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All comments by Jan Martel
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Conference Direct.
an hour ago
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My confirmation email for Columbus says “Effective January 15th, 2020, the one-night rome and tax deposit becomes non-refundable.” I received the email on 9/4/19 when I first reserved, and again on 9/29/19 when I changed hotels.
an hour ago
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Montreal is a beautiful city and one many of us look forward to visiting. The weather in March & November would make a Spring or Fall NABC in Montreal unattractive. Summer is peak season.

Although Montreal has adequate convention center space for an NABC, the hotels right by the convention center have relatively few rooms (the Le Westin has 455, the Intercontinental has 375). Neither hotel is going to be willing to block every single room they have for any convention.

So what would you have the ACBL do? Not go to Montreal? Or go, block as many rooms at they can and find additional housing a reasonable walk away?
14 hours ago
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The report on the Appeals Committee's decision is at https://www.usbf.org/appeals/2019-msjusbc-u21-appeal-1
Dec. 30, 2019
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1, There was a board on which someone at one of the Wolff-Stephani tables overheard a loud comment from a nearby table. That board was reshuffled at the Wolff-Stephani table - I do not know whether that qualifies as a “fouled” board.
2. There was an appeal from a director's ruling after the end of the match. The committee upheld the ruling and the match ended in a 1 IMP win for Stephani. We should have the Appeals Committee's report sometime tomorrow.
Dec. 29, 2019
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If you said $300,000, you might well be right about China.
Dec. 25, 2019
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Right
Dec. 24, 2019
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@Stu: We're talking about 5+ years out; the Regionals can adjust their starting times. I was surprised Palm Springs didn't this year, with the NABC in San Francisco the week before, but I guess they didn't want to be any closer to Christmas.
@Jim: My guess was that having Palm Springs right after San Francisco hurt attendance at both. Glad you confirm that.
Dec. 23, 2019
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As someone who runs an “elite event” tournament, I'm in a pretty good position to comment on this, and I think it's a bad idea.

Having the two tournaments (or 3 if you include I/N) at the same time and place allows family and friends of the players who have a serious chance in the elite events to come, cheer their serious competitor on, and play some less-challenging bridge.

Having something to play in after being eliminated allows people who want to try the elite events but know they won't last long to do so without having to pay to travel to a distant site only to leave after 1 or 2 days.

Bridge tournaments are for playing bridge, but having the opportunity to socialize with people we see only a few times a year is also nice, and combining the elite events with regular events helps that.

I spend a lot of time in the room(s) where the elite events are played. People I don't know (and I know most of the “elite”) often come in, before or after a session, just to see what screens look like and maybe catch a glimpse of one of their heroes. Some of them stay to kibitz for a while or the whole time. I don't know whether having this opportunity encourages them to continue playing bridge, but if it does that's another big plus.

OTOH, although the players love the USBF selection trials events, their friends and family usually don't come with them, and only a very few up and coming players participate. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't spend the amount of time & energy I do on those events if I didn't think they were worth having, but it's very different from the NABCs and I think we should continue to have both.
Dec. 23, 2019
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Totally agree with Barry! Of course, these days, I spend the whole tournament at the “main” team event, since Vugraph organizers don't get eliminated :-), but in the days when I played, my favorite event was always the main team game, even though I only got to enjoy it for one or 2 (or once 3) days.

And having the concurrent events means getting a chance to see friends from around the world 3 times a year.
Dec. 23, 2019
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I voted “other” because I think just moving 1 day (start on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, end on Monday would be the best change - keep our good position with hotels, and use of vacation for those who work, but let people have Thanksgiving with family. I attend pretty much all NABCs.
Dec. 22, 2019
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South of Market has become more & more upscale :-)
Dec. 22, 2019
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I was also going to say that a month of bridge is about what the USBF now has*. But of course it's only a full month for me and the other staff. Players come and go, even those who play in 3 (or very occasionally all 4) of the 4 events. And it's also what many of you seem to be saying you want: high level bridge, screens & duplicated boards throughout, each table in a separate room with its own bathroom, great directors, amazing hospitality (our wonderful hostesses serve breakfast and lunch every day), reasonable hotel rates, easy to get to (even I can fly to O'Hare non-stop).
USBC entry fees are sometimes more than NABC+, but it's a little difficult to compare because ours are per team, not per pair, and there's an up-front event fee, so some teams end up paying more per day than others. The most any team** pays per day is $480, so for a 4 person team that's $120 a day per person, $50 more than ACBL these days (remember the screen surcharge of $40 per day per team); a team that makes the Round of 16 pays $340 per day, or $85 per player for a 4 person team. A player on a 6 person team that makes the Round of 16 pays less per day than ACBL charges for an NABC+ event with screens.

*Many years ago, Rena Hetzer had the brilliant idea that if we called the Team Trials the United States Bridge Championship (USBC) we might be able to get more publicity. So we changed the name, and by the time we'd discover that publicity for a bridge event just wasn't there, it was too late to change it back - so half the world calls the event the Trials and half calls it the USBC.

**It's even a little more complicated than even the complexity I set forth - teams with byes actually pay more per day for the first 2 days, because we charge a lower per session fee for the Round Robin than for KO days.
Dec. 20, 2019
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That's my suggestion too. Start the tournament the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Sure, the hotels would prefer to sell out on Thanksgiving, but getting the weekend should be almost as good.
And it means everyone could have Thanksgiving with their family, then fly on Friday (not a busy air travel day). Those who like to arrive an extra day early could still fly on Thanksgiving (a great travel day).
If the tournament ended on Monday, we'd be flying out on Tuesday, which is a cheaper and easier to book day than Monday.
Dec. 18, 2019
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ACBL isn't the only web service that is having problems. I have a package coming via UPS. They told me it would arrive on Dec. 12th. It didn't. Then the tracking updated to Dec. 13th, and it still says that today (Dec. 14th). I called them and jumped through a million hoops to actually get to a human being who told me that it had been rescheduled for Monday.
Dec. 14, 2019
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My understanding is that the WBF Management Committee will meet in San Francisco during the Fall NABC - I'm not sure of the exact dates of their meeting, but the NABC is 11/28-12/8. I was told this would be resolved then.

I very much agree with you, Richard!!
Nov. 15, 2019
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I don't think so - there's a difference between using a 3 bid to say (essentially) I have a hand that would have opened 1 if you hadn't bid 2 and using a 3 bid to say I have the major you don't. Your 2 bids probably looks somewhat different from mine (and Kit's) if you can be confident you know which major partner has :-).
Nov. 4, 2019
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Is this hand an advertisement for Kit's methods in response to multi, where 3 shows that responder has primary hearts and asks about opener's holding in hearts (3 shows primary spades)? So here, 3 would be the “lowest bid that specifies the same denomination as the withdrawn bid.” Admittedly that isn't the reason for Kit's methods, but it is a good unintended consequence.

I think 3 using Kit's methods is a comparable call as well as the lowest legal bid that specifies the same denomination.
Nov. 4, 2019
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I think that #4 applies to all the USBCs and is probably better discussed in the Policy Forum here than by using a questionnaire.
You may be right that people who favor 90 board matches to keep the event shorter aren't focussing on the fact that 90 board matches mean starting a match mid-day. I'll try to include that in the discussion of how long should KO matches be.
Oct. 18, 2019
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This thread isn't actually intended to get your answers to my questions, but to ask whether there are other questions I should be asking of all the participants in the last few Senior USBCs. You, as a former participant, will get an email sometime soon with a link the a questionnaire.
Oct. 17, 2019
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