March 25, 2008

Dear Bridge Friends,

The Detroit NABC at the Marriott Hotel in the Renaissance Centre provided almost perfect playing facilities on three levels, all under one roof. The local organizers succeeded in providing outstanding late night entertainment and snacks. Congratulations to tournament Co-Chairs Bill & Sandy Arlinghaus, Ron Horwitz, and all the volunteers who worked so hard to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone who attended.

The ACBL recognized that Detroit in March would be a hard sell, and unfortunately a major snowstorm the first weekend had an adverse effect on attendance. The final count of 8,553.5 tables was about 1,000 tables below pre-tournament estimates.

The summer NABC will be held at the Las Vegas Hilton, July 17 - 27, 2008. The ACBL is expecting more than 20,000 tables, and reservations are already starting to come in. Las Vegas will be the place to be this summer. Be sure to make your reservations as early as possible in order to ensure the best choice of accommodations.

  1. District 2 Stars at the Bridge Table

    Three hundred and fifty-six District 2 players competed to win masterpoints in Detroit. Special congratulations to Morrie Kleinplatz, who won the Leventritt Silver Ribbon Pairs, and Robert Lebi, who won the Silodor Open Pairs.

    The Top 30 District 2 Masterpoint List from both the Detroit NABC and last week's Toronto Regional can be found at the end of this report. Here are the District 2 players who made the overalls in NABC events.

    Robert Lebi, Toronto, WON the Silodor open Pairs, 17/32 Vanderbilt Knockouts.

    Morrie Kleinplatz, Windsor, WON the Leventritt Silver Ribbon Pairs.

    Jiawei Luo & Kaiyu Qian, Markham, 2nd President's Cup NAP Flight C.

    Marielle Brentnall & David Sired, Winnipeg, 3rd Golder NAP Flight B.

    Irfan Ashraf, Ajax, and Bing Wong, Whitby, 6th Red Ribbon Pairs

    George Knight & Leigh Ives, Barrie, 9th Rockwell Mixed Pairs

    Nader Hanna, Willowdale, 9/16 Vanderbilt Knockouts, 23rd Silodor Open Pairs

    John Gilbert, Kitchener, and Al Smith, Peterborough, 14th Leventritt Silver Ribbon Pairs.

    Gary Robertson & Lee Easterbrook, Chatham, 16th Red Ribbon Pairs.

    Daniel Korbel, Waterloo, and Jonathan Steinberg, Toronto, 17/32 Vanderbilt Knockouts, 36th Lebhar Imp Pairs.

    David Colbert, Etobicoke, and Roy Hughes, Toronto, 17/32 Vanderbilt Knockouts.

    Patti Lee, Toronto, 23rd Rockwell Mixed Pairs, 28th Red Ribbon Pairs.

    Malcolm Ewashkiw, Belleville, and Bob Hollow, Madoc, 24th Leventritt Silver Ribbon Pairs.

    Danny Ioannidis, Stony Creek, and Stephen Young, Mississauga, 25th Red Ribbon Pairs.

    Paul Thurston, St. Catharines, 27th Lebhar Imp Pairs.

    Christopher Cowan, Mississauga, 28th Red Ribbon Pairs.

    David Grainger, Toronto, 33rd Jacoby Open Swiss Teams.

    George Berton, Newmarket, and Hinda Silber, Toronto, 33rd Rockwell Mixed Pairs.

    Ron Haney, West Hill, and William Graber, Markham, 35th Red Ribbon Pairs.

    The following District 2 players WON Regional events:

    Vera Petty & Roman Smolski, Bermuda, First Friday Open Pairs and Saturday Senior Pairs.

    Daniel Korbel, Waterloo, and Jonathan Steinberg, Toronto, Educational Foundation Pairs.

    Rob Avery, Barrie, and Martin Hunter, Mississauga, Tuesday Fast Open Pairs.

    Richard Chan, Richmond Hill, and Barry Senensky, Thornhill, Tuesday Open Pairs.

    Don Brock, Brampton, and Joo-Hee Janicki, Markham, Second Thursday Fast Open Pairs.

    Anna & Richard Fokes, Robert Lawton & David Neff, London, Second Sunday B Swiss Teams.

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

    Steve Mackay, Markham (bracket 2); David Grainger, Etobicoke (bracket 2); Dwight Bender & Gary Whiteman, London, Martin Hunter, Mississauga (Compact KO, bracket 2); Michael Biderman & Christopher Punter, London, Joe Sauro, North Bay (bracket 3); Jack Jessop & Michael Selby, Windsor (bracket 3); Arnold & Bev Drill, Tad Stawski, Pickering (bracket 5); Gail Deyell, Toronto, Ambrose Ng, Thornhill, Gordon & Ruth Mori, Markham (Compact KO, bracket 6, and KO, bracket 7); Andrzej Niewiadomski, Scarborough (bracket 6); Bud Barley, Hanover, Ian Walker, Port Elgin (Compact KO, bracket 8).

  2. Ethical Issues & New Electronic Device Policy

    The ACBL is very concerned about ethical behaviour. In Detroit, the ACBL hired a firm to monitor and record players. The recording cameras were very visible in the ballroom used for NABC events. The ACBL Board of Directors will be receiving a report on the new system. My expectation is that monitoring will continue.

    The ACBL has a Recorder system. If a suspicious or unusual incident occurs at the table, players are encouraged to notify the Tournament Director and fill out a player memo form. At NABCs, the form is forwarded to the ACBL Recorder, who will carefully review and file all player memos received and take investigative action when warranted. In some cases, players just need to be educated regarding proper procedures. In other cases, the report will remain on file to see if a pattern of conduct occurs. In order for the ACBL Recorder system to be effective, it is imperative that players fill out player memo forms when circumstances warrant. A record of any and all unusual actions must be maintained.

    Electronic devices can be used for nefarious purposes. There are serious concerns regarding the use of text messaging. The ACBL believes that for the game to survive, conduct and ethical standards must be of the highest order. Effective July 1, 2008 (prior to the Las Vegas Summer NABC), the following policy will apply to all nationally rated events at NABCs:

    Electronic devices, excluding health related equipment, capable of sending or receiving communication, including but not limited to headphones, earphones, cellular phones and minicomputers: 1) shall not be allowed in the playing areas, adjacent hallways, restrooms, or accessible break areas; and 2) shall not be used during a session.

    These restrictions shall apply to all pairs, team members, captains, coaches, recorders and kibitzers and shall apply throughout any actual playing session or segment.

    A violation of this policy shall result in a disciplinary penalty of one full board (or 12 imps at that form of scoring) for the first offence. A second offence shall result in disqualification from the event for the pair/team.

    Kibitzers violating this policy shall be removed from the playing area for the remainder of the session.

    These devices are not permitted near the playing area, even if they are turned off. If implementation of the new policy goes well, I expect that it will be extended to regionally-rated events in 2009.

    Bottom line: Please leave your cell phone at home, in your car, or in your hotel room. Do not take it to the playing areas.

  3. Appeals & Charges

    The ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations (CDR) was amended. Interested parties should ensure that they have the latest version of the CDR. It can be downloaded from the ACBL website.

    There are two significant changes. One is the standard required in order for a committee to find a player guilty. The burden of proof used to be “Clear and Convincing Proof”. It has been changed to “Preponderance of the Evidence”, which is defined as: “evidence that is more convincing than the evidence opposed to it”. The preponderance of evidence standard is widely used in civil matters and is easy to understand. In addition, if the ACBL is ever challenged in a court of law, it is in the ACBL's best interests to be using the preponderance of the evidence standard. Carried unanimously.

    The other significant change is that attorneys will no longer be permitted to attend any disciplinary hearing. However, an attorney outside of the hearing room may represent the person charged. An attorney is defined as a person who is licensed or has been licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction.

    Carried 19-5-1. I voted against. While I recognize that the above policy is in force in many similar organizations, that an attorney in a hearing may dominate the proceedings, and may also put one side at an unfair advantage, my belief is that if you are charged under the ACBL CDR, you should have the right to be represented by the person of your choice.

  4. Board Actions and Other News From Detroit

    1. Congratulations to Craig Robinson, District 4, who was elected the ACBL Treasurer.

    2. As of February 1, 2008, there are 158,269 ACBL members - an increase of 963 members from 2007. For the first time ever, there were more than 3,000,000 sanctioned tables in play in 2007. That breaks down to 465,000 tables in tournaments (breaking the record set in 2004) and 2,536,600 tables in sanctioned club games.

    3. There was an error in ACBL Score that resulted in some top bracket KOs in January and February 2008, awarding as much as 40% too many masterpoints! ACBL Score failed to cap a team at the maximum of 40,000, which had the effect of greatly overstating the masterpoint average for the top bracket in some cases. The awards have been corrected retroactive to the beginning of the year. Some players will notice a reduction in their masterpoint total.

    4. The new strength of field concept that forms the basis of the new masterpoint formulas in use appears to be working as planned. However, two adjustments have been made. A new reduction formula is in place for bracketed KO's that have fewer than 16 teams in the bracket. The other change is due to masterpoint inflation. The new cap for a bracketed KO team's average masterpoint holding is now 45,000 instead of 40,000, and the maximum award is made only if the bracket average is 40,000. (This was formerly 35,000.) Carried unanimously. Effective immediately, but not retroactively.

    5. There was much discussion regarding the level of service provided by new ACBL policies pertaining to the use of a long-distance DIC for STACs. ACBL management acknowledged that there were growing pains and that every effort was being made to ensure the highest standards of service.

    6. Effective March 31, 2008, a new policy regarding STAC charges will go into effect. The change is that sponsoring organizations will be charged a total fee based on table count, whereas previously charges included a sanction fee, director session charges, and miscellaneous charges such as for hand records. Carried 19-5. I voted in favour. The Unit 166 District-wide STAC, which is more than 2,000 tables, will be charged $3.75 per table. The Unit 166 Treasurer, Joan Richardson, has worked on the new numbers and has informed me that we will realize a slight saving under the new formula. Henry Cukoff will be our DIC during the March 31-April 6 STAC.

    7. As a trial project, a shortened min-bridge school program was unanimously approved, effective September 1, 2008. It will be similar to the existing school bridge program except that: 1) No texts will be provided. 2) Teachers will receive a subsidy of $200 per class for eight hours of instruction and supervised play. 3) It will be permitted through the 6th grade level only.

    8. On the advice of the ACBL Competitions & Conventions Committee, the Multi 2 Diamond convention (opening two diamonds to show a weak two in either major) will no longer be allowed in pair games. This is a Mid Chart convention. It will still be allowed in team games of at least six boards. Effective August 1, 2008. Carried 22-2. I voted in favour.

    9. In Shanghai, the USA Venice Cup winning team displayed a small political sign during the awards ceremony. It was well publicized and became a media event. The ACBL Board approved the following policy for the future: “The ACBL acting as the WBF Zone 2 Authority, expresses its disapproval of all non-bridge related public statements and demonstrations by any Zone 2 federation representative participating in an international bridge competition.” Carried 17-7. I voted in favour. “The ACBL requests that the federations (eg. USBF, CBF) in the jurisdiction of Zone 2 adopt regulations disallowing such public statements and demonstrations.” Carried 18-6. I voted in favour.

  5. A Personal Note

    My responsibilities on the ACBL Board in 2008 are: Chair, ACBL Honorary Member of the Year Committee; Vice-Chair, Appeals & Charges Committee; member of the Board Operations, Juniors, and Tournament Committees.

