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All comments by Jan Martel
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Although I know it's not what's specified in the Alert Procedures, it always seems sensible to me to announce 1 as “can be 0/1/2” whichever you play. Behind screens, most people hold up 1 or 2 fingers, or sort of make a circle with their thumb and forefinger if they can have a void. That seems very clear to me and much better than alerting or saying “can be short.”

Even if those aren't precisely what's specified in the rules, they do provide your opponents with clear and accurate information, which is surely the purpose of the Alert Procedure.
Jan. 28, 2014
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The WBF has not yet issued Conditions of Contest for Sanya, but if the event format is similar to previous World Series of Bridge events, there will be one or two qualifying stages for each event. Looking at the provisional play schedule, the first three days of the Mixed Pairs will be qualifying, followed by two days of final. I believe there was an announcement that everyone who entered would play for the entire event, so there may also be a consolation event opposite the finals.

I am confident that you will not be able to skip a day of play and then continue to play in the Mixed Pairs.

WBF sometimes has side events, sometimes not.

The usual procedure for entry fees is to have everyone pay for at least the qualifying stages “up front” - sometimes in pair events like this, they have separate entry fees for qualifying and final stages.

The WBF website has information about hotels.

I'm sorry not to be able to give you more definite answers, but I'm afraid you'll have to wait for WBF to provide more information. I'm sure that if you do go, it will be a wonderful experience.
Jan. 24, 2014
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Sometimes I wonder where people get their “facts.” There has never been a USBC in Rye. I assume that Steve remembers the 2006 USBC, which was held in White Plains. It was the USBC with the largest entry ever: 32 teams. 28 teams started in the Round Robin, 2 teams had byes to the Semi-Finals, and 2 teams had byes to the Round of 16. As a result of the large entry and small number of slots in the Round of 16, only 12 of the 28 teams in the Round Robin qualified for the Round of 32. With such a steep cut, it was not surprising that teams that were plus IMPs in the Round Robin failed to make the cut. Whether that should be considered “upsets” I leave to you to judge.

At any rate, the International Team Trials Committee decided that the format was not a good one and it was changed for the future, so that Round Robin matches would always be 6 boards or longer (the 2006 matches were 4 boards) and no more than 40% of the field would be cut in any Round Robin stage. Making the Round Robin more true to form may have discouraged “amateur” teams from playing, but that certainly was not the intent.

The 2006 USBC was the second to be held at a site other than Memphis (I leave it to you to decide whether Memphis was, as Steve thinks, a better site than any at which subsequent USBC’s were held). The 2005 USBC, held in Houston, lost money in spite of major efforts by the Houston Unit. As a result, Joan Gerard, who was then serving on the USBF Board and as its Meeting Planner, decided to see whether she could organize a USBC in White Plains that would break even. She got an excellent hotel contract and provided wonderful hospitality at very little cost. In addition, generous donors contributed $10,000 towards the expenses of the event. The event lost only a nominal amount. Future USBC’s were not going to break even.

The USBF Board therefore appointed a committee, chaired by Bill Pollack, to recommend ways to make the event self-supporting. That committee came up with two options: raise the entry fee or substantially reduce hospitality (for those of you who don’t know, USBF serves breakfast and lunch to all USBC participants and their friends, as well as staff and volunteers). The committee took a vote among recent USBC participants and the sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of raising entry fees. Pollack’s committee next looked at how to raise entry fees. They decided that the fairest way to do so was to leave the session fees alone, but charge an “event fee” to cover the fixed costs of running the event. The Board agreed and that has been the approach since. None of this was done to discourage “amateur” teams. In fact, one of the reasons to hold the USBC at sites other than Memphis was to make it more accessible to players all over the country.

Steve also says: “WBF events run longer, with more guaranteed playing time, at much lower per session costs.” I’m not sure what WBF events he’s talking about. The 2013 Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup and Senior Bowl entry fees were $4500. All teams played for 7 days in the Round Robin. Thus the fee per day of guaranteed play in the “main event” was about $642. Teams eliminated after the Round Robin were entitled to enter the Transnational Teams with no additional entry fee, getting an additional 3 days of guaranteed play, for an average cost per total day of guaranteed play of $450.

The entry fee the 2013 WBF Transnational Teams was $1500, or $500 per day of guaranteed play in the qualifying Swiss.

The 2014 USBC event fee plus session fees for the Round Robin, if it is 2 days long, is $960, or $480 per day. Over 60% of the Round Robin teams will advance to the Round of 16 (otherwise the Round Robin will be longer), where they will play an additional 2 days and pay an additional $600 in session fees. Those 4 days of play will thus average $390 per day.

