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From David Cowell

Like many of you I have been going to congresses for several years now - it's a great way to meet and greet people from various clubs. The bridge community is not just 'your' club but extends throughout the country. I have made lots of friends and most of them are better bridge players than me but I still enjoy competing against you all. Some clubs are now having more than one congress each year, which implies that this format of bridge is becoming increasingly popular.

I recently did a short poll of some of the congresses coming up within Western Australia. Of the nine clubs I polled, one is charging $45 giving a catered lunch. Two clubs $40 - one with lunch and one with BYO lunch and a sausage sizzle at the end of the second day. Two clubs $35 with light lunch. Three clubs $30 BYO lunch. One club, Geraldton, is a mixture of price with food/drink. This seems to me that the cost is gradually going up and up. Like everything else playing bridge has gone up in price, and for a couple to attend a two day congress costing $40 each per day can be a lot to ask for some people. What happened to those days when we paid $20/$25 for a days bridge with BYO lunch, but the hospitality of the club concerned would be to stay for the prize giving and have drinks with nibbles on the house.

The popularity of Swiss movements seems to have taken over too. Most of us like Swiss movements. However I think Swiss movements could be played at one day congresses and nine board rounds would be sufficient.

With a conventional two day congress, on the first day of play it's good to play a qualifying round, before the final, plate and consolation. This is great as you get to meet more people. On the second day, it is normal to play Swiss teams - once again in my opinion nine board rounds is sufficient.

BAWA regulations state that prize monies should be highlighted in the flyer or literature given out by clubs concerned. It is considered at least 60% after expenses are taken out, however it's up to each club to decide, and it is not good enough to just say 'generous prizes'.

Is it necessary to give large prizes? I have heard it said, the cream of our playing fraternity in WA always wins. We can only have one winner, but more prizes could be given, and for different categories.

I am an addict and don't consider the cost when I enter to play at a congress, and I certainly don't enter for the food. But I am trying to think about all of you as well. So how about more clubs charging less and BYO lunch. Perhaps less prize money for the winners - spread the takings around a bit more. What do you as the bridge community think?

I write this not to offend anyone or club, it's just thoughts mentioned to me in passing by other bridge players.

Happy bridging everyone.


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