Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Jonathan Steinberg
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
But surely the USBF Board must have open votes and public minutes. I'm curious as to the 4-3 vote. Who voted yea and who voted nay?
May 29, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
It is indeed a restricted link. I get the following message: “I'm sorry, the forum ”USBF Tournament Policy Committee“ is only viewable to members. You may apply for membership below.
Apply now!”
May 29, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Wow! Thanks Mike Becker for the details. I am amazed that a 7 member Board of Directors would overthrow their own committee 13-17 vote and change the rules by a 4-3 vote. Awful decision, perhaps worse process.

Do all people when they are elected to a Board of Directors assume an air of superiority and suddenly discover new found knowledge?

Having served on multiple bridge related Boards… it's all very dispiriting. Many are advocating reducing the ACBL Board from 25 to 9 as a “solution” to years of mismanagement and poor decisions. But, hey, only 7 on the USBF Board.
May 29, 2019
Jonathan Steinberg edited this comment May 29, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
David, one tries to bracket based on the team's masterpoint total rather than just by numbers that “work”. I don't have the exact figures but ballpark you had 4 teams with more than 25,000 masterpoints. The 5th team perhaps ten thousand. That is the type of problem that occurs everywhere to varying degrees. Having new KOs start every day makes it worse.

The Soloway format was designed for when you have 5-8 “top bracket” teams who can play in a round robin on Day one to reduce to 4 teams for head on matches on Day 2.

If you have a bracket of 9 or more teams, there is no problem and no need to do anything other than play a normal KO.
May 28, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
When you schedule new KOs starting every day, there is nothing unexpected about having awkward numbers. Tournament Chairs should get better guidance from the DICs and Head Office as to recommended schedules for tournaments of a certain size along with options.

The solution for most medium sized Regionals is simple. Have new KOs starting every second day and some form of one day team game when there is no new KO starting. Bracketed Swiss events seem to be popular – still with lots of options. Bracket from the top down or bottom up? 8 or 9 team brackets?

Some very small Midwest Regionals (Chicago area) no longer schedule KO events.
May 28, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Randy, of course the ACBL Club Department will not fall apart. NOBODY is indispensable and and anyone can be replaced.

The point that I think you are missing is that even if one could make a sound business case for removing an individual, one would expect that after 40+ years of service, that person would be treated with a modicum of decency, respect, and recognition for his/her years of service.
May 27, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Phil, where did I state or even imply that hiring a new CEO, Executive Director or whatever title ACBL wishes to bestow has hurt employee morale? Or helped employee morale? Since I don't work in Horn Lake…

What I do know is that no one likes uncertainty. In 2018 the CEO was fired followed by several employees in high level positions and at least one very long-time employee. This creates uncertainty and affects morale. This year long-time and well liked Carol Robertson was let go. It makes for a less than happy working environment. Who will be next?

I have more direct knowledge out in the field because I speak with Tournament Directors and Tournament Chairs at every Regional I attend. Whether or not Tournament Directors have valid reasons to be unhappy may be open to debate. But the reality that the ACBL is no longer one big happy family working together is indisputable.

Equally unfortunate, in my opinion, is that the 25 member ACBL Board of Directors are split into cliques and do not work well together or speak with one voice. It was the same when I served (1994-2008) and it has not changed in the past 11 years. It is a governance model that is doomed to failure. Nor is there any realistic expectation that recent proposals to change the governance structure have any chance of succeeding.
May 27, 2019
Jonathan Steinberg edited this comment May 27, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Attendance started a little slowly but was very solid Fri/Sat Sun. The change from Tuesday to Holiday Monday to Monday to Sunday appears to have been a success. Final attendance was 1654 tables this year compared to 1689 two years. Doen 35 tables these days is considered a success!
May 27, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Titles keep changing… the ACBL used to have a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)… now it is called Executive Director. Same job. Different title.

My understanding is that the position held by Gary Blevins (they called it Director of Field Operations) is now held by ACBL TD Nancy Boyd who moved to the Horn/Lake Memphis area sometime in 2018.
May 26, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
There is no good news coming out of Horn Lake. I chatted with Carol on FB this afternoon. She was polite and friendly as always. Employee morale was not good before her job “being eliminated” and now it is worse.

In the field, ACBL Tournament Directors (TDs) are equally unhappy with little or no respect for the latest ACBL Chief Tournament Director (Director of Field Operations?) The titles keep changing.

Most recently management tried to increase the number of sessions for a full-time TD from 265 to 300, effective June 1st. It was pointed out that schedules are set up to one year in advance. Who would think?

Nationally rated Senior TDs have abruptly “retired”. Others are ageing and not as effective as when they were younger. Many parts of the country have a severe shortage of qualified TDs.

