August 1, 2003

Dear District and Unit Board Members in District Two:

Long Beach had perfect weather, excellent facilities, great hospitality, and an abundance of eating establishments to choose from. Unfortunately, attendance was a disappointing 12,246 tables, which is low for a Summer NABC. On the plus side, the Intermediate/Novice games were very successful and accounted for about 12% of the total attendance.

5,653 players won masterpoints in Long Beach. I have no doubt that they all had an enjoyable time. I've said it before and I'll say it again: for bridge players of any skill level, NABCs are the place to be and I urge all of you to make an effort to attend.

  1. District 2 Stars At The Bridge Table

    David Lindop, Toronto, 2nd in the NABC Senior Swiss Teams.

    George Mittelman, Toronto, 5/8th in the Spingold.

    Ron Bishop, Ranald Davidson, Doug Baxter, Toronto, Martin Hunter, Mississauga, Vince Oddy, Aurora, and Paul Janicki, Markham; 5/8th in GNT, Flight "A".

    Eric Kokish, Toronto, 7th in the NABC Life Master Pairs.

    Gavin Wolpert, Thornhill, 9/16th in the Spingold; 46th in the NABC IMP Pairs.

    Joan Eaton, Thornhill, 35th in the NABC IMP Pairs.

    Paul Crossland, Shanty Bay, Kimberley Lacy-Young, Barrie, Jack Banks, Bailieboro, and Graham Warren, Markham; 5/8th in GNT, Flight "C"; WON Bracket 9 Ice Dogs KO Teams.

    Timothy Capes & Jonathan Steinberg, Toronto, WON Bracket 1 Friday/Saturday Morning Compact KO; WON First Sunday Flight "A" Swiss Teams.

    David Grainger, Etobicoke, WON First Sunday Flight "A" Swiss Teams; WON Second Sunday Fast Open Pairs.

    Peter Petruzzellis, Toronto, WON Bracket 2 Dodger KO Teams.

    Andrew Tylman, Toronto, WON Bracket 4 Ice Dogs KO Teams.

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

  2. Long Beach ACBL Board Meetings

    1. Congratulations to Bruce Reeve (District 7), who was elected ACBL President for 2004.

    2. At all NABCs, effective no later than the Reno, Spring 2004 NABC, there will be an opening Thursday afternoon pairs game to benefit the ACBL International Fund. The evening games will continue to benefit the ACBL Educational Foundation.

    3. There was good news for all Canadian players and the Canadian Bridge Federation (CBF). At its request, the Board approved a Canadian Senior Team Championship and a Canadian IMP Pairs Championship. Both events will debut during 2004 Bridge Week, June 19-26 in St. Catharines, Ontario. In addition, an annual Regional was given to Canadian District 1, 2, 18, or 19, at the discretion of the CBF, to be held in Canada for the purpose of supporting the CBF International Fund. All of the above carried unanimously.

    4. The ACBL Regional Tournament Allocations were amended to include the ex-quota Canadian Regional (see #3) and districts with 9,000-12,000 members were allocated 1 additional Regional per year; districts with 12,000-15,000 members get 2 extra Regionals; districts with more than 15,000 members get 3 additional Regionals per year. The practical effect of this change is to give both Districts 7 and 9 one new Regional.

    5. Effective in 2004, management has been authorized to experiment with 10 AM and 3 PM starting times during an upcoming NABC, conditional upon the approval and cooperation of the local sponsoring organization. Surveys have indicated that our membership is split on this issue. Note that the upcoming Montreal Can-Am Regional, August 18-24, has scheduled the championship events for 10 AM and 3 PM. It is likely that at least one NABC in 2004 will use those starting times. Carried 22-3.

    6. Effective January 1, 2004, the ACBL General Convention Chart (GCC) will allow transfer responses/advances to overcalls where the call shows length or values in the suit of the transfer. Carried unanimously.

    7. Motions to A) allow any defence to a 1NT opening bid and B) to reverse the 1S and 1NT (Forcing) responses to a 1H opening be moved to the GCC failed. Both of the above are allowed in Mid-chart events. Currently a defence to a 1NT opening may assign any meaning one wishes to "double" and/or "2C". All other calls must show at least one known suit. Either/or bids beyond 2C (such as "Suction" over 1NT) are not allowed on the ACBL GCC. A) Was defeated 6-18-1, B) 1-23-1. I voted no.

