¿Que Pasa?

September, 2010

What's happening? The 2010 Phoenix regional and the Great Western Summer Fun STAC have just concluded. District 17's Flight A Grand National Team made it to the national semifinals in New Orleans! Congratulations to Dom Di Felice, Spencer Jones, Peggy Ware, Garth Yettick, Brandon Sheumaker and Harley Bress, all from the Denver area. The 2010-2011 GNT club qualifying starts September 1. Local clubs should have received conditions of contest and other information by now. The 2011 national finals will be in Toronto. Our final District 17 regional will take place in Tucson October 4-10. Plan to attend. This is a great time to visit the desert southwest!

ACBL President's Potential Visit To District 17
ACBL President Rich DeMartino's plans to visit the Tucson regional have hit a snag because of commitments he has at the WBF championships in Philadelphia at the same time. He still hopes to be able to attend for a few days early in the week.

Aileen Osofsky
Aileen Osofsky, the chair of the ACBL national Goodwill Committee since 1985, passed away in late June. The ACBL Board renamed the ACBL Goodwill Committee the Aileen Osofsky National Goodwill Committee in her honor. Aileen was a powerful force for civility and friendliness at the bridge table and wherever she went. She was a mother figure to many of us, always there, always upbeat, and always with a kind word. Aileen was one of the most gracious ladies I've ever met. Her election to the ACBL Hall of Fame was richly deserved.

ACBL Board Meeting
The latest ACBL Board meeting was held in New Orleans July 19-22. The following is a summary of the actions that were taken (or not taken) there.

The Board agreed to relax slightly the restriction presently in effect for units that hold sectional tournaments longer than 5 days. Now such a unit can hold a) two and only two 6-1/2 day sectionals, b) one 6-1/2 day sectional and up to two 5 day or shorter sectionals, or c) an unlimited number of 5 day or shorter sectionals.

Regarding regional tournaments, the Mesa Seniors regional continues to be a special regional outside our district's quota. Gatlinburg and Las Vegas were removed from this category because the Board voted that any annual regional held at, or near, the same site that reaches 3000+ tables three out of four consecutive years will give the district a regional that won't count against its base allocation. Las Vegas is well in excess of 3000 tables, and hopefully their new site at Bally's will help this regional grow again. Also, if we can average 9000 members or more for a year, we will qualify for another regional. We are below that number now, but not by too much. If a district loses a regional by failing either the 3000 table or 9000 member criteria, there is a two year grace period to get back to one of those numbers before the tournament is taken away.

A reminder to all tournament coordinators: Get your sanction applications in as far in advance as possible in order to avoid running the risk of losing the dates you want!

In order to be eligible for overall awards in a STAC, or any event that is scored across more than one club, the minimum number of boards played is set at 20. This doesn't mean that every pair has to play that many. For example, you can have a 6-1/2 table Mitchell with 21 boards in play where pairs in one direction play 21 and those with a sit out play 18.

ACBL recommends the following conditions for all Swiss team events of 4-9 tables: four teams, three matches of 18-20 boards, five teams, four matches of 13-15 boards, six teams, five matches of 10-12 boards, seven teams, six matches of 9 boards, eight teams, seven matches of 7-8 boards, nine teams, eight matches of 6-7 boards. In other words, play a round robin.

In the Grand National Team (GNT) district finals, if there is but one team entered in a flight, they receive no masterpoint award. If there are two teams, there is one overall award paying 50% of the maximum award. If there are 3-4 teams, there is one overall award paying 67% of the maximum award. If there are 5+ teams, the award is 67% of the maximum if the event is two sessions, otherwise 100% of the maximum, and the number of overall places is based on the size of the field.

There was considerable discussion about tournaments at sea, particularly regionals. Part of the problem is that there is presently no restriction, such as a district's regional quota, on the number of these tournaments for which a district can obtain sanctions. Now that the floating United States Bridge Federation (USBF) regional is now a regional at sea - no pun intended, this tournament became part of the discussion. A motion to eliminate the USBF regional failed, though the USBF received only about 3% of the gross from their 2009 regional and has received but a small fraction of the proceeds from their previous tournaments. A motion to require that only ACBL may conduct or sponsor a regional at sea was deferred until the fall, with a moratorium on review of future such sanctions until this issue is decided. Finally, ACBL sanction fees for regionals at sea will be $20/table, and those for sectionals at sea will be $10/table.

The board determined that there is no need for redistricting at this time, though there were nine board members who disagreed. A Senior Mixed Pairs has been added to the Fall NABC schedule. Winning this event will qualify for Grand Life Master designation. The board voted that pre-alert requirements for opening short suit preempts be eliminated, and replaced by an alert when such bids occur. This won't take effect until the alert chart is updated. A motion to create a "Flight A Life Master" designation for all Life Masters who have won a two session or longer unrestricted pair or team event at a regional or NABC was defeated. Clubs that hold sessions less often than once per week can hold a "special fund game" no more often than every 4th session.

Complete minutes of the meeting will be posted on the district and ACBL web sites as soon as they are edited.

The initiative to rewrite ACBLscore gained significant momentum in New Orleans. The Technology Committee and ACBL management will work together on this. We have some new programmers in house that appear fully qualified to write the system in modern code, and a complete system design will precede program development. Outside consultants will be used where needed.

The scoring machines we have seen with increasing frequency at some of our clubs and tournaments are being tested to work with Swiss teams. Apparently significant progress in eliminating errors has been achieved. At the recent Omaha regional, not only were these being used, but results and assignments were projected high on the wall so everyone, no matter how short, could see how they were doing and where to go for the next match. Eventually the bugs will be eliminated, and this application will be more widely used. I believe it will do much to speed up the time between rounds.

Club Special Events
In my last column, I mentioned the need to upgrade your version of ACBLscore to version 7.66 or better to accommodate the new masterpoint scale for club special events. Please note that the proper points will not be posted if you score your game on a computer that does not have the latest update and then import the game file to a computer that does.

Goodwill/Charity Committee Appointments
In my next column, I'll announce my annual appointments to the ACBL Goodwill and ACBL Charity committees. You can help. If you know of someone deserving of such an appointment, please send me a short writeup describing his/her qualifications, and I will certainly consider it.

Your input and suggestions on any of the above topics (or any other issues you wish to raise) are always appreciated, whether you agree or not. My phone number is (505)662-3036, you can e-mail me at peanutcat@aol.com, or write me at 2175 La Tierra Road, Los Alamos NM 87544-2766. A special thanks to those of you who have contacted me to share your opinions.

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