One of the Selection Committee's responsibilities is selecting and supporting teams for invitation events.
From time to time an overseas bridge organisation will invite us to send a representative team to one of their events. These events are an important source of practice for our international players when preparing for World and European championships, and an opportunity for aspiring players to gain experience and to demonstrate that they can perform at the highest levels.
Sometimes the organisers will provide a subsidy in the form of free entry, accommodation or a contribution to expenses. The Selection Committee may also provide some funding, depending on the event and on the team selected.
When selecting teams for these events, we have to balance the objectives of the organisers, the needs of our representative teams for practice, and the benefits of providing international experience to other players.
Recently we received two such invitations: for the German Bridge Team Trophy, and the Chairman's Cup in Sweden. In the first instance these were offered to the Open and Ladies Teams who will be representing us at the World Championships in Bali later this year. Subsequently we invited applications from recent participants in the top division of the Premier League and from the current Junior Team.
The German Bridge Team Trophy (which evolved from the Bonn Nations Cup) takes place in May. Thanks to the generosity of the German Bridge League we have been able to send a junior team consisting of Dan MacIntosh, Sarah O'Connor, Tom Paske and Ed Jones to test themselves against some very strong competition.
The team for the Chairman's Cup, subsidised by the Swedish Bridge Federation, will be announced in the next few weeks.
Both of these events are open to other entrants, so any pairs who miss out on selection may wish to consider playing under their own steam. More details are below.
German Bridge Team Trophy: Bonn; 8th-10th May, followed by the Bonn Cup pairs on 11th May. More details from www.german-bridge-trophy.de.
Chairman's Cup: Orebro, Sweden, 27th July - 1st August, followed by the Gold Mine pairs on 3rd-4th August. More details from www.svenskbridge.se/festival.