By Bonnie Bagley, National Board Representative

The next ACBL Board meeting will be in July at the Atlanta NABC. It’s too early to know what motions will be put on the table, except for one I will be making for I/N Regionals to allow players with up to 750 masterpoints who are not Life Masters, and to award some gold points.

One committee I am very excited about, even though I’m not a member, has been assigned by ACBL President Don Mamula to examine the Nationals, determine what is being done right, what can be done better, and to propose a “Fantasy NABC.” What is intriguing is the possibility of revamping the schedule, perhaps eliminating events that are not successful, and adding new events that could prove to be more popular. The recent success of the 0-10,000 MP (10K) Swiss Teams, which had its inaugural appearance at the 2013 Spring NABC in St. Louis, proved there is interest in these new 10K events. I’m looking forward to seeing the committee’s report.

Our Regionals

Looking ahead at possible new features for NABCs made me reflect on our D17 regionals. In 2000, my first year on the D17 Board, our six district regionals were Albuquerque, Mesa, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and El Paso. The first five were annual tournaments, and El Paso rotated in a three-way with Tucson, Colorado Springs, and occasionally Ruidoso. El Paso held its last regional in 2006. with a table count of 1062, after which the El Paso Unit Board notified the D17 Board it could no longer support a regional. Ruidoso had successful regionals in 2002, 2005, and 2009, with an average table count of 1423. But following its 2009 tournament, the D17 Board was informed by the Ruidoso Unit that a regional could no longer be held; the main issue precluding a repeat was the rental cost of the Convention Center, not to mention the work required to run a regional by a unit with only 75 members.

Currently, the five “anchor cities” (Albuquerque, Mesa, Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix) remain, with just Tucson and Colorado Springs alternating. However, due to the 2014 Phoenix Fall NABC in November, Tucson held a regional in 2012, and will do so again this October (filling the Phoenix Regional priority date). Colorado Springs will have a regional in August this year and again in August, 2104, so as not to compete with the 2015 Denver Fall NABC. After that, Tucson and Colorado Springs will again alternate every other year.

Does this mean no other D17 city can have a regional? No! Taos will be holding a regional in September, 2013, thanks to the United States Bridge Federation (USBF) granting them its regional sanction. Colorful Taos should prove to be a popular venue, and the local unit is hard at work to make it a memorable tournament. The Colorado West Unit has approached the D17 Board with the idea of hosting a regional in Vail, Colorado, also a very popular resort venue. This is still in the early “talking” stage, but who knows? The point is that while some things change, other things stay the same.

Attendance Is Good

One change we’re happy with is the increase of table counts at all D17 regionals: Albuquerque 2000 - 1450 tables, Albuquerque 2013 - 1953 tables (their second highest ever, the largest being the phenomenal 2026 in 2011). Mesa 2000 - 1968 tables, 2013 - 2323 tables (Mesa’s largest, again in 2011, was 2557); Mesa’s table count has bounced around a bit because its dates have to be juggled to avoid conflicts with the San Diego Regional, which is always held during Easter week, and the Gatlinburg Regional, which no one wants to run against. Denver 2000 - 1590 tables, 2013 - 2226 tables, their largest ever; Denver went over 2000 tables in 2007 and has remained over 2000 ever since. Las Vegas 2000 - 4118 tables, 2012 - 4066 tables; Las Vegas has consistently maintained a table count at least the very high 3000s - usually over 4000 tables – and is regularly the second largest regional in ACBL. Phoenix 2000 - 1397 tables, 2012 - 2125 tables; the Phoenix Regional has profited since its priority date change from August to October. Tucson 2001 - 1331 tables, 2012 - 1992 tables, which again was a record.

What accounts for the increased attendance? Hard work by the willing, able, and capable volunteers – without whom there would be no tournaments – and the congenial relationship between the D17 Board and the district’s unit boards, which work together to maintain the high standards of D17 regionals, continually striving to improve them.

New Innovations

In the time I’ve been on the D17 Board we have seen great advances to improve our tournaments: pre-duplicated boards, BridgeMates, BridgeResults, Gold Rush Pairs and, new this year, Bracketed 0-2000 Sunday Swiss Teams games. 
We will continue to get better.

I hope I got to see you at the huge Las Vegas Regional. Next up for us is the Colorado Springs Regional, August 12-18. A wonderful, scenic city with great District 17 hospitality. See you there!
I enjoy hearing from you. I’m always available at 719 593-0205, or email me at




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