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All comments by Richard Willey
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If bridge is going to survive in North America, I suspect that it will primarily be due to online environments like BBO.

If partnering with the ACBL is good for BBO, I'm all for it… (And if funneling money into the ACBL gives BBO management influence over the ACBL, better yet)

And for those of you who are unhappy because you believe that BBO is harmful to club attendance, I'll point out the following

1. BBO just covered the ACBL's losses on the ACBLScore+ fiasco and dd so without requiring massive increases in table fees or sanctions
2. BBO is doing a lot to promote and advertise the game - for example the First Yeh Online Cup - which can only be good for clubs

On balance I think that the existence of BBO is extremely good for the continued health of the game…
June 28, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment June 28, 2016
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Just to clarify, am I correct in assuming that the players will be competing using an electronic playing environment?
June 23, 2016
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Comment 1: You posit the existence of a feeder ecosystem. “War” players become “Hearts” players. “Hearts” players become bridge players. (I don't disagree. This is the path that I followed). Here's the rub: Computer games aren't “just” having an impact on bridge, they are also killing off “War” and “Hearts”. I don't see the ACBL doing a good job solving this problem.

Comment 2: The 10-30 years aren't rejecting all types of card games. Magic the Gathering is incredibly popular. Here's what I think that the 10-30 year olds are rejecting:

1. The chance to socialize with folks in their 70s
2. A game that has a pathological aversion to anything new or different

You are citing the need to simplify bidding and ban ever more conventions. Deck building is a core skill inside MtG. If a player comes up with some crazy new strategy that works, he is acclaimed and rewarded. He doesn't get told that his deck is “destructive” or too complicated for a 75 year old to defend against.
June 23, 2016
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> He announced that the EBL, ACBL and United States Bridge
> Federation are cooperatively investing in a study on electronic
> surveillance. “We must stay at least one step ahead of those
> seeking to harm our game through illegal methods.”

Better late than never…
June 21, 2016
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> You have to start somewhere. Just because it will not solve all
> of the problems does not mean it doesn't have merit.

As I understand matters, the grand scheme is to

1. Gather 250 ACBL members during the summer Nationals
2. Demonstrate that these individuals are members and froma geographically diverse set of districts
3. Use this to force the BoD to consider one or more motions submitted by the hoi polloi

As such, time is an extremely precious commodity. I would prefer not to waste it on minor issues like how much is being spent on airplane tickets. While a real issue and even an annoying one, it distracts from the real issues at hand.
June 21, 2016
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For fucks sake people, I understand that obsessing about BoD stipends and other such grievances might give people personal satisfaction, however, this represents a massive distraction from the real issues that are at hand.

1. The ACBL membership is dying off. Evening club games are extinct and daytime games are soon to follow. Tournaments aren't in much better shape. And I'd love to know what is going to happen as we start loosing ever more tournament directors and tournament volunteers.

2. The ACBL managed pissed away millions of dollars on what should have been a simple software project. We've never gotten an adequate accounting regarding what went wrong or seen any real accountability for this project.

3. The governance of the organization is a joke.

But its ever so much more fun to whip ourselves into a frenzy over how much we're spending on muffins and airplane tickets.
June 21, 2016
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I see no reason why we want to have directors represent specific geographies (and many reasons why we shouldn't). If we were to have directors represent geos, I think that we need to do some work to make sure that districts with larger populations have more voting power.

In my experience, most of the large tech companies have BoDs that are about half the size of the ACBL. Microsoft has 11. Google has 15. (Once you get beyond 7-9 or so things start to get unweilldy)
June 20, 2016
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Hi Gary,

My understanding is that you have a very limited time window in which to advance motions and move to cloture. Having looked at all three of your petitions, I think that

1. You are advancing too many separate motions
2. I think that there are other issues that are much more significant than these three

I suspect that you're going to get bogged down in debate on your first motions and never actually manage to get a vote.

I think that you'd be much better off focusing on one narrowly defined point and drafting a very simple motion describing it.

Possible issues to chose between might include

1. Reducing the size of the Bod from 25 to 7 and not longer having Directors represent indivudal districts

2. Commissioning and publishing a demographic study

3. A variant of your proposal for fiscal disclosure
June 20, 2016
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I'm confused. Are you suggesting that Gary is some kind of stalking horse for Hartman?
June 20, 2016
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When I hear the words “BoD Downsizing”, my assumption is that you are decreasing the size of the BoD. (For example, shrinking the number of members from 25 to 8 or some such).

This seems to be a suggestion to move in the direction of using video for meetings.

