August 4, 2001

Dear District and Unit Board Members in District Two:

Despite the ever increasing cost of attending NABC tournaments (not to mention spiralling entry fees), the Toronto NABC managed an impressive table count of 16,079.5 This was more than 1,000 tables greater than the pre-tournament estimate and the largest NABC since Washington, 1993!

Congratulations to our 2001 NABC Chair, Penny Augustine, who did a marvelous job. Over the past few years she has travelled to every NABC promoting Toronto. It paid off. Below is a list of the all time top 10 NABCs by table count.

1 Las Vegas, 1991 24,221
2 Toronto, 1986 21,075
3 Las Vegas, 1985 19,825.5
4 Las Vegas, 1979 18,517.5
5 Toronto, 1978 18,408
6 Washington, 1993 18,270
7 Baltimore, 1987 17,027
8 Toronto, 1992 16,680
9 Toronto, 2001 16,079.5
10 Washington, 1973 16,043

The obvious attractiveness of Toronto as a preferred NABC site will, I hope, not escape ACBL management's attention. I am cautiously optimistic that ACBL will negotiate the next Toronto NABC to be in 10 years -- Summer, 2011.

Administratively, major changes were announced during the NABC. At the Board of Governors meeting, CEO David Silber announced that he would be leaving ACBL effective July 31st. We wish him well in his future endeavours.

Effective August 1, 2001, Wayne Hascall (District 12 representative to the ACBL Board) will be the interim CEO. He is doing this as a volunteer for no remuneration. It is expected that a new CEO will be in place by January 1, 2002.

Congratulations to George Retek from Montreal (District 1) who was elected ACBL President for 2002. He will be the third Canadian ACBL President, following Doug Drew (1984) and Richard Anderson (1998).

  1. District 2 Stars at the Bridge Table:
  2. There were so many District 2 players who won or placed highly in various KO events that I am unable to recognize all of them. My congratulations to all of you who scooped up the many masterpoints available during the week. The Top 25 District 2 masterpoint list can be found at the end of this report.

    Here is a list of local players who either placed well in NABC+ events or WON Regional events (excluding KO events):

    Dianna Gordon & Katie Thorpe (Toronto); Ina Demme (Maple) were 2nd in the NABC Wagar Women's KO Teams. Along with Sharyn Reus, Francine Cimon, and Martine Lacroix, this is the Canadian team that will be playing in the Venice Cup this fall in Bali, Indonesia.

    Brian Johnston (Toronto); John Lloyd (Pickering); Bill Woodcock (Sarnia); Gary Whiteman & Brooke Nelles (London) WON the Mini Spingold I KO Teams (0-5000).

    Neil Kimelman & Bob Todd (Winnipeg); Robert Kuz (St. Andrews); Barry Senensky (Willowdale); Barry Onslow & Mary Lynne Howe (London); Elaine Morrison (formerly London!) ALL tied 3/4th in the Mini Spingold I KO Teams (0-5000).

    Robert Lebi, Eric Murray, John Carruthers, Roy Hughes, Nader Hanna & Darren Wolpert (Toronto) were 5/8th in the GNT Championship Flight. Nader Hanna also placed 7th in the NABC Imp Pairs.

    Ray Jotcham, Paul Janicki, Lewis Richardson (Toronto) & Gary Westfall (Brampton) tied 3/4th in the GNT "A" Flight. Ray Jotcham also placed 6th in the NABC Imp Pairs. Paul Janicki also placed 11th in the NABC Imp Pairs.

    Jim Priebe (Mississauga), Jerry Richardson (London), Alan Lee (Willowdale), Steve Mackay (Unionville) were 5th in the NABC Senior Swiss Teams. Jim Priebe also placed 11th in the NABC Imp Pairs.

    Leslie Amoils (Toronto) placed 4th in the NABC Imp Pairs and 14th in the NABC Fast Open Pairs.

    Colin Revill (Burlington) placed 6th in the NABC Senior Swiss Teams.

    John Duquette (Oshawa) & Rea Rennox (Port Perry) placed 12th in NABC Mixed Board-A-Match Teams.

    Mark & David Caplan (Toronto) placed 13th in the NABC Life Master Pairs.

