Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Richard Willey
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I don't have any information about the specific details of the contract with the Mariott. My primary concern is signing contracts with significant penalty clauses if we fail to meet committed room targets.

I hope that any contracts that we're signing today gives us a reasonable option to back out in, say, six years time. (I thought I heard rumblings about this after the latest Hawaii CF
Jan. 5
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I believe that the ACBL is going to go through a painful period during which expenses dramatically outstrip revenue. As I have mentioned before, I expect both membership and revenues to significantly contract over a relatively short period of time. I think that the organization will be exposed based a combination of fixed costs that are too large for the current membership base as well as long term contracts.

I think that the organization will need healthy reserves to avoid getting driven into bankruptcy.
Jan. 5
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Top 199 clubs make up 50.03% of tables
Top 306 clubs make up 60.03% of tables
Jan. 5
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
When I was looking at table counts a couple weeks back, I threw together the following chart

https://ibb.co/R7mh5k6

The top 128 F2F clubs account for about 40% of the tables
Jan. 5
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
> It lost 480 clubs this decade. At its current rate of
> 86 a year and factoring in acceleration, I'd say if
> not money, some helping hand looks warranted.
> Wouldn't you Richard?

That very much depends on what the money is to be used for and whether or not the plan seems credible.

As a rule, I am skeptical about plans that tax clubs with sanction fees in order to redistribute that same money to clubs in the form of recruitment bonuses. I am even more skeptical about plans that suggest drawing down the ACBL's cash reserves in order to subsidize clubs.

No one is disputing that large numbers of clubs have died this decade, nor that this number is increasing. However, I don't believe that the ACBL should be burning large amounts of money in order to delay the inevitable.
Jan. 5
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
> When is your club opening? Take a real special person
> to run one and you seem real special to me.

When is your club dying?
Seems like no one will miss it…
Jan. 5
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Last I saw, Jeff's plan was approximately the following:

This is Chewbacca, Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now, think about that. That does not make sense! Why would a Wookiee - an eight foot tall Wookiee - want to live on Endor with a bunch of two foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! What does that have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! None of this makes sense. If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests. DAMNIT!

(And give lots and lots of money to club owners)
Jan. 5
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
> For some reason the Laws do not define natural calls,
> only artificial calls. I am under the impression that each
> call is either natural or artificial, but I have
> no way to prove it.

There are plenty of examples of bids that are both natural and conventional
Jan. 4
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
The Endicott fudge is no longer necessary.

I don't think that the new ACBL convention charts bother with this
Jan. 4
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
> why don't the clubs have a few representatives
> on the board, say 1/3 at least

A few years back, I was asking the same question. Then I started listening to the proposals being advanced by the club owners. At this point in time, I believe that the interests of the club owners are sufficiently disjoint from those of the league that it would be dangerous to give them any significant political representation.

Seriously: Listen to the proposals that Jeff keeps bringing to the floor. Listen to how much money he claims need to be paid in recruitment bounties. Listen when he describes the amount of $$$ that club owners need to be paid to incentivize people to open new clubs.

These aren't realistic proposals. It's all about grabbing as much money as people can before the shit hits the fan
Jan. 4
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I don't disagree…

One of my big concerns with proposals that I see coming from various club owners is that I think that the primary goal is to try to loot the reserve funds
Jan. 4
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Richard keeps his political science hat on:

FWIW, I think that the emergence of an organization of clubs would result in a highly destructive exchange with the ACBL.

1. I think that it is near indisputable that the ACBL has been exploiting clubs for decades. The organization collects lots of sanction fees and provides very little in return.

2. If I were a club owner, I'd be looking at $$$ in the ACBL bank accounts and demanding that this get spent on various types of programs to subsidize club owners.

3. However, if I am the ACBL management, my big concern is managing the reserve funds and making sure that there is enough money in the kitty to keep the organization going during a very painful downsizing that will be necessary when revenue streams inevitably collapse. (This collapse could occur because of the demographic cliff. Alternatively, it could happen if a club organization carries through with its threat to start with holding sanction fees).

What makes this REALLY amusing is that the most credible leverage that the club owners have SHOULD incentivize the ACBL to be even more conservative about spending.

Either way, I expect that this plays out the same way.
Jan. 4
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Richard puts on his political science hat:

The leverage that an organization of clubs has over the ACBL is quite obvious: The ACBL's revenue stream depends on convincing people that masterpoints are, in some way, valuable.

If you can break your members of this habit and convince them that they money that gets sent to Horn Lake can be better spent locally you will cut off the ACBL's air supply.

In turn, this gives you a fairly big stick that you can use to try and effect change.
Jan. 4
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Richard puts on his economist hat:

One area where markets often result in suboptimal solutions is when you are dealing with products that have very high fixed costs relative to their variable costs. Think computer software. It takes a lot of time and effort to write good code, however, once this code has been written you can distribute copies of it for virtually nothing.

Arguably, teaching materials like lesson plans fall into the same category. It's very expensive to develop a good class. However, once you have done so another good teacher can often pick this work up and use it fairly easily.

It's unclear to me whether there is a role for a nationwide organization for bridge clubs. I suspect that most of the cases where an centralized government of some kind would work better than clubs doing things for themselves fall into this category.

I suspect that having a mechanism by which club owners can share information about strategies and techniques that work well or have proved disastrous would also be of use.
Jan. 4
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I think that there is a lot of blame that can be thrown around here, however, this is one occasion where I don't think that the WBF officials are to blame. Rather

1. I think that the Spanish team erred badly in deciding to escalate this matter without sufficient evidence in hand. Please note: I don't see anything wrong with a decision to escalate this matter publically. Had they waited until they could make a more comprehensive presentation, I think that things would have turned out quite differently.

2. If Nic Hammond's claims are true (and I have no reason to disbelieve him), then Lall and Bathurst were consistently opening bids at the one level with values a king or more below average strength in third seat. They may have had a definition for a pass that is stronger than that of an opening bid. It's unclear whether or not the pair had a conscious partnership agreement to do so, however, I've always viewed this as a distinction without a difference.

I'm going to close with a standard refrain that better record keeping would have allowed this issue to be addressed in a much more satisfactory manner.
Jan. 4
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Looking at all top pairs is fine.

I'd be more interested in looking at top pairs who are playing Precision

Might also be interesting in breaking out the data into before / after the incident in question
Jan. 3
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
It seems clear the the director is well aware regarding the jump raise style that N/S use over 1m openings as well as how they disclose these methods.

I am curious whether the E/W pair is aware of this as well.
Jan. 3
Richard Willey edited this comment Jan. 3
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
FWIW, you know what the really big advantage that bridge has going for it?

Decks of cards are cheap and easy to carry, so they are great to carry along on vacations. (I'm currently vacationing in Spain and glad that I brought a tute deck with me. I was able to play tute and mus with random strangers in the bars for a couple evenings)
Jan. 3
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
> Better or more marketable?
> Marketable as in campaigns not being run by nonprofits?

Gloomhaven was a bloody kickstarter
The marketing is completely word of mouth.
This has NOTHING to do with the (various) inadequacies of the ACBL. Rather, this is all about the characteristics and rules of the various games.

I can take a group of three friends who have never played Spirit Island and have them playing the game in 10 minutes. We can add a new player to our Gloomhaven campaign in 5 minutes. I can hand a friend a MtG deck, explain a few things and they'll be able be playing 5 minutes later. Yes, there are equivalent in bridge (This is why I normally use minibridge to introduce the game to new players, but even so, the barriers to entry are much much higher)

Equally significant, suppose that there is some bright young kid who has this theory about deckbuilding and wants to try something new / crazy / different.

1. There is no one to go and tell him that his new deck is illegal because no one has ever seen this before

2. If he starts winning a bunch of matches, people will congratulate him because he's come up with something new and different. They won't start crying that this is destructive and unfair.

3. The games are dynamic and living. They haven't been ossified by conservative old geezers who are afraid of anything new.
Jan. 2
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Not to get completely off topic, but when I am playing Gloomhaven, there is a bunch of downtime because one playing who won't be named (cough, George, cough) takes three times longer to figure out his move than anyone else…
Jan. 2
.

Bottom Home Top