2020 March Newsletter

Auckland Bridge Club Newsletter March 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19

If you feel unwell, or have any symptoms of a cough or cold, DO NOT come to the Club. Your first action is to call the Dedicated Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or 09 358 5453 for free advice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

As already announced, the Club will remain open but may close without notice if the Coronavirus outlook worsens.

Members who are returning or who have returned from overseas trips, please do not come to the Club for a period of two weeks. Please inform the Club Office of any members or close contacts of the Club who have become ill.

If the Club closes temporarily …

We are testing a free online bridge site called BBO where we have a set up a private room called “Auckland Bridge Club”. You have to be invited within Bridge Base Online to join the room, and you have to register on BBO online and choose a name for yourself before you can be invited. More details by email if it comes to this. We’ll also make the room available to other NZ clubs should they wish to join in.

Club finances

We expect the Club to make a modest profit this financial year but of course the outlook is utterly unknown. Membership has continued to decline slightly over the last decade. However recent table numbers seem slightly up on last year, perhaps because members are postponing overseas trips and playing more bridge.

Club computer systems

Over the summer we have swapped computer systems to the Xero accounting package which will eventually save administrative costs. We have also introduced ClubHub for membership management.


Some 40 members have not paid their subscription and they will be marked as “inactive” at the end of March. Please save our staff time by paying in a timely manner. ClubHub was helpful with collecting the subscriptions, except when people don’t pay.

Upcoming activities

Please note the new event on Good Friday, and the Staff Fundraiser. “Restricted” means no player over 100A points at the start of the event.

  • Easter Congress Good Friday Swiss Pairs 10 April 3A
  • Easter Congress Restricted Open Pairs 11 April 8B
  • Easter Congress Provincial Pairs (Sat) 11 April 10A
  • Easter Congress Teams (Sun) 12 April 10A
  • Easter Congress Walk In Pairs (Mon) 13 April 5A
  • Anzac Day Open Pairs 25 April 8B
  • Staff Fundraiser For World Champs Italy 1 May
  • Thursday Pairs 7 May 8B
  • Queen's Birthday Restricted Pairs 30 May 8B
  • Queen's Birthday Open Pairs (Sat) 30 May 10A
  • Queen's Birthday Provincial Teams (Sun) 31 May 10A
  • Queen's Birthday West End Walk In Pairs 1 Jun 5A
  • Thursday Pairs 11 June 8B

Donations and legacies

A big thanks to the families of Inge Toft and Anne Cartwright for their generous gifts to the Club. And for the many other smaller donations which are also most welcome. Larger amounts are kept on separate term deposit.

Acoustic flexiscreen

A small slice of the Toft-Cartwright legacies has been used to purchase an acoustic sliding flexiscreen for the downstairs bridge room which will enable more than one activity to take place in the room at the same time. The first of perhaps two screens will be delivered in late April.

Electronic session tickets

The first trials will start in April using ClubHub. The new tickets are electronic and your personal account is debited each time you play at your club when you provide your NZB Computer Number into the scoring tablet. No more forgotten or lost tickets because ClubHub retains full details of your activity and of your account!

If you have a stock of existing session vouchers, the Office can credit your old tickets as new electronic vouchers.

The new electronic vouchers can and should be bought online with a credit card. Currently the Office spends ten hours a week processing session tickets orders. So we want online credit card purchases. The cost of 10 tickets remains the same at $80. The cost of tickets not purchased online and not paid with a credit card will attract a $2 administration charge. The Office may waive the $2 fee in certain circumstances such as the inability to use a computer. The Board have asked the Office to be strict in the application of the $2 fee, but we’ll see how this works!


The bridge education managed by Julie Atkinson has kicked off in style with a 48 attendees of the inaugural Improvers session (Monday nights). There is a comprehensive syllabus of lectures and practice aimed at all levels of players. Mix and match, pick and choose what you want and please provide feedback. Keep an eye on the website and notice boards for details. Planned topics include:-

  • Overcalls
  • Doubles
  • Minimum, invite and game force bidding
  • Play techniques, carding
  • Defence, opening leads, signals and discards
  • Stayman and transfers
  • Slam Bidding 

Club session prizes

The free tickets for winners of club multi-week events are being formalised into a simpler calculation which means less well attended and shorter events will have a maximum payout of two free tickets per winner, whereas payouts for longer busier events will be more generous. Events with fewer than five tables or three nights will not be eligible for prizes.


Long-serving Barbara Mitchell retired from her catering role at the end of 2019, and she was very grateful for the well-wishing donations from members.

We sadly accepted the resignation over the summer of Julie Mitchell, Club Manager (no relation to Barbara): we wish both Julie and Barbara a bright future.

We welcome Ana Ve’hela to the staff as Club Housekeeper: her main duties are the preparation and serving of tea and coffee, and keeping the Club clean and tidy. Our contract commercial cleaners are now only required on special occasions which has saved money and it seems to be working well. We have purchased a new commercial vacuum cleaner for $800. Ana also helps at Eastern Bridge Club’s Tuesday session.

Deborah Tangney is Acting Club Manager and Anne Barrowclough is helping in the Office as a temporary assistant.

By late May the Office should be using the new electronic ticketing facility. We will then be in a position to determine the future staffing needs of the Office. One thing is clear: the “hosting, meet and greet” functions of the Office are important to the smooth running of the Club, and members’ enjoyment of the Club.

Each Christmas the Club holds a dinner for staff and other helpful associates to thank them for their dedication over the year and we again congratulate all of them for their conscientious work. The lunch was held at the Kings Plant Barn garden centre at Orakei Road.

We are delighted that the Club sessions running over the Gold Coast Congress, where we often struggle in Patrick Carter’s absence, was smoothly run by the duo of Tony Morcom and Mary Chamberlain. Well done Tony and Mary.


Eagle-eyed members will have noticed that the scoring tablets have been largely replaced rather earlier than planned after a little over three years. The tablet screens were bulging because of expanding batteries which in turn are a fire hazard. The old tablets will be taken to an electronic waste disposal site rather than donated to worthy causes. Each new tablet cost about $100.

AH 13Mar20