    Barbara Ranville & Eiji Kujirai (North York); John & Nancy Sabino (Locust Hill) placed 14th in NABC Mixed Board-A-Match Teams.

    Chuck Arthur & Daniel Lavee (Toronto) placed 15th in the NABC Fast Open Pairs.

    Ron Bishop (Thornhill) & David Grainger (Etobicoke) placed 16th in the NABC Fast Open Pairs. Ron also WON the Wednesday Open Pairs.

    Robert Hollow (Madoc); Motaz Farag (Belleville); Jim Brickman (Oakville); Bill Kertes, I. Takefman, Irving Goodman (Toronto) WON the Mini Spingold II (0-1500).

    Gurhun Baykal (Scarborough) & Mike Nadler (Richmond Hill) placed 2nd in the Red Ribbon pairs (0-2000). Junior stars Mathew Mason (Kingston) & Daniel Korbel (Toronto) placed 10th in the Red Ribbon Pairs.

    Danny Miles (Toronto) WON 1st Friday Open Pairs.

    Eric & Ron Sutherland (Toronto/Mississauga) WON 1st Saturday A/X Pairs.

    Edward Burgan (West Hill) & Wayne Merkel (Scarborough) WON 1st Saturday B Pairs.

    Gilda Caplan & Molly Silverstein (Toronto) WON Wednesday Senior Pairs.

    Joel & Rosalind Jeffries (Willowdale) WON 2nd Friday A/X Senior Pairs.

    Gim Ong & Jose Tharayil (Winnipeg) WON 2nd Saturday Senior Pairs.

    John Laufer (Toronto) WON 2nd Saturday A/X Pairs

    Vivian Chrom & John Cook (Toronto); Kenneth Moen (Guelph) WON the 2nd Sunday Senior Swiss Teams.

    Special congratulations to our young stars Craig Barkhouse (Barrie), Susan Harbour (West Hill), and Josh Heller (Toronto) who were inducted into the ACBL Goodwill Committee.

  3. Canadian Bridge Federation Issues:
  4. In my Kansas city report, I was critical of the CBF regarding their actions pertaining to our Canadian Junior Team. I regret to report that things have continued to deteriorate.

    1. CBF Board Meeting:
    2. The CBF has one annual meeting of their Board of Directors. CBF Bylaws state that Canadian ACBL Board members are ex-officio members with all privileges save for voting rights. In May, 2001, the CBF Board played fast and loose with their rules and for the first time in their history, they had a brief board "meeting" followed by an extensive "planning session".

      The effect of this maneuver was to exclude the 3 ex-officio members (Richard Anderson, George Retek, Jonathan Steinberg) from any meaningful participation. Although not in contravention of their bylaws, this went against the spirit of the bylaws and leaves one to wonder why they did not want three experienced CBF and ACBL members present at their meeting.

    3. CBF Code of Conduct:
    4. The CBF has announced a new Code of Conduct . While this is an excellent move in principle, the actual Code as approved has significant flaws.

      The code defines junior players as being 25 or under (eligible for participation in WBF Junior competitions). The code requires compliance to all dealings with junior players both inside and outside official CBF programs.

      Under Travel to Bridge Tournaments, the code states: Unless they are members of the same family, adults and junior players may not share accommodations, regardless of potential cost savings or other benefits. Needless to say, the Canadian junior team who are now in Brazil representing Canada at the World Junior Bridge Championships are unanimously opposed. Indeed, they have disregarded the above stipulations both at recent Regional tournaments as well as the just completed Toronto NABC.

      The three ex-officio CBF members worked together and proposed a revised code to correct the existing flaws. Among other changes, we recommended that the code be restricted to official CBF functions and programs. The CBF should not have any jurisdiction when players are attending bridge tournaments on their own time and dollar. Unfortunately, the CBF Board has rejected our suggestions.

      You can view the code at: http://www.cbf.ca/PDFfiles/CBFcodeofconduct.pdf

    5. A New Canadian Bridge League:
    6. No matter how many polls indicate that a majority of the Quebec population are opposed to separation, the question never seems to disappear. Sadly, the powers that be that fuel the CBF seem intent on revisiting the issue of a separate Canadian Bridge League. I am told that this latest charge for "independence" is being led by the new CBF President Ray Lee and VP Mary Moulton. Mary is chairing the committee investigating the issue.

