It is true that many companies fear change, but not Bridge Overseas. We anticipate the future to be full of exciting opportunities to continue our considerable growth of the past twenty three years. Although we have lost some of our most popular and long standing venues recently due to the current world situation, the latest of which being Turkey, our bookings for overseas bridge holidays for the month of August were at an all time record. We believe that some of this is due to Brexit and also the naturally cantankerous nature of bridge players in general. In addition, the combination of our old favourite venues and some great value new destinations seems to have done the trick.
The fall in the value of the pound against the euro is annoying but we have absorbed the extra cost without passing on any increased prices to our clients. We are confidant that the success of our other non bridge operations has put the company in a strong enough financial position to enable us to keep our prices at very competitive levels for the foreseeable future.
Our UK bridge breaks have also gone from strength to strength as we continue to upgrade and widen the range of venues offered. It is however surprising that some of our longest running venues still remain at the top of the list despite the many fine new hotels we have added to our programme. The Holiday Inn Ironbridge/Telford, Croyde Bay Hotel and Resort and Bournemouth have been running several times a year for over seventeen years and are still as popular as ever.
We are also now adding whist holidays to our programme. I have long believed that whist is the best first step to Bridge and is also a good game in its own right. I have a very exciting new innovation which we will introduce into our whist programme to make it more of a step to bridge for those interested.
The big advantage of whist is that it can be taught very much more quickly than bridge and diving into the mysteries of bidding and card play together is often one step too far for many learners. Once one has a reasonable feel for card play through whist it is then easier to take on board the vagaries of bidding which bridge demands. In fact moving to Boston Whist where one bids alone would be another easier step to bridge which we will probably offer in the future.
Before moving too far away from bridge I have a large bridge bee in my bonnet which is opening leads. They often make all the difference to the end result of a hand and in many cases are complete guesses. Take the bidding sequence one no trump, pass, three no trumps, all pass. This is often bid with one suit unguarded and it is a complete guess as to which suit to lead. I believe it would significantly reduce the luck element if the dummy hand went down before the lead was made.
Before people rebel at this idea we are not introducing it on our holidays so please do not rush to tell the English Bridge Union of my latest heresy. Nevertheless I am convinced that this would be a big step forward and I will be arranging some trials with fully consenting adults not bound by EBU rules and therefore no points awarded.
This is enough new ideas so please continue to enjoy our traditional bridge holidays with the usual mixture of love and laughter.
By Edward Kelly