A Short Introduction
The central point for information and contact is this website, http://www.lbhcba.org.
For results, entry, website and general questions email .
Seasons 2019-20 and 2020-21
As is to be expected, usual arrangements are perturbed by the ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19 and the wholesale move to online bridge.
The 2019-20 season was successfully completed online and play in 2020-21 will commence online, that is the presumption is that face-to-face bridge may be declined by either team. The committee is very conscious that even if some bridge clubs reopen, that does not mean that we would take the step to mandate face-to-face play. That is a decision we would take very conservatively.
Despite online play last season, several teams have played no online matches as yet, often because they completed their 2019-20 fixtures before the pandemic struck. So, as at the onset of lockdown, we will see a similar mix of old hands and tyros.
What follows is the shape of a regular season with expected differences where obvious.
The LBHCBA, often the 'Business Houses' or 'LBH', isn't an association in the EBU sense, nor a club. It is not a component part of the EBU and not able to create EBU members by its own membership as clubs do. Nevertheless, we contribute to the EBU based on matches played and, where teams submit EBU Numbers, award Masterpoints for League matches (and one day perhaps other competitions). There is no NGS component in the vast majority of our bridge (League, KOs) but we do run two 'venue' competitions each year, a Teams at season-start ('SURDOC' in Sep/Oct) and a Pairs at season-end ('Selfridges' in Apr/May). Historically we have not submitted these to the EBU and therefore not awarded Masterpoints nor tangled with NGS. But we may do so in the future.
The SURDOC will not run later this year but it is possible it will be replaced by an online Swiss Teams in the spring of 2021.
League and Cup
There are two competitions which run throughout each year: the League and the Knockout. The League has divisions of five or six teams which, with home and away fixtures, entail 8 or 10 matches a season. The Knockout is for the Dodds Cup but first-round losers enter the Gainsborough Plate, guaranteeing entrants at least two matches.
All matches are scored in International Match Points (IMPs). Matches are of 24 boards (with an option for online play to shorten to 20 my mutual agreement), played in two halves with mandatory exchange of opponents.
If you are new to IMP bridge, there are many explanations online, detailing the mechanisms and strategies.
In league games IMPs are converted to Victory Points (VPs) using the World Bridge Federation 'discrete' scale for the appropriate number of boards.
Knockout matches are decided by an IMP difference, no matter how small. In the event of a tie however, the aggregate scores are compared, only if that is zero are extra boards played (one eighth of the match length).
Results for both League and knockouts are submitted online. The home team is expected to provide some refreshment to visitors, who may not have had sustenance for many hours.
Team costs are £5/15 registration plus £15 for the League and/or £5 for the KO. All entries are taken online (registration of players, selection of events) prior to the AGM in September (Wednesday 16-September 2020). I look after the website and associated administration and will include new teams when invites are sent out, about three weeks before the AGM.
The AGM is often perfunctory but the post-meeting assembling of captains enables fixtures to be set for the whole of the season. It is hard to stress how successful the pencilling in of match dates is in the smooth running of the League and early KO. To encourage participation in the 'fixtures meeting' the £15 annual registration is discounted to £5 for those attending.
This year there will be an online AGM and additionally, we will separate the virtual room into divisions and leave captains to agree fixtures in approximately the same fashion as they would do in person. This is an experiment and we sincerely hope we do not have to do it again.
A New Team Needs…
- A snappy name
- A captain
- A vice-captain
- A venue
- Some bridge players
To enable contact details (email address, telephone number) each captains and vice-captain must consent for those details to be discoverable on the LBH website.
A vice-captain is another contact for use in emergencies - such as late match cancellations etc. – from the LBH perspective, no organisational responsibility is assumed.
The centre of gravity of the LBH is central London. There is no precise definition of 'central' and the committee uses ease of travel etc. to decide on obviously borderline cases. Many other teams hire bridge club premises (e.g. Young Chelsea, Acol), play in offices or at home.
Finding/hiring a room is a per-home-match cost as is providing refreshments. Depending on where you are, supermarket sandwiches and a beverage from a vending machine is a reasonable baseline. If you've ever played a match at the Young Chelsea or another London bridge club, you'll know that though the coffee might be better, the food is similar. If you end up playing on the top floor of a City bank or law firm, the 'modest repast' might be quite impressive.
Composition of teams
New teams almost always start in our lowest or next-lowest division but we would entertain the possibility of starting a strong team higher. Such petitions would need to be backed by NGS and playing records.
There are many teams which would defeat the widest of definitions of a business house and we are largely unworried by this. Certainly retired members, spouse/partners, family members, etc. pass without concern. Many teams have a loose association, e.g. 'Stock Exchange', 'Balliol Alumni', who clearly belong to different companies/bodies. However we do prohibit 'stealing' players from another organisation which already fields a team.
Teams may be of more than four players (indeed, it is advised). Teams are not supposed to initially register more than 12 or use more than 15 during the season. But registered names can be replaced if they haven't played and it's quite hard to exceed 15 active players in a season.
Results are submitted online via links in the League, Cup and Plate pages. Likewise, scores and team rosters of completed matches are also available. The contact details of each team is also displayed from the same pages.
There are independent draws for rounds one and two of the Cup and for round one of the Plate (for teams losing in round one of the Cup). Every effort is made to balance home/aways in these two rounds. After those rounds, the draw is fixed and winning teams are on their own cognizance to arrange subsequent fixtures.
Players do not have to be registered in advance and can be added during the season on a simple 'write in' basis. After they appear, if they have an EBU Number, that can be added via the 'Edit Team Details' page. To make it easy for opposing captains to find new players when submitting scores, it can be useful to add them in advance (winning teams usually submits result).
Though it looks slick, results and team registration are both low-tech implementations and unless you do it at least day in advance, it might be easier to spell names on the scoresheet and trust to 'write in'.
When the 2019/20 season online in April 2020 we set out conditions for online bridge and a guide to playing on BBO (though there are many within an Internet search).
- Matches Played Online: conditions of contest
- Getting Started on BBO: setting up matches, using the platform, etc.
As ever, the website is the primary source of information on incremental changes, captains receive occasional communications when significant updates occur.
Minor edits: 2020-09-18; 2020-09-22