    8. The ACBL Board has mandated that approximately 50% of the field should qualify in multi-day NABC+ events. The expert bridge community requested that for the two premier pair events (the three day LM Pairs and the three day Blue Ribbon Pairs) the field be reduced by 55-60% each round to produce two to four thirteen table sections for the final day at the discretion of the Director-in-Charge. Not carried by a 12-12-0-1(absent) vote. I voted in favour.

    9. For all STAC games, the ACBL had a regulation that to be included in the overalls, a game must have at least 5 tables (10 pairs). An impassioned plea by one ACBL Director led to a 24-1 vote (I was the no vote) to allow that restriction to be waived or modified at the sponsor's option.

    10. A motion that I sponsored to raise the eligibility age of senior events to 60 was defeated 6-19. Currently 85% of all ACBL members are eligible for senior events. This is ridiculous. Eligibility for senior events should be raised to 65. Relaxed rules, limited conventions, and 24 boards per round should be used. This is what a senior event should be. Today it is nothing more than another Open Pairs where the only difference is often a 10 and 3 starting time! An informal survey I conducted showed overwhelming support to raise the eligibility age along with complaints that there are too many "senior sharks" and pros playing in these events. Unfortunately, despite these surveys and multiple requests from the Board of Governors, a majority of ACBL Board members believe "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Senior events are "broke" and they are not serving the purpose for which they were originally intended. Incidentally, the Board of Governors voted to ask ACBL's World Bridge Federation (WBF) representatives to lobby the WBF to raise its age requirements for Senior events.

    11. A motion to dramatically reduce the amount of money we give to the WBF was deferred to the Fall meetings in New Orleans. The ACBL used to give the WBF about $15,000 per year plus expenses to its WBF representatives. This was increased to 50 cents per member or about $75,000 per year plus $15,000 in expenses for the ACBL's WBF representatives. It is a lot of money, originally intended to support the "Olympic Dream". Lobbying the International Olympic Committee is very expensive. The one concrete result of all this is that we now have a WBF drug policy where our International players are subject to drug testing! What's your view on how much money the ACBL should be sending to the WBF to support "world bridge"? I welcome any and all comments.

  3. ACBL's Junior Bridge Program

    ACBL's average age is nearing 67. More than 85% of its members are over 55 (so-called "seniors"). ACBL membership has been slowly declining and is currently stagnant. A recent on-line membership survey indicated that our members believe we should be doing more to promote growth, attract new members, and concentrate on youth. Are we?

    The reality is that the ACBL Junior Program has been less than successful. We currently have 792 members 25 years of age or younger. This number has not increased in over a decade. The ACBL has a guideline that forbids management from using general fund marketing money for junior programs. This is intolerable! I plan to introduce a motion rescinding that guideline at the Fall meetings.

    So where does the money come from and how is it used? The money comes from ACBL Junior Fund games. The money raised has increased every year since its inception in the mid 90's. Unfortunately, the ACBL separates its Junior Fund money by country and has created two classes of ACBL junior members: Americans and Canadians. The manner in which it is spent is disturbing to me.

    In the US, the ACBL Junior Fund money only supports two programs: the ACBL Junior Bridge Camp in even numbered years and the twelve US junior players who travel internationally to World Competitions. In 2003, $55,590 is allocated to the USA 1 and 2 junior teams. This not only covers all their expenses to the World Junior Bridge Championships but also their travel and expenses for training sessions, selected international competitions, and free plays at all NABCs!

    There are a few minor functions such as the junior newsletter "The Grapevine" and the junior receptions that are funded from junior membership dues. But the bulk of all Junior Fund money goes to the junior elite who are pampered every step of the way. Is this the best use of this money? Will this increase the number of ACBL junior members? So far, it certainly hasn't! I welcome your views.