      Since word of this was revealed last week, several players have asked me what they can do to express their opposition. I was even approached by a Unit President from Victoria, British Columbia who made it clear to me that the players in British Columbia are overwhelmingly opposed to separating from the ACBL.

      Indeed, a just completed District 2 survey revealed that by a 2 to 1 margin most players do not even know what the CBF is! and by a 4 to 1 margin players had no idea what the CBF did! Slightly more than half were opposed to paying CBF membership dues.

      There is no doubt that the politicians behind this initiative represent no one other than themselves and a tiny, though vocal, minority of disgruntled Canadian bridge players. Among Canadian junior players, the sentiment is almost 100% pro ACBL and anti CBF.

    7. CBF Bridge Week:
    8. The dates of the just completed Toronto NABC have been known for YEARS. So why did the CBF schedule Bridge Week for Montreal (August 5-12) one week after the NABC and one week before the CAN-AM Regional (August 20-26)? The only possible effect is reduced attendance at all of the above events as players are forced to pick and choose. Many players who regularly play in at least 2 if not 3 of these events were complaining and felt that not only was revenue being lost, but the calibre of the events was also weakened. Another complaint concerns the scheduling of the COPC National Final opposite the qualifying rounds of the CNTC.

    It is hard to fathom what the 6 CBF Directors are thinking when they take these kinds of actions. I urge all Canadians to sit up and take notice before any further serious damage is done. You can e-mail the CBF Board of Directors at:

    Zone 1 Mary Moulton, Halifax (VP) mary.moulton@ns.sympatico.ca
    Zone II Doug Heron, Ottawa eardoc@magi.com
    Zone III Ray Lee, Toronto (PRESIDENT) masterpointpress@home.com
    Zone IV Bill Treble, Winnipeg btreble@escape.ca
    Zone V Nicholas Gartaganis, Calgary gartagan@cadvision.com
    Zone VI Jennifer Ballantyne, Vancouver jballantyne@hotmail.com

  5. Financial Woes:
  6. An emergency motion that I presented would have set the Regional entry fees for the Toronto NABC at $18/session instead of $18.50. My motion was defeated 12-12 with one abstention. I voted in favour. Unfortunately, a tie vote = defeat. ACBL expects to make about $100,000 (US) profit (direct costs) from the Toronto NABC.

    While ACBL is on target to meet the 2001 budget and should show a profit (due to the sale of ACBL's warehouse building in Memphis), the outlook for 2002 is discouraging.

    The costs associated with the departure of David Silber as CEO combined with additional costs for the hiring of a new CEO will put a strain on the 2002 budget that will be approved at the Fall Las Vegas meetings. Until ACBL can secure significant increases in advertising revenue and substantial corporate sponsorship, we can expect yearly price increases across the board.

    The following are preliminary budget assumptions for 2002:

    1. Sanction Fee Increases effective April 1, 2002:

      1. Regionals: $4.45 to $4.60
      2. Sectionals: $3.11 to $3.22
      3. STAC: $2.38 to $2.46

    2. NABC entry fees will rise by $1 effective January 1, 2002.

    3. TD Session Fees to increase by 6.5% (3.5% salary plus 3% catch up) effective January 1, 2002

    4. There will be no increase in membership dues.

      The above was carried 15-10. I voted no.

    5. Effective January 1, 2002 all NABC+ entry fees will be the same and will include a $1.50 surcharge per player per session for the International Fund. Carried 18-7. I voted no.

  7. Bridge/Tournament/Masterpoint Issues:
    1. In 2000, teams that won ONE match (but lost the 2nd match) in the NABC Senior KO in Birmingham were awarded 45 masterpoints for finishing 5/8th overall! This was an error by management who incorrectly believed that the you must win 2 matches in order to receive overall awards rule did not apply to NABC events.

      Nonetheless, ACBL management refused to correct the mistake. Former CEO David Silber gave a lengthy explanation (customer satisfaction) which I found hard to swallow. As a result I co-sponsored a motion (with Al Levy - District 24) that would require all masterpoint recording errors to be corrected.

