Join Bridge Winners
All comments by A.J. Stephani
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A “Morton's Spork”?
June 12
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>> No organization may own a sanction, only an individual. <<

All Units are automatically issued a club sanction number for their Unit games. These games must be managed by an individual on behalf of a Unit, but they are issued to a Unit.

Also, I would recommend that every club, Unit, and District rely on an appropriate legal opinion concerning their own structure and situation. There are several clubs out there with 501©(3) designations.
April 4
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Hey Gavin,

I just used a Go to Meeting room with my screenmate – I would think kibitzers would be bored, as we just saw each other at our desks, not the hands themselves. We just used the room to simplify the alerts and try out as a basic integrity check. Here's my rehash:

* The video conference technology is so good now that technical problems should be rare. Any of the major video conference platforms should work fine.

* The alert process is the best part of this – you can have an actual dialogue with your screenmate about an auction without any UI. It's certainly a lot faster and more convenient than scratching everything out on a notepad.

* The ability to keep eyeballs on an opponent is unnecessary for the great majority of us, I would hope, and the only glitch is your screenmate's ability to turn off his camera or microphone. That happened a few times for us, for a variety of reasons, but we knew each other sufficiently well that we never suspected shenanigans. If opponents didn't know each other, however, I could imagine thinking, “Why did my screenmate go dark (or silent)?” It's probably best to notify your screenmate the reason you're temporarily going offline just to quell any anxiety.

* I left the video conference running after the match completed and sent the link to my teammates so we could do a post-mortem. Even though ours was an unhappy one (congrats to Team Schwartz!), I think most of us would miss having one.

Apparently the World Junior Online Championship recommended video screenmates as well. . . .
March 29
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Apparently the World Junior Online Championship recommended video screenmates as well. . . .

No glitches in our match:

* The video conference technology is so good now that technical problems should be rare. Any of the major video conference platforms should work fine.

* The alert process is the best part of this – you can have an actual dialogue with your screenmate about an auction without any UI. It's certainly a lot faster and more convenient than scratching everything out on a notepad.

* The ability to keep eyeballs on an opponent is unnecessary for the great majority of us, I would hope, and the only glitch is your screenmate's ability to turn off his camera or microphone. That happened a few times for us, for a variety of reasons, but we knew each other sufficiently well that we never suspected shenanigans. If opponents didn't know each other, however, I could imagine thinking, “Why did my screenmate go dark (or silent)?” It's probably best to notify your screenmate the reason you're temporarily going offline just to quell any anxiety.

* I left the video conference running after the match completed and sent the link to my teammates so we could do a post-mortem. Even though ours was an unhappy one (congrats to Team Schwartz!), I think most of us would miss having one.
March 22
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We didn't touch the method by which the Regional Directors are selected - that's another rabbit hole we didn't want to tangle up with the BOD size question.

The members of the BOD will continue to be selected by Unit Board vote in the same manner as before. I'm not saying this is my personal preferred method, but simply that we didn't change anything.
March 20
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Thanks for taking the time to organize this, Tom!

We're all climbing a steep learning curve as we innovate our way out of this crisis, and here's a short description of what I've arranged with one of our opponents in our first match. We're all acquainted, so it's a good setting to test this idea out.

I will sit North and one the players on the opposing team has agreed to sit East as my virtual screenmate. We've agreed to videolink (any set up should work) each other during the match.

It's not a concern in our match, as we all more or less know (and trust) each other, but it might be some kind imperfect integrity check for pairs in other matches who don't know each other. It doesn't get rid of all illicit behavior, but it does allow screenmates to at least keep eyeballs on each other to eliminate the risk of overt information sharing with a partner or other teammates.

More importantly, it should make the alert process SO much easier, as you can now just explain things to your “”screenmate" via video chat.

Is anyone else trying something like this?
March 20
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Right . . . .The last few days have reminded a lot of us locally of Mark Twain's famous quote: “When the end of the world comes I want to be in Cincinnati because everything happens there 20 years later.”
March 11
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Last Friday at the Cincinnati Bridge Center, we had our largest game in 4 months.

Go figure.
March 10
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I (mis)remember the story as having you overcalled 6NT after a 1M opening. . . It's a great hand!

There's also the hand from the Regional Swiss at the Horseshoe Casino (Louisville). . . This guy (not a bridge player) had been floating around the room after getting bored in the casino, so he asked us a few questions about bridge in between rounds, and asked if he could watch the next round. Ryan and I were playing against good friends, so it was easy to get a mutual agreement that we would all explain each auction in great detail.

