March 31, 2001

Dear District and Unit Board Members in District Two:

For some time now NABC+ events have begun to feel very much like playing in a World Championship. Almost every second table has a player from a non-ACBL country. This trend continued in Kansas City, where the big winners were from lands afar. The winning Vanderbilt "Gromov" team consisted of two Russian and two Polish players. The runner up "Rosenkrantz" squad had two Polish players plus a former Israeli now living in the US. Four Italian players were on the winning team in the NABC Open Swiss. Three Italians placed 2nd while two players from Sweden were third.

While there are Americans who are less than thrilled with this trend and question whether "foreigners" should be allowed to play in ACBL North American Championships, the vast majority are pleased to see more and more foreign players travelling to North America to play in ACBL tournaments. Personally, I think it is exciting and one more reason why I recommend ALL players to attend an NABC of their choice to play in NABC+ events against the best players in the WORLD!

This summer the world is coming to Toronto for our NABC July 18 - 29, 2001! It may be a long time before another NABC comes to Canada. To our local players, please don't miss out on this opportunity. To our American friends, please remember that one US dollar will convert to between $1.50 and $1.55 Canadian. You should also save your Goods and Services (GST) 7% tax receipts and apply for a rebate after you return home.

Toronto, 2001! One of the world's great cities! In the summer average mid-afternoon temperatures are about 25 C or 77 F. Come join us for a great time.

The Kansas City NABC was successful in all respects save for the final attendance number of 9,370.5 tables, which was slightly below budget (9,500 tables) and quite a bit below what we were hoping for (10,000 tables). Still, those who were there had a great time. The host hotels, playing areas, and hospitality were excellent. As for the critical question of food (bridge players love to eat), there was everything from a convenient food court to the fabulous Hyatt's "Peppercorn Duck Club".

  1. District 2 Stars at the Bridge Table:
  2. Fred Gitelman (Toronto), arguably Canada's finest player today, was the most successful District 2 player in Kansas City. Fred placed 5th in the NABC Open Swiss Teams; 5th in the NABC Mixed Pairs with Sheri Winestock (Toronto); 8th in the NABC Open Pairs I; 18th in the NABC Open Pairs II.

    Jim & Joan Priebe (Mississauga) placed 4th in the NABC Silver Ribbon Pairs; 28th in the NABC Mixed Pairs; and WON the Starling Knockouts (Bracket 2).

    Henry Caspar & Tom Buttle (Toronto) WON the Starling KO (Bracket 2) as well as THREE midnight Swiss events! Henry also placed 25th in the NABC Mixed Pairs.

    George Mittelman (Toronto) placed 16th in the NABC Open Swiss Teams.

    Gavin Wolpert (Thornhill), playing with US Junior Team 1, placed 17/32nd in the Vanderbilt. They lost a close match to Nickell in the round of 32.

    Robert McPhee (Belleville) & Robert Hollow (Madoc) WON the Educational Foundation KO (Bracket 2).

    Rene & Mary Lawand (Etobicoke) WON the International Fund Pairs.

    Deanna Goh (Peterborough) WON the morning Compact KO (Bracket 3).

    Special kudos to USA 2 junior stars Todd Wolford, Jason Feldman, and Paul Bethe who managed to carry Jonathan Steinberg (Toronto) to victory in the St. Patrick's Compact KO. Cheers to the Irish!

    The Top 13 District 2 Masterpoint Winners List is included at the end of this report.

  3. Kansas City ACBL Board Meetings:
  4. Our agenda was undoubtedly the lightest in quite some time. Nonetheless, there were some significant issues discussed and motions passed. Here are some of the items that I believe might interest you:

    1. Robert Lix (District 20 - Brownsville, CA) was re-elected ACBL Treasurer, effective May 1st, 2001.

    2. The United States Bridge Federation (USBF) was created and Directors for the initial USBF Board confirmed. The long range effects of this new body regarding the interests of US bridge players (and how it will affect relationships among the Canadian Bridge Federation and the ACBL) remain to be discovered. This was a very significant item that received a surprisingly minimal amount of board discussion!

