Western Cape Bridge Newsletter - March 2022

Thursday, 31 March 2022 by Brian Paxton

Although this is the monthly update from the Western Cape Bridge Union (WCBU), much of the material will be of interest to bridge players elsewhere in the country. Further information on all the bridge topics covered can be found on the WCBU website; just click on the links in this newsletter. Please also feel free to forward this to fellow bridge players, including beginners, who might be interested.


As I write this, the South African men's team is doing great things at the Bermuda Bowl world championships in Italy, where they have already recorded wins over some of the more fancied teams. If you aren't already following their progress, you can do so by linking through to the competition results website. We wish them every success in their remaining matches.


March has seen more bridge clubs opening and more players returning to face to face bridge, though, sadly, not yet in the numbers we had expected based on the experience of bridge clubs in Australia and the United Kingdom. The Clubs page on the WCBU website lists all the affiliated clubs in the Western Cape and when they play. You can find many of the session results on the WCBU website too, along with those from our BBO sessions which continue. We hope to attract a critical mass of players to both formats so there are competitive fields for every event.

April looks to be a quiet month for competitions with just the Western Cape trials for the Medwin and Berkowitz teams on Sunday 24th April; click here to enter. Also, there's JM Bridge's monthly Personal Trust teams competition on RealBridge; the March competition drew teams from around South Africa and even one from Ireland. Contact Mark Kenyon [email protected] if you would like to enter this competition which takes place on Thursday evenings. The next quarterly Personal Trust Sunday Pairs tournament, a face to face event at the Cape Town Bridge Centre which includes lunch and a discussion of the hands, takes place on 29th May.

Those of you that are red master point pairs addicts will be rubbing your hands in glee as you note that during May you can play in the Southern Cape Bridge Union's Heidi Atkinson Memorial Pairs on 7th and 8th; KZNBU's Petra Mansell memorial pairs on 21st and 22nd; and the EPBU's PE Congress pairs on 28th and 29th. Just so you don't overdo things, we have rescheduled the Western Cape pairs from May to the weekend of 20th August, take note. However, those three May events should be more than enough to get you thoroughly warmed up for this year's Congress Teams, taking place on RealBridge from 16th to 19th June, and for the Congress Pairs from 14th to 17th July. You can click here to enter most of these events on the SABF website.


We have a number of bridge education events coming up, all of which are open to bridge players everywhere and not just in the Western Cape. More than 80 people attended the first part of Chris Bosenberg's fascinating Personal Trust sponsored lecture on doubles, which will be concluded on Sunday 10th April at 15h00. Two weeks later, on 24th April at 15h00, Bernard Donde will address the subject of Balancing. You can click here to access Chris' slides; later this week we will put the Zoom links for Chris and Bernard's April offerings on the same page.

Carol Stanton continues to be busy with bridge teaching. Her first tournament director course was oversubscribed so we scheduled a repeat for March which was again well attended, as is the beginner 103 course currently underway. There wasn't enough interest in the March beginners 101 course so we have rescheduled it to start on 29th April. We urge you to get friends and family members who want to learn our favourite game to contact Carol [email protected] in order to enrol. We also continue 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 are restarting. Mentors / teachers are remunerated and we will be advertising the services of professional bridge teachers who mentor on the WCBU website.


After two years away from the bridge table, some of us are rusty about the rules of bridge so we have commissioned Michael Alexander to prepare a series of brief articles on the rules, with a new one posted on the WCBU website each Sunday. During March he covered alerting, hesitations, claims, concessions and communications. You can view them all here.


At the WCBU AGM on 19th March, a new WCBU committee was elected comprising Mark Kenyon (President), Michele Alexander (Vice President), Hilary Nick (Treasurer), Brian Paxton and Adrian Mauerberger (joint Secretary), Jocelyn Ashberg (SABF Vice President), Eric Marx, Shirley Phillips, Carol Stanton and Lara Woznica. We will use these monthly newsletters to keep you up to date with their activities.


Maybe it's time one of us told the French about the robots we regularly play - and beat - on BBO. Because they have now unveiled an artificial intelligence based robot that les inventeurs claim has beaten some of the of the world's top experts. You can read about it here.


This newsletter would not be complete without some statistics. In the past two months the results from more than 510 tables of bridge have been recorded in the Pianola database on the WCBU website. Since the beginning of January 2022, the WCBU website has been used by 1,776 visitors who read 15,528 pages of information during 2,068 visits. Of the visitors, who live in 34 different countries, 89.5% reside in South Africa, 3.5% in the United Kingdom, 2.5% in America and 1% in Australia; 53% live in Cape Town, 17% in Gauteng and 3% in Hermanus. As you would expect, the home page was the most popular page, followed by the results, JM Bridge, Bridge Clubs and SAWBA pages. And that's enough statistics for this month!


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As always, we look forward both to your comments / feedback and to encountering you at the WCBU virtual and real bridge tables in the days ahead. In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy your bridge.