Danny, I don’t know what things you believe the WBF does better than the USBF. Is it the fact that the tables are so close together it is difficult to avoid hearing things that are said at nearby tables? The fact that everyone pays the same entry fee, whether they lose in the qualifying stage or play in the Finals? The fact that the local hosts have to pay WBF $200,000-300,000 to hold a World Championship? The minimal hospitality? I’m afraid I don’t agree that any of these are improvements. As for ACBL, I’m not sure what you’re talking about there, so I’m not going to try to respond.
Jan. 23, 2014
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See http://www.acbl.org/news_archive.php?id=921 for ACBL announcements about changes to the GCC and MidChart. Presumably the approved defenses for 2 showing 45 in the Majors (both with and without the 5 card suit known) and 2 showing 5 hearts and a second 5 card suit, which can be Spades, will eventually (hopefully before the Spring NABC :)) be added to the defense database.
Jan. 19, 2014
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To be clear, 2 of either Major showing that Major and a minor have been Mid-Chart for some time. 2 showing hearts and any other suit, including spades, will become Mid-Chart on January 1. The defenses that are now on the ACBL website are for the bid Major and a minor.
Dec. 27, 2013
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I believe that 2 showing hearts and any other suit will become Mid-Chart legal in about 6 days. Presumably on Jan. 1st, the approved defense will be posted on the ACBL website. I'm not sure whether this is 5-5 or 5-4.
Dec. 26, 2013
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When there is a Vugraph broadcast, all players who are playing the boards being shown on Vugraph have to give their cell phones to either the directors or the Vugraph operator. That exception was included when the cell phone ban was removed last year.
Dec. 10, 2013
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Baze Senior KO had only 29 teams, so started with the Round of 32 and will end on Tuesday. We want to start Vugraph tomorrow (Sunday) but need operators. If you might be available, please email me (marteljan gmail). Thanks!

Tomorrow is covered, thanks! See some of you online.
Nov. 29, 2013
Jan Martel edited this comment Nov. 29, 2013
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You are correct that the rules for this event are very different from the WBF rules, both for Juniors and for those who are no longer Juniors (I have not come up with a good descriptor for them :)). I do not know why this event chooses to focus on citizenship, rather than residence, but it does.
Oct. 16, 2013
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Further information, which may not be obvious from the announcement of the event:
All players must be citizens of the country which they are representing in the event.
Although all players must meet the requirement of attending or being within 1 year of attending a recognized University (which includes college & Junior college) or High School, not all players on a team must attend the same school.
Oct. 16, 2013
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Are you sure that the $15M includes things like International & Junior Fund income and expenses? I ask because I can't tell (and of course that supports your position that the financial information isn't easily understandable).
Oct. 11, 2013
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Kevin, the document you linked above looks to me like a reporting of “overhead” type expenses, not “activity” type expenses - for instance, I don't see anything for the various Junior programs ACBL spends money on. I think that explains why you don't see USBF on that accounting.

With the exception of money to support Junior activities, the money that ACBL distributes to USBF is what I (caveat - I'm not an accountant) would call “pass through” money, from the International Fund and voluntary contributions that US ACBL members make when they pay their ACBL dues. It isn't really an ACBL expenditure, it's money that ACBL collects on behalf of USBF. I'm not suggesting it shouldn't be reported, just that I can understand why it isn't reported on this sort of expenditures report.

There surely should be a different document showing collections for other entities. ACBL gets entry fees from Charity games and distributes those to the Charity Foundation; it gets entry fees from Junior Fund games and those go (I think) into a designated Junior Fund account; it gets entry fees from International Fund games and those go to USBF, to help pay the expenses of players on US international teams after they have been selected (I mention this because I often hear people saying that ACBL supports the USBF events at which our teams are chosen, and it doesn't).

Maybe I'm just reiterating what you said in a different way - the sort of accounting that shows types of expenditures is much less useful for the members of the organization than an accounting that shows income and expenditures by source and purpose.
Oct. 11, 2013
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Thank you both - can someone email me a description of how you'd do this sort of pairing. Remember, I'm not a mathematician!! I'd be happy to propose it to the committee that writes the Conditions of Contest for the USBC, but I want to be sure I understand what I'm proposing! Maybe if it works in that context the WBF would adopt it for the World Championships, as they did our VP scale.
Sept. 24, 2013
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This is interesting,but would still leave the problem that when Round Robin pairings are known (whether long in advