April 2, 2004

Dear District and Unit Board Members in District 2:

Reno established a new Spring NABC attendance record with 14,954.5 tables in play. This smashed the previous Spring NABC record (Reno, 1998) of 13,998 tables by almost 1,000. Clearly, ACBL players enjoy the ambience of a casino location.

The ACBL's second most popular NABC site is Toronto (only Las Vegas has larger numbers).

Tables at Previous Toronto NABCs:

The ACBL approved Toronto as the site of the 2011 Summer NABC: July 21-31. The host hotels will be the Fairmont Royal York and the Sheraton Centre, the same sites that were used in 1986 when we had an incredible 21,075 tables in play!

  1. District 2 Stars at the Bridge Table

    John Rayner and Michael Roche led a stellar group of District 2 players who performed well in NABC+ events. The following list includes all players who placed in NABC+ events and/or who won Regional events.

    John Rayner, Oakville, & Michael Roche, Don Mills, placed 6th in Open Pairs II and 12/13th in the Jacoby Open Swiss Teams.

    George Mittelman & Robert Lebi, Toronto, Arno Hobart, Peterborough, Rick Delogu, Waterloo tied 9/16th in the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams; Lebi tied 12/13th in the Jacoby Open Swiss Teams; Lebi and Hobart were 45th in Open Pairs II.

    Gavin Wolpert, Thornhill, placed 15th in the Open Pairs II, 21st in the Jacoby Open Swiss Teams, and 25th in the Silidor Open Pairs.

    Joan Eaton, Willowdale, placed 8th in the NABC Women's Swiss, and 17th in the NABC Women's Pairs.

    Daniel Lavee, Thornhill, placed 15th in Open Pairs II, 35th in the Jacoby Open Swiss Teams.

    Leslie Amoils, Toronto, placed 25th in Open Pairs II.

    Colin Revill, Ancaster, & Abe Paul, Mississauga, placed 30th in the Silver Ribbon Pairs.

    Morrie Kleinplatz, Windsor, placed 40th in the Jacoby Swiss Teams.

    Roman Kasko & Henry Nowak, Mississauga placed 6th in NAOP “B”.

    Bill Kertes, Toronto, & Ina Demme, Maple, placed 7th in NAOP “B”; Kertes and David Cohen, Thornhill, placed 35th in the Red Ribbon Pairs.

    Joo Hee Janicki, Markham & Ian Moore, Toronto, placed 17th in NAOP “C”.

    Bill Treble, & Leonard Doerksen, Winnipeg WON the 1st Sunday A/X Swiss; Treble also WON Bracket 3 of the TGIF Compact KO.

    Nancy Stewart, North York, Grant McKinnon, Burlington, Bill Woodfine, Toronto WON Bracket 3 of the Saturday/Sunday KO.

    Jim & Debbie Howie, Etobicoke, Hinda Silber, Toronto, won Bracket 5 of the Monday Compact KO.

    Tony & Joan Viidik, Waterloo, Joo Hee Janicki, Markham, and Ian Moore, Toronto WON Bracket 13 of the Monday Compact KO.

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

  2. Reno ACBL Board Meetings & ACBL Bylaws

    The ACBL Board returned to its traditional four-day meetings in 2004. While the agenda was on the light side (and many motions were deferred or defeated) the extra meeting time allowed for long term planning. In addition, a full morning was spent on reviewing the proposed ACBL Bylaws. The final revisions will be presented to the ACBL Board and to the annual ACBL membership meeting this summer in New York. If all goes according to schedule, the revised bylaws will take effect at the Atlanta NABC in the summer of 2005.

    Major changes to the bylaws include:

    1. A residency requirement will be established in order to hold elected ACBL positions.

    2. The rules for succession will change. If a vacancy in the position of District Director occurs in the first year of a term, a new election for District Director will be held. If a vacancy occurs after the completion of the first year of the term, it shall be filled by the First Alternate for the unexpired remainder of the term of District Director.

    3. A new procedure will make it easier for any District to recall a sitting District Director. The ACBL Board of Directors will establish grounds for removal for cause of a sitting District Director.

    Notwithstanding any of the above, the major impetus for this comprehensive update of the ACBL Bylaws was to ensure that our bylaws are in compliance with existing laws in the State of New York, which is where the ACBL is incorporated. My understanding is that the proposed revisions will be posted on the ACBL web site within the next few months.

  3. ACBL: State of Good Health

    The ACBL is in excellent financial health with net assets of $7,150,000. Annual revenue and expenses are each about $9,000,000.

