July 28, 2006

Dear Bridge Friends,

With multiple attractions for the visiting bridge players, Chicago lived up to its reputation as one of North America's premier cities. Despite the difficulty of finding affordable rooms, NABC attendance reached 13, 373 tables, slightly more than the pre-tournament estimate. All events were held in the huge (2,019 rooms) two tower Hyatt Regency Chicago. The hotel served its purpose, but was nothing special. Getting up and down on the overburdened elevators at “rush hour” was a problem.

The playing conditions in the ballrooms (primarily NABC+ and I/N events) were excellent. Most regional events were held downstairs (affectionately referred to as the “dungeon”), where the facilities were adequate, if somewhat Spartan.

Congratulations to the NABC Co-Chairs Jackie Addis and Marilyn Charlson, and to all the Chicago volunteers who provided us with gracious hospitality throughout. The evening refreshments were plentiful, readily available, and never in short supply.

  1. District 2 Stars at the Bridge Table

    District 2 was well represented, with 184 players winning masterpoints. Five players surpassed the century mark: David Grainger with 162.15 points, followed by Gavin Wolpert, Danny Miles, Daniel Korbel, and Robert Lebi. It was an outstanding performance.

    The District 2 Top Masterpoint List can be found at the end of this report. Here are all the players who placed in NABC+ events:

    Robert Lebi, Toronto, WON the Fast Open Pairs, 17/32 Spingold KO Teams.

    Andy Stark, Doug Baxter, Danny Miles, Toronto, David Grainger, Etobicoke, Daniel Korbel, Waterloo, WON the GNT “A” (0-5,000 masterpoints).

    Nader Hanna, Willowdale, 2 Open Swiss Teams

    Joan Eaton, Willowdale, 3/4 Wagar Women's KO

    Lesley Thomson, Stephen Foster, Franco Gaspari, Alexander Vujic, Toronto, 3/4 GNT “B” (0-2,000 masterpoints)

    David Grainger, Etobicoke, 5/8 Spingold KO Teams

    Daniel Korbel, Waterloo, Danny Miles, Toronto, 5 Wernher Open Pairs. Danny was also 36, Open Swiss Teams.

    Roger Snowling, Hamilton, Gary Westfall, Brampton, Roman Klein, Oakville, Ron Sutherland, Mississsauga, 5/8 Mini-Spingold (0-5,000 masterpoints)

    Gavin Wolpert, Thornhill, 7 Open Swiss Teams, 9 Fast Open Pairs

    Brian Johnston, Toronto, 9/16 Mini-Spingold, 45 Open Swiss Teams

    Bob McPhee, Malcolm Ewashkiw, Belleville, Bob Hollow, Madoc, 9/16 Mini-Spingold

    Jim and Debbie Howie, Etobicoke, 9/16 Mini-Spingold

    Joe Sauro, North Bay, Harold Baba, Ajax, 14 Truscott USPC Senior Swiss Teams

    John Carruthers, Toronto, 15 Mixed BAM Teams, 47 Von Zedtwitz LM Pairs

    Jonathan Steinberg, Toronto, 16 Wernher Open Pairs, 49 Open Swiss Teams

    George Mittelman, Toronto, 17/32 Spingold KO Teams

    Leslie Amoils, Darren Wolpert, Toronto, 17 Fast Open Pairs. Darren was also 48 Von Zedtwitz LM Pairs.

    John Gilbert, Kitcheners, 25 Mixed BAM Teams

    David Lindop, Toronto, 25 Open Swiss Teams

    Steve Mackay, Markham, Alan Lee, Willowdale, Bill Koski, King City, Jerry Richardson, London, 27/28 Truscott USPC Senior Swiss Teams

    Don Piafsky, Toronto, 33 Open Swiss Teams, 41 Wernher Open Pairs

    Paul Thurston, St. Catharines, Dave Woods, Sarnia, Ranald Davidson, Toronto, 36 Open Swiss Teams

    Morrie Kleinplatz, Windsor, 46 Open Swiss Teams

    Leigh Ives, Barrie, Hindupuram Sriharsha, Orillia, 48 Wernher Open Pairs

    The following District 2 players WON Regional events:

    Roger Snowling, Hamilton, Gary Westfall, Brampton, Saturday Senior Stratified Pairs

    There were many District 2 players who WON their brackets in various KO events. Congratulations to all of them:

    Gavin Wolpert, Thornhill, was a double winner (brackets 1 and 2).

