The county newsletter for February 2019 has been added. It is under County News Page.
Many of the clubs in Merseyside offer beginners' and/or improvers' lessons. There are also easy duplicate sessions for improvers. As these change in availability it is not possible to keep a definitive list on this site. You can access the clubs' websites through the link top left on this site. Depending on where you live, possible clubs to try include Blundellsands BC, Deva, Liverpool BC, and Merseyside Bridge Centre.
For other suggestions, please click here to go to the EBU (English Bridge Union) education charity's website.
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We need your help to keep the website relevant. Please use the Contact Us facility (click here) to let us know news, results, forthcoming events etc. If you spot any errors or missing links, please also use the Contact Us facility. Please be sure to include your name as anonymous emails will be automatically deleted. Many thanks.
This is the official website of Merseyside & Cheshire Bridge Association. We hope you will find the information you are looking for. If you don't, please use the "contact us" facility to email us. Click here to send your query/comments.
Why does the County need a Selection Committee? Aren't County teams chosen from those who win qualifying events? Well, the answer is sometimes, yes, and it is important that those who want to play for the County take part in these events (eg Waterworth Cup, County Trials, Lady Connell Cup etc). But there are some events for which the County needs to hand-pick its representatives. These are top national or regional events such as the Tollemache and the Presidents Cup where the County wants the best possible teams to represent it.
The current Selection Committee has 9 members, three of whom were newly elected at the AGM in 2013, providing a good mix of experience and new ideas, of expert players and club players, and representing some of the larger clubs within the County. All of them were aware that their role could provoke controversy and potentially disgruntlement, but were determined nonetheless to develop the best possible method to select the best possible teams.
The Committee's first task this year (other than successfully persuading John Hampson to take on the Chairmanship which Dave Keen had carried out very efficiently for 15 - yes 15! - years) was to select the team for the qualifying round of the prestigious Tollemache Cup. The first step was to suggest a list of pairs with a proven track record and/or strong improvement over the last year. The Chairman then wrote to all those pairs and invited them, assuming they were available on the dates in question, to submit a list of recent achievements to show why they should be considered for the team.
At its next meeting, the Committee considered the responses and discussed each pair individually. Naturally, any members of the Committee under consideration left the room while their partnership was being discussed. Current and recent performance were obviously major items, together with breadth of experience In similar competitions, longevity of the partnership etc.
Once all the pairs' performance had been discussed, a secret ballot was held, resulting in some very clear choices, plus two pairs as substitutes, if needed. A captain was also chosen from among the players (although ideally a non-playing captain would always be preferred for a top level competition such as this one).
The successful partnerships were advised by email that they would be playing in the qualifier (although the team for the final, if we were successful, might need to be changed). On this occasion, since several partnerships from the original list were not available for the date of the competition, there were no unsuccessful candidates. If there had been, they would have been notified separately, without giving reasons. If they asked for feedback, the Committee would have the option of offering constructive comments but would obviously want to encourage players to offer themselves on future occasions.
The Committee considers that this method is the fairest and most effective method of choosing a team and plans to use this procedure for future selection processes. We would, however, appreciate any feedback from members. We think we've got it right but we're always looking to improve!
If you have any comments, please use the Contact Us facility to send an email, which will be forwarded to the Committee for discussion at their next meeting.
Chairman, Selection Committee
One of the more controversial, frustrating and potentially time-consuming roles within the county is that of Chairman of the Selection Committee.
Someone who knows only too well how much hard work goes into the role is Dave Keen who stood down from that role at the recent AGM after 15 years, although he remains an elected and very active member of the Committee. In order to avoid deterring a successor, the AGM were very concerned that this burden should be eased to encourage a new Chair to be elected. One method suggested was that of forming sub-committees to decide on specific events.
The Selection Committee has the task of putting together the best available teams for a variety of competitions in which a team is entered representing the county. These include the Northern Bridge League where we have the option of entering an A, B and C team; the President's Cup; the Tollemache; the annual match against Dublin and friendly matches such as the annual one against Derby.
There was a lively discussion about the selection process and the meeting was sympathetic both to the feelings of those who felt they had been overlooked despite personal successes and those of Selection Committee members who felt that they were not getting responses from members to emails about availability.
The new committee elected at the AGM is: John Hampson (interim Chair), Liz Commins, Geoff Cowie, David Flacks, Dave Keen, Chris Pope, Ted Reveley, Barbara Serres, Alan Stephenson, so a good mix of experience and fresh blood and a county-wide spread, representing most of the major clubs in the county. Their first task will be to elect a new Chair and to discuss whether sub committees can be formed to work on individual events and spread the load.
The committee will be holding its first meeting on Monday 15 July and wants to hear from anyone who is interested in playing on behalf of the county. The best way to be considered is of course to enter (and do well in) any of the county competitions. But if you have done well in a competition outside the county, do please blow your own trumpet! That is news that other county members will be interested in and that will be useful information for theSelection Committee too.
Members of the committee will be doing a bit of talent-spotting in the clubs that they play in so you may get a direct approach. Hopefully it will not be unwelcome!
So remember, it is up to you, the county member, to respond to requests for availability, be prepared to be a bit flexible over dates, enter county events, report your successes and tell your club reps on the committee if you would like to be considered.
(County webmaster and new member of the Selection Committee)
The County is currently looking at ways of increasing membership in EBU affiliated clubs, together with offering existing members opportunities to improve their game if they wish to. A particular priority is to attract younger members, to counteract the perceived image of bridge as being an elderly person's sport
Many clubs within the County are already offering lessons for beginners and/or improvers and some offer a gentle duplicate session where participants can receive advice as they bid and play. However, it is not possible to publicise these on the website with any guarantee of accuracy at present.
Some clubs have invited top players such as Andrew Robson and Michael Byrne to provide seminars on different aspects of the game for players with more experience and these have been very well attended.
The County has pledged to offer financial support, where needed, in order to ensure that teaching is of a high standard and reaches the widest possible audience. This may include purchasing materials from the EBU, sponsoring training for would-be teachers, paying for seminars etc. See also the article below about a forthcoming bridge teacher training opportunity.
The first step is to learn more about what is being done currently in clubs, experiences from past initiatives and any future plans. We would also be interested in players' opinions of what works for them, why certain activities have, or haven't, been successful and how best the County can support bridge education. We will be writing to the Clubs to seek their feedback but if in the meantime you have any comments you would like to make as an individual, however controversial (!) please feel free to send them via the Contact Us facility. All comments will remain confidential if requested, but please include an email address so that further clarification can be sought if necessary.