English Bridge Union
The English Bridge Union or EBU is a player-funded organisation that promotes and organises the card game of duplicate bridge in England. It has an office in Aylesbury with a staff of more than twenty people. The EBU is a member of the European Bridge League and thus affiliated with the World Bridge Federation, which promulgates the laws of the game.
The EBU is owned by 39 county associations whose shareholdings are determined by the numbers of EBU member residents. The county associations elect annually a board of eight directors, including a chairman and vice-chairman, and meet with the board twice a year to assist in determining policy. The shareholders also elect an honorary treasurer and three standing committees which are accountable to the EBU board; each committee has seven elected members.
The British Bridge League (BBL) was formed in 1931, and many local associations and clubs affiliated with it. In Yorkshire, for example, Halifax, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and East Yorkshire all affiliated with the BBL.
At national level the Scottish Bridge Union was formed in 1933 and the Welsh Contract Bridge Association the following year. There was still no English equivalent, but area associations were being set up: Yorkshire and the North East were formed in 1935 and the North West soon afterward. In 1936 those three bodies proposed merging to create a single Northern Association under the BBL.
Scottish and Irish representatives were willing to meet on equal terms only with those from an English national organisation, so it was decided to set up an English Bridge Union, to be composed of the three northern associations, a proposed London association and as many county associations as could be created.
The EBU was formed on 23 May 1936. At its second council meeting on 12 June it was decided that there should be eight constituent area associations: North Eastern, North Western, Yorkshire, West Midlands, North Midlands, Eastern Counties, London & Home Counties and South Western. However the BBL and another organisation, the British Bridge Association, continued to operate in England, which restricted the development of the EBU during the next few years. The EBU was reorganised during the 1939/40 season to involve the counties directly, similar to the current structure.
A council meeting was held in July 1939 which led to the new EBU organisation replacing the old, with the first meeting of the "new" EBU council being held on 15 March 1940. For the first time, those attending were representatives of individual counties rather than regional associations. According to the minutes, the 23 counties that were represented or sent their apologies were Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Devonshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Middlesex, North East, North West, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Salop, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire and Yorkshire.
During World War Two organised bridge was in abeyance, but by 1945 seven counties had been reformed: Gloucestershire, the North East, the North West, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire; next year there were 19 newly formed or reformed county associations. The EBU had not yet resumed operations, however, and so a new organisation called the Tournament Bridge Association was set up to organise events and congresses, including the Crockfords Cup and the Lederer Memorial Cup. The EBU and the TBA soon realised that a single body for duplicate bridge was needed, and all the TBA members eventually joined the EBU. As a result, the number of county associations affiliated with the EBU doubled to 38.
English players took part in European and World competitions as part of Great Britain teams until 2000, when the European Bridge League accepted the EBU as a national bridge organisation (along with the Scottish and Welsh unions). Since the selection and organisation of Great Britain teams had become the BBL's main reason for existence, it was dissolved and its remaining functions were taken over by a new body, Bridge Great Britain.
The first EBU sub-committee was the Selection Committee, established 28 March 1937. The Tournament Committee was set up on 8 June 1945 and the Laws and Ethics Committee, originally called the Rules and Ethics Committee, on 1 April 1947.
The English Bridge Union Limited (EBU) continues to be a membership-funded organisation for promoting the game of duplicate bridge. As of 2008 it had 39 constituent County Associations, each with nominees holding shares.
The tournament committee is responsible for all aspects of the EBU's programme of tournaments, other competitions and the master points scheme.
Laws and Ethics Committee
The Laws and Ethics committee is the national authority for the game of duplicate contract bridge in England, when played under the auspices of the EBU. It has three principal functions: it is the final EBU appeal body for appeals arising under the laws of the game; it is the principal disciplinary body of the EBU, hearing complaints against members; and it organises publication of the Orange Book, which contains regulations for the conventions and agreements permitted in different classes of competition, and other directives which supplement the laws of the game. A blog can be accessed at http://ebulaws.blogspot.com/
The EBU selection committee is responsible for all aspects of England's international representation. It determines the format of trial matches to assist in choosing teams for major international championships such as the European Championship competed for bi-annually and for the annual home international series involving England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Éire. The home internationals are known as the Camrose Trophy (Open) and the Lady Milne (Women). England currently selects for the Camrose Trophy using its flagship event the "Premier League" which has two divisions of eight teams playing long matches against all other teams. The winners of Division 1 are guaranteed Camrose Selection.
The EBU Teachers' Association (commonly known as EBUTA) promotes and supports bridge teaching by EBU qualified members. By improving the quantity and quality of bridge teaching, it aims to increase the number of people who play and enjoy bridge and thereby increase membership of the EBU. EBUTA provides information, advice and training to qualified and prospective bridge teachers.
Minibridge  is used to help introduce players into the game. It is also being introduced to Primary Schools across England to help promote skills in Maths and English. The EBU also promotes Really Easy Bridge to introduce newly playing bridge players to the tournament side of play.
The EBU also co-ordinates a project in producing teachers from their affiliated clubs.
The English Bridge Union believes strongly in supporting and encouraging young bridge players, as the future of the game. They have regional Youth Officers to further service the needs of junior bridge. Junior international teams have squad managers.
The EBU runs trials for the two junior international series for the home (UK & Ireland) countries which are the Junior Camrose Trophy (Under 25) and the Peggy Bayer Trophy (Under 20). These two series and also a Girl's series (Under 25) are held at European level.
A complete list of winning countries and players in the Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer Home International series can be found at http://www.bridgegreatbritain.org/
The EBU Selection Committee selects the junior teams.
Master Point scheme
The EBU master point is a means of recognising individual lifetime achievement in EBU organised competitions at club, county and national level. It began in September 1956. Points are awarded to the top one third of competitors and the higher the level of competition the greater the number of points awarded. This scheme has been criticised for rewarding the persistent player ("the more you play the more points you earn"). A Gold Point scheme has been added whereby these points decay at a rate of 20% per annum and can only be won in National Tournaments where the competitor has finished high in the overall rankings.
The EBU launched its "Pay to Play" scheme on April 1, 2010 to create Universal Membership. This scheme replaces its previous method of financing by charging a small payment (29 pence from April 2010 to March 2011) each time a player plays at an EBU affiliated club.
On 23 May 2011, the English Bridge Union celebrated its 75th Anniversary. It organised a number of events to celebrate the occasion:
- 75th Anniversary Mixed Pivot Teams Championships in Brighton at the EBU Brighton Summer Meeting in August.
- Journalists' day in London in September. Primary school children will introduce the game they love to journalists over lunch.
- Special match between primary school children and members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Development of Bridge will take place at the Houses of Parliament in November.
- 75th Anniversary House of Lords v House of Commons bridge match with many bridge-playing parliamentarians from the past taking part in the event.
- 75th anniversary edition of the members' magazine.
- Awareness days across England to promote the many benefits of bridge for children and adults, with an opportunity to try the game.
- Club parties and events throughout the year.
- What is the EBU?. English Bridge Union. Confirmed 2011-07-02.
- EBL member countries. European Bridge League. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- History, English Bridge Union
- "Bridge". Bridge Great Britain. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "English Bridge Union". Ebu.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- "English Bridge Union". Ebu.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- "Club Teacher Training". EBU. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- See http://www.ebu.co.uk/FAQ/masterpointfaq/mptypes.htm
- "Pay2Play". Ebu.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- 75th Anniversary Highlights
- English Bridge Union home page
- Bridge Great Britain home page
- The difference between the EBU and BBL