First hand, and Ryan as dealer, opens 6. Our kibbitzer asks, “What does that mean?”. . . to which we all kinda shrug our shoulders and offer, “we're really not sure, but blah blah long minor one loser or somethingoranother.” Unimpressed, our kibbitzer now says, “Wow, you guys aren't very good at this, are you?”
Feb. 27
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>> Making LM has no meaning. <<

Tell that to the 110,000 or so ACBL members that haven't made LM yet. I'm sure they would appreciate knowing that their bridge journey has no meaning.
Feb. 19
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. . . in a similar vein:

2 - X - P - P
3! - X - P - P
P

Bid was at IMPs, explained as, “you don't get rich making 2 doubled, and we were behind in the match.”
Feb. 6
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For some reason, I keep running into the “never underlead a king” taboo against a suit contract among the country club set (and I teach a LOT of country club players).

They will underlead an ace, but not a king.
Feb. 1
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The new ACBL plastic cards are simply too thin and flimsy for my taste. They just feel “insubstantial” in one's hands.

The .33mm PVC Bridge Buddy cards are the best I've ever used. The Dealer4 machine handles them swimmingly, they're the perfect size to hold, and the 8-color scheme makes staggering them in a set of 36 boards almost foolproof against the consecutive color problem.

I use them 7-8X/week for my regular teaching set, and I just replaced the originals after over 3 years of continuous use. The “ink degradation” effect you sometimes see with other plastic cards doesn't seem to be a problem with the BB cards, either. I gather the manufacturing process is slightly different from the typical “ink-stamping” process used for most cards.

They're expensive, and customer service is sometimes an adventure, but they're terrific. They are completely waterproof, too, so coffee spills and the like aren't a problem.
Dec. 20, 2019
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>> I also realize that the BOD hates the idea because it interferes with their activities during the NABCs. <<

We're not a monolithic group. Some of us have been advocating for greater flexibility in NABC operations.

While it's correct that the NABCs are filled with all manner of Committee, Task Force, and ad hoc planning and strategy meetings, most of which are regularly scheduled for the pre-Noon hours, these could be re-scheduled for the evenings. The transition isn't seamless, for a variety of reasons, but we could certainly get it done.
Nov. 11, 2019
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@Kit: In no way did I “create” the D11 rules governing sectionals (or regionals, for that matter). The D11 Board, of which you are currently a voting member and I am not, created all the rules and policies governing D11 tournaments. As the D11 Tournament Coordinator, my job is simply to ensure that those rules were followed. When there is a potential conflict, the affected Units were notified, per District policy and as you noted, and no one objected.

In fact, those rules you reference were all created by the D11 Board before I even became the D11 DTC or (for a short while) a voting member of the Board.
Nov. 3, 2019
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Kit, this is a very misleading header tag. The Lexington and Louisville sectionals were held in different “weeks,” with one ending on Sunday, 9/22 and the other beginning the following weekend, 9/28.

The other 2 sectionals were Progressive sectionals, which are almost entirely intra-Unit affairs, analogous to Unit Championships.

District 11 does not schedule more than 2 sectionals per week, and then only if those sectionals are more than 200 miles apart.
Nov. 1, 2019
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@David: The language you quoted was not included in the motion actually passed. The language in the first numbered item was deleted in Committee for precisely the reasons you stated.

Sometimes the ACBL can edit to save its life.

@All: The motion that passed is simply the second numbered item, viz, “An agreement made between two or more people, at least one of whom is a contestant, to exchange or pass information illicitly. This section includes agreements made by persons who are not partners or contestants, including, but not limited to kibitzers or teammates.”

We didn't feel the definition was perfect (I am personally concerned with interpreting the word “illicitly”), but we felt it was imperative to get something in writing now and allow for refinements later.

If anyone has suggestions, we'd love to get your feedback.
July 23, 2019
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Hi Cam,

The Board passed a motion in Memphis authorizing management to implement a Voluntary Relinquishment Policy under certain parameters.

That Policy was presented and affirmed by the Board in Las Vegas.

Both votes were unanimous. I can provide a copy of the policy if requested, but keep in mind the Board minutes are not official until corrected and ratified.
July 21, 2019
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When teaching, my typical criteria for hands that should open 2C:

22+HCP (balanced); or
21+ishHCP (unbalanced); or
Any STYS hand

STYS = Sick To Your Stomach

(any hand you would feel Sick To Your Stomach if you opened it on the 1 level and it was passed out)
June 24, 2019
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Woo-Hoo, Jan!
May 24, 2019
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