Join Bridge Winners
The Anti-Membership ACBL

  The winter issue of Unit 140's newsletter, "The Declarer", contains an application to "join the NJBL's premiere event," the NJBL Double KO Event for 2014. The Unit has offered these Double KO's over more than a quarter century. For a $20 check payable to NJBL - Unit 140, teams of 4-6 players can sign up to participate in the Open or Flight B's and play head to head matches throughout the year for fun, masterpoints and recognition until the winners prevail. 

  You will find no public mention in the newsletter or elsewhere that the 2013 event, held under identical terms and conditions, with all participants acting in good faith, has not been recognized by the ACBL.  Here are the details: 

  Nine teams enrolled for the Open and seven for the Flight B's. The event administrator (I have no idea what the actual title, if any, is) was a first year volunteer. Matches were mostly played at local ACBL clubs. Disputes, such as there were, were sometimes discussed by the EA with more experienced Unit 140 officials, including the previous EA. Teams made a conscious and successful effort to finish the event before the end of the year. In the Flight B's, the finalists braved a serious snow storm to get it done.

  The EA attempted before year end  to submit the results to the ACBL. However, the EA had not obtained an ACBL sanction number for the event. He was unaware he had to do so. Unfortunately, he was told, no sanction number, no event. As far as the ACBL is concerned, the 2013 Unit 140 Double KO didn't happen.

  Since then, various Unit 140 persons of prominence have spoken to various ACBL officials about retroactively sanctioning the event all to no avail. (I hope the unit will formally address this matter with the ACBL to get a written response if at all possible). The only reasons given, as far as I know third hand, are variations on 1) a rule is a rule and 2) other units did the same thing. Let's look at these in turn:

  1).  The participants had every reason to believe that they were participating in an ACBL sanctioned event beginning with the notice in the newsletter and the fee payment to NJBL. They, the EA and other Unit 140 officials all acted entirely in good faith. No conscious effort was made in any way to circumvent ACBL requirements. The ACBL in no way was injured that I can see.

        On the other hand, the ACBL by its stance is depriving a substantial number of motivated players of master points and recognition for something they were unaware of (in fact, may still be unaware of) and which was entirely out of their control. A membership organization faced with declining membership should more carefully consider the potential costs/benefits of its decisions.

  2).  If other units made the same mistake, perhaps there is a flaw or two in the ACBL's sanctioning procedures. Those should be evaluated and improved. Punishing the membership should not be the first option.



















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