    Charles Halasi, Toronto, Daniel Lavee, Thornhill, were double winners (bracket 4).

    Darren Wolpert, Toronto, (bracket 1); Alex Kornel, Barbara Seagram, Toronto, Morrie Kleinplatz, Windsor (bracket 2); Ray and Linda Lee, Bill and Leah Milgram, Toronto (bracket 3); Malcolm Collins, Dundas, Andrew Collins, Toronto, Michael Kammermayer, Laurie Due, Hamilton (bracket 4); Sheila Puz, Kitchener (bracket 6); Randy Breuer, Sarnia (bracket 7); Anne Pierce, North York (bracket 8); Georgina Little, Frank Stoffle, London (bracket 11).

  2. Insurance Plan

    For the first time in ACBL history, a Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance policy has been purchased to cover all ACBL Units and Districts as well as the ACBL. Committee members (volunteers) are also covered. There is a $5,000 deductible with a $1,000,000 liability limit. Slander and libel are covered, provided the slander and libel was not made with knowledge that it was false.

    The policy does not cover physical injury or damages that fall under a General Liability policy. No coverage is provided for Insured vs. Insured under the exclusion where one insured party under a policy sues another insured party under the same policy.

    The ACBL Insurance Committee has been working for years trying to come up with a workable solution to a very complex issue. I believe this policy, paid for by the ACBL, should be endorsed by all of you. All ACBL units and districts should have received the material from the ACBL. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the insurance agent, Bill Parks at: wparks@metlife.com. Phone: 610-573-5614. Fax: 610-391-7216.

    July 26: 6 PM: Please note the following communication from Bill Parks:

    As you know by now, on July 11th, the ACBL Board of Directors voted to purchase a Directors and Officers Insurance policy that will protect not only the ACBL, but also the Directors and Officers of Districts and Units. To qualify, a Unit or District need simply submit a completed one page Warranty form that is signed by the Unit/District President. To those of you who have already responded and submitted completed warranty forms, I thank you. Because many of you have taken such quick action and since we recognize that many have been on vacations, etc., Philadelphia Insurance Companies has extended the deadline for application to August 10th. Any Unit or District submitting a completed Warranty form to me by that date will be included for coverage pending underwriting approval.

    For those Units and Districts that do not currently have Directors and Officers Insurance coverage, I highly recommend that you accept this coverage. There is no cost to the Unit or District. The premium is being paid by the ACBL. I can think of no reason for a Unit or District that does not have this coverage not to accept this offer. A Unit or District can accept the coverage and ask to be removed at any time. Please take action to protect those who volunteer their services to your organization. Those of you who do have this type of coverage, of course, may elect to reject this offer and continue to pay for your own policy. I am available to address any questions or concerns you may have.

    Please notify me if your Unit or District will be unable to respond by the deadline. Also, I would appreciate it if you do not plan to accept this coverage, that you notify me as well so I can mark my records accordingly.”

    District 2 Insurance Update: As of Sunday morning, August 6, I am pleased to report that the District and every unit has signed up for the insurance policy except for Units 181 and 198 that are in the process of doing so. Thanks to everyone for completing and submitting the forms before the August 10 deadline.

  3. Financial Matters

    It appears that the financial checks and balances that have been put in place this year will prevent a recurrence of the 2005 negative budget surprises. 2006 appears to be on target and the ACBL remains in a sound financial position.

    The ACBL has financial guidelines pertaining to net assets, unrestricted ($2.5 million); current assets (3.0 times liabilities); and cash reserves (3-4 months expenses). As of 12/31/2005, the ACBL had 2.9 million in unrestricted net assets; 4.2 times liabilities; and 4.1 months expenses in cash reserves. In theory, the ACBL could lose as much as $422,000 in 2007 and still be within compliance of the financial guidelines.

    Nonetheless, the new D&O insurance policy is an unbudgeted $140,000 item (although some of it may be deferred to 2007). Salary raises and health care premiums will put pressure on management and the ACBL Finance Committee as they prepare the 2007 budget that will be presented to the full ACBL Board in Hawaii this fall.

    Unfortunately, all I can report at this time is that there will be price increases in 2007. I expect that membership dues will go up on January 1, 2007 (the first increase in several years), and that sanction fees will increase (probably effective April 1, 2007). I will do my best to argue against raising NABC entry fees, which have gone up almost every year this century.

    The ACBL has been losing money when non-ACBL organizations (WBF, CBF, USBF) have been requesting the highest paid tournament directors to run their events. As a result, by a 22-3 vote, the new regulation reads: “If a non-ACBL organization hires directing staff from the ACBL, they shall be charged the ACBL standard directing rates if they allow the ACBL to assign the staff, but they shall be charged the actual cost (salary plus benefits) for all directors if they request any specific directors be assigned to them.” I voted in favour.

  4. ACBL Committees

    The ACBL thrives, in part, because of the many hard working volunteers who comprise multiple ACBL Committees, including Hall of Fame, Competition & Conventions, Ethical Oversight, etc. Previously, there were different rules for different committees.

    The Board Operations Committee proposed new regulations that I believe respect our committee members, as well as the ACBL Board and President. All committees start the day after the Spring NABC for one year ending at the conclusion of the following Spring NABC. The incoming President, after consultation with the committee Chair, appoints committee members, subject to approval by the ACBL Board at the Spring NABC. Each committee elects its Chairman, from among its members, for a one-year term. No ACBL Board confirmation is required. Carried 22-3. I voted in favour.

  5. Board Actions from Chicago

    1. Congratulations to our neighbour, Sharon Fairchild, District 5, who will be the 2007 ACBL President.

    2. In my Dallas report, I argued in favour of ACBL all-time masterpoint lists including our deceased members. The Board of Governors requested reconsideration, and by a 24-1 vote, my motion was approved. In fact, thanks to Richard Oshlag, Manager, ACBL computer systems, all the lists have already been updated.

      You can check out the ACBL All-Time Top 500 list at: http://web2.acbl.org/as400/mpraces/mpAwards/lifetime/top200.htm. The All-Time Canadian Top 100 list can be viewed at: http://web2.acbl.org/as400/mpraces/mpAwards/lifetime/canadian100.htm.

    3. In my Dallas NABC report, Section I, I argued in favour of TD panels replacing player appeals committees for all NABC+ events. A motion to that effect was defeated 12-13. I voted in favour. There is no need to repeat my arguments. I believe that it is only a matter of time before we let the players play, and the professionally trained ACBL TDs enforce ACBL Laws, rules and regulations, and adjudicate all appeals.

    4. The Board of Governors asked us to reconsider the issue of WBF dues. That motion failed 4-21. I voted against. If we believe in the goals of the WBF, then we must support them, and not attempt to micro-manage how they spend their marketing dollars.

      That said, the ACBL representatives to the WBF Executive Council provided us with an extensive report from the June meetings in Verona, Italy. Time will be provided in the fall for more ACBL discussion on WBF issues.

    5. A motion to change the eligibility age for senior events from 55 to 60, effective January 1, 2009 (which would put the ACBL in synch with the WBF) was defeated 8-17. I voted in favour. I maintain that the Board has tunnel vision on this matter, and ignores the reality that the average ACBL member is 67.74 (QUIP report 6/30/2006). District 2 is a youthful 65.29.

      Senior Regionals have dwindled to just two. One of them, the Mesa ex-quota Senior Regional, requested that it be allowed to change to an Open Regional. The request was denied 8-17. I voted in favour. In reality, senior events discriminate against the small minority of ACBL members who are under 55!

    6. There was a lively discussion on the motion to eliminate Women's events. While the motion was defeated 6-19 (I voted in favour), I expect that the Masterpoint Review Committee will propose a drastic reduction in masterpoint awards for the ever-smaller NABC+ Women's events. For more discussion, please refer to my Dallas NABC report, Section J.

    7. Effective 2007, the NABC Senior KO will start on Friday instead of Sunday. This will eliminate the problem of the final conflicting with the start of the three day Reisinger/North American Swiss. Carried 20-5. I voted in favour.

    8. Patron member dues will no longer automatically have a part of their fee go to the ACBL Charity and Education Foundations. Instead, patron members will have the option of donating additional funds to either organization. Carried 20-3-2. I voted against. In the same vein, management proposed to eliminate the mid-week Educational Foundation/International Fund game held at every NABC. Carried 19-6. I voted against. The Board of Governors voted to make this a reconsideration item for Hawaii in the fall.

    9. In a major change from previous practice regarding discipline at ACBL sanctioned games at clubs, units will no longer have jurisdiction (with one exception) over conduct and ethics violations at the club level. The exception will be alleged cheating or other serious breaches of ethics. The club will handle all conduct matters in house.

      Notwithstanding the above, if a club bars a player from non-club events such as a STAC, unit game, CNTC or GNT game, then the barred player must be notified in writing. A copy of the notification must be sent to the ACBL Club Membership Department. Those players have the right to appeal to the Unit Disciplinary Committee, under authority of the ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations.

    10. In the case of Baron Barclay Bridge Supplies v. ACBL, the ACBL League Counsel, Peter Rank, reported, “after preliminary negotiations with Baron Barclay, it appears that the plaintiff's goal is to establish its position as principal bookseller at the NABCs.” STATUS: “Negotiations continue…”

  6. A Personal Note

    As we head into another hot summer weekend, the ACBL junior teams are sweating in Bangkok, Thailand as they prepare for the 11th World Youth Team Championships, July 29-August 8, 2006. Canada has a team entered in both the Youth and Schools competitions. You can follow the results online at the 11th World Youth Team Championships http://www.worldbridge.org/tourn/Bangkok.06/Bangkok.htm.

    I invite all of you to view my latest photo albums from the Chicago NABC. You can access all my photo albums at: http://imageevent.com/jon911.

    Best wishes to all. See you at the bridge table.


    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 Masterpoint Winners from District 2 at the Chicago NABC

    1162.15David GraingerEtobicoke ON
    2154.67Gavin WolpertThornhill ON
    3143.29Danny MilesToronto ON
    4132.53Daniel KorbelWaterloo ON
    5127.98Robert LebiToronto ON
    693.75Nader HannaWillowdale ON
    779.43George MittelmanToronto ON
    877.59Morie KleinplatzWindsor ON
    976.44Doug BaxterToronto ON
    1075.00Andy StarkToronto ON
    1171.54Charles HalasiToronto ON
    1269.38Daniel LaveeThornhill ON
    1366.75Darren WolpertThornhill ON
    1462.59David LindopToronto ON
    1562.27Alex KornelToronto, ON
    1660.74John CarruthersToronto, ON
    1760.00Joan EatonNorth York ON
    1857.67Brian JohnstonToronto ON
    1954.23Barbara SeagramToronto ON
    =2045.21Roger SnowlingHamilton ON
    =2045.21Gary WestfallBrampton ON
    2241.76Andrew CollinsToronto ON
    =2341.61Michael KammermayerHamilton ON
    =2341.61Laurie DoeHamilton ON
    =2540.80Harold BabaAjax ON
    =2540.80Joe SauroNorth Bay ON
    2739.97Jonathan SteinbergToronto ON
    2839.81Malcolm EwashkiwBelleville ON
    2939.03Bob HollowMadoc ON
    3037.13Lesley ThomsonToronto ON


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