamb and we will slow cook that on the barbie and Steve next door does a wicked marinade for chicken, so he will be doing that. And hopefully one of his famous potato salads !


Have a great weekend my friends



Tuesday 18 May 2010

printing and packing

My daughter has come over to help me get the results from the BGB Spring Pairs into envelopes and off to the post ... I am frantically printing them between sneezes and snuffles, as some dear soul has kindly given me his or her cold, so am grateful to have the door open as the smell of toner gets a bit much otherwise !


The file with the Master Points for the English clubs has been sent to the EBU for direct registration of course, but we are still printing master point cards for the Scottish, Welsh and Irish clubs of course. And all clubs will get their ranking list, the heat winner prizes and, for the top 20 pairs on the overall ranking, cheques. Which I hope will be spent on something frivolous – we have a rule in this household, which states that winnings are strictly for FUN !


Anyway they should all be in the post this afternoon with a bit of luck and a following wind as they say, so you will have them soon.


And now I need to get a few more parcels packed with material for the World Wide Contest at the beginning of June !! And send off the documents to the printer for the July pairs – all part of the cycle J


A few more systems have trickled in for the European Championships and I will sort those out as soon as I can – so I had better get on with it !

More later ... xxx

Thursday 13 May 2010


Well, that’s the BGB April event finalised – the final ranking list with the master points is up on the site for you to peruse at leisure. I will be starting to print the results and the “paper” points for the non-EBU clubs tomorrow, as well as writing all the prize cheques for the top 20 pairs overall in each event, then it will all get posted next week – probably on Tuesday.


I have sent the XML file off to the EBU for them to register the master points – I don’t know how quick a job that is for them, so I can’t tell you when you should start checking to see if they have appeared in your “account”. And it does, of course, rely on your EBU number having been submitted with the results, but I can’t give you any way to check that because we are not allowed to publish EBU numbers I am afraid (data protection and all that ...). So I think the only way is via your EBU master point record. I will be sending the club ranking lists out as normal, so you can check how many points you should have – oh and it is on the website too of course – click here to go to the page where you download the full list for whichever day you played.


Now to pack up some more sets for the World Wide Contest in June to say nothing of keeping a weather-eye on the EBU Sims running at the moment ... it is never ending, this Sims Lark!


Speaking of weather-eyes – the forecast for the weekend is a bit warmer. Perhaps I might even get some gardening done ... my poor early potatoes have a touch of frost-bite though and the chickens are sulking big time with the cold and declining to lay me any eggs L. Have a great weekend whatever you are doing won’t you ?


anna xx

Tuesday 11 May 2010

hmmmm ...

The Spring Pairs are no closer to being finalised I am afraid – I am still waiting for at least 2 clubs to send in results with their EBU numbers included and until I get those and approval from the EBU for the file format my hands are tied I am afraid. So I am sorry but the words “please be patient” are all I can really say!


I am sure we will get all the results flowing smoothly in future – the new systems in England were bound to cause something of a hiccup in the early stages, there are various wrinkles to be ironed out, but it will all work in due course so please bear with us!


I had a great weekend away – went off to Megalithomania in Glastonbury !! A series of lectures on our dim and distant past. It turned out to be a bit “hippy” but was still great fun and made a very real change from bridge I can tell you!


The EBU pairs is on this week of course – so do go along to a club near you (lists are on the website) and play if you can.


Watch this space and I will keep you updated on the BGB Sims ...


Tuesday 4 May 2010

BGB Spring Pairs

I am deliberately not finalising this today (I had hoped to ...) because I am waiting for a couple of English clubs to get some membership numbers to include in the files. It means that these events won’t be finalised now until next week – sorry and all that but I have a lot of other things to do and also have to be out of the office quite a bit for meetings ... plus I have had Friday booked as a day off for ages! I am also waiting for confirmation from the EBU that the file with the master points that I sent them for the Warwickshire Charity Pairs is in the format they need – no point in trying to generate one for the BGB event if they need changes.


