December 12, 2002

Dear District and Unit Board Members in District Two:

It gives me great pleasure to announce my appointments to the ACBL Goodwill Committee for the year 2003. These are lifetime appointments, honouring players who exemplify the best in our game and promote goodwill at the bridge table.

Congratulations to our newest Goodwill Committee members:

  1. Phoenix NABC:

    The final table count of 12,458.5 tables was a testament to an outstanding NABC. Congratulations to all the local volunteers for their hard work and poise in handling the larger than expected numbers. The ACBL had budgeted for just 10,100 tables. The 23.35% increase illustrates just how difficult it is to estimate attendance numbers! It also reveals that our bridge players, with justification, love their NABCs. I recommend them to every bridge player who has not yet been able to experience the excitement, the hospitality, and the life long friendships that blossom at every NABC.

    Similar to the success of the Houston NABC (Spring, 2002), a significant plus was the availability of alternative budget accommodations. A Ramada Inn, just two blocks from the playing area, quickly filled up with bridge players who paid $65/night, a significant savings from the host hotels.

    There is an ongoing debate among the ACBL Board members and management as to whether or not the ACBL should be promoting budget accommodations at NABCs. The ACBL signs contracts with the host hotel(s) guaranteeing that we shall sell x number of rooms. Failure to do so may result in significant financial penalties. The host hotels provide many incentives such as complementary rooms and free playing space. It should be expected that players enjoying the convenience and luxury of the host hotel(s) must pay for the privilege. I believe that at the same time we must recognize that in order to generate large attendance numbers and bring new players to our NABCs, ACBL must also negotiate with, advertise, and promote alternative less expensive housing options.

  2. District 2 Stars At The Bridge Table:

    Our NABC+ stars were not as successful as they often are. Bridge is a tough game! Here are the District 2 players who made the overalls in NABC+ events:

    Senior KO: Colin Revill, Burlington, placed 5/8th.

    North American Swiss Teams: Wayne Timms, Waterloo, Stephen Aarons, Toronto, Colin Harrington, Cambridge, John Moser, St. Agatha, placed 11th. David Lindop & Brian Johnston, Toronto, placed 21st.

    Open Board-A-Match: George Mittelman, Toronto, placed 26th.

    Edgar Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs: Gavin Wolpert, Toronto, placed 41st.

    Here are the District 2 players who won Regional events:

    Henry Caspar & Tom Buttle, Toronto, won the first Friday/Saturday KO, Bracket 2, and the Long Beach KO, Bracket 2, at the end of the tournament. Henry & Tom both won more than 100 masterpoints in Phoenix. Well done!

    Wendy Dooley & Ron Sutherland, Mississauga, Roman Klein, Oakville won the first Saturday/Sunday KO, Bracket 2.

    Alex Kornel, Barbara Seagram, Patti Lee, Sally Caty, Toronto, won the X Flight in the First Sunday A/X Swiss Teams.

    Jackie Boisseau, Etobicoke, won the Friday/Saturday KO, Bracket 2.

    Stephen Aarons & Andy Altay, Toronto won the first Saturday Senior Pairs.

    Brian Johnston, Toronto, won the Wednesday Stratified Open Pairs.

    Peter Petruzzellis & William Woodfine, Toronto, won the second Friday Open Pairs.

    Deanna Goh, Peterborough, won the Hasta La Vista Phoenix KO, Bracket 4.

    The Top 25 District 2 Masterpoint List can be found at the end of this report.

  3. Names in The News:

  4. Phoenix ACBL Board Meetings:

    Our agenda was definitely on the light side; nonetheless, some significant ideas were debated and motion passed. Here are some of the highlights:

    1. The ACBL Disciplinary Code is a living document with frequent revisions. Throughout 2002, the ACBL Appeals & Charges Committee, League Counsel, ACBL management, and other bridge-playing volunteers have extensively overhauled the entire code. There are several significant changes. The new Code becomes effective January 1, 2003. ACBL management has informed me that the revised Code should be posted on the ACBL web site before December 31st. I urge all of you who are involved in disciplinary matters (Appeals Committee members, Unit officials, Recorders) to visit the ACBL web site at http://www.acbl.org where you will be able to read and/or download the Disciplinary Code. Carried 23-1-1.

    2. The ACBL Board recommended that the ACBL Laws Commission give sponsoring organizations more latitude in deciding their own rules. The specific issue was allowing club players to refer to their convention cards. I agree. Carried 23-2.

    3. The Regional Allocation Committee will be reviewing proposed changes and will report back to the full Board next summer. Meanwhile, District 9 was awarded one additional Regional for 2004 and 2005. I agree. District 9 with 17,000 members has more than twice as many members as any other District. Florida is a unique situation. Carried 21-3-1.

    4. We approved an ACBL sanction to the European Bridge League (EBL) to allow masterpoints to be awarded to ACBL members who attend the European Open Bridge Championships in Menton, Cote d'Azur, France, June 14-28, 2003. Several EBL officials attended the Phoenix NABC and addressed the ACBL Board. I believe cooperation with our bridge friends around the world is a win/win situation. Just as the ACBL NABCs welcome players from around the world, so too has the EBL opened up their Championship to bridge players everywhere. I voted in favour of allowing masterpoints to be issued. Carried 17-8.

    5. I disagreed with a motion to revert to the fall meeting to elect the ACBL President. There is a lot of preparation required for an incoming ACBL President. The motion was defeated 11-12-2.

    6. A motion to create an X-Strat within Flight B was defeated 10-14-1. I voted against.

    7. The ACBL Ethical Oversight Committee (EOC) recommended that their body be enlarged from 15 to 20 members (defeated 11-14) and that their term of office increase from three to five years (defeated 2-23). I voted in favour of both changes.

  5. Junior News:

    As most of you know, I am strong supporter of marketing programs geared towards younger players. In that regard, there were two positive developments in Phoenix:

    1. The ACBL will offer a $5 School Lesson Membership (first time members) to students under the age of 19 who are graduates of, or enrolled in, a School Bridge Lesson Series Program funded by the ACBL and/or the Educational Foundation. Carried 22-3.

    2. The ACBL Educational Foundation announced that they would administer a new Scholarship Program for ACBL Junior players (25 years or younger). Effective January 1, 2003, US $500 scholarships, payable to the school of their choice, will be available to:

      1. Any junior player who teaches at least six students for at least an eight-week course (16 hours). This refers to the ACBL Club Series. The course must be pre-approved by the ACBL. Note that there is no limit to the number of scholarships that an individual junior player/teacher can earn.

      2. The winner of a junior pair event as a sub-event of the ACBL Instant Matchpoint Game.

      3. The winner of the NABC Caddy competition at each NABC. Scholarship award (at least $1,000) will be based on the number of qualified participating juniors.

      This is a win/win situation for everyone. Full details as to how to apply for your scholarship can be obtained from the ACBL Director of Youth Programs, Charlotte Blaiss <charlotte. blaiss@acbl.org> in Memphis.

  6. ACBL By-Laws Issues:

    ACBL management has been reviewing its bylaws throughout 2002 and recognized the need for revisions. The Board unanimously approved the formation of a permanent bylaws committee to review ACBL bylaws and suggest revisions, as appropriate. Carried unanimously.

    A bylaw controversy occurred this year as a result of an unusual occurrence when a District Director, serving the first year of a three-year term, announced his resignation effective December 3, 2002. ACBL bylaws stipulate that the First Alternate District Director assume the duties of the District Director for the remainder of his term of office. The scenario that occurred this year was that the incumbent First Alternate had just been defeated in his bid for re-election earlier this year and his term was about to expire on December 31, 2002. Nonetheless, as per ACBL bylaws, this individual assumes the duties of the vacant District Director position until December 31, 2004.

    Here is another example: During an election for District Director, should a candidate resign, the entire election process would start all over. As written, an election could proceed indefinitely if new candidates kept resigning!

    There are undoubtedly other interesting situations where bylaw revisions might be in order. I welcome the formation of this important committee. It is my hope that we should strive to ensure fairness and plug any existing loopholes in the ACBL's bylaws.

  7. ACBL's Financial Health:

    The ACBL is in excellent financial health. It appears that we will end 2002 with a surplus of $800,000! This will be the second year in a row of profitability.

    The ACBL Board approved a deficit budget for 2003 not to exceed $291,000. There were several reasons for this, including a desire NOT to increase NABC entry fees, sanction fees, or ACBL membership fees. The only increase will be to non-members (or life members who have not paid their service fees) who will pay $2/session extra for events at NABCs.

    At the same time, there is a large amount of money budgeted towards marketing programs at the discretion of ACBL's CEO, Jay Baum. In 2002, the ACBL hired a Media Director and a new Marketing Director, both of whom have large roles to play. Adequate funds must be available for Management to utilize in an effort to reverse the ACBL's trend towards an ageing membership that has remained static for several years.

  8. A Personal Note:

    I have been re-elected to my fourth term as District Director for District 2, effective January 1, 2003 until December 31, 2005. The overwhelming support I received from all parts of our vast District - from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay to Sarnia to Barrie to Oshawa and places in-between (plus Bermuda!) - are greatly appreciated. I pledge to continue to keep all of you informed, to promote our game, and to strive to ensure that bridge will still be flourishing fifty years from now.

    My service on the ACBL Educational Foundation ended this year. Their bylaws limit any individual to two consecutive terms. I urge all of you to continue to support the Educational Foundation, which provides essential funds required to promote and teach bridge in schools.

    The ACBL Executive Committee consists of five members: The ACBL President, Chairman of the Board, and one representative from each of the Eastern, Central, and Western Zone. I have just been elected to a three-year term effective January 1, 2003 as the Central Zone representative.

    The ACBL Executive Committee acts on behalf of the full board. They only convene for emergency and/or time sensitive matters that cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the full board. The ACBL Board is always notified in advance in order to provide input. The full ACBL board at their next regularly scheduled meeting must approve minutes from all Executive Committee meetings.

    We live in difficult times. That is all the more reason for bridge players around the world to unite in friendship.

    The holiday season is upon us. I wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year. May 2003 bring all of us together many, many times at bridge tables throughout the world.


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 Phoenix NABC

1 103.81 Henry Caspar Toronto
2 101.53 Tom Buttle Toronto
3 87.95 David Lindop Toronto
4 83.95 John Moser St Agatha
5 81.99 Colin Harrington Cambridge
6 77.31 Colin Revill Burlington
7 76.16 Peter Petruzzellis Toronto
8 76.12 William Treble Winnipeg
9 76.12 David McLellan Thunder Bay
10 75.85 Jackie Boisseau Etobicoke
11 74.99 Brian Johnston Toronto
12 74.62 Stephen Aarons North York
13 72.45 Wendy Dooley Mississauga
14 71.96 Ronald Sutherland Mississauga
15 64.23 Wayne Timms Waterloo
16 41.50 Vincent Demuy Thornhill
17 41.50 Gavin Wolpert Thornhill
18 41.41 William Woodfine Toronto
19 40.51 Roman Klein Oakville
20 33.73 Stephanie Kyme Pembroke
21 33.73 Eddie Kyme Pembroke
22 33.50 Deanna Goh Peterborough
23 30.39 A Birenbaum North York
24 24.64 Ivy Steinberg Newmarket
25 24.03 Barbara Seagram Toronto