Personally, I don't like this suggestion. I think that it would be better to either have

1. All BoD members dialing in over video
2. No BoD members meeting in person

Deliberately splitting things up seems weird.

(I'll note in passing that setting up video chat for large numbers of people can be very challenging. Technologies that work well for 2-3 people to chat don't scale well. I work with a bunch of very technical folks who fail to do a good job running video chats over and over again. My mind boggles at trying to get a bunch of geezers to successfully make use of this technology)
June 20, 2016
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> the ACBL loses an average of almost 1000 members a month
> (how much to death, etc. doesn't seem to be known). Adding
> a similar amount, which seems to be reflected in current data,
> strikes me as a congratulatory achievement, but unlikely to be
> sustainable

Here's the rub: The ACBL is losing members with decades worth of experience.

The ACBL is replacing these players with 65 year novices who are never going to have the time or energy to compete at the level of the players being lost.

The dilution in the talent pool is already obvious.

If the ACBL's goal is solely to continue cashing checks, this might be sustainable. However, the very nature of the game will change and not in a good way…
June 19, 2016
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Back when Kevin Lane provided his demographic breakdown of the ACBL membership, he had to generate this using master points won rather than tables played.

The fact that something is available on a local copy of ACBLScore, perhaps even reported into Horn Lake, does not mean that the information is readily available for use.
June 18, 2016
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I've actually helped to create a few executive dashboards in my day. The critical issue is being able to roll up a lot of disperse information into a small number of charts or graphics.

Here's the set of Key Performance Indicators that I would find most interesting:

1. Membership
2. Table Counts
3. Geospatial Model
4. Profit and Loss

Let's look at each of these in turn:

ACBL Membership: As many people have already noted, an industry standard demographic model of the ACBL population is an obvious starting point. Along with this, you want an analysis of the acquisition cost of new members and an attrition model that describes expected membership loss over time.

Table Counts:

The first time I created this post, I had separate sections describing Health of Clubs, Health of Units, Health of Tournaments, Health of Online Bridge. However, I quickly discovered that I wanted to use Table Counts as a primary measure for each of these. It felt right to invert the axes and have a comprehensive system to report on table counts (where and when people are playing bridge)

Geospatial Model: I think that we need some mechanism that shows the relationship between population density and ACBL membership.

1. What percentage of ACBL members have a club within foo minutes travel time of their home address?

2. What percentage of ACBL members have a regional / sectional within foo minutes travel time of their address?

3. What major population centers are well served / poorly served by the ACBL and how is this changing over time?

Profit and Loss: All of this can get rolled up into a profit and loss model that describes expected P+L over time.
June 18, 2016
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> We measure all of them and they can all be worked out, in case
> anyone hasn't noticed, we have ACBL score which for all its
> shortcomings is a wonderful database of all the bridge statistics
> we may ever want.

As I understand matters, ACBLScore reports information about players that have won masterpoints and aggregate information about table counts. I don't think that you have a comprehensive record of member participation.

I agree that a semi competent organization could modify ACBLScore to provide much better record keeping…
June 18, 2016
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<Crickets chirp>
June 16, 2016
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BTW, for amusement value I once psyched in 2nd seat. The opponent's called the director and asked for an adjust because no one ever psyches in second seat and how was a poor befuudled ever expected to defend themselves…
June 14, 2016
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In ACBL land, it would be illegal to have any such agreements…
June 14, 2016
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Well, lets see…

I have (private) emails that Jeff Meckstroth wrote to the C&C committee saying that defenses against any transfer major openings should not be allowed because this would be a backdoor to getting MOSCITO approved.

I have the email records of the inane snip hunt that Chip Martel lead me on trying to get a defense approved to Ekrens type assumed fit methods. (Eventually, the C&C got their shit together and said that any two suited preempt that could be based on a 4-4 fit was inherently destructive, but your years before this they accomplished the exact same thing by refusing to sanction ANY defense)

Is that good enough for you?

If not, we could (of course) consider the fact that the C&C committee doesn't actual approve defenses. The went for how long (close to a decade) without sanctioning a single new defense.

Claiming incompetence as a defense only gets you so far… I think that the committee rose to the level of malfeasance long ago…
June 14, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment June 14, 2016
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@JoAnn

Here, once again, you seem to be assuming that the purpose of the Defensive Database is to provide defenses to various conventions. Its not.

The Defensive Database is a mechanism by which the C&C can layer additional restrictions on top of the Midchart without needing to get approval.
June 14, 2016
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There is a reason that folks rarely psych in first or second seat…
June 13, 2016
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