    I believe the ACBL needs new ideas, new programs, and new personnel to implement them. A portion of the almost one million dollars that the ACBL allocates to marketing each year must be available to promote junior bridge and attract new and younger players. For junior players (who unlike adults have no source of revenue except from their families and bridge organizations) ACBL membership must transcend geographical boundaries. All Junior Fund money should go to the ACBL and it must include all ACBL junior players, not just the US players.

    The Canadian ACBL junior members pay membership dues to both the ACBL and the CBF. Then, they must stand and watch as the USA Junior Team receives royal treatment while they are reduced to holding fund raising events to cover their expenses for the World Junior Bridge Championships.

    I proposed a motion to unite all ACBL juniors under one umbrella, under which they would share equally in Junior Fund money. Unfortunately, only about a third of the ACBL Board supported the motion. I will try again in 2004. Meanwhile, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

  4. Financial Issues (Tournament budget planners, please take note)

    The ACBL is in excellent financial shape. For those who want detailed numbers, the ACBL Treasurer's report and yearly financial statements are available to any member upon request.

    Preliminary budget assumptions for 2004 (carried, although I was opposed) indicate that the following price increases are being considered:

    1. Membership dues: no increase (last raised January 1, 2001), although CBF dues are increasing from $6.50 to $9 (first increase in over 5 years) for Canadian members.

    2. Sanction Fees: + 8% (last changed April 1, 2002). There will be no increase for clubs. There was some feeling that Regionals can take a bigger hit than Sectionals so some numbers may change.

    3. Tournament Session Fees: +6.5% (3.5% salary + 3.0% "catch-up") (last increase January 1, 2003). Catch-up refers to the Board's decision to base everything on a "fully allocated" basis that is being phased in. By the end of 2005, there should be no more catch-up required.

    4. NABC Entry Fees: $4 per table ($1/player per session) (last changed January 1, 2002).

      These are preliminary budget assumptions. The final 2004 budget and price increases will be set in New Orleans at the Board meetings in November. The increases listed here may be reduced but will likely remain as stated. Tournament organizers: please take note and budget accordingly.

  5. A Personal Note

    As Vice-Chair of the ACBL Appeals & Charges Committee, I took over as Acting Chair due to the illness of the Chairman. While several individual cases were before the committee, I am pleased to report that there were no Canadian players involved.

    There were a few minor changes to the ACBL Disciplinary code, defining the roles of an "Advocate" and "Presenter". Disciplinary Chairs and Recorders might want to check the ACBL web site (which should be updated very soon) for all the details.

    I would like to remind those of you in the Toronto area that two special junior fund raising events are planned to support the Canadian Junior Team going to the World Junior Bridge Championships in Paris in August. Kate Buckman's Bridge Studio is holding an auction at 6 PM Monday, August 11 bid on junior team players and bridge pros and then enjoy the bridge game at 7:30 PM. Doubles Duplicate Bridge Club is donating all proceeds from its game on Tuesday, August 12 at 7:30 PM to the Canadian Junior Team. Entry fee is just $5. Donations are welcome.

    I hope you are all enjoying your summer be it at the bridge table, the cottage, or the beach. My best wishes to all of you.


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 Long Beach NABC

193.91David LindopToronto ON
280.00George MittelmanToronto ON
371.25Eric KokishToronto ON
470.85Timothy CapesToronto ON
569.03Jonathan SteinbergToronto ON
667.25Gavin WolpertThornhill ON
765.81Peter PetruzzellisToronto ON
856.38David GraingerEtobicoke ON
947.73Andrew TylmanToronto ON
1042.91Paul JanickiMarkham ON
T1138.71Paul CrosslandShanty Bay ON
T1138.71Graham WarrenMarkham ON
T13 32.66Kimberly Lacey-YoungBarrie ON
T1332.66Jack BanksBailieboro ON
T15 30.00Terrance RegoBrampton ON
T1530.00Lino D'SouzaBurlington ON
T1530.00Uday MaitraMississauga ON
T15 30.00Junaid SaidScarborough ON
1928.8Martin HunterMississauga ON
T2022.88Doug BaxterToronto ON
T2022.88Ron BishopThornhill ON
2221.55Patricia RidingSmith's BERMUDA
2320.78Melanie ParkerToronto ON
T2418.43Ranjan BhaduriDundas ON
T2418.43Raymond JungHamilton ON