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2021 National Bridge Congress Update

2021 New Zealand National Bridge Congress

At Lion Foundation Centre, Bay Park, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga   

Saturday September 25th until Saturday October 2nd 2021

This is the new home of our National Bridge Congress. On behalf of the Organising Committee, we shall do our utmost to make this a fabulous eight days of bridge.

There will be changes from the National Congresses which took place in Hamilton for 21 years. Over the next few weeks, we will spell out the changes for you. We will say goodbye to some events and welcome new ones. Some have become less relevant to the way our bridge is played now: others more so.

The first change

No more night play (at least unless you are in the Rubber Bridge finals)

The subject of night play has been hotly debated in recent years. The trend in New Zealand tournaments is that play ends no later than 7pm allowing players “the evening off” to wine and dine, post-mortemise, or just relax.

We hope the new format will provide enough bridge for our keen players without forcing players to play from mid-morning until late in the evenings.

In abandoning night play (we have played on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings in recent years), we have striven to retain the same format and length matches for the New Zealand Open/ Restricted Open Teams though there have to be cut-backs in other events.

During the qualifying rounds of New Zealand Open/Restricted Open Teams, there will be play until 7pm though otherwise, play should be finished by 6pm every night.

Mt Maunganui scene.jpg

Those who qualify for the final stages of the National Rubber Bridge tournament must be prepared to play their knock-out matches in the evenings, on Friday September 24th (quarter finals), Sunday September 26th (semi-finals) and Monday September 27th (final).

Standard Start Times 

For simplicity and as an aid to memory, we aim to start each day at the same time, 9.30am. However, Days 1 and 2 (Saturday and Sunday) will start at 10.00am. The Sunday morning is the start of daylight saving which means an hour is lost. We feel 10.00am is thus early enough to start on that day.


NZ Bridge Annual General Meeting

This has been held on the first Saturday morning but in 2021 will be held on the evening before, Friday September 24th. Further details about timing and location will be given later.

Change in Method of Entering and Paying for Events

In the early National Congresses, most players entered for the full Congress week. In recent years, more players enter for a shorter period. The package structure is also in some respects unfair in its current application.

Thus, in 2021, we are hoping to introduce a system where players will enter and pay for each event, and in the case of New Zealand Teams, each stage of the event. While payment is not required at the time of entry, a 10% early payment discount will be applicable for payments received by 31st August 2021.

Thus, if you enter an event later than that date and have not previously paid, you will not qualify for the discount.

For this reason and to prevent the chaos that has existed when “late” entries took place, we hope that all players pre-enter all events they wish to play before 31st August and certainly before Congress starts.

With respect to New Zealand Open Teams, we ask players to enter events they wish to play in assuming they get knocked out of the Swiss Qualifying stage i.e. while the knock-out stages take place.  Should they then qualify for subsequent stages of New Zealand Open Teams, they will automatically be withdrawn from the events they have entered and be placed into the relevant stage of New Zealand Open Teams with no need for any further money to be paid.

Cost of Congress

A new improved venue has been found but at a significantly higher cost to New Zealand Bridge. This will mean an increase in what you have paid previously for registration. If you play the full 8 days, we anticipate that the cost of registering will be $520 whether or not you make it to the New Zealand Teams final. That is prior to the applying of the 10% early payment discount. So, the net cost would be about $470.  

Please note that South Island discounts will no longer apply but Youth players will continue to receive a 50% discount. We believe this new cost structure will be fairer to all. We will give further details in the New Year.

New Format for New Zealand Open/Restricted Open Pairs

Previously, the New Zealand Open Pairs was a three- day, three stage six session event with only 56 pairs in contention for the Final or Plate on the third day.

The 2021 events will be five session, with three qualifying sessions and two sessions in the second stage. All pairs will compete in the second stage for both Open and Restricted Open events.

The fields will be divided into two seeded fields, a North-South and an East- West field with the top 14 pairs in each field qualifying for the final, the next 14 for the Plate, the next 14 each way into Final C etc. All sections (that is sections of 28 pairs) in Stage 2 will be played barometer style. Carry-forwards will apply from Stage 1 to Stage 2.

The qualifying rounds will be played on Saturday morning and afternoon and on Sunday morning. The sessions in Stage 2 will be played Sunday afternoon and on Monday morning.

So, that’s news of some of the changes for 2021. We believe these and other changes will improve the Congress. More then in mid- January.

Richard Solomon

Chairman, New Zealand Bridge Congress Organising Committee 

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