      Despite this motion having been known and discussed for months, the Governance Committee inexplicably moved that the matter be deferred to the Fall meeting! Carried 17-8. I voted against deferral.

    2. Bermuda's request to compete internationally as a member of WBF's Zone 5 was unanimously carried. It now goes to the WBF and Zone 5 for approval. Notwithstanding the above, Bermuda and Unit 198 will remain a part of both ACBL and District 2. They will still have their Regional and will still participate in our District wide STAC tournaments.

    3. A new event! A 3 session Regional KO may be scheduled with masterpoint awards reduced by a factor of 30%. Carried 19-5-1. I voted no. Do we really need another diluted event in our schedule? I think not. Please note that a SCHEDULED 4 session event that is reduced to 3 sessions due to a small turnout has always been allowed. Thus I saw no need for a 3 session SCHEDULED KO.

    4. An ill advised (cash grab, big-time!) motion would have mandated that certain team entry fees would be based on the total number of team members... Bottom Line: Teams of 6 would pay more than a team of 4. We are selling masterpoints, are we not?

      Thankfully, the motion was defeated 11-14. I voted no.

    5. Another dubious motion would have created NEW NABC events: A Life Master Women's and Life Master Men's Pairs that would have been 2 day events starting on Day 2 of the LM Pairs. Sort of like a consolation NABC! Not carried 10-15. I voted no.

    6. Another attempt to sanction on-line bridge tournaments with increased masterpoint awards was soundly rejected by a 5-19-1 vote. I voted no.

    7. Last but certainly not least, the ACBL Competition & Convention Committee wants to institute a new package of modifications to the ACBL alert procedure. This package is supposed to simplify matters. Perhaps it will. Perhaps it won't. Certainly, there would be an increase in announcements.

      A majority of the board, including myself, felt that we needed more information in a clear and simple manner to present to our membership. The matter was deferred to the Fall meeting in Las Vegas.

      I trust that ACBL management will be publicizing these proposals and I welcome your input between now and November.

  8. Marketing/Juniors (Good News Section!):
    1. The Board of Directors unanimously approved the concept of pursuing the development of a nationwide educationally sound after-school bridge program. Funding will be sought from outside sources.

      There is an enthusiastic group of volunteers behind this idea, which is tremendously bold and has phenomenal potential. On the downside, the program is high risk and the costs will be substantial. We hope to secure significant amounts of corporate sponsorship.

      To start the ball rolling, the ACBL Educational Foundation has approved $80,000 in seed money to help kick-start the project.

    2. More good news! ACBL approved another junior bridge camp for Washington, DC immediately following the NABC (July 29 - August 4). Carried 20-5. I voted yes.

      There have been concerns about the behaviour of a few campers at previous bridge camps as well as ACBL's legal liabilities in the event of an unfortunate "incident". In the Marketing Committee, I proposed that ACBL management, in conjunction with League Counsel, develop a Code of Conduct for ACBL junior players, campers, and the adults who supervise them. That idea was accepted and I expect that a Code of Conduct should be approved at our Fall meeting in Las Vegas.

  9. Appeals & Charges Matters:
    1. We live in an increasingly litigious society. Unfortunately, this has resulted in an unprecedented number of law suits against the ACBL. Many are frivolous, but all are costly! ACBL expects to spend well over $100,000 in legal expenses in 2001, about twice the "normal" amount. This figure does not include costs covered by our insurance agents.

      In an effort to reduce frivolous law suits by our members a motion was approved that states:

      Effective August 1, 2001, any ACBL member who files a civil action for damages (the "action") against the ACBL shall be automatically suspended from the ACBL upon the occurrence of any of the following (this does not apply to civil actions brought by ACBL employees for anything concerning their ACBL employment):

      1. a judgement in the action which is favourable to the ACBL;
      2. a dismissal of the action by the court with or without prejudice;
      3. failure by the ACBL member to prosecute the action for any consecutive six months period after filing the action; or
      4. a settlement of the action which does not specifically waive the provisions of this paragraph.

      Such suspension shall be lifted only upon the occurrence of one of the following:

      1. payment by the ACBL member of costs incurred in the action by the ACBL, its officers, agents, representatives and insurers; or
      2. resolution by the ACBL Board of Directors absolving the ACBL member of payment of such costs ...

      Carried 13-10-2. I voted yes.

    2. In Kansas City, we passed a motion that disallowed attorneys from appearing in front of disciplinary committees. A motion was made to rescind that motion and it carried 15-9-1. I voted no.

      As a member of the Appeals & Charges Committee, I believed the original motion to be valid and felt it would speed up hearings by eliminating overly technical arguments, and in no way hinder justice. Too many attorneys fail to recognize that the Appeals & Charges Committee is made up of volunteer laymen. Legal briefs designed for judges are of little benefit in our hearings.

    3. Disciplinary Cases Heard in Toronto:

      1. In the matter of Dan Requard 's (L712249 prior to resignation) request for readmission: the request is denied; future request for readmission may be heard at or after the summer 2002 meeting of the ACBL Board of Directors.

      2. In the matter of Howard Piltch 's (N966671) appeal of the decision of District 25 Disciplinary and Appellate Committee's decisions, the committee affirms the factual findings of the committees, but finds the previous discipline is excessive... reduced to public reprimand and 30 days probation...

        However, because Mr. Piltch has been disciplined twice within a 24 month period, he is automatically placed on ACBL probation for two years by ACBL management.

      3. In the matter of Unit 192 appeal of the finding of the District 1 Disciplinary Committee with respect to a claim on behalf of Jonathan Ferguson and Jeff Smith, the committee affirms the District 1 Disciplinary Committee decision. The GNT subsidy payments/repayments required by the District 1 Disciplinary Committee, including Ian Nicholson, must be paid by September 1, 2001.

        There were additional provisions to ensure that all prizes and trophies owed to Ferguson and Smith would be awarded by September 15, 2001.

      4. A dispute involving a division of funds between Unit 128 and Unit 102 was resolved. Unit 128 will produce a cheque for $12,500 no later than August 10, 2001.

      5. An election protest by Bernace DeYoung involving the timely filing of her declaration of candidacy in the District 9 ACBL Board of Directors election was rejected.

  10. A Personal Note:
  11. I hope you all enjoyed the Toronto NABC as much as I know our out-of-town visitors did. Players from about 30 different countries were represented.

    The two Directors-In-Charge, Solly Weinstein and Doug Grove had to juggle over 60 Tournament Directors and six different starting times every day. And that doesn't include administrative staff, the press room, and the many, many volunteers who serve on Committees and Foundations.

    The Toronto NABC, just in entry fees, took in about $650,000 (US) which converts to a cool 1 million Canadian! The benefits to the city's economy add up to many millions more.

    There are lots of changes in the air. ACBL will be getting a new CEO before the year is out. It is my fervent hope that this will lead to a brighter future for all of us.

    I'll have another report after the Fall meetings in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the summer. Send me your thoughts on any matter of concern, but please wait a few days. I'm going into hibernation for the next few weeks!


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 25 Masterpoint Winners From District 2 at the Toronto NABC
128.25 Brian Johnston Toronto ON
127.16 Gary Whiteman London ON
126.62 Ray Jotcham Scarborough ON
125.93 Brooke Nelles London ON
125.93 William Woodcock Sarnia ON
125.21 John Lloyd Pickering ON
115.68 Paul Janicki Markham ON
107.85 James Priebe Mississauga ON
107.17 Ina Demme Maple ON
103.03 Katie Thorpe Toronto ON
100.00 Dianna Gordon Toronto ON
98.32 Danny Miles Toronto ON
91.95 Barry Senensky Willowdale ON
89.09 Robert Hollow Madoc ON
86.46 Gloria Silverman Toronto ON
85.74 Robert Kuz St Andrews MB
84.12 Neil Kimelman Winnipeg MB
83.96 Gary Westfall Brampton ON
83.02 Lewis Richardson Toronto ON
82.59 Joan Priebe Mississauga ON
80.55 Eric Lewis Toronto ON
80.42 Leslie Amoils Toronto ON
80.03 Darren Wolpert Thornhill ON
77.66 Roman Smolski Bermuda
77.66 Vera Petty Bermuda

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