What was once a happy family with everyone working together is now more akin to a hostile working environment where everyone is concerned with keeping their jobs and adapting to whatever new rules and regulations that are issued.

It is hard to be optimistic, especially with little or no leadership from either Horn Lake or the ACBL Board of Directors who often appear to be living in their own bubble, oblivious to what is happening in the field and/or head office.
May 25, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
One avid bridge playing friend of mine (a Grand Life Master) is a vociferous critic of the Soloway KO format at Regionals and has started boycotting some tournaments that advertise them. She calls them a “cash grab”. In a normal KO, if you win (or survive a 3-way), you advance. If not, you can take the evening off and use your entry fee money for a special dinner. Or you can choose to play in the “Losers Swiss” which in many places is a popular event.

How happy are you if you have an awful first session? In the Soloway format you are forced to continue to play the second session which has been prepaid. Why is this a good format?

The KO problem is a reflection of declining attendance and poor scheduling. It was created for Bracket One only but is now (at some tournaments) being applied to all brackets.
May 25, 2019
Jonathan Steinberg edited this comment May 25, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I'm playing here at the Richmond Memorial Day Regional. Great people, great hospitality. Awful KO tournament schedule.

A major part of the problem, IMHO, is lack of guidance from Horn Lake to Tournament Chairs. So the schedule becomes a free for all.

ACBL TD's are working every week at Regionals. They know what works and what doesn't. Do they work with management and Tournament Chairs. Hard to know.

Small Regionals (say less than 2000 tables) should NOT have new KO's starting every day… every second day. In between run some sort of team game be it Swiss, Bracketed Swiss or Compact KO (pros hate that one).

Soloway style two day KOs were designed for Bracket One ONLY when the numbers did not allow for a real KO. Having this format for all brackets IMHO is not what most players want.
May 25, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
What happened to the Appeals from the Vanderbilt matches? did I miss them?
May 22, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
That was the number one complaint… having to take a cab to get to restaurants. There were not enough to service the bridge crowd
May 20, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Birmingham should never have been approved for an NABC. Not because of the hotel but because of the lack of restaurants. That was the number one complaint.
May 18, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
You have more room over 2H doubled. 2S is the weakest response. Relay and 3S is Invitational, direct jump to 3S is Forcing (5+). Jump to 4S would probably be a 6 bagger, no slam interest.
May 17, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Sorry, no! Leaping Michaels is a direct 2M-4x. No double. My mistake.
May 17, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Your exact agreements are not the issue. The issue is that you have agreements and know what they are. An expert highly paid professional pair should have agreements and system notes to back them up. That said, South, a high level expert player, has to “play bridge”. Trying to win in Committee after mis defending is far too prevalent in high level, high stakes bridge. Bad for the ACBL. Bad for the game. A pox on all of them ;)! Table result stands.

FWIW, my tournament partners and I play (after weak 2 doubled)
Direct jump to 3NT == To play No 4+ OM, stopper(s)
Direct jump to 4M == To play (5+M)
Relay and 3NT == 4 cards in OM and a stopper
Relay and cue bid == 4 cards in OM, no stopper
Direct cue bid == GF, no stopper, no 4 card M
Leaping Michaels at the 4 level
May 17, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I couldn't agree more. At the highest levels should it not be mandatory to have written system notes which must be made available if there is a dispute?

I have played against professional players who are in the Top 10 of the Barry Crane Top 500 on a regular basis (and are likely in the Top 10 among total sessions of tournament bridge played) and yet I frequently am told “we have no agreement”. Amazingly (or not) they defend and/or bid on these hands as if they know exactly what their partner has (“just bridge”).

No one is paying me (nor am I paying) $100,000+ to win National titles and World Championships but I do have 52 pages (more in larger type; less in smaller type) of basic system notes. Page 38 “Lebensohl in Non-NT Auctions” “Over their Weak Two Openings” covers this auction in depth. How often it does or does not arise is irrelevant; every professional pair has discussed it.

As for the “damaged” appealing side, I believe that players at the highest level have an obligation to ask the right questions and protect themselves. Far too many look for any opportunity (often only recognizable to the “expert” mind) to seek redress from Committees. See Blue Ribbon Pairs, Platinum Pairs, Vanderbilt matches, DONN vs FLEISHER 2019 USBF Team Trials. The high priced teams who are experts at lawyering have huge advantages.

So much money exchanging hands, full-time professional bridge players, yet “We have no agreement” and no system notes! WOW!
May 17, 2019
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Before the ACBL wisely changed the Appeals system at its NABCs (removing players from committees and replacing them with TDs), there were always FIVE players on a committee. What I found interesting was the the USBF Team Trials Appeals Committee was comprised of just THREE players. Is that normal for the USBF Trials? Just 3 person Appeals Committees?
May 16, 2019
.

Bottom Home Top