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Ideas for Improvement in the ACBL

Hi all,

Like many here, I've read a lot of the recent drama regarding the memo from an employee, ACBL Score+, and have also experienced personal frustration of my own with the glacial speed of the ACBL. I've also had the benefit of a period away from Bridge where the improvements that feel so glacial can leap out at you when you haven't been paying attention. Specifically the next gen bridge website feels like a huge improvement over BridgeIsCool, the ACBLLive improvements seem pretty great, and the Youth NABC seems like a great idea. I was also excited to hear that we'll soon be able to open 1NT with a stiff king without getting yelled at.

While everyone has different ideas on what needs to be done, I think there is a lot of agreement that the shrinking and aging player base is a concern. With that in mind, I hope that the ACBL leadership might adopt more of an FDR "try lots of things, see what works" approach rather than the current methodical approach that tends to happen when committees are involved. The methodical approach has resulted in some good things but they've happened very slowly where you need years away to notice the differences.

I have some ideas I'd like to throw out there and hopefully others can add to the list. Some are good, some are probably not, and many other people like Gavin and Josh can probably make much better and longer lists than I can. However, the main thing I'd really love is to see the ACBL *trying* things at a much faster pace. If it doesn't work, discard it and try something else.

Some sample ideas:

1) Crowdsource ideas using some sort of uservoice type approach and then let members use their limited votes to move up what they think are great. This seems a lot better, faster, and more representative of the membership than the current approach of trying to convince a BoD member to suggest it.

2) Green Ribbon Pairs to run concurrently with the Silver Ribbon Pairs with an upper age limit of whatever the min is for silver. Since I first suggested this to a friend 8 years ago I think I've heard a similar suggestion independently suggested 10+ times by others. I have no issues with Senior events, but for the social aspects it'd be really nice to meet others who aren't seniors. This is especially true if you live in an area where there are very few under 60 who play. Non junior Non senior lives matter!

3) An event at an NABC (probably only regional rated?) where there are no limits on conventions. Anything you want to play goes and its up to the opponents to deal with it. Would probably need an additional rule that if you incorrectly explain anything, you automatically get an AVG- or worse and your opponents automatically get an AVG+. This sounds like a blast, especially for those who have always wanted to see what they could come up with when no longer chained by the GCC/defense approval process.

4) Some way to have small to medium cash awards in select tournaments. Competing card games like Magic the Gathering do this and it seems to be a huge draw. People seem to only remember the money they've won, never the entry fees they paid to get there. If there are insurmountable barriers, make the payouts payable to a charity of the winner's choosing. They had cash prizes when I was in France and it seemed like a good thing.

5) Explore a 1 year licensing deal with Audrey Grant to let people use the lesson series for the iPad version for free. Her cost might be offset by the potential increase in the subscriptions she generates. Consider renewing if it goes well. I tried the app out when figuring out what to recommend for friends and found it to be 10000x better than the ACBL flash thing but the cost will be a barrier to entry for some.

6) Display live video of matches with a BBO overlay on Twitch, preferably with commentary by someone entertaining.

7) Continue to iterate on ACBLLive by displaying specific victories in regional events or times someone has made the overalls in a national event. After a certain point, these accomplishments feel more relevant than total masterpoints and crawling through the MP history to find a good result can be slow.

8) Task someone with investigating "best practices" used in other countries and other games like Mah Jong so we can learn from them and use what works.

9) Try to convince Felicia Day or Wil Wheaton to try Bridge and potentially tweet about it. A few tweets from one of those two would likely have a huge impact.

10) Identify selective audiences that are predisposed to be interested in Bridge and target them. Specifically: People who play competitive Magic the Gathering (for the 16+ crowd), Yugi Oh (younger crowd), and presumably competitive HearthStone players. It seems unlikely that Bridge will ever become *the* main social thing again, there are too many alternatives now with Tabletop Games being one of the biggest. However, it is still (imo) the best competitive card game out there and a lot of people who compete in these other games would probably enjoy Bridge if they give it a serious try.

These are just ideas, but mainly it'd just be great to see the ACBL trying things at a much faster pace. If we wait until 2050 to find the best approach, there might not be any members left to appreciate it.

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