December 1, 1995

Dear District 2 District and Unit Board Members:

It gives me great pleasure to announce my 1996 appointments to the ACBL Goodwill Committee. This is a lifetime appointment that recognizes players who exemplify the best of our game in promoting goodwill at the bridge tables. Congratulations to two ladies who are long overdue for this award:
  1. Mrs. Maureen Culp of Pickering, ON.
  2. Ms. Enid Roitman of Toronto, ON.
My appointments to the ACBL National Charity Committee for 1996 are:
  1. Miss Katie Thorpe of Toronto, ON.
  2. Mr. Danny Schamehorn of Orillia, ON.

Highlights from the Atlanta ACBL Board Meetings - :

  1. Toronto has been awarded the 2001 Summer North American Bridge Championships (NABC) scheduled for July 20 - 29, 2001 (subject to the final signing of contracts).

  2. The ACBL has budgeted $25,000 (US) to Canada to host the 1997 World Junior Bridge Championships (WJBC) in Toronto.

  3. Canadian players are now eligible to participate in the Grand National Teams (GNT) event (flight "A"). This is a DISTRICT event. The winners are eligible to compete in the National Final held at the summer NABC. District organizers please note: if we are to participate, planning should commence as soon as possible, a co-ordinator must be appointed and conditions of contest established.

  4. Dudley Brown (District 19) was acclaimed as ACBL President for 1996.

  5. Dan Morse (District 16) was acclaimed for a three year term on the World Bridge Federation (WBF) board (replacing Jim Zimmerman).

  6. Sami Kehela, Edgar Kaplan, and Katie Thorpe were re-appointed to the Laws Commission for another five years.

  7. Aileen Osofsky was approved as ACBL's Honorary Member of the Year for 1996.

  1. - Tournaments and Masterpoints - :

    1. My proposal to abolish "Special Alerts" along with the Competition and Conventions (C&C) Committee's proposed "Alert Chart" have all been deferred to the Philadelphia (Spring '96) board meetings. It is my belief that we are creating a system that is increasingly incomprehensible to the vast majority of our players and detrimental to the future of our game. ACBL management and the Board of Directors is soliciting YOUR opinion, re: the entire alert procedure (pre-alerts, regular alerts, special alerts, defensive carding pre-alerts, etc.). Please write, fax, or e-mail your comments to the ACBL. We need to hear from YOU!

    2. Regulations regarding the skip bid warning were revised. Players are encouraged to protect their rights by using the proper skip bid warning at ALL times.

    3. A joint proposal sponsored by the three Canadian District Directors to allow computer operator technicians at our tournaments was approved in principle. Management will report back to the board as to feasibility and implementation.

    4. The sanction fee for sectional tournaments limited to non-LM or players with less than 300 masterpoints will be $1.00 LESS per table than an open sectional (effective Jan. 1, 1996). No action was taken on a Unit having the authority to use non-ACBL tournament directors (TD's) to staff a limited masterpoint sectional tournament. Note: We may use non-ACBL TD's with permission from the ACBL. (Thanks to Unit 166 for the above suggestions.)

    5. Overall masterpoint awards for national team events was increased (again). Second reading required.

    6. Masterpoint awards for the Canadian Open Pairs Championship (COPC) national final were increased to be equal to the District Finals Flight A North American Pairs.

    7. Masterpoint awards for international fund games will now be half red and half black. In Canada, it is no longer mandatory to hold such a game. Clubs must hold at least one ACBL sanctioned charity or international fund game. Clubs are encouraged to hold both.

    8. Seeding points for Vanderbilt, Spingold, or Women's Knockout Teams are no longer given in either the GNT or CNTC events.

  2. - Education and Juniors - :

    1. A Junior Bridge Camp will be held August 12-18, 1996 at a site in Florida to be determined. (Immediately following the Miami NABC.)

    2. The ACBL is budgeting $25,000 US funds to Canada towards the cost of hosting the 1997 WJBC in Toronto. They will also make their non-financial resources available to ensure the success of the tournament.

    3. A combined North American Junior Team Trials will be held in conjunction with the 1996 Miami Summer NABC. The winners will represent Zone II in the 1997 WJBC in Toronto. Conditions of Contest will be established by a committee consisting of Canadian, American, and management representatives.

    4. The ACBL gives Canada 10% of the total funds allocated towards the Junior Team Program. In 1996 Canada will receive US $1,666.67 and in 1997 US $2,222.22.

    5. The ACBL is committed to taking a stronger position in the field of bridge education. Among ideas being studied are a separate class of membership, new publications, and a new series of teaching lessons. Management will investigate and report back to the board.

  3. - NABC Advisory Committee - :

    1. Toronto was approved to host the 2001 Summer NABC.

    2. A comprehensive new manual for NABC Tournament Chairmen was reviewed. The final draft should be ready for distribution early in 1996.

  4. - Financial Health: Today and Tomorrow - :

    A cursory glance at 1995's record profits (estimated to come in at close to $1,000,000) and healthy balance sheet is an illusion.

    The increased revenue is a direct result of raised membership and sanction fees. It won't last. Projections indicate continued increase in expenses, salaries, and inflation while attendance and membership declines. As a result, within a few years 1995's large profits will become a huge loss!

    One scenario forecasts a loss of 1.2 million by the year 2000 unless changes are made! The ACBL cannot keep raising dues and fees every few years. Therefore, the decline in membership must be reversed if we are to survive.

    Atlanta's attendance was 10,269 tables, down 21% from estimate and eight hundred tables less than the 1986 Atlanta NABC. EVERY NABC in 1995 was below estimate! This is a disturbing trend.

  5. - Appeals & Charges and Other Unpleasant Matters - :

    1. Complete new regulations and procedures for the Recorder system are being reviewed. Unit and District Recorders are requested to send in their ideas, comments, and suggestions to ACBL management.

    2. The Code of Disciplinary Regulations was amended. The major change is that discipline imposed by a Tournament Committee that does not extend beyond the tournament will now become a matter o record and be part of that player's permanent file.

    3. Election irregularities in the election for District Director in District 11 resulted in some Units having their ballots disqualified and a series of election protests and appeals.

      The Appeals and Charges Committee recommended to the ACBL board that a new election be held in District 11. It was the majority opinion that we should NOT disfranchise voters as a result o technical irregularities. Further, it was our belief that elections should be decided by the voters; not committees or board members.

      The full ACBL Board defeated our motion for a new election. In a blatant example of self-serving behaviour by a member of the board, Don Moeller, the District Director for D. 11, chose not to recluse himself from this matter but voted against holding a new election, thereby confirming his re-election for another three years! The vote for holding a new election was 11 for, 12 against, and two abstentions.

      (I have already drafted legislation forbidding any District Director involved in an election protest from voting on issues pertaining to his own election! This will be voted upon at the Spring '96 board meeting.)

    4. Special Committees investigating allegations against District 25 board member Howard Piltch and the removal of Bob Rosen as ACBL National Recorder released their findings. No charges were laid against Mr. Piltch. The removal of Bob Rosen was upheld.

  6. - Task Force on Future of Bridge - :

    President Cook appointed a Blue Ribbon Task Force on the future of bridge. They had their first meeting prior to Atlanta and the minutes of that meeting were reviewed. The next meeting will be in mid-January, 1996. While no firm time-line has been established, it is expected that the task force will be concluded within one year.

    Our own Barbara Seagram is a member of this group and I'm sure she would welcome input from anyone with constructive ideas and suggestions.

    The task force identified the following goals:

    1. Improve the public image of the game of bridge.
    2. Improve image of duplicate bridge.
    3. Increase ACBL support of teaching programs in schools.
    4. Increase ACBL support and promotion of bridge at the local level, with specific emphasis on clubs.
    5. Determine means of improving the health and vitality of clubs.

    The task force is working closely with ACBL management and especially ACBL's new Chief Administrative Officer, Ellen Adams.

    As anyone reading my reports is aware, the ACBL has serious long term problems. Approximately 1% or 1,500 ACBL members are under 28 years of age. The average ACBL member is around 70! Your ideas for saving this game are solicited!
As we head into the holiday season, I wish all of you a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. For those of us who love the game of bridge, let us endeavour to smile more at the bridge table, recruit new members, and support our junior program. The future of bridge depends upon it!

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