Is there hope?

Started by gwynndavis, Sep 08, 2023, 12:48 PM

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This Forum seems almost moribund now, which is a shame. It can't be that people have nothing to say - they have plenty to say in private; but I suppose, as social media demonstrate, public pronouncements carry risk. It can be a shock to discover that not everyone agrees with you. Also, whilst fifty years ago the ability to come up with a few reasonably constructed sentences was an almost universal skill, now it's a bit of a rarity. Not that it matters all that much; doing is more important than pontificating.

Anyway, here's another go. I've been reflecting - again - on competitive bridge in Wales, and I'm pleased (pleased and surprised) to discover seeds of hope. Last Sunday East Wales held its first tournament of the season - its Championship Pairs - and this attracted an entry of 21 pairs, several of whom were new to tournament bridge. This coming Sunday it is the turn of the West, and their event has attracted 26 Pairs. Again, some names are unfamiliar to me, which suggests that they are newcomers to tournament play. Well done to the respective organisers, Jennifer Wardell and Dave Nicklin.

East and West currently have a policy of making their events open to all WBU members, and whilst one may question this on grounds of coherence, it can be justified as a practical measure at a time of falling entries.

The other event worthy of mention is the Premier League / Camrose trial to be held on the weekends of 21/22 October and 4/5 November. This has attracted an unprecedented entry of 10 teams. Almost miraculous. But not really - it's a well-designed event, offering the prospect of good competition, so people want to play in it. It is possible to question the design of this 'League' as a mechanism for Camrose selection, but as an event in itself it's the best thing we've had in Welsh bridge for some years. Well done to the selectors.

The fact that we are witnessing a few popular competitions does not by any means allay fears about the future of tournament bridge in Wales in the longer term, but any success is worth celebrating. It means that thought has gone into designing the events in question, publicising and then running them. That cannot be taken for granted. Running bridge events can be made to sound easy, but it isn't. It calls for a number of sensible decisions to be taken. Bad decisions lead to falling interest, declining entries and eventual abandonment. There's plenty of evidence of that in Wales in the recent past. We can celebrate the fact that we still have a few people who are willing to give their time and are capable of getting it right.

Simon Richards

A well versed statement - thanks.