Western Cape Bridge Union Newsletter - December 2021

Tuesday, 21 December 2021 by Brian Paxton

This is the final 2021 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.


Congratulations to Louise and Allan Berman on winning the 2021 Western Cape Festival Pairs competition, our last red masterpoint tournament of the year. They were closely followed by Alicia Sordyl and Mohammed Soula, with Chris Bosenberg and Neville Eber taking third spot. The Donde Team (Bernard Donde, Sven-Ake Bjerregaard, Martin Lofgren and Carl Ragnarsso) won the Festival Teams competition, followed by the Kaprey and Thomas teams. The full festival results can be found here. Our thanks to all those who participated and, especially, to all those involved in organising both these events, making the Festival a great success. We look forward to seeing you all back playing in our 2022 Western Cape Pairs, Western Cape Teams and Western Cape Bridge Festival tournaments - we will post these dates on the WCBU website as soon as we have finalised our 2022 calendar. And, in between, you can play in our almost daily, popular BBO pairs and teams sessions, though note there will NOT be sessions on 25th December or 1st January.


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]). SABF Congress is scheduled for June and July 2022.


Two Zoom bridge education events are planned for January 2022 so note them down in your pristine new diaries - although these are organised by the WCBU they are open to bridge players around the country. In our next Personal Trust sponsored workshop for intermediate players on Sunday 16th January 2022 at 15h00, Carol Stanton will cover The law of total tricks and its application in two situations; the attached brochure contains the Zoom link.  


The third edition of our very successful Beginners Bridge 101 course, run on Zoom / RealBridge by Carol Stanton, runs for 6 weeks starting on Wednesday 12th January at 19h30. Each two hour lesson comprises one hour of theory followed by one hour of practical supervised play on RealBridge. Participants receive a copy of Paul Marstons’ ‘Introduction to Bridge’. The brochure for this course, too, is attached so you can forward it to your friends. We plan to also run our more advanced beginner 102 and 103 courses several times in 2022. We 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 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. For more information or to sign up please contact Carol Stanton: [email protected]


We were hoping to have more news on when clubs would be opening for face to face bridge but the arrival of the fourth Covid wave has injected a note of caution into plans. On the Bridge Clubs and News pages on the WCBU website we will list the opening dates as they come to hand. Up in Gauteng, the Links Bridge Club's recent survey of members found that 62% are keen to resume face to face bridge, while only 7% - not much different from the 9% recorded in our survey earlier in the year - plan to stop playing bridge online. The challenge, of course, for all clubs and unions is to ensure that both the online and face to face sessions are well enough attended to give everyone a good game.

Late December, of course, is the time when we all cast our minds back over the year just past. Like 2020, Covid also made safe socialising during 2021 precarious; on the positive side, BBO and RealBridge have moved us from the comfort of cosy clubs with our old friends to the stimulation of meeting and, if we're lucky and skillful, beating bridge players from around the country and beyond in a national club where borders don't exist. If anything, our red point events saw increased attendance compared to the old days where players had to fly or drive long distances to compete. During the course of 2021, the WCBU introduced novice tournaments on Fridays and 12 board mini tournaments using BBO and teams events on RealBridge, all with mixed success. We are extremely grateful to our pool of tournament directors who ensure our bridge takes place so smoothly, as well as to those involved in bridge administration and our (hopefully) soon to open bridge centre. Carol Stanton, assisted by Arie Ridderhof in the Eastern Cape, Rod Pienaar in KZN and a band of mentors from across the nation, has introduced more than 60 new players to the game, as well as assisting with upgrading the skills of existing players. We have used the new WCBU website and the E-mail facilities provided by Pianola to improve communications with players but still worry that the communication is too one way with not enough feedback and input from our members; only you can remedy that by contacting us regularly with your thoughts.


As we think back we also remember our fellow bridge players who are no longer with us. With no face to face bridge taking place this year, we never had an opportunity to stand in a minute of silent reflection. Instead we have created a 2021 In Memoriam page on the WCBU website where their names are recorded so each of can pay personal tribute to them in our own way. Please let me know if anyone has been overlooked.


On a more upbeat note, this newsletter would not be complete without some statistics. So far some 900 players have played in WCBU pairs events during 2021. Since monitoring of the new WCBU website began in April, it has been used by 6030 visitors who read 51,862 pages of information. Of the visitors, who live in 63 different countries, 80% reside in South Africa, 7% in the USA, 5% in the United Kingdom and 2.3% in China; 46% live in Cape Town and 17% in Gauteng. As you would expect, the home page was the most popular page, followed by the results and JM Bridge pages. 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!

Finally, a reminder 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.


Finally, we wish you well over the festive season! And we look forward both to your comments / feedback and to encountering you at the WCBU virtual and real bridge tables in the days ahead. !