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English Bridge Union
English Bridge Union

Some duplicate bridge clubs choose to be affiliated to the English Bridge Union. This is not a necessity by any means. Some quite large clubs and a majority of smaller clubs are not affiliated.

The English Bridge Union charges each affiliated a levy for each player attending each competitive duplicate bridge session run by the club. The levy is currently 36p, rather more than 10% of the table money, if any, of most clubs. The English Bridge Union also makes money by running training for tournament directors and teachers, running national level competitions and from a bridge books and equipment shop. It has a headquarters building in Aylesbury and a substantial office of paid employees. It is also assissted by many volunteers.

Affiliated clubs carry out much of the English Bridge Union's administration by maintaining the details of their members.



EBU Pairs Scorer

Our club, along with over five hundred other EBU affiliated bridge clubs, uses the well-established, easy to use, ScoreBridge software to score and publish the results of all our duplicate sessions. ScoreBridge is particularly suited to medium and smaller bridge clubs covering a range of movements and function particularly useful to them. We have paid an initial licence fee, and pay an annual support fee to use this product that we consider to be good value for money. The software is owned, maintained and supported by an independent entrepreneur. It is used by over seven hundred other, non EBU affiliated, bridge clubs in the United Kingdom alone.

The English Bridge Union (EBU) has traditionally used software previously owned, maintained and supported by another individual, and known variously as “Pairs Scorer, Teams Scorer or Jeff Smith”. This software is more complex, less easy to use, and better suited to complex, multi-session, multi-event competitions. The English Bridge Union has paid sums towards its development in the past, and has used it for its own competitions. Many County Associations and larger clubs have used it, without charge, for some years.

The owner of “Pairs Scorer” etc has donated the rights in the software to the EBU at no cost. The EBU have announced that they intend to provide this rival to ScoreBridge, without charge, to EBU Affiliated Clubs. The EBU have already used resources paid for by Affiliated Clubs and rendered it unable to process events that previous users have created. They have undertaken to provide support, mentioned further development and offered training, again using the resources paid for by current EBU Affiliated Clubs, most of whom are paying ScoreBridge users.

We strongly object to the money we remit to the EBU being used in this way. We do not wish to switch to using EBU Scorer, as it is now to be known, because we know ScoreBridge is a better product for our type of club. We also have considerable investment in the training of our Directors and Scorers in the use of ScoreBridge. It would be a substantial effort to retrain our users. We also believe they will make more mistakes because ScoreBridge easier to use. We are not impressed with the attitude to users of the essential systems that it is appropriate for the EBU to provide so we have concerns about the quality of support they will provide. For example the EBU has refused recent requests to form an IT user group.

We suggest that the EBU should reconsider its present position, and that it should charge sufficient fees for the use of EBU Scorer to recover all the costs of maintaining, developing and providing support and training from the users of EBU Scorer.

We further suggest that the EBU should acquire and account for the resources needed separately to ensure that there is no impact on the development, maintenance and support of other systems that are essentially operated by the EBU.

Nicky Bainbridge

31st October 2015