DISTRICT 24 NEWSLETTER             2000.3  

Jane Johnson, who headed the Club Membership Department at the ACBL, died in her hotel room at the Birmingham NABC. Jane, 67, had battled cancer for the past eight months. Many Unit and District officials, as well as club owners, have been helped by Jane. She was one of the most respected and loved people in bridge. For me, whenever I had a question about bridge matters, I called Jane. It didn't matter what the subject was…I called Jane. She will be greatly missed. Two annual awards have been established, the Jane Johnson employee award, and recognition of a bridge club that demonstrates great concern and caring for their players.

District 24 Players have a few triumphs in Birmingham NABC+ events…

After District 24 players set records at the Anaheim NABC by winning 5 of the 8 NABC+ events, they were mere mortals in Birmingham, winning only one.  In the LM Pairs, Zia Mahmood finished 2nd and David Berkowitz- Larry Cohen finished 10th.  The only top 10 finisher in the LM Women's Pairs was Judith Bianco finishing 5th.  Another 2nd place finish in the Open Board-A-Match Teams, this time by Sam Lev, with Zia, Richard Schwartz, and Berkowitz-Cohen 5th, Adam Wildavsky 9th, and Bjorn Fallenius-Roy Welland-Brad Moss 10th.  Continuing a string of 2nd place finishes was Valerie Westheimer in the Women's Board-A-Match Teams, with Judi Radin-Sylvia Moss 6th, Jill Levin 7th, and Lisa Berkowitz 9th.  Top finishers in the Senior KOs were John Solodar-Ronald Felton-Judith Weisman, 5th/8th. In the premier pair event, the Edgar Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, Zia finished 3rd and Berkowitz-Cohen 4th.  In the premier team event, the Reisinger Board-A-Match, Alan Sontag was 7th and Jill Levin 8th. Finally a big win in the North American Swiss Teams by Mel and Janet Colchamiro, with Bob Gwirtzman finishing 4th.

Zia is the 2000 Player of the Year…with 688.60 platinum points won in NABC+ events at the three NABCs.

Birmingham Fall NABC gets mixed reviews…

The fall NABCs generally have the lowest attendance. The final table count was 8215, falling short of the expected 9000 tables. The tournament had many good points and some disappointing ones. The local volunteers worked very hard, and the hospitality after the evening sessions had plenty of good eats. The main hotel, the Sheraton, was attached to the Convention Center, which had ample and comfortable playing space. There was shuttle service to and from local restaurants. On the bad side, there were long waits at the hotel restaurant as well as at the local restaurants, which were miles away. There were neither restaurants nor any shopping of any kind within walking distance of the Convention Center. Many players complained of the situation. Hopefully, the selection of future sites will take into account players social needs as well as their bridge needs.

ACBL Board of Directors Actions…

There are approximately 100 motions before the Board at each of three meeting during the year. These cover all aspects of bridge, from marketing (including new types of games), club activities, cases of conduct and ethics, tournament activities (including conditions of contest), finance (including all items in the annual budget), governance (including Board procedures and management review). Some of the motions at the Birmingham meeting of particular interest follow.

Annual Budget…
The ACBL annual budget of $5,500,000 shows a projected deficit of $300,000 in 2000. The 2001 budget was set at a balanced budget, with a number of revenue raising and cost cutting actions. Revenue raising actions, starting 4/1/01 include an increase in sanctions fees at Regionals, Sectionals, and STaCs of 3.5% to $4.45, $3.22, and $2.35 respectively, and a Club game sanction fee increase from $0.60 to $0.65. On the cost reduction side, second place finishers in the District NAOPs will receive only airfare to the NABC finals, while first place finishers continue to receive all expenses. I've mentioned a few items that I was opposed to and therefore voted against the annual budget. A few cost-cutting items that I did approve of involved cost cuts for the Board of Directors. These were a reduction in communication costs by using e-mail to a greater extent, eliminating three free dinners a year for Directors and spouses, decreasing the annual Directors' expense payments from $2,250 to $1,500, and reducing the President's budget by $10,000.

Bidding Box Procedures…(my comments are in parentheses)
A player must choose a call before touching any card in the box (thus avoiding showing uncertainty by fumbling with or pausing over the Bidding Cards…which can lead to Unauthorized Information). A call is considered made when a bidding card is removed from the bidding box and held touching or nearly touching the table. (Inadvertent calls may be changed any time before partner takes a bid).

New Club Games…
During the month of October a club may hold one Club Appreciation Team Game (only one regardless of the number of regularly scheduled weekly games). This game will be sectional rated and award Black points and 5% Gold points (up to 0.25 per player).

The ACBL will explore a new club game format in which a group of clubs is scored across the field. A group of clubs (in a Unit, District, region) that hold an open game at approximately the same time, will score the game across all tables in play. This will be done electronically using ACBLscore, with hand records, and Internet reporting within 24 hours. The game will have overall awards (blackpoints) no greater than a sectional rated game, in addition to the regular club section awards. This was my motion. The format is the same as the recent worldwide matchpoint game held at clubs. Management will endeavor to obtain the necessary software.

New NABC event…the mini-Spingold…
Concurrently with the Spingold (summer NABC) a mini-Spingold will be held in two Flights, 0-1500 and 0-5000.

World Bridge Federation Dues…
The ACBL Board of Directors affirmed the action taken at the last Board meeting regarding WBF membership dues. Basically, agreeing to pay the WBF membership dues at $0.50 per member.

Jeffrey Polisner, League Counsel, has resigned. He will be taking on the job of League Counsel for the World Bridge Federation. League Counsel attends all Board meetings and counsels the Board and the ACBL on all legal matters, including, but not limited to, contracts, lawsuits, and disciplinary hearings. Jeffrey will be a hard act to follow…but, our new League Counsel, Peter Rank, comes with impressive credentials. Well known for his bridge accomplishments, Rank is an experienced lawyer and a partner in a Los Angeles law firm.

Jim Kirkham, San Bernardino, CA, was elected ACBL president for 2001. Don Mamula, Mill Creek, CA was elected chairman of the Board of Governors, and will serve a three-year term.

REMEMBER…The summer 2004 North American Bridge Championships, co-hosted by District 3 and 24, will be held at the NYC Hilton. We are currently raising money through an added $1 entry fee at Regionals, and also through sponsorship. Anyone knowing of potential sponsors please contact me.

Check out the NSBA's new web site at http://www.libridge.com, as well as the long established GNYBA site at http://www.gnyba.org

Al Levy
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