March 23, 2000
Dear District and Unit Board Members in District Two:
The Cincinnati NABC was a study in contrasts. On one hand, the
local volunteers provided fabulous hospitality for the players,
but on the other, the host hotels did not meet the quality
standards that our membership has come to expect. The final
attendance figure of 10,830 was respectable, but it was also 3.3%
below ACBL management's estimate and a little less than the 1994
The ACBL Board meetings were noteworthy not only for what motions
were passed, but equally so for the difficult issues that were
deferred to a later date. The latter include ACBL's relationship
with the World Bridge Federation (WBF); membership dues increases
for 2001; publishing an on-line version of the monthly ACBL
Bulletin; as well as many marketing issues such as how best to
recruit and retain new members.
I have often heard members ask why the number of ACBL employees
has not declined in the computer era we live in. ACBL's CEO David
Silber, in his report to both the Board of Directors and Board of
Governors, noted that the 1999 Memphis staff of 93 employees
(full-time equivalent) compares favourably to 1995 (93.5) and
1992 (96.5) levels; however, many new programs and services have
been added to the workload. These include EasyBridge staff, ACBL
Score, internet/website, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Hall of
Fame, Junior Camp, and the Unit Growth Program.
One interesting statistic is in member communications. In the
Club/Member Department, the number of telephone queries via the
MAD line has dropped from 1300 to 1100 (per month) in the past
four years; however e-mail queries have increased from 0 to 2,600
You may e-mail ACBL's CEO David Silber at:
The CMO is Michael Calhoun:
The ACBL's meeting planner is Nancy Foy who can be reached at:
My best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Spring, Passover,
District 2 Stars at the Bridge Table:
finished 4th in the NABC Open
Pairs I (with Brad Moss of NYC); 5th in the NABC Swiss Teams and
9/16th in the Vanderbilt KO Teams. Incidentally, Fred has also
been appointed to the ACBL Competition & Conventions Committee.
5th in the NABC Open Pairs II; WON the 2nd Saturday "X" Pairs
(3rd in "A").
(Mississauga) placed 3rd in the
North American Pairs, Flight C.
(Waterloo) placed second in
the Sunday, March 12 Flight A Swiss Teams.
playing with Zeke Jabbour and Donald Rumelhart, placed second in
Bracket I of KO Teams II.
(Toronto), playing with Chuck Said, WON the
International Fund Pairs.
*** While District 2 players were not too successful in NABC
events, I noticed that many of our players were winning the Zip
Swiss events throughout the week! Congratulations to all! ***
Worthy of Distinction:
, the Toronto 2001 NABC Chair, was appointed
Assistant Chairman of the National Goodwill Committee. She is one
of seven Assistant Chairmen throughout North America who work
with Aileen Osofsky, the National Goodwill Chairman.
(District 20 - Brownsville, CA) was re-elected ACBL
Treasurer, effective May 1st, 2000.
The ACBL Educational Foundation announced a $200 subsidy to
all ACBL participants (up to a maximum of 70) who will be
attending this summer's Bridge Camp 2000, August 2-10 at Pitzer
College, Claremont, CA. The cost is $225 ($425 minus the $200
subsidy), which includes accommodations, all meals, bridge games
and lectures, sporting events, and special excursions. A great
opportunity for our junior players -- please spread the word.
Appeals Controversies Continues...:
One year ago, I wrote about the now famous "Oh S__t" case from
the Vanderbilt. In Cincinnati it seemed that all the appeals were
based on tempo. The "if it hesitates, shoot it" philosophy seems
to be winning more and more converts, at least among those who
decide these matters.
In one case, a player who misresponded to Blackwood realized that
he/she had an extra key card and then raised partners five level
sign off to six. It seems to me that the ONE clear cut situation
where the Blackwood responder can raise partner's sign off is
when you realize that you have made a mistake! We are not all
experts and until there have been 3 passes we should have the
right to correct our bids. At least that was the thought last
year in Vancouver. In Cincinnati, the contract was rolled back.
I am distressed to report that, in the Vanderbilt round of 32,
there was yet another controversial appeals committee ruling that
decided the winner in one match. Clearly, the message being sent
out is to bid quickly in potentially tempo sensitive situations,
and to plan your bids in advance. Personally, I am distressed by
this trend. Human bridge players are not machines. I believe
appeals committees have strayed too far from the "let's just play
Funds provided to the local organizations for hospitality and
registration gifts have been increased effective with the Spring
2001 NABC. The host organizers will receive $8/7.50/7 per table
depending upon whether the city is high/average/low cost. For the
Toronto 2001 NABC, this means that we will be receiving $2
more/table than we would have received this year. I believe this
increase was necessary and is required in order to provide
appropriate hospitality to our visitors. Carried by a 16-9 vote.
NABC starting times is an issue I have discussed before. Both
Vancouver and Boston had 1 and 7:30 PM starting times in 1999 and
both tournaments were huge successes. By another 16-9 vote, the
default starting times for the prime time sessions at NABCs for
all events is 1 and 7:30 PM, effective with the summer 2001 NABC.
Notwithstanding the above, management, in conjunction with the
local sponsoring organization, may set 1 and 8 PM as the starting
times if appropriate (lack of sufficient restaurants within
walking distance, insufficient cab service, etc.).
A survey at the Boston NABC last Fall revealed an overwhelming
preference for an earlier evening start time. This makes it
easier for local players to return home at a reasonable hour (and
catch the last subway/train). It allows the late night
entertainment to start a half hour earlier. It may help prevent
some of us from falling asleep at the table!
A little publicized move by management saw the NABC Pair games
have a set time of 15 minutes per round, one minute less than
previously, which is the same time limit as Regional events. This
meant that the NABC Pair events were finishing at the same time
or even earlier than the Regional Pair games (earlier on the
second day when the NABC boards are pre-duplicated).
By my clock, I always finished the afternoon session around 4:40
PM, plus or minus 10 minutes. More than enough time for dinner
and a break before a 7:30 start. Anaheim this summer is scheduled
for 1 and 7:30. Birmingham in the Fall will be 1 and 8:00.
Other Board Actions of Interest:
One of the benefits of becoming a Life Master was that Life
Masters paid a reduced service fee/membership due. This reward
for attaining the rank of Life Master has been part of ACBL's
history. No longer. By a 20-5 vote (I was opposed), it was
approved that "those joining or re-joining the ACBL after June 1,
2000 will pay dues at the full rate starting the second year
regardless of their player rank". The effect of this motion is
that eventually all members will pay the same dues, regardless of
their rank or LM status.
Perhaps the most significant action the Board took was to
accept the report of the Ad Hoc On-Line Bridge (OLB) Committee.
By a 23-2 vote (I was in favour), "management is authorized to
enter into and conclude an agreement to offer ACBL OLB service
The policy requirements of the report are met.
League Counsel first reviews the agreement for legal
Any cost, expensed on an annual basis, must not violate the
established ACBL financial guidelines."
More masterpoints, less bridge play! The trend continues as
the Board by an 18-7 vote (I was opposed) will soon be allowing
clubs to hold open games with the minimum number of boards played
being 12 (previous minimum was 18). Sanction fees will be the
same as for regular games. Masterpoints will be awarded 80% of
the award for open games. I was particularly opposed to the 80%
number. But as the saying goes, the barn door has been open a
long time, and the horses have long since fled...
The conditions of contest for the US Junior Team Trials were
amended to allow teams of four, five or six members to enter the
event. I supported this motion (at the request of the silver
medal winning US team in Holland last January). I have also urged
the Canadian Bridge Federation to pass similar regulations and
recommended that the CBF hold the 2000 Canadian Junior Team
trials (leading to the 2001 World Junior Championships) this
summer at the Anaheim NABC in conjunction with the US trials.
There are several reasons for my recommendation. Perhaps most
significant are the long term bonds of friendship that develop
among Canadian and US junior players. From a competitive
standpoint, joint trials are excellent training for Canadian
juniors. Finally, many of our young players will be attending the
bridge camp just prior to the NABC and thus will already be in
North American representation to the 2000 IOC Grand Prix
Women's match (a 4-pair team) will include two Canadian women!
The pair will be selected from the winning team of the 2000 CWNTC
in a manner determined by the Canadian Bridge Federation.
I am on a sub-committee that is reviewing the concept and
financial history of Bridge Ventures. We will report back to the
Board this summer. Meanwhile, if anyone out there has any ideas
on the concept and/or philosophy of the ACBL running money bridge
games (with or without masterpoints), I welcome your submissions.
Appeals & Charges:
A motion co-sponsored by Bruce Reeve (District 7) and myself
unanimously approved the principle that significant amounts of
masterpoints shall be removed from the record of any player
suspended for one year or longer, as a result of ethical
transgressions. The ACBL disciplinary code is being amended to
In the matter of the request for reinstatement of Dan C.
Requard, ACBL #L712249: the request was denied. Mr. Requard may
reapply no sooner than one year from March 9, 2000.
In the matter of the sanction imposed upon Ken Warren, ACBL
#O865216: There were three issues which were heard
simultaneously. The mandated review of a discipline in excess of
one year's suspension, an appeal from Mr. Warren for a decrease
in discipline and an appeal from the ACBL Recorder for an
increase in discipline. The committee increased Mr. Warren's
discipline to expulsion. Mr. Warren may apply for reinstatement
no sooner than five years from November 23, 1999.
A Personal Note:
In 2000, I am Chair of the ACBL Education sub-committee; Chair of
the the ACBL Honorary Member of the Year Committee;
Vice-President of the ACBL Educational Foundation; member of the
ACBL Marketing Committee; member of the ACBL Governance
The calendar peculiarities of Easter and ACBL's Spring NABC means
that in 2000 there is a full month between the end of the
Cincinnati NABC and the start of the Toronto Easter Regional
(Canadian Nationals) on April 17, 2000. I am looking forward to
seeing a record turnout -- I hope you are planning to come to our
This summer brings the London Bridge Regional (July 4-9) and the
Cambrian Shield Regional (Sudbury, July 25-30). Please support
our District tournaments.
The cooperation of all unit Presidents and Secretaries in
distributing this report to their members is greatly appreciated.
This report may also be viewed on my home page at: