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All comments by Kevin O'Brien
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105000 tables, Jeff? What percentage of f2f club tables is this?
Jan. 5
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Sounds like a “task” that could easily be subdivided and parceled out, involving others in making small contributions to the good of all.
Jan. 1
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Bridge (including competitive Duplicate Bridge in North America) will survive in some way, despite what ACBL has done/is doing.

Sometimes (far too often?) we need to kvetch, Ellis.

But when we sit at the table to play, somehow it gets better.

When we assist a player or pair in learning something, and get thanked for this, somehow it gets better.

When players at the club see and appreciate what we are doing for the club (and thus for every player at the club), and express that appreciation, somehow it gets better.

If it didn't we would have quit (or been committed to some mental health institution) long ago.

May you experience much more of “somehow, it gets better.”
Jan. 1
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Congratulations to the team! I remember playing a small part in forming the Soukup-Berk partnership, and teaming with them in DC-area Sectionals and Regionals, usually winning – victories much more their “fault” than mine!

Good skill – and luck – in Italy!
Jan. 1
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I'm here too, you probably have my number in your cell phone. I do much better with voice mail than text.

Hope you are enjoying Bridge with Mom!
Dec. 31, 2019
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Hi Peg,

You would have to put in a lot more effort to offend me!

Bottom line on NABC as in any tournament is that a player is required to have an ACBL number to be allowed to compete.

We all know that Masterpoints is not an effective measure of skill/ability, especially not of current skill/ability – but it is better than a guess at what should be a Masterpoint total.

For foreign players at their first NABC, what we have is this guess … and often that's all we have.

I understand the dislike of a playing field that is NOT level, and that's what this could turn into.

But in the big picture, this is a very minor issue – and will be decided by people far above my pay grade.
Dec. 30, 2019
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment Dec. 30, 2019
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Nothing is perfect, Jeff. But even Chris Hasney appreciates New Tricks Bridge Club – perhaps because he sees Marion and Cecilia, neither of whom is a candidate for seeing yesterday's breakfast displayed on their clothing?

Please take the half-hour to watch and evaluate the content. Their self-touted tutorials may not match BestEBridge, but at least the content is solid and they are actively seeking viewers.

Even ACBL is now reaching out on-line.

And you are opening your Club doors to gamers.

Let's celebrate and build on something positive. May your criticism be constructive!
Dec. 30, 2019
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As Joe Hertz has said, our desired demographic is gamers. We need to market where they are – I believe he mentioned GenCon, apparently in Indianapolis every year. That's a day trip from Cincy, Steve – and a day trip from Louisville, home of Baron Barclay. www.gencon.com

Seize the time, don't wait for Horn Lake! send Horn Lake a request for cooperative funds, but get there!
Dec. 30, 2019
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Jim's “We're doing something wrong” may not be looking for agreement, but rather for positive suggestions on how we can correct what we are doing!

Check out the first competition at New Tricks Bridge Club; it's been effectively edited and is at least view-worthy. https://www.newtricksbridge.club/watch.html
Dec. 30, 2019
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Thanks for your kind words, Marty. You understand the reasons behind my making the suggestions in this article.

See also Ellis Feigenbaum's comment above.
Dec. 30, 2019
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Hi Peg,

The South Slobbovian National Champion pair come to their first NABC. They of course have to join ACBL to compete.

They go to get some ACBL official, who has never heard of South Slobbovia, who will assign each of them some arbitrary number of Masterpoints so they can participate in NABC and NABC+ events. The number they are assigned is too small.

They play in a limited event (e.g. "Under-Ruby-LM North American Bridge Championship Matchpoint Pairs") with their 1250 assigned MP's each. Because assigning Masterpoints in this way is more of an art than a science, they win the event by five boards.

Pairs who would otherwise have had real opportunities to win the event finish second, third, etc – excellent but no glory.

Mr. Hammond may have more to add, or even some totally different reason – but my example scenario is one that could be feared by many North American players.
Dec. 30, 2019
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Thank you, Ellis.

ACBL makes a big deal about advancement to new ranks, with available certificates and new Membership Cards you can print out for each new rank you achieve.

In theory, those of the same rank are peers in experience and ability. At least that's how ACBL measures such things.

So add some peer-level competition where ACBL can provide the venue and the publicity. Build it – not necessarily all at once, but certainly step by step. Build it, and see if they come.

Interesting ideas have sprouted in the comments, more contributions to the discussion.

Appropriate slicing and dicing of data may reveal surprising results about level and frequency of competition. Did “Gold-Rush”-level competition really do nothing for attendance/table count and membership retention? Maybe not … perhaps it delayed players walking away from the game by giving them attainable goals; as may have also happened with the addition of Ruby and Sapphire Life Master ranks. We won't know until the available data is appropriately analyzed. Don't write off these efforts as “rearranging deck chairs” without taking a closer look at the data.

ACBL may not gain new members through adding some of these events to the schedule, but they may get current members playing more Bridge.

Add more peer-level events with recognition (North American Bridge Championship sounds impressive anyway, and being recognized as among the best of your peers is worth something).

Details of the proposed new events can (and will) be modified by people much more involved in NABC scheduling than I am (I have never had any official involvement).

These people may have some interest but want to start on a smaller scale – that's fine; IMHO it's better to do something than to do nothing. I'm sure they will include some way to measure participation to determine whether the new events have a positive impact on NABC tournaments, perhaps even on other tournaments and club play.

Bridge is not a zero-sum game! More peer-level competitions at Championship Tournaments does not detract from the multitude of other titles awarded. There's more than enough to go around.
Dec. 29, 2019
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment Dec. 30, 2019
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Details can (and will) be modified by people much more involved in NABC scheduling than I am (I have never had any official involvement). They may have some interest but want to start on a smaller scale – that's fine; it's better to do something than to do nothing.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Details can (and will) be modified by people much more involved in NABC scheduling than I am (I have never had any official involvement). They may have some interest but want to start on a smaller scale – that's fine; it's better to do something than to do nothing.

At least in the beginning, most competitors in the lower levels will be local. Local Districts and Units will have a good idea of how many competitors will show up at each level and will probably be taking the lead in recruiting these participants.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Details can (and will) be modified by people much more involved in NABC scheduling than I am (I have never had any official involvement). They may have some interest but want to start on a smaller scale – that's fine; it's better to do something than to do nothing.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Maybe by this time next year, Jeff, you'll be saying “Boy has our publicity improved!”
Dec. 28, 2019
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Speaking of The Card Turner, is there at least one copy of this book in each school library where there is a current SIVY program?

What about Jeff Bayone's award-winning A Taste of Bridge? Eddie Kantar's Introduction to Declarer Play and Introduction to Defender Play – or Barbara Seagram's twenty-first Century updated versions of these classics?

Do these school libraries have computers available for student research? Do these computers have ACBL's Learn to Play Bridge software on them?

If not, perhaps it would be appropriate to see if the ACBL Ed Foundation could supply these books and software (or even request a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has done much work with public libraries, to supply the books and software directly to requesting school libraries),
Dec. 27, 2019
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment Dec. 27, 2019
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Once the school door is open, that can be a huge boost to the opening of other school doors.

ACBL uses and promotes the study done by Dr Chris Shaw (http://web2.acbl.org/documentLibrary/teachers/statisticallyspeaking.pdf) as proof that learning and playing Bridge leads to measurable improvement in student test scores on standardized tests, as compared to the improvement of non-Bridge-playing students.

With five to six years of test results now available in school system records for those who have completed SIVY after-school programs, and active contacts into these schools, perhaps it would be possible to do similar studies comparing aggregate test scores, year-over-year, of SIVY-involved students and their non-Bridge-playing peers.

If these SIVY-area aggregate numbers (never any personally identifiable information) showed similar or better score improvement gaps between Bridge and non-Bridge students to the student scores measured and compared in Dr Shaw's study, the impact (with more Bridge students, and measured over a longer time) would both reinforce and increase the possibility of entry into more school systems. The New! Improved! ACBL Educational Foundation might well be interested in supporting local SIVY volunteers in investigating this possibility and following up.

Imagine them being able to so the same thing in Atlanta with AJB, and in Reno, the Toronto area, Seattle, and the many other places where there are active Bridge-in-Schools and Bridge-after-school programs.

An umbrella study combining twenty-first century data from programs scattered around North America could assist eager volunteers in jump-starting Youth Bridge programs throughout North America.

Is anyone currently involved with SIVY willing to approach the ACBL Ed Foundation about appropriate approaches to school systems, and appropriate data to request and metrics to use to determine measurable effects of learning Bridge on student improvements in standardized tests?
Dec. 27, 2019
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment Dec. 28, 2019
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Richard,

Is there some part of
There is a public website where this information is available to anyone:

http://bridgefinesse.com/D0/GrowthSearch.html


that is beyond your ken? I doubt it. I went, explored, and found that I can see trees, but no forest. The new members' personally identifiable information that I could see is limited to, at most, a postal code.

The FAQ (http://bridgefinesse.com/D0/GrowthFAQ.html) may be of some use.

That's all I know. Perhaps that's not what you seek, but it's all I can provide. I have no better access than you have. At least I sent and looked, to see what I could see.
Dec. 26, 2019
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Richard,

Go explore it yourself. You'll find the “Heat Map” tool has been deprecated by Google, and ACBL has only a few months to recover the data before Google deletes it.

Presumably ACBL (or at least BridgeFinesse) already has backed up the data.

I was disappointed to see only seventeen instances of my showing up as a recruiter, and that there is no data for 2016 and earlier.
Dec. 26, 2019
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