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What goes on in the engine room for running a tournament ?

What goes on in the engine room for running a tournament ?

The money

For collecting money for prizes, it is no longer a simple matter of going along and cashing a cheque.  Two signatories for the club must go together and take photo ID to prove this money is being used legitamately ! Prizes also vary according to entries (the more entries, the more prizes are given out).  Given these constraints and we are handling a large amount of cash, it has to be withdrawn as close to the event as possible and then kept in a secure place.  As you can imagine, this requires a bit of planning. After that, the money has to be put in the prize envelopes by John the Treasurer and checked it is all correct before sealing. 

Entry and raffle money has to be collected, counted and banked, expenses incurred by caters etc reimbursed and a financiial report prepared for the committee to show how the event went.  Our club does not expect tournaments to be a big revenue earner, but we do not want to run it at a loss !

The catering

Always one of the biggest jobs for a tournament. Someone has to be appointed as the manager and a team of helpers organised.  Then members asked to bring plates for morning tea and the food is purchased. This is a fine art, judging how much is required so as to not under or over cater.  It is also a challenge when entries come in late, so the food has to be purchased at the last minute.  Some may wonder why we have closing dates, and this is the main reason we do.  On the other hand, we hate turning people down, as we love to see people happily playing in tournaments !  A catch22.  Sue Sherwood is our Catering Manager for the club and does an amazing job.  It was so nice to see her having a break and playing bridge instead during our Intermediate/Junior/Novice tournament and the catering team was a group of Open players, headed by Lynn Smyth.

The photo is showing Lynne's happy crew in the kitchen 

The boards

Normal 2 session tournaments require a set of boards per session, but we always deal a duplicate set, in case the room has to be split or we run some fancy movement that means we need to use the second set. The dealers are rostered and after the boards are dealt. they check EVERY board, to ensure the hands match the hand records.  Nothing worse than finding players playing a board in one section that is different to the "same" board in another section.  

So for our Mini Congress, every board we have in the club is used for the event and at times we will will borrow some from the Mount as well. For the Intermediate/Junior tournament we had 7 sets (3 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon for the Novice players).  Every set was used, as the Intermediates did play a movement not seen in the club for a very long time, called the Appendix Mitchell, so a duplicate set was used for their sessions.

We have a great team of dealers headed by Diane Menzies, who all give of their time freely.

The Director

The Director does not just turn up on the day at 9:45 am, start the players off, make a few rulings, then go home !! For most tournaments, they watch the entries and start planning the format for the day. This requires constant communication with the club and scorer, to ensure all possiblities are covered. Some major events require players to be seeded and this is a time consuming job, as the seeded players are then placed in sections to ensure each section is even in strength.  It has to be done close to the day itself and in some cases it is not easy to get the seeding right. 

Sometimes things go wrong on the day and pairs pull out (usually for a very good reason), or pairs turn up thinking they have entered.  Therefore, the format for the day is not finalised until the last of the players are checked in.  Such eventualities can make a significant difference to what movement is used, so in the planning process, the Director and Scorer have to think of the "what ifs",  Therefore the Director may create more than one seeded list and sections

The Scorer

Like the Director, the Scorer does not turn up on the day and go home after the event has finished.  These days, the scoring requires someone with computer skills and have a good understanding of technology.  It is not hard, but like anything, it needs practice.  Most good scorers will study the possible movements, talk to the Director, check the files are set up in the computer, hand records are attached to the event and practice movements on the computer to be very familiar with the process. Our club prefers to have a non playing scorer, so that if anything goes wrong, they are there to step in or fix things, without the pressure of playing as well. Often on the day they will assist the Director if they are busy, play some boards if someone is sick, check the Director has the right boards and help put boards out and so the list goes on.  At the end of a session, they do scoring corrections, adjust results if a board is fouled, print and hand out personal score sheets, publish results on the Internet and set up for the next session (lunch comes later !).  

When there is more than one event running at a time, this adds to the complexities and requires lots of printing.  With the Junior/Intermediate/Novice, we set up some Bridgemates to run on another computer for the Novice players, so this required files to be transferred and Bridgemates to be set up on another channel, so they did not clash with the Junior and Intermediate's Bridgemates.

The club admin and planning

Norm in the office has a lot of pre planning to do for a tournament.  Dealing files and event files need to be set up and hand records attached to the scoring package, He has to ensure there are plenty of personal score slips and system cards on hand and he does lots of co-ordinating with the dealers, treasurer, Director, Scorer, Caterer and Club Captain.  He takes the entries and confirms with the players their entry has been received.  To make life easier, we now have a central point for all our entries online and we use that list to manage the event and create a check in list.

Karen, as Club Captain, organises who Directs and Scores each tournament.  Leading up to the event, she checks in with everyone to ensure all is going to plan.  She discusses with the Director and Scorer the format and ensure the club's requests and interests are catered for. Sometimes she helps with the seeding and provides the Director with any special requests of players.  Karen helps manage the entry list and may have to make the call to close an event if too full or become unmanageable.  Between Norm and Karen, they find a standby pair for main events.

Sometimes we just go crazy and dress up for the occassion !

Here is a photo of Alan the Director ("Major Turner") and Karen as Scorer ("Minor Letti") at the recent Junior/Intermdiate/Novice tourament


Happy Kitchen Crew: Heather Melville, Bev McGregor, Bev's grand daughter, Judy McLeod, Dot Skousgaard and Lynne Smyth (with a ckeeky bugger in the background)

Posted: Sunday 19 June 2016


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