BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Congratulation to District 4's Richard Popper of
Wilmington, DE, who was elected Chairman of the ACBL Board of Governors.
Richard will serve a two-year term acting as laison
between the Board of Governors and the ACBL Board of Directors. Richard
has been Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors for the past two years.
Richard has been a longtime volunteer for bridge in Unit 190 and District
If you run a bridge game, you are certainly aware
that a Windows 10 update this year changed the way that the function
keys in ACBL Score work. This prompted a real concern that ACBL Score
and it's outdated technology is extremely vulnerable to yet another
Windows update and that ACBL Score would not function if that happened.
Last year the ACBL announced its decision to stop
trying to fix ACBL Score and to transition into using already existing
scoring programs (EU score, Pair Score, Magic Score) for scoring ACBL
club games. In order to implement this change, the technology department,
with assistance from Greg Humphries, is developing software that will
take the game files, done in Usebio format, from these external programs
and run them through a masterpoint engine that would put our unique
requirements - strats, special games, etc. - on the files and then
masterpoint the games and post the results to the ACBL database.
The ACBL technology department has been working on
this project, but there is a strain on the existing staff to get it
done as quickly as it is needed so the ACBL board authorized the expenditure
of $300,000 for additional temporary staff to have this process accelerated
and completed by the middle of 2018.
A new dues structure was adopted in Orlando, allowing
membership signups and renewals for either 1, 2 or 3 year terms. Your
membership dues will not increase if you opt for the three year term
– but rates will be higher for one or two year terms.
Since most bridge players can do the math and hopefully
still buy green bananas, this will be a very effective change. ACBL
now spends $85,000 a year in billing statements. If billing is done
less frequently, the costs savings are big. This structure will also
help the retention rate – when members stay for 3 years the
retention rate is 95%.
For current ACBL members, the dues are $39 and will
continue to be $39 if, upon expiration, you renew your membership
for three years ($117). If you renew for two years ($94) you will
pay $47 a year and if you renew for one year you will pay $49 a year.
New ACBL members currently pay $29. Starting in 2017,
new members will pay $39 for one year, $74 for two years and $87 ($29
per year) for three years.
The new structure will not only save money, but will
help with membership retention.
MEMBERSHIP & TOURNAMENTS
1. ACBL Membership at the end
of October 2016 is 168,352. This is 91 fewer members than at the beginning
of the year. New members increased by 1.3%, but we lost a few more
than that. Management is budgeting 2% growth in 2017, fueled by a
stepped up marketing program. New programs are being designed that
will offer an additional $50,000 annually in club and teacher recruiting
2. The number of club games held, including online, is flat. The ACBL
has contacted club managers and owners to discuss their suggestions
and concerns and a task force is being organized to make the ACBL
and clubs more effective partners.
3. The average table count at regional tournaments is down 4.5% as
of October with sectional attendance flat.
4. STAC tables decreased 3.9%.
ACBL EDUCATION FOUNDATION
New bylaws were passed that will restructure the ACBL Education Foundation.
The newly structured foundation will have professional
administrative staff. The goal is to have professional fund-raising
in order to attract the big bucks needed to advance bridge educational
At this meeting, the Educational Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant
for development of a "learn to play bridge" app for Iphones
and tablets to two young brothers, Eric and Tim Lou, from Morganville,
New Jersey. The pair won a competition in which 20 different ideas
for new learn to play bridge apps were submitted.
EXCITING PLANS FOR CLUBS AND PLAYERS
Pilot events for online bridge at the clubs will continue in 2017,
spearheaded by Jay Whipple, District Director from District 9. I have
put in a request to have an event run in District 4.
Districts will be able to run on-line events at their
regional bridge tournaments with remote sites in other bridge clubs
across the country.
Bridge clubs will be able to act as remote sites
for other regional tournaments, earning red and gold points for their
players without having to travel to regionals.
The projected income for 2016 is $701,051. Good news in light of the
past few years.
The budget passed for 2017 – projecting $234,283
in excess of revenues over expenses (non-profits are not supposed
to talk about making money). The 2017 Capital Budget is $355,750.
The largest item included was the JD Edwards accounting software and
CRM (Marketing) software which will remove the current processes on
the antiquated AS-400 and move them to the cloud. In addition the
capital budget includes $91,250 in IT Equipment purchases, $32,500
for the purchase of new card tables and other small projects.
In 2016 $500,000 will be added to the reserves –
the 2017 goal is to put another $500,000 into reserves. This is part
of an effort to strengthen the balance sheet of the ACBL from the
damage inflicted by the ACBL score fiasco.
A $1.00 fee increase in sanction fees to STACs that
was passed last year was reversed this year. It seems the prior intent
was to increase sanction fees only for club games and special games,
not STACs, and somehow this increase also snuck through. I voted against
the motion, not on the merits, but because I think that passing things
and then changing them a year later just causes confusion and the
appearance of disarray.
