Porthcawl (and others)

Started by gwynndavis, Nov 17, 2023, 08:25 AM

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Porthcawl coming up this weekend, on your computers. Saturday cancelled for lack of entries. Sunday going ahead with 14 pairs (as I write). The Madeira Congress was held last week. Approx 500 players, including 29 from England and three from Wales.

It's a long way to Madeira, a lot of time spent in airports, and of course it's expensive. Porthcawl on the other hand is dirt cheap - just the entry fee.

So what do we learn - that Madeira is more attractive than Porthcawl? Hardly. That wasn't the choice, was it? That Madeira is more attractive than your office? Certainly. That online Congresses have had their covid day? Yes, that too.

What about face to face Congresses? Well, it depends. Madeira should tell us something. Likewise the West of England Congress in Weston super Mare and (I expect) the Midlands Congress in Solihull in January. The lessons are that venue matters (playing venue as well as location); pricing matters; organisation matters; calibre of directing matters; and advertising matters (quality and reach).

But we're slow to learn these lessons in Wales.


Replying to my own post, and further on the theme of poor decisions....
Many of us will have been sent a list of upcoming events. Thankfully, they're face to face. Thankfully they're in south Wales, where interest in tournament bridge retains a precarious foothold. But this wouldn't be the WBU if common sense prevailed throughout.
I've checked the entry fees. These are as follows (given as price per player per day, for a 2 session event).
East Wales Mixed Pairs - £10
Hirst/Kurbalija Swiss Teams - £15
East Wales Congress Pairs and Teams - £15
Lady Milne trial - £25
Teltscher trial - £25
WBU Pairs - £25
WBU Teams - £25
Mostly these are sensible. The cost of trials entry is justifiable given all the additional work involved, although the failure to produce a result of the Premier League might have led whoever decides these things to think twice. The WBU ought to pay a price for such a shambles, but I'm not holding my breath for a refund.
The real eye-opener is the charge for entering the WBU Open Pairs and Teams. £25 per player per day? The WBU's record of trying to run Championship events is an embarrassment. Again and again they've made daft decisions, leading to cancellation after cancellation. Now, here we go again.
Since it seems I have to spell it out...........These used to be prestigious events. They attracted a large entry and there were one, or even two qualifying rounds. The finals each took place over two days, at a central venue. They were worth winning. Now they are championship events in name only - an enjoyable day's bridge (hopefully), held in a bridge club, with only local entry. And the WBU proposes to charge £25 per player for that. Another failure beckons. Who is making these decisions? Whoever it is, they haven't a clue about pricing. Players can spot when they're being charged top dollar for a mediocre product. They won't pay it.

Simon Richards

Venues are important, but also having an abundance of relatively cheap accommodation available in the area rather than having to drive any distance each day makes for an enjoyable weekend, particularly if you are meeting up with friends from afar for a meal after the bridge. Hence the attraction of venues such as Weston, Malvern and Solihull.

Porthcawl offered me nothing, and it was a similar situation regarding the Tollemache qualifier, as I do not want to spend a weekend in front of the computer - as I do enough of that at home during the week.

Simon Richards

In response to Gywnn's second post - I think we must wait and see but I do note his sentiments in terms the table money at various events and whether there will be enough interest to play bridge in a local bridge club at £25 per head, although this entry fee may be aligned with some of the fees for EBU County Events.

I note that the weekend prior to the WBU Events (ie: Wiltshire Green Pointed Weekend) in March next year is £54 per pair for the Swiss Pairs and £108 per team of four for the Swiss Teams and the recent Lancashire Congress arranged by Oliver Cowan last weekend was £35 per player each day - and this attracted 19 tables for the Swiss Pairs.