By Bonnie Bagley
National Board Member

 

It’s not too late to make plans to attend the Spring NABC in Memphis, March 15-25. This is a must attend if at all possible since it’s the 75th anniversary of the American Contract Bridge League. The official anniversary celebration, Friday night March 16, features entertainment, champagne and cake, souvenir appliques, and commemorative gifts. You will not want to miss it.

There will be a free shuttle to the new ACBL headquarters in Horn Lake, Mississippi, a mere 20 minutes away. A rare chance to see the state of the art ACBL Bridge Museum.

Board Meetings

Sharon Anderson, 2012 president, has an ambitious agenda for the board and is on track for a productive year. In addition to the standing committees, Sharon has created some task forces –  she has put me on three of them. One, very near and dear to my heart, is the GNT/NAP/Special Events Task Force, which is tasked with developing new strategies and programs to encourage participation. The Full Service Clubs Task Force will look at how clubs and ACBL can mutually benefit each other. The Volunteer Development and Recognition Task Force will work on how to recognize our volunteers and how to recruit more. I remain on the Honorary Member of the Year Nominating Committee, the CEO Review Committee, and a revised NABC Committee which will look at strategies to improve attendance among the regional/non-championship players and consider new limited events. I appreciate your input on any of the above.

Great Western STACs

In addition to the upcoming D17 Mesa Senior Regional, April 30-May 6, you will not want to miss the Great Western Spring StaC, May 7-13. What is a StaC? It is an ACBL tournament (Sectional Tournament at Clubs) you can play at your local club and receive sectionally rated masterpoints - that means silver points.

Clubs all throughout the Western Conference (WC), as well as clubs in surrounding districts all play the same hands and overall awards are based on the number of tables for each game. Why are the WC StaCs important to us? The proceeds from the WC StaCs (after expenses and ACBL’s share) enables the WC regional sanction fee to remain at $2.25, enabled the WC regional ad fees to remain at $300, and enables the continued production of the best publication in ACBL, the Contract Bridge Forum.

In the late 1980’s, the WC was in dire financial straits. Ken Monzingo had the idea of having a WC StaC (at the time, the four WC districts, D17, D20, D21, and D22 each had their own StaC) to benefit the WC. The idea was shot down, but the new D21 District Director, Michael Jones, said he would see what he could do. A phone call to Memphis produced the question, “How about a mid December WC StaC?” Answer: Why Not? There are now three WC StaCs: the Spring StaC in May, the Summer StaC in August, and the Holiday StaC in December, with surrounding districts participating. The WC StaCs have grown each year and are the largest sectional tournaments in ACBL. There were 17,552 WC StaC tables in 2007, five years later there were 25,288 tables. The WC StaCs provide over $60,000 year in income for the WC, without which the conference likely would not survive, at least as we now know it.

Why are the WC StaCs so popular? Players enjoy the competition with other districts and the chance to win multiple silver point section awards in their local games as well as huge awards overall. Anyone from any district can win, the top three places in the three yearly WC StaCs for the last five years have produced winners from D17 (13), D22 (12), D21 (9), D23 (4), D19 (3), D14 (2), D15 (1), and D18 (1). Those 45 places have produced 31 different winners. Only two players have been in the top three more then once: David Zapatka, from the Mesa Arizona unit and a member of the D17 board has been first twice and second once. Well done, David! The King of the Great Western StaC is Mark Itabashi from D22. He has placed in the top three in ten of the 15 StaCs (2007-2011), was first in all of the three 2011 StaCs, and has amassed 534.40 silver points. When asked for pointers on winning big in a StaC, Mark said, “Play every game you can and be aggressive, in bidding, defending, and doubling. It is not enough to win the game you are playing, you must score big, so go for it; a 58% will get you a couple of points, a 78% could get you over 20 points.” Of course, Mark is a Grand Life Master, approaching 40,000 masterpoints, but 29 players other then David and Mark have scored big . . . . This year it could be YOU!

 



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