    ACBL membership as of March 1, 2004 was 167,231. This breaks down to 149,855 paid up members and 17,376 non-dues paying Life Masters. Among the latter group, about 10,000 are deemed to be inactive (have not won any masterpoints in the last two years).

    From February 2003 to February 2004, ACBL membership increased by 1,227, marking the first time in several years that total membership increased. ACBL management is working hard to keep ACBL membership growing. We should all do our part to encourage new members and retain existing ones.

    On that note, District 2, with just over 6,000 members, should be proud to recognize that in 2003, we were number one in New Member Gains per District (11.04% in the last 12 months) and number 3 in Active Membership Trend (up 2.14% in the last 24 months).

    Tournament attendance has grown about 10% over the last three years, led by STACs. In 2003, there were 160,000 sanctioned tables at Regionals, 156,000 at Sectionals, and 91,500 at STACs. The first two months of 2004 saw strong growth in table count at tournaments, led by Regionals. Let's hope that our Toronto Regional next week reflects that trend.

  4. Board Actions From Reno

    1. A motion to allow the Canadian Bridge Federation (CBF) to hold a split-site Regional was defeated 8-15-2. I voted in favour. The CBF uses its Regional as a revenue-producing event to raise funds towards the ever-increasing cost of sending Canadian teams to international competition. I hope that something will be worked out to give the CBF more leeway in running its Regional and raising sorely needed funds.

    2. The perennial issue of increasing the eligibility age for senior events was once again defeated 11-14. I voted in favour. This most recent attempt would have raised the age limit by one year every year starting January 1, 2005 until the age of 60. This would have been identical to what the World Bridge Federation (WBF) has approved for its events.

    3. Yet another tournament event option was granted to sponsoring organizations; this time it is a Stratified Swiss event where the stratification level of a team is determined by the average masterpoint holding of all team members, rather than the masterpoint holding of the top player. This would allow a team with one player with 9,000 masterpoints playing with five players with 500 points each to play in Flight B (average under 2,000 points). Carried 13-10-2. I voted no and do not recommend this format for District 2.

    4. Currently, there is no recognition for players between Diamond LM (5,000 points) and Grand Life Master (10,000 points plus a NABC win). A proposal for an Emerald (Platinum?) LM (7,500 points) was deferred to the summer meetings.

    5. A motion that would have capped the upper limit for club limited masterpoint games at 500 points was defeated 5-20. I voted in favour. Clubs have the option of stratification as well as the right to bar players who are disruptive to their games. But to allow limited MP games where the upper limit is say 1000 or 1500 points is discriminating against players who have accumulated a substantial number of masterpoints. To date only about 1% of ACBL sanctioned games at clubs allow limited MP games with an upper limit greater than 500 points. But small problems today tend to grow into larger problems tomorrow.

    6. District & Unit Charity games will increase from $6 to $7 US per table; $7 to $8 Canadian per table. Carried unanimously.

    7. Amendments were made to the ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations. All interested parties should request the most recent update of the code. The revised Code should be posted on-line at the ACBL web site shortly.

  5. International and Zonal Issues

    The 2004 World Championships are scheduled for Istanbul, Turkey this fall. The United States Bridge Federation (USBF) voted not to send a US team this year. However, on March 22, 2004 the US State Department lifted the travel advisory against Turkey. Consequently, the USBF intends to revisit this issue.

    I have not seen any formal statement from the CBF regarding Canadian teams. My understanding is that the CBF is waiting until after the Canadian National Team Championships (CNTC) in June before making a final decision.

    My personal belief is that no one should feel pressured to travel anywhere they would feel unsafe. However, if a qualified team wishes to attend, it should be free to do so. The ACBL Board voted 15-5-5 (I voted yes) to authorize and support the ACBL's representatives to the WBF meetings in 2004 with the proviso that each representative sign an appropriate waiver exempting the ACBL from responsibility regarding safety.

    The extremely complex issue involving the ACBL Board of Directors acting as the Zonal Conference for Zone 2 and making the regulations that would apply to the CBF, USBF, and Mexican Bridge Federations was deferred to the summer meeting.

  6. Junior Players: Our Future

    The ACBL provides a junior/student coupon at NABCs, which allows for a substantial discount to regular entry fees. In 2004 the entry fee at all NABC events (with the coupon) for ACBL paid up junior members 21 or under and/or full-time students between 22 and 25 is just US $6 per session.

    Previously, the junior coupon was only available to ACBL members in Zone 2 (Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the USA). By a 21-4 vote, this privilege was granted to any junior who is a member in good standing of the ACBL. In effect, we have allowed foreign junior ACBL members who attend the ACBL NABCs the same privileges as Zone 2 junior members. This is both fair and just and is very much a goodwill gesture as we welcome players - including junior players - from around the world to our tournaments.

