This is the ninth monthly bridge update from the Western Cape Bridge Union (WCBU). Further information on all the bridge topics covered can be found on the WCBU website; just click on the links in this newsletter. Please feel free to forward this to fellow bridge players, including beginners, who might be interested.
We bridge players are living in an age of increased uncertainty - and I'm not referring to the possibility that your next finesse might not succeed! Players are cautiously emerging to resume face to face bridge under strict sanitary conditions and the WCBU website now lists reopening guidelines for clubs and the names of Western Cape clubs planning to open in early 2022. Plans to start teaching bridge in schools are also taking shape. Meanwhile this week's news is that South Africa has a new and dangerous new Covid variant potentially kicking off a fourth pandemic wave which will have us scurrying for cover once more. Bridge administrators have an additional problem: in our survey earlier this year, 80% of respondents said they planned to continue playing bridge online after face to face is allowed, yet the experience of clubs in the United Kingdom, Australia and our own Hermanus Duplicate Bridge Club shows some 70% of players returning to the physical game. In order to ensure there are enough participants to make our sessions competitive and cost effective, we might have to consider not running on- and offline bridge sessions in the same time slot. Of course, the Bridgemate software now allows blended tournaments where the same hands are played with some playing online and some face to face with the results pooled so that might be another option. Watch the news section of our website for further updates on all of this.
The WCBU's final red masterpoint for the year is the ever popular Cape Festival of Bridge which comprises a pairs tournament on 11th and 12th December and a Swiss teams competition on 16th December; click here to enter. Looking further ahead to 2022, the annual South African Womens' Bridge Association (SAWBA) Congress takes place on 5th and 6th March (pairs), 7th and 8th March (interprovincials) and finally from 11th to 15th March (teams). Trials for the Western Cape Teams to take part in the SAWBA interprovincials will take place shortly; ladies interested in trying out should contact Shirley Philips ([email protected]).
Note that in view of the Festival and all the year end holidays there will be NO WCBU BBO sessions on Tuesday afternoons till the end of the year; on 11th and 25th December 2021; or on 1st January 2022; however, there will be a morning BBO session on Thursday 16th December.
Moving from the near future to the near past, we have a number of November competition winners to congratulate starting with the Narunsky team (Maureen Narunsky, Intiaz Kaprey, Diniar and Nancy Minwalla) on winning the Impala Open and the floating Steve McGibbon Trophy. The Pienaar team from KZN was the winner of the "A" section of the November edition of the Personal Trust sponsored JM Bridge RealBridge Teams competition, with the Grunder team not far behind; winner of the "B" section was the team from the Peninsula Club. Note that this competition will NOT take place during December but will recommence in January 2022. Further afield, the Keet team was the winner of the Outeniqua Open; you can view the results here.
We apologise profusely to those of you who logged onto Zoom for Carol Stanton's November workshop on Two Way Checkback Stayman; this had to be postponed at very short notice due to unforeseen circumstances leaving us no time to contact players frustratedly watching the Zoom circle going round and round. The workshop, also sponsored by Personal Trust, will now take place on Sunday 5th December at 15h00. You can access it by clicking on the Zoom link. Please note attendance at these workshops is NOT restricted to players in the Western Cape; bridge education knows no boundaries! If you aren't able to attend, you will be relieved to know that the slides will be available here on the WCBU website shortly after the workshop, as well as the slides, notes and recordings from our September and October workshops.
Still on the bridge education front, Carol's next Zoom / RealBridge online Beginners 101 course and our first Zoom course for online tournament directors both begin in January 2022; the starting dates will be announced in our December newsletter. Those, again from around the country, wishing to attend these should contact Carol ([email protected]). She continues to seek experienced players to mentor the beginners while they play RealBridge test hands or to participate in our schools bridge teaching program which we hope to restart in January. Mentors / teachers are remunerated and we will be advertising the services of professional bridge teachers who mentor on the WCBU website.
A note to all SABF members: your 2022 subs of R 100 each should be paid before year end. Members in the Western Cape should pay theirs into WCBU's new FNB bank account number 62926125263 clearly stating your SABF number, name and 2022Subs as reference. Please note that our ABSA account is being closed. By the time face to face bridge starts, we plan to have credit card facilities operational as clubs will not be accepting cash.
As usual, let me finish with some statistics which provide insights into our playing community. As in previous months, the most popular pages on the WCBU website in November were our home, results and JM Bridge pages. However, there followed pages covering the results of the Western Cape Pairs; our Learn Bridge page which provides links to online educational material provided by the WCBU and others, and includes brief commentary on WCBU hands played the previous week and five new problems from Victor Mollo's Winning Double; and our newly updated bridge clubs page.
Finishing off with some statistics, of the 800 visitors to the WCBU website during the past month: 82% live in South Africa and 48% in Cape Town, 15% in Gauteng and 2% in London. Visits have been recorded from people living in America (5%), the United Kingdom (4%), China (1.7%), Germany, Australia, Canada, France, Finland and Ireland. During the month they read 4,900 pages of information. Some 49% of visitors come directly to the website either because they know the address or have an E-mail link; 48% come as a result of a Google search; and just 3% via links on the SABF, Hermanus, Pianola and other websites. Some 59% of visitors use desktop or laptop computers; 30% mobile phones; and 11% tablets. And that's enough statistics for this month!