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Proposal: New Soloway KO with Qualifying Swiss at Fall NABCs: Increase Attendance!

Proposal Modification: Start the Fall NABC with Reisinger/NABC Chris Compton 20 minutes ago

After posting my article “Proposal: New Soloway KO with Qualifying Swiss at Fall NABCs: Increase Attendance!” – I went to sleep, awoke in the middle of the night (jet lag), read the BW comments to my post and fell back asleep. In this second attempt at sleeping, I had a nightmare in which the Reisinger supporters emerged from within the gorgeous Taj Mahal and slaughtered my entire family! However, in all seriousness, I always supported starting the tournament with the Reisinger and the Fall NABC Swiss; however, in a close vote the Competition and Conventions Committee supported the tournament starting with the Blue Ribbon. Meck can verify my original support of beginning with the Reisinger, if this is important to anyone. Accordingly, I wish to modify my proposal by supporting starting the tournament with the Reisinger and the NABC Swiss and ending with the Blue Ribbon.

Starting first Friday: Reisinger and NABC SwissStarting Monday: KO with 2 day swiss qualifying and round of 32 KOStarting Wednesday: 2 day NABC event for non qualifersStarting Friday: Blue Ribbon

To be clear, i support the Reisinger remaining an NABC+ event, the continued awarding of seeding points for the Open US Trials, and no diminishing of the event in any manner.

At the request of the ACBL Board of Directors, Competition and Conventions Chairman Tom Carmichael appointed a sub-committee of Jeff Meckstroth, Ellen Kent, Jeff Ford, Jade Barrett and myself to study the Fall NABC schedule. Here are the conclusions, particularly about premier events, that Meck and I support, which were supported by the sub-committee, and which have twice been supported by a majority of the full committee. Before the below discussion, here is the proposed schedule:

Friday: Blue Ribbon Pairs

Saturday: Blue Ribbons Pairs

Sunday: Blue Ribbon Pairs

Monday: Soloway KO 2-Day Qualifying Swiss

Tuesday: Soloway KO 2-Day Qualifying Swiss

Wednesday: Soloway KO Round of 32 Team 2-Day NABC Pairs

Thursday: Soloway KO Round of 16 Team 2-Day NABC Pairs

Friday:Soloway KO Quarterfinal Reisinger 3-Day BAM 3-Day NABC Swss

Saturday: Soloway KO Semifinal Reisinger 3-Day BAM 3-Day NABC Swss

Sunday:Soloway KO Final Reisinger 3-Day BAM3-Day NABC Swiss

Overall thoughts for background:

  • Table counts at NABC’s are in the midst of a 20 year decline. Naturally, the ACBL is interested in reversing this trend. The Fall NABC is generally the smallest of the three NABC’s.
  • The attendance at Intermediate Novice events and 0-750 events is driven almost entirely by local enthusiasm. If the local area has strong efforts in the area of new membership and membership retention, then NABC attendance will be strong for newer players. Gold Rush Pairs are the big deal at the moment for this small NABC market segment.
  • Regional table counts at NABC’s will not increase as long as there are an all-time high 120 annual regionals. The non-NABC regional is cheaper than the NABC regional in terms of entry fee, travel and lodging cost. Even meals are higher at downtown NABC hotels than they are at suburban regional locations. Those price increases all add up – and for a significant portion of players – cost matters.
  • The jury is still out on the new 0-10,000 events. The attendance has not started as large as hoped, and table counts are not growing. Still these events are due a longer trial before final evaluation.
  • Mixed team events are much more common outside the ACBL.
  • One of the easier ways to increase NABC attendance is by improving the attractiveness of NABC events.

When we survey the elite community we find a clear preference for 3-day pair games, as well as both 3 and 7-day imp team games. Not surprisingly, our premier NABC events are among the very best attended in the world in terms of both strength of field and size of field.

The current team theme of the lightly attendedFall NABC is board-a-match and matchpoints. In an attempt to match the world class 7-day events at the Spring and Summer NABCs, wecould propose to add a 7-day board-a-match event. 1) It would completely exhaust the players, and 2) Using a board-a-match scoring to determine seeding points for the US Open trials is strange at best (which is the current method, i.e. we use results of the Reisinger Board-a-Match).

