Home EBU Tournaments

Corwen qualifiers

I was just discussing the rules for qualifying pairs for the Corwen earlier today and wondered if people had any thoughts about this competition. The Yorkshire Pairs is coming up this weekend and, while it admittedly hasn't been particularly well advertised it's been struggling to attract as many pairs as in previous years. Last year we had 5 qualifying spots out of 17 pairs and that didn't seem great to me, with the 50% rule we might even be struggling to fill our quota this year. The single event qualifier certainly doesn't seem to be working very well for Yorkshire at the moment, although numbers for the Corwen seem to be holding up. I had a couple of questions I'd welcome any thoughts on;

1) Does anyone know if any other counties are having similar issues around their qualifiers? It might be the size of Yorkshire and the number of qualifiers isn't helping.

2) Is it possible for counties to tweak the qualification method at all, they seem to be set down in the Corwen terms & conditions? Has there been any discussion about the same, which probably isn't a priority?


  • In Kent we have the opposite problem we are having to turn people away as venues fill up.
    When they think of large counties people obviously think of Yorkshire but Ken is not small geographically. From where I live if I drive for an hour at the speed limit including on routes that are almost entirely motorway I will still be in Kent.
    So we hold 4 semi-finals, separated geograpgically, but also on different days of the week including one at a weekend. These are 26-board events for which this year we currently have 104 pairs entered and we expect to get another 8 to 10 entries when the reminders go out tomorrow. These will qualify pro-rate 26 pairs to an all-play all final in March. One of the semi-finals is full and we have hed to turn 6 pairs away although two have opted to go to one of the other venues.
    However the key to getting this large entry is not just the area semi-finals, so no one has travel more than 30 mins. It is that pairs had to qualify to get to there. Every club in the county holds heats but usually the players do not know they are playing in them. Often the clubs do not know either. Everyone who scores 50% or better gets an email telling them that they have qualified and enough of them accept that we get these kinds of numbers.
    We used to have a situation where we could not get more than a 10 table final together. There were club heats but what happened was that the pot hunters would turn up at some weaker club to qualify which upset the members of those clubs so they did not hold a heat the next year. So fewer and fewer club heats lead to smaller and smaller finals,
    We broke the cycle by writing to every club saying unless you tell us otherwise you will be holding a heat on these dates but need do nothing different, you can publicise it if you want, we will just pick up the results from your website. They were different dates for every club, one date for every day of the week on which they played. Of course most of the clubs did nothing with their email the event just happened as normal and the players just got the emails telling them they had qualified. Many of them had never qualified for anything in bridge before so they came to play.
    The travel distance is significant. During the pandemic when everything was online we had over 140 pairs playing in the semi-finals on BBO so we are losing 30 pairs with the 30 mins travel time. Maybe if we go for 5 semi-finals next time we can reduce travel distances further and not need to turn people away.
    It was a lot of effort copying and pasting results from clubs websites into a spreadsheet so now that the pot-hunters realise that they can always qualify from their own club we have moved to all club events within a particular week in November, another in December and a third in January and the EBU produces an extract from the UMS files of all the qualifiers with their email addresses. We still do not publicise the weeks although those who want to can find out if they look hard enough.
    In the interests of succession planning we are aiming to produce a manual this year so that anyone can take over when the present committee moves on.
    The new structure of the National Pairs is at least part based on this model which has worked for us in Kent for 6 years now .

  • I agree that the way the National Pairs qualifying event has attracted so many players maybe the way forward as a form of “qualification by stealth”.
    Surrey are thinking about this for the proposed NGS<9 Corwen in 2025.
    I think it will attract a larger field including players who would not have voluntarily entered a specific qualifying event.
    I would be interested in other counties views.

Sign In or Register to comment.