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Toronto NABC Follow-up

By Bahar Gidwani, ACBL CEO

A number of ACBL members asked questions about or offered input on the way we handled certain matters at the Toronto NABC. We have now studied the issues they raised and would like to share what we’ve learned and changed as a result.

Spingold Masterpoint™ Awards. Several members pointed out that we had posted incorrect masterpoint awards for this event. These problems were caused by a combination of software deficiencies and insufficient staffing. We’ve identified workarounds for the software issues and have shared with our staff methods for avoiding these problems. To reduce the field of 104 Spingold entrants to 64 teams, there were two byes, 11 four-way matches and 29 head-to-head matches. Bye teams were not supposed to be credited with a win — we got that right. Teams who won a full-day match should have gotten a full win (and did). But teams who advanced by winning a half-day match should have been credited with half a win, and this was originally done wrong. Furthermore, teams who won both their four-way match and their subsequent round-of-64 match were not originally credited with a 17-32 finish (also now corrected).

Roth Open Swiss. Questions were raised about the number of teams who qualified for day three of the Roth Open Swiss. The Conditions of Contest stipulate: “The number of teams qualifying for the final will be approximately 50%, but in no case less than 40%, of the semifinal field.” The CoC also mandate the use of duplicated boards and screens for all matches in the final two sessions. We assigned this event to a room that allowed space for 32 teams – 42% of the semifinal field. We had only enough screens to handle this number of teams, and even if we’d had more screens, we could not have fit in more teams without compromising security. While we properly fulfilled all of the CoC requirements, we realize it would have been better to qualify (and accommodate) 50% of the teams instead of 42%. In the future, we plan to increase the number of screens we have and reassign rooms when an event is bigger than expected, if it is possible in a given site.

Drop-ins. The experimental management policy allowing players to drop into NABC+ events was redefined by the Board last fall in Orlando to allow drop-ins only from team events into team events. Thus, players losing their Spingold quarterfinal match could drop into the semifinal round of the Roth Open Swiss. Because of the tight Roth qualifying cut, the practice got extra scrutiny at this tournament. We hope that the Board of Directors will review the results of this experiment when they meet in San Diego and we expect them to consider adjusting it further.

Seeding. We seed the teams in major events for the same reason that players are seeded in tennis tournaments and other sports events. Seeding increases the level of competition in the later rounds of an event. It is difficult to seed foreign players if they do not have extensive histories of playing in NABCs. We delegate this process to a panel of experts who we hope can accurately manage this admittedly subjective undertaking. We will try to further improve this process by encouraging more discussion among the members of the seeding committee by gathering more information on foreign players. However, we do not believe we can solve this problem without a worldwide effort to improve how player strength is measured.

This type of review process is critical to our growth as we strive to continue to produce world-class tournaments. We want to thank those who provided feedback on these issues. We will try to do better in San Diego.

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