    Regrettably, while this motion was being debated, an amendment was proposed to lower the age of an ACBL Junior to 21 years of age. Fortunately, the amendment failed. That said, there is a vocal group among the ACBL Board of Directors who would like to see the ACBL Junior Program limited to players 20 or 21 years of age and under. A motion to lower the current age limit for ACBL junior players (now set at 25) is planned for this summer.

    In my opinion, lowering the age limit for ACBL juniors would be a disaster for the ACBL Junior Program and for the ACBL's attempt to market our game to young adults and students. One ACBL Board member commented that when he was 21, he was working and serving in the armed forces. However, it was pointed out that in today's world the average age of a university undergraduate is 24.

    Many young players learn the game while in university. To close the ACBL Junior Program doors at 21 would shut them out just as they are beginning to play! That would be a very bad policy. The WBF allows players up to the age of 26 to compete in World Junior Championships. This is as it should be. The ACBL must maintain the age limit of 25 for its junior programs.

    There is a small number of professional bridge players in their twenties who make a living playing bridge. That reality should not prevent the rest of the ACBL's young players, who are either in school or at work, from being a part of the ACBL Junior Program. Bridge is an expensive game to play. If we want to attract and maintain young players, we must provide them with a junior support network and discounted entry fees.

    I belong to the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto. Theatergoers, like bridge players, tend to be a mature group. For the 2004-2005 season, the Canadian Stage Company has offered a new subscription “Access Pass” available to people 29 years of age or younger. The cost per play ($16 Canadian) is little more than the cost of going to a movie. In order to increase membership and tournament play by its young players, the ACBL must use similar marketing tools. While I am not advocating increasing the junior age to 29, we most certainly should not lower it!

    Shirley Seals is the Chair of the ACBL Junior Committee in 2004 and she welcomes input from ACBL members concerning the future of the ACBL's Junior Program. She can be contacted at: shirleysealsfl@aol.com. I urge everyone reading this to contact the ACBL Board of Directors in order to express support for the maintenance the ACBL Junior Program for players 25 and under. All Districts and Units should be encouraged to offer discounted entry fees to junior players at their tournaments. If you agree with my views, please send your input to: bod@acbl.org. Messages sent to this address will go to every member of the ACBL Board of Directors. You might also wish to send a copy to: editor@acbl.org and to: CEO@acbl.org.

    For more information about the ACBL and CBF junior programs, please visit ACBL Junior Page and CBF Junior Page.

  7. A Personal Note

    2004 will be a very busy year for me. I am serving as a Trustee on the ACBL Educational Foundation and will be the non-playing captain of the 2005 Canadian Junior team. The junior trials to select the team will be held May 22-24 during the Kingston Regional. There will be 14-15 months of training before the World Championships, tentatively scheduled for Australia in August 2005.

    On the ACBL Board, I am Chair of the Board Operations Committee; Vice-Chair of Appeals & Charges; and a member of the Junior, Marketing, and Honorary Member of the Year Committees.

    As always, I welcome your input on any issue involving ACBL matters. I hope to see many of you next week at the Toronto Regional. My best wishes to all for joyous and happy celebrations at 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 25 Masterpoint Winners From District 2 at the Reno NABC

    197.67William TrebleWinnipeg MB
    293.36Gavin WolpertThornhill ON
    388.60Robert LebiToronto ON
    475.38Daniel LaveeThornhill ON
    T574.05Michael RocheDon Mills ON
    T574.05John RaynerOakville ON
    764.14David LindopToronto ON
    860.00Arno HobartPeterborough ON
    957.04W James BallWinnipeg MB
    1053.35Wendy RichardsonWinnipeg MB
    1152.24Andrew RismanToronto ON
    1251.99George MittelmanToronto ON
    1351.17Rick DeloguWaterloo ON
    1450.19Sharon BainThornhill ON
    1546.14Len CharneyWinnipeg MB
    1645.61Colin LaffertyKitchener ON
    1745.31Dwight BenderLondon ON
    1845.12Merryl ChinDon Mills ON
    1944.67David KroftThornhill ON
    2043.90Jonathan SteinbergToronto ON
    2141.26Joan EatonWillowdale ON
    2238.15Deborah Thomas-HowieEtobicoke ON
    2337.75Jim HowieEtobicoke ON
    2436.58Deanna GohPeterborough ON
    2536.46Leonard DoerksenWinnipeg MB