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Chairman's Report

Chairman’s Report (Ben Beever)

The AGM will be on Friday 9th May 2014 at 7pm when trophies will be presented and the next committee elected. As usual everyone may ask questions and raise any issues about the running of the club.

A summary of some key issues:

It has been my first year as Chairman of the club. I have enjoyed the occasional challenges of the role and hope I have done at least a reasonable job. I’d like to thank everyone on the committee for their support in helping me ease into this role. Their ideas, straight-talking and good humour have allowed meetings to be productive, concise and even enjoyable.

We have used computerised scoring on all club nights, except rare occasions when problems with the scoring program or bridgemates has led to us abandoning it. My feeling is that most members find the system very beneficial – particularly being able to see the results immediately at the end of the session.

As one of the regular scorers I accept that using the system is not as easy as it might be, and technical hitches can lead a certain degree of stress. However I am confident that, given time and familiarity with the system, such problems should become increasingly rare.

On a related note, I would very much welcome volunteers to help with the scoring. Currently we have only 3 scorers for each night: Peter Kirk, Richard Sinton, and Kevin Higgins on Wednesdays, Richard Acaster, David McNeillie and myself on Fridays. I hope everyone shares my feeling of gratitude for these volunteers and the service they provide. Anyone willing to join them would be given all the support and training they need by one of our current scorers until they are confident enough to do it by themselves.

To reduce the frequency of our volunteers’ tasks, you may have noticed we are currently trialling a ‘no director’ idea, which, after a few teething problems, seems to be more or less working, but anyone feeling strongly one way or the other about this is encouraged to express their view. By displaying a timer on the monitor, players are now able to go to the next table at the appropriate time without anyone having to call ‘move’. I will therefore take this opportunity to remind players, once they have finished their boards, to move as soon as the clock reaches 0, if the table they are moving to has also finished. Also, please play as quickly as possible if you have not finished when the counter reaches 0. As a guide, 21 minutes per 3 board round is the pace expected.

With regards the director’s intercessory role, players are requested to shout ‘director please’ as usual, but then be patient until someone willing to act as temporary director becomes available. Please do not expect the scorer to perform this function – on occasion they may, but this will be the exception rather than the norm.

The ‘Back to Basics’ programme has, unfortunately had to be discontinued, due to a combination of health issues and a falling attendance. I ran a couple of lessons on Saturday afternoons recently to investigate the residual call for such a service, but it appears there is very little, so I must conclude such sessions are not currently viable at the club.

The host system has also been shelved, for various reasons. Those who are still looking for a partner, either on the night, or preferably a few days in advance, are invited to contact Pat Burrows, who has kindly offered to continue to provide her partner-finding service. If Pat is unavailable then please contact Doris Kirwan. Their numbers are on the wall and the website.

With regards tournaments, we had a few issues surrounding team-selections last year. My intention was that the system would be as fair and transparent as possible, but carrying this through led to much effort on my part, and was not seen by all as being worthwhile, so the policy is now much simpler – if you would like to play in the Nicko (teams of 4), the Gazette (teams of 8) or any other competition, please put your name on the list on the noticeboard (or contact a committee member) and the club will very likely invite you to represent our club, in which case we will pay your entry fee for the competition.

Speaking of which, we would ideally like to put 2 teams of 8 together (one for each of our Wednesday and Friday clientele) for the forthcoming ‘Local Teams of 8’ competition in May. Again, please see one of the committee or put your name on the list if you are willing to play for us.