    3. For reasons not clearly understood, Canadian Tournament Directors were not part of the ACBL Retirement/Pension Plan program. This oversight has now been corrected. A Canadian Group RRSP will be established. In addition, the ACBL will contribute an estimated $82,500 in lieu of past pension plan contributions to the RRSP of qualified employees living in Canada. Carried 21-4. I voted in favour.

      In addition, a further catch up provision was provided (estimated maximum cost to ACBL $37,000) based on half of individual contributions to RRSP calculated to be consistent with the US 401(k) Pension plan. Carried 16-9. I voted in favour.

    4. A Committee was formed to look into the concept of combining districts in order to reduce the size of the ACBL Board of Directors. Carried 13-12. I voted no. Frankly, there is no reason to believe this committee will be any more successful than many previous committees. Further, it would require a 2/3rds majority to change the ACBL By-Laws. Last, but certainly not least, reducing the size of the board is a red herring. The ACBL's problems would not magically disappear; indeed a smaller board with power concentrated in the hands of the few might lead to worse decisions!

    5. A motion to increase the per diem paid to TD's in Canada was soundly defeated 24-1.

    6. A new Club Recognition Program and Jane Johnson Club of the Year Award was established and approved. Clubs will be categorized as zero, one *, two **, or three *** clubs. There will be one winning club in each category every year.

    7. A motion to urge the WBF to give Zone 2 a third team for this years 2001 Bermuda Bowl in Bali was defeated 7-18. I voted in favour. Please refer to my Birmingham report for more information on this topic.

    8. We reiterated by a 24-1 vote that all masterpoints won on-line shall remain unpigmented.

    9. An excellent motion that originated from Toronto's Barbara Seagram to set the entry fee at $12 Canadian for 0-20 events during the Toronto NABC this summer was defeated 10-14-1. I voted in favour.

      There appears to be a continuing failure to understand Canadian issues on the ACBL Board of Directors. Perhaps the establishment of the USBF will help matters regarding international players. As for the weak Canadian dollar -- to date no solution has been found.

      There is an inexplicable failure to recognize that new players who pay a subsidized Canadian $8 at our Toronto Regional will not come back to the same hotel this summer and pay an expected entry fee of $18 Canadian. Would you?

      Despite the above motion being defeated, ACBL's CEO David Silber has assured me that there will be some marketing plan in place for our new players at the Toronto NABC and I will be notified when the program is finalized.

  5. Appeals & Charges & Disciplinary Matters:
    1. In the matter of the appeal of John E. Blubaugh, ACBL #0702031, the decision of the Ethical Oversight Committee was sustained with modifications to the punishment imposed.

      Mr. Blubaugh is suspended from the ACBL effective March 14, 2001 until September 13, 2002. A 5 year probationary period will follow. Finally, in accordance with ACBL regulations recently passed, all masterpoints won by Mr. Blubaugh for the period March 15, 2000 through March 14, 2001 shall be removed from his ACBL record.

    2. Changes were made to the ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations. I believe all revisions to the code are now available on-line. District 2 Judiciary Chairs: if you need a hard copy, please contact me.

      The most significant change is that a charged member may be represented at a disciplinary hearing by a person WHO SHALL NOT BE AN ATTORNEY. The person charged may be represented by an attorney in regards to other matters concerning the hearing.

      Carried 19-6. I voted in favour.

    3. Currently clubs may bar players for any reason (but NOT based upon the players race, creed, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, national origin, or on his/her proficiency at bridge); however, the player retains the right to participate in ACBL sponsored games such as GNT, NAOP, World Wide Pairs, STAC's, etc.

      In reality, players tend to be barred for behavioural problems. Some clubs are unhappy that these people are allowed to return for "special games". Of course a club may bar a player and then send the matter to the local unit for further discipline.

      The new regulations allow clubs to extend the barring to include ALL ACBL games held at their club. Written notice must be given to the player involved which includes his right to appeal to the unit board within 30 days.

      Carried 15-7-3. I voted against because I believe this action increases ACBL's liability, as we are denying an individual "due process". Yes, the player barred may appeal, but by the time the appeal is heard the event he wanted to play in is over! I felt that there was no pressing need to change our existing rules.

  6. A Personal Note:
  7. In 2001 I am Chair of the ACBL Honorary Member of the Year Committee; Vice Chair of the Marketing Committee (which includes Education, Juniors, Clubs, and Member Services); and a member of the National Appeals & Charges Committee, which acts on behalf of the ACBL Board of Directors in all disciplinary matters.

    August 6-15, 2001 will be the World Junior Bridge Championships (WJBC), Mangaritiba, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The four Canadian juniors (Erin Anderson, Regina; Ian Boyd, Calgary; Vincent Demuy, Laval; Josh Heller, Toronto) who won the CBF Junior Trials last summer in Kingston have requested that I be their Non Playing Captain. Last November, in his letter of resignation as CBF Junior Coordinator, Eric Sutherland urged the CBF to ratify the aforementioned team augmented with Toronto junior stars David Grainger and Gavin Wolpert.

    Regrettably, while the rest of the world is busy practicing, fund raising, and preparing for the WJBC, the "Canadian Team" remains in limbo, subject to ratification by the CBF Board of Directors. Our Canadian junior players deserve to be treated equitably and to have their wishes respected. The current situation leaves them at an extreme disadvantage vis-à-vis other bridge playing juniors from around the world.

    I urge you to contact CBF President Nicholas Gartaganis <gartagan@cadvision.com> ; and/or CBF Vice President Ray Lee <masterpointpress@home.com> to express your displeasure.

    On a more pleasant note, the annual ACBL Hall of Fame banquet will be held Thursday, July 19, 2001 in Toronto at the Royal York Hotel. Our legendary bridge stars Sami Kehela & Eric Murray are being presented the prestigious Von Zedtwitz award. This award is given to: deserving living or deceased individuals who contribute to the game of bridge either by virtue of their bridge playing talents or who made contributions to the game outside of their area of playing expertise.

    The banquet & ceremony is open to all for US $60. There will be ads in the May and June ACBL Bridge Bulletins with all the information required for purchasing tickets.

    I am looking forward to seeing all of you in just ten days when the Toronto Easter Regional, April 12-16, at the Royal York Hotel commences. Remember the new starting times are 1 and 7 PM, except for Easter Monday which has an 11 AM start.

    Then we all get a few months to relax and then -- AT LAST! -- the summer NABC comes to Toronto: July 18 - July 29, 2001. Meanwhile, there is still time to get involved. Please contact our NABC Chair Penny Augustine <toronto2001_chair@yahoo.com> and visit the 2001 NABC web site at: http://www.acbl.org/nabc/Toronto/Welcome.html

    My best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Spring, Passover, and Easter.


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 web site at:

http://www3.sympatico.ca/jonathan.st

Top 13 District 2 Masterpoint Winners at the Kansas City NABC
165.07 Fred Gitelman Toronto ON
119.56 James Priebe Mississauga ON
107.83 Joan Priebe Mississauga ON
103.03 Henry Caspar Toronto ON
72.00 Tom Buttle Toronto ON
50.73 Robert McPhee Belleville ON
44.50 Robert Hollow Madoc ON
42.42 Sheri Winestock Toronto ON
34.77 Jonathan Steinberg Toronto ON
33.92 Deanna Goh Peterborough ON
27.23 Gavin Wolpert Thornhill ON
26.31 George Mittelman Toronto ON
23.32 Joan Eaton Willowdale ON