The ACBL Board of Directors tightened their belt
with some cost-savings motions. The major one was a motion that was
passed to move the meeting days of the spring and summer board meetings.
In the past board meetings were held for four consecutive days prior
to the beginning of each NABC. Since the members of the Board of Directors
were required to stay to attend the Board of Governor's meeting on
the first Sunday of the NABC, they were provided lodging and per diem
for two additional days between the end of the board meetings and
the BOG meeting. Beginning next summer, the board meetings will be
held in the three or four days immediately preceeding the Board of
Governors meeting. This change will save the ACBL $28,152 for each
four day meeting.
Another motion was proposed regarding the relocation
of the Fall board meeting to ACBL headquarters in early November instead
of at the Fall NABC. There is a real burden on ACBL staff required
to be away from their families at Thanksgiving to attend board meetings.
There is also a huge expense to take board members and staff to remote
locations over Thanksgiving. This motion would have saved an estimated
$45,000 for San Diego in 2017 and $80,000 for Hawaii in 2018 in the
cost of board members and staff. The motion failed.
I was strongly in favor of this motion. The cost savings to the ACBL
and the boost to employee morale were key factors in my vote. I think
this will be discussed further at the next board meeting in Kansas
City and hopefully we will be able to move the Hawaii board meeting
to Horn Lake.
$7,500 a year that was previously spent on excursions
for spouses of board members during the board meetings has been removed
from the budget. I supported this motion.
OTHER STUFF THAT HAPPENED IN ORLANDO
Women's team events at nationals have been in a slow decline for the
last five years. The ACBL codification states that any national event
that is drawing fewer than 30 tables should be reviewed. The women's
team events have had attendance of fewer than 30 tables for the last
five years. The BOD voted to remove the Wagar KO Teams from the calendar
effective in the summer of 2017 and replace it with a two-day Women's
Pair event. The BOD also voted to remove the Machlin Women’s
Swiss Team from the calendar effective in the spring of 2018.
The BOD voted to eliminate the position of NABC Tournament
Appeals Director, since tournament appeals are now being handled by
the directing staff. Conduct issues at national tournaments will be
referred to the ACBL Disciplinary Coordinator (Sabrina Goley) and
ethical issues will be sent to the Ethical Oversight Committee.
A motion from the Conditions of Contest Committee
to add a Soloway 7-day knockout event to the summer schedule was defeated.
The feeling was that this would dilute the other events and make the
fall schedule the same as the other NABCs (dominated by a week long
In an effort to increase security, hand records used
in any NABC and NABC+ events will be different than hand records used
in regional events. There have always been different hand records
in the finals – this only effects the qualifying rounds of NABC
A New Orleans site was approved for March 9 –
19, 2023. The room rate is $214.00. This is the first NABC with an
advertised rate of over $200, but it is 2023...
MISCELLANEOUS BRIDGE STUFF
There was a report on the experiment of allowing “drop ins”
from the GNT into the Open LM Pairs. Most agreed that there is a problem
of team members dropping into pair events or 3-day Swiss Teams from
an extended team event like the Spingold. The arguments are that a
team that has a sponsor can reconfigure itself to qualify and also
that players may have only played half the boards in the longer event
and then can drop into the pair event. A motion was carried that drop-ins
will not be allowed from team events to premier pair events.
New Electronic Devices Penalty Guidelines were adopted:
Except for health-related equipment, any electronic
equipment - phones, Ipads or any communication devices are forbidden
to be on or visible in the playing area. The following penalties
will be mandatory and enforced at all NABC events:
First offense of any kind, in the same session:
one full board, 12 IMPs or 20% of the maximum available VPs per
match, at the respective form of scoring.
Second offense, in the same session or third offense
in the event: Disqualification of the pair or team from the event.
Regional and sectional events can carry a lesser penalty.
NAP - GNT
A motion was presented for a $200 subsidy per player
to all third place NAP District Final finishers in each flight and
a $100 subsidy per player to all fourth place NAP District Final finishers
in Flight B and Flight C to help offset expenses associated with participation
in the NAP Finals.
I initially voted for these subsidies in committee,
since I am generally in support of giving back to the players, but
then changed my mind – the amounts conflicted with things that
are being done in other districts and caused problems of uneven awards
for many districts. It was also pointed out that the amounts were
too small to offer any effective incentive. In states like Florida,
financial incentives have been used with no effect on attendance.
District 4 is currently providing a $200 subsidy
for third place and a $100 subsidy for fourth place.
A motion was presented asking that an additional
Flight B and Flight C GNT Team be added if the number of teams competing
at the District level of Flights B and C were 8 or more in either
flight. In District 4 that would have allowed one additional Flight
B team to attend. Motion failed. I voted for the motion.
BRIDGE INTEGRITY TASK FORCE
If someone in your unit or district is found guilty
of cheating he can now be replaced in masterpoint races. All others
will be moved up in rank after the cheater is removed.
It was wonderful to see so many of our local players competing at
the Fall NABC in Orlando, FL.
Special congratulations to District 4's Eric Greco for winning the
Player of the Year in 2016 and the Goren Trophy. The Player of the
Year is the bridge player who wins the most platinum points in the
year. Eric won over 800 platinum points in 2016.
The Goren Trophy is awarded to the player who wins the most masterpoints
at the Fall NABC. Eric won 382.88 masterpoints in Orlando - 150 for
his second place finish in the Reisinger, 78.75 for his third place
finish in the Mitchell Open BAM and 106.88 for his third place finish
in the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs.
the District 4 players finishing in the overalls in National Events:
Nail Life Master Pairs: 38
- Eric Greco; 42 - George Krizel
0-10,000 Swiss Teams: 5 - Michael
Zeller; 10 - Albert Shrive, Jim McKeown, Donald Dalpe
0-10,000 IMP Pairs: 2 - Donald
Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs: 3
- Eric Greco
Reisinger Board-A-Match Teams:
2 - Eric Greco, 3 - Connie Goldberg
Mitchell Open Board-A-Match
Teams: 3 - Eric Greco
Senior Mixed Pairs: 12 - Arnold
Fisher, Jane Ball; 23 - Barry Gorski, Andie Sheaffer
Super Senior Pairs: 7 - Arnold
Fisher, Jane Ball
Mixed Swiss Teams: 14 - Arnold
Carol Foley, Claire Kern
Carole Craig and Peggy Coe in front of the Christmas tree in Orlando
Congratulations to All Top 10 Finishers in Regional Events:
International Fund Pairs: 7 (A) - Christina van Leeuwen
Friday Side Game: 6 (A) - Michael
Friday Swiss Teams: 3/4 - Benito
Sunday A/B/C Swiss Teams: 6
- James Carroll
Sunday B/C/D Swiss Teams: 10/11
- Gary Hillenbrand, Arnold Kritz
Marty Chait Open Pairs: 4 -
Joann and Bob Glasson
Sunday Evening BAM Teams: 1
- Benito Garozzo (Yes, the great Benito Garozzo is a District 4 member!)
Sunday Evening Side Game: 7
- Dennis Wick
Saturday-Sunday Ko - Bracket
1: 3/4 - Benito Garozzo
Monday Evening A/X/Y Swiss
Teams: 7 - Claire Kern, Margaret Coe, Carole Craige, Carol Foley
Monday IMP Pairs - 8 - Brandon
Valencia Oranges Compact KO
Teams - Bracket 2: 3 - Martin de Bruin, Betty Scull
Monday Midnight ZIP KO Teams:
2 - David and Karen Hoffner
Wednesday Side Game: 1 - Harry
Nuckols, Mary Poplawski
Tuesday/Wednesday KO Teams
- Bracket 7: 1 - John Barton, Prem Premakumar, Cheryl Stark Abrams,
Wednesday Evening BAM Teams:
3/4 - John Dickenson, Alison Shoemaker, Susan Morse, David Cohan
Wednesday B/C Swiss Teams:
4/5 - Gary Hillenbrand
Lynn Berg 299er Pairs: 3/4
- Cheryl Shields, Barbara Augustson
Thursday Afternoon Side Game:
4/5 - David & Karen Hoffner; 4 - Rui Marques
Martin de Bruin and Betty Scull
Winners of the Thursday
Compact KO Teams
Thursday Compact KO Teams -
Bracket 1: Martin de Bruin, Betty Scull, Jay Korobow
Fort Lauderdale A/X/Y Swiss
Teams: 9/10 - John Dickenson, David Cohan, Alison Shoemaker, Susan
Friday Gold Rush Pairs: 5
- R. Shenkin, Susan Shenkin
Friday Side Swiss Teams: 3
- Dennis Wick
Babs Dun Open Pairs: 3 - Judith
Argento, Kingston, PA
Friday/Saturday Morning Compact
KO Bracket 1: 1 Patricia Andrews, Helen Walker
David Babcock A/B/C Open Pairs:
7 - Kenneth Chatzinoff
Saturday Daylight Gold Rush
Pairs: 4 - Prem Premakumar, John Barton III
Vero Beach Bridge Club Stratified
Open Pairs: 4 - Meyer Kotkin
Saturday Evening B/C/D Swiss
Teams: 2 - Helen Walker, Patricia Andrews
Friday/Saturday KO Bracket
3: 3/4 -George Mansour
Rick Larkin Fast Pairs: 2 - Meyer Kotkin; 8 - Kenneth
Saturday-Sunday KO Teams – Bracket 1: 3 –
Carol Foley, Margaret Coe, Carole Craige, Claire Kern
Saturday-Sunday KO Teams – Bracket 3: 2 – Michael Zeller
Harry Falk B/C Swiss Teams: 8 – George Mansour