So please bear with me. I will do it as soon as I can next week and get the results onto the website and the Master Points out to the clubs in Scotland and Wales – the English club’s points will all be direct credited this time.


Reason for my frantic week ? Well, I am waiting for all the systems that need registering for the European Teams championships (If you are reading this and haven’t sent me yours, then please do so QUICKLY); they all have to be converted to PDF, logged and uploaded and that takes TIME! Lots of it!


On a personal note, I had a WONDERFUL weekend – my older daughter and my granddaughter were both dancing in their annual show – classic ballet, contemporary ballet and tap and they were both totally amazing. And to add to the joy my younger daughter came up from Bristol for the weekend to join us and we just had such a great time all together. A very very special weekend. How lucky am I ?


Now back to the systems !


Wednesday 28 April 2010

Books ...

Just to let you know that the 2009 World championship book is now available and can be bought through ECatsBridge – just go to and click on the shop and it is listed under New Products (and in the Championship books section). A good addition to a collection !


We had a great weekend away last weekend –a spur of the moment decision to go and stay in Kings Lynn, so I found a lovely little hotel (The Stuart House) where we had the very posh room with the four poster and were very comfortable for a couple of nights. Lots of walking on the bird reserves and a really relaxing time. Just what was needed before getting stuck into packing up the material for the World Wide Bridge contest for the overseas clubs, ready for the couriers to collect and wing on its way –now the volcanic cloud has cleared a bit of course !


Let me know asap if you are a club needing material for the World Wide though – then I can get the pack off to you and out of my hall way !



Wednesday 21 April 2010

Oh what a day !

I had all sorts of things planned today, but then we discovered that the Web Site had decided to hold on to the emails sent to us, instead of forwarding them to me – I guess it thought they were private ! Anyway, my lovely Mark realised what was happening and fixed it for me, but that resulted in a welter of emails … so if you have sent me an email via the website in the last two weeks and haven’t had a reply please send it again. Sorry about that.

Then I discovered that I have been backing up the wrong bits of my computer (fortunately the right bits as well …) but it meant that everything was duplicated – twice ! So I had to do a lot of deleting of files and then re-set the backups so they back up the right bits! Very silly of me, and very time consuming.

Now I need to get on with sorting out results from the Sim Pairs – Oh, and for those of you who are interested, the EBU has sent me the final list of Master Points for the Portland, and it is up on the site, so do have a look if you are interested.

And as it is nearly 5, and I am going to be finishing soon, I had better get back to work !


PS here is a nice picture of Emale, our very special ECatsCat, posing with our logo …  just because I thought you might find it amusing :-)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Friday 16 April 2010

Its Friiiiiiiiiday !

I was beginning to wonder if it would ever come. AND it’s a lovely day and the forecast for the weekend is good, so I have lots of plans for planting potatoes, sowing some peas, carrots, lettuce and things like that and doing lots of weeding ! the trouble with living in an old Railway Station is that the garden is very big and takes a lot of time, but it is fun to do and I am looking forward to it.


Not been the best of days as I found out this morning that I had a dyslexic moment when typesetting the travellers for last night’s sim pairs – the front says it is session 8894, which is WRONG ... the back is correct – it is 8994. ARGHHH. So I have had to change a lot of files. But thanks to many of you who spotted the error and got it despite my best efforts. Thanks also to Harvey who has helped me set up the database in such a way that I can generate the travellers automatically in future without re-typing the number!


Spent a lot of time as well untangling our advertising engine on the site ... it is amazing how something so simple can end up being so complicated. Anyway I think I have managed it now so they are appearing when and where we want them to.


Clubs wanting duplimate files for the EBU sims in May ... I will send them early next week if that’s OK. But don’t forget to email me if you want them.


Have a great weekend – hope the sun shines on you J


Wednesday 14 April 2010

so much to do ...

... so little time ! I think I have (just about) sorted out the Conditions of Contest for Philly – I will put them up just as soon as I can, and will post in the blog that I have done it. It is such a marathon task with so many aspects to be thought about, and they have been winging their way between various members of the WBF Executive Council to try and make sure we haven’t missed anything out.


The first Simultaneous Pairs to be played under the new EBU P2P regulations is running this week – so there are a LOT of phone calls about that, though it doesn’t really affect the scoring as far as ECatsBridge is concerned – the important thing is that the EBU player numbers are in the files, but there isn’t much I can do to help on that one unfortunately – it has to be sorted locally. Still, it all seems to be working so far anyway. It’s funny really, but by the time it has got to the stage of the Sims actually running, I am off and working on the next one – or the one after that and hardly notice what is happening. It’s like being at a major Championship ... once it has started my job is more often working on the next one, not the one that is happening !


The packs for the May EBU Simultaneous Pairs were sent out yesterday, so clubs should be getting them quite soon. Now to start packing the World Wide stuff up ! Then maybe I can have my entrance hall back !


Had a quick visit from daughter Vickie yesterday, with my granddaughter Jasmine (15) ... she has got her first pair of contact lenses and is very excited about them. She has worn glasses since she was 18 months old and it was lovely to see her without them – she looks incredible !


Right – back to my database. Time to sort out some systems for the European Championships I guess J



Thursday 8 April 2010

Did you have a fun Easter Holiday?

I certainly did – we had some days out, some days in and had a lovely relaxing time. We got into our roof space and had a massive clearout of rubbish but also found masses of old photographs which I am now going to get scanned so I can make slide shows and bore the family to death !

Now it is back to work of course – all the material for the EBU Spring Simultaneous Pairs has arrived and is packed and in the hall waiting for the Post Office to pick them up (my local Sorting Office is the best in the world I am sure ...). The World Wide material awaits packing, boxes and boxes of it, so that’s a marathon task awaiting my attention.

I have been asked to let you know that Thailand is hosting the forthcoming Asean Bridge Club Championships, in Bangkok from 20 – 24 November, and they have said that they we would like to invite all the Non-Asean Clubs to join them to make the event bigger – the email I have says “please inform all bridge players around the world to come visiting Thailand and join this short and friendly atmosphere event” … you can download the brochure by clicking here. So if you fancy a trip to Thailand to play in a fun bridge event do check it out !

It has been an interesting couple of days – the new boiler is safely installed in the office (at vast expense) but a new problem has reared its head as we have discovered that somewhere there is a leak in the pipes. And it isn’t in the ones that can be seen. So it is under the concrete floor somewhere, deep joy! I foresee some chaos in the near future as we dig it up to find it – oh well !

Lunch time now, then back to the office to get on with things !

More soon ...



Thursday 1 April 2010

Time to relax

There isn’t really much bridge news today – it has all gone very quiet (dare I say thank goodness ...) and I am doing some catching up with things which is always good. Also planning a bit of a tidy up on the website, to check on any broken links and try and get some more interesting documents up for you all to enjoy.


Anway – Happy Easter to you all! ... I hope you get some time off and time to relax – which is certainly my plan. In England we have Bank Holidays on Friday and Monday which is great, and I am going to be naughty and take Tuesday off as well. We have lots of things to do round the house and I am hoping for good weather so I can do some gardening, but although bright today it is quite chilly !


Wednesday 31 March 2010

two blogs in a day ..

Heavens. But I just wanted to tell you that I have finalised the Charity Challenge and have published the Master Point list – I am printing the points etc etc now, and they will all be posted to the clubs on Wednesday next week. As will the WBU ones, which have been delayed a bit I am afraid (so sorry ..)

This will be the last time I post Master Point Slips to English clubs, as after this the overall points will be direct credited to the EBU. However clubs elsewhere (Scotland, Wales, N Ireland) will continue to receive paper copies so don’t worry.

Oh lord – printer’s jammed – must go and deal with it !