Latest Letter from The Chair

From the Chair
Newsletter No: 5 for 2019 26 July 2019

Our strategic plan has a focus on growing membership, club participation and tournament participation. All ideal as they contribute to the well-being of Clubs and the game as a whole. As previously reported over the last 18 months we have seen growth in all areas which is particularly encouraging.

The Board recognises growth is not solely limited to growing numbers but equally about personal growth. We play this game for a myriad of reasons - social, competitive at a club and tournament level and, aspirational to represent your province or New Zealand. No matter what level we play the game at we strive to always improve our performance and have more tools at our disposal. With that in mind the Board has been focused on finding a way we can deliver a bridge education programme to the club player.
Richard Solomon has agreed to pick up this new initiative and will, post Congress, be working on developing and rolling out a bridge education programme targeted at all club players.

Richard, along with a team he is looking to put together, will engage with your club with the aim of delivering a structured programme. This initiative had its origins in Taupo where last year the Taupo Club invited Richard to go to Taupo and deliver a series of educational hands-on seminars. What was so pleasing was the Club got right behind it and over a day and a half 94 members attended one or more of the sessions.
I hope you and your club will get behind this initiative and most importantly feel as you learn more you get greater enjoyment from the game.

The second initiative relates to how we run and organise our major events- Congress, Interprovincials, North Island and South Island Pairs and Teams, National Swiss and New Zealand Wide Pairs. We want these events to be well run and a good experience. Again Richard has agreed to pick up the mantle and bring to the fore his experience with these events and his skills in running major events. Those of you who have experienced Congress I am sure would vouch for this.

It was important when putting these changes into play we did not lose the knowledge sharing that comes from unquestionably expert writing on bridge. I refer you to Richard’s excellent articles, opinions, news articles and, bridge analysis that appears on our website. These will continue. With all the above Richard has accepted a new title - Manager Major Events and Bridge Education.

You might ask what has happened to the youth portfolio. We are very fortunate than Jan France (regional bridge mate Auckland Northland) has willingly agreed to lead our 5 year youth strategy. Jan comes with a long pedigree of working with youth. We ask that you get behind Jan and assist where you can. The youth today are of course our next generation of bridge players. In August we have a youth weekend in Christchurch and a teachers Conference. We will share the outcome of the events in the next edition.

The bridge calendar is particularly busy over the coming months including North Island Pairs (August), WBF World Championships in China (September), New Zealand Congress (September/October), Interprovincials and NZ Wide Pairs (November). You will note with the latter a small increase in cost this year. This is the only fundraising event that New Zealand Bridge is involved with. All the proceeds from this event will benefit the New Zealand Bridge Foundation youth programme. Whilst we will continue to offer master points for the NZ Wide Pairs, New Zealand Bridge will not be charging any cost for this event. We hope your club will do likewise so we can contribute maximum benefit to the Foundation and to youth.

The Board wants to thank all those players, clubs and regions who contributed to the constitution consultation. The committee has all but concluded their work and in the coming week will be submitting their final recommendation to the Board for final sign off before the AGM (28 September). Over the preceding month the Board has worked on 4 pieces of work.

  • Review of the RBM programme and how that will look in 2020 and beyond. That work is continuing and we will keep you informed as we make progress.
  • A new health and safety policy. As you are all aware we all have responsibility to ensure a safe environment. Over the coming weeks we will posting this policy. We hope Clubs will pick up on this initiative and look at their own club policy on this matter.
  • From time to time we have youth under our care. With that comes a responsibility to ensure we take care of their health and well-being. We have adopted a Child Protection Policy which will also over the coming weeks be posted. Again we hope Clubs will get behind this initiative and review their own policy when they have children under their care.
  • We mentioned following the National Conference that a review of Regional Committees would take place shortly. The intention is to put a small task force together to take a fresh look at the roles and future shape of the Regional Committees. This project will be led by Karen Martelletti, supported by representation from the Regional Committees and, an independent member. If you are interested to contribute as an independent member please let Alister Stuck know.

Earlier this week we announced some changes to the board requirements at tournaments in the 5A to 20A range. We hope that this will allow directors and event organisers more flexibility when they factor in the number of tables in play and the time available in which to run the event. We plan to review the impact of the changes in 12 months time.

Finally I leave you with the message- be kind and polite to your partner and to your opponents. We should not condone in any way bad or inappropriate behaviour. What I hear all the time from beginners is inappropriate behaviour puts them off joining clubs and playing. So I ask before you say anything or act in any fashion that might be discourteous or offensive or inappropriate, please think!!

As always enjoy your bridge
Cheers Allan