    I will be retiring from the ACBL Board of Directors as of December 31, 2008. There will be an election for District 2's new representative to the ACBL Board of Directors this summer. Nominations close on May 31, 2008. All unit board members will vote between July 15 and September 30. The results will be announced early in October with the winner assuming his or her position on January 1, 2009. As of today, there are two declared candidates: Paul Janicki (unit 246) and Joe Sauro (unit 238).

    You are all invited to view my on line photo albums; the most recent pictures were taken during the Detroit NABC.

    The District 2 GNT finals will be held at Hazel's Bridge Club in Toronto, starting at 7 PM this Friday, March 28. The winners will represent District 2 in Las Vegas this summer. Good luck to all participants!

    Top 30 Masterpoint Winners From District 2 at the Detroit NABC

    1159.15Robert LebiToronto ON
    2107.81Morrie KleinplatzWindsor ON
    389.68David GraingerEtobicoke ON
    =473.62Daniel KorbelWaterloo ON
    =473.62Jonathan SteinbergToronto ON
    671.22Nader HannaWillowdale ON
    =765.08Vera PettyWarwick Bermuda
    =785.08Roman SmolskiWarwick Bermuda
    964.55Marielle BrentnallWinnipeg MB
    1062.66Stephen MackayMarkham ON
    1151.84Dwight BenderLondon ON
    1249.57Jack JessopWindsor ON
    1348.42Michael SelbyWindsor ON
    1446.76David SiredWinnipeg MB
    1542.71Marlene PontifexWinnipeg MB
    1642.50Martin HunterMississauga ON
    1742.34Richard ChanRichmond Hill ON
    =1841.59Irfan AshrafAjax ON
    =1841.59Bing WongWhitby ON
    2041.44Joe SauroNorth Bay ON
    2137.32Gary WhitemanLondon ON
    2235.70George KnightBarrie ON
    2334.96Paul ThurstonSt. Catharines ON
    2431.08Don BrockBrampton ON
    2530.72Leigh IvesBarrie ON
    2629.61Joan EatonNorth York ON
    2728.25Allan SmithPeterborough ON
    2826.94Andrzej NiewiadomskiScarborough ON
    =2925.00David ColbertEtobicoke ON
    =2925.00Roy HughesToronto ON

    Top 30 Masterpoint Winners From District 2 at the Toronto Regional March 18 - 23, 2008

    156.33Naveed AtherOakville ON
    248.99John CarruthersToronto ON
    347.12Daniel KorbelWaterloo ON
    445.83Eiji KujiriaToronto ON
    543.00Harvey FogelWillowdale ON
    640.73Lewis RichardsonToronto ON
    =739.94David GraingerEtobicoke ON
    =739.94Arno HobartToronto ON
    938.49John GowdyMarkham ON
    1038.23Eric MurrayOrangeville ON
    =1137.47Claude TremblayNiagara On Lake ON
    =1137.47Muriel TremblayNiagara On Lake ON
    1337.23Jim GreenToronto ON
    1435.50Joan EatonNorth York ON
    1534.74Ronald WilsonMississauga ON
    1634.40Danny MilesToronto ON
    =1732.88Alan BrooksHamilton ON
    =1732.88Daniel CecchelliHamilton ON
    1930.24Andy AltayWillowdale ON
    2029.94William KoskiKing City ON
    2129.27Andy StarkToronto ON
    2228.42Robert LebiToronto ON
    2327.92George MittelmanToronto ON
    =2427.45Kevin ConwayKirkland Lake ON
    =2427.45Dale FreemanEnglehart ON
    2626.25Jonathan SteinbergToronto ON
    2726.19Leo UpenieksMississauga ON
    2825.52Ron MacDonaldToronto ON
    2925.43David HalasiToronto ON
    3024.75Darren WolpertThornhill ON

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