How exactly did we ever come to a 2-day BAM on the first Saturday and Sunday of the Fall NABC team event anyway? No one seems to know!

What if we commit to the following “3-7-3” idea for each NABC: open with a 3-day NABC pair event, then move to a 7-day imp team event, and then close with a 3-day team event? Won’t such a format encourage players to come to the beginning of the NABC and stay until the end? The 3-day Platinum Pairs (Spring), the LM Pairs (Summer), and the Blue Ribbon (Fall) to open each NABC, a 7-day imp team game next at each NABC, and a 3-day swiss to close each NABC, (as well as the Reisinger remaining opposite the now traditional 3-day Fall NABC Swiss).

A glimpse of this 3-7-3 format was seen at the 2015 Chicago Summer NABC when the Roth Swiss accidentally became a 3-day swiss across the last Friday, Saturday, Sunday, (previously the Roth had been a two-day swiss over the last two days of the Summer NABC). The 3-day closing summer event was very well attended and had a world class final field of 40 teams. So, we have the Spring NABC and the Summer NABC set with 3-7-3and propose the Fall:

  • The Spring NABC would begin with the Platinum Pairs, thenthe Vanderbilt, and we lengthen the Jacoby Open swiss from the current 2 days to 3 days. “3-7-3.”
  • The Summer NABC would begin with the LM Pairs,thenthe Spingold, and newly lengthened 3-day Jacoby Open Swiss. “3-7-3”
  • The Fall NABC would begin with the Blue Ribbon Pairs, thenthe new 7-day Soloway KO, and the traditional Reisinger and Fall NABC Swiss. “3-7-3”

By changing the Fall NABC to open with the 3-day Blue Ribbon, then continuing with the new 7-day Soloway KO, and then closing with the traditional Reisinger and Fall NABC 3-day Swiss we hope to: 1) persuade people to come at the beginning of the tournament for the Blue Ribbon; 2) entice them to stay to enter the 7-day USBF qualifying Soloway KO; and, 3) “hold” them until the end of the tournament with the knowledge that elimination from the Soloway is softened by the remaining two day NABCpair game, the Reisinger and the3-day NABC Swiss. Lastly, let’s place a mixed swiss on the last two days of the Fall NABC to attract a neglected North American market which sells well in the rest of the world.

A few detail about the new Soloway KO:

  • Rather than a third straight 7-day KO, we propose a more European style event with a 2-day swiss qualifying, leading to a 32 team KO. One advantage of this is to insure all teams a second day, this would be especially attractive to those crossing continents to attend our NABC’s. By the way, with the declining cost of international travel, European, Asian, and South American attendees are an obvious emerging NABC market with upside potential. Remember, for each “big team” which crosses an ocean to play at our NABC’s, such team brings along spouses and friends who enter our premier events and who play in our secondary events. For those that don’t qualify for the 32-team KO phase of the Soloway held Monday and Tuesday, we would have a 2-day NABC pair event on Wednesday and Thursday while waiting for the 3-day team event on the weekend.

A note about the Reisinger:

  • Jeff Meckstroth has won the Reisinger 9 times, I have won it once (LOL, watch out Jeff!): we. as well asothers, agree that it is not nearly the accurate gage of bridge performance as are the 7-day imp events. Of course, there are those who are romantically attached to the Reisinger precisely because it is anhistorical form of scoring and folks naturally want to rescue the event because the event has been slowly dying ever since the advent of the massively popular Fall NABC Swiss. Please don’t shoot the messenger! Progress has a cost.

Let’s increase attendance at the beginning of the Fall NABC’s and hold the players until the end of the tournament by moving the schedule to 3-7-3 similar to the better attended Spring and Summer NABC’s.

Open the tournament with the 3-day Blue Ribbon Pairs.

Introduce a new7-day Soloway KO with a two-day swiss qualifying and a 32 team KO.

Close the tournament with the 3-day Reisinger and 3-day NABC Swiss.

Thanks for listening, we hope that you will support our idea! If you do like this idea, write your ACBL BOD member, or if you live outside ACBL land, write ACBL President Suzi Subeck at or

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