Chairman’s December 2020 update
As we draw towards the end of 2020, I thought I would reflect on what has been an ‘interesting‘ year in our bridge world and offer some reminders of what we have to come.
For some of you, the world of on-line bridge would be familiar but for a lot of us it was not and at the start the YCBA was still trying to wrap its collective head around about how we were going to grasp this new nettle. There were different platforms to choose from with the promise of more to come, the idea of virtual clubs, the spectre of cheating to worry about and lastly and most importantly how could we encourage our clubs and members to get on-line.
To this end I feel that we have been relatively successful. Some recent figures have shown that whilst we have fewer players playing on-line, they are playing more often and that is certainly true for myself. The advent of the Yorkshire League on-line has meant that we could get over 500 players playing over a series of Sundays and this is the biggest league on the EBU results page, a testament to the organisers and yourselves for wanting to take part. The board has continued to try and come up with events that will appeal to a wide selection of our membership and of course we have still been able to run the Great North Pairs, Harrogate Spring Congress and (hopefully) the Northern Easter Festival for the EBU. Just as a plug if you have not already seen the HSC flyer it will be on the 13th/14th February with pairs (including a 9 high event) on the Saturday and Teams on the Sunday. Both events will be green pointed, so get those entries in now. It would be remiss of me to not remind you of another event we have over the New Year period. On Friday 1st January we have pairs and the 2nd will be teams. Both events will be Blue pointed and we have called it the New Year Bonanza (It was going to over the Xmas period but we had to change it!). All our events are advertised on the website, so this should always be your primary source of information as the reminders for events only go out to members whose e-mails we have and the club secretaries.
One of our prime concerns has been the fact that the teaching of both beginners and year 1 and 2 players has really fallen of a cliff (especially the former). Obviously, new players who go on to join clubs and then play in stepping- stones events, club events or even national events at the appropriate level are the life blood of keeping the organisation (both local and national) on a viable basis. To this end we held a teacher’s meeting to try and understand what has happened and look to offer some solutions for those teachers who are reluctant to take up the ‘on-line’ option. Of course, we would all like the chance to teach face to face again but my crystal ball is a bit clouded at the moment and can only really see to about Easter and even then I am not sure whether we will be back!
This is a serious point because as and when we do start again there will be a significant number of clubs who may struggle to get their members back (who may want to stay on-line).This may lead to a new paradigm for bridge as we know it with an amalgam of on-line and face to face but for me the social interaction with other members, whom you may never see on-line, outweighs the sterile on-line approach (even with video links!). To this end, the YCBA are here to support both clubs and members moving forward and we hope to have some sort of fund available (similar to the technology fund from last time) to assist clubs in this transitional period.
It only leaves me to thank all of you who have entered our competitions, long may it continue and of course to wish you all a Christmas and New Year that you can make as special as the government allows you!
Keep well and stay safe,
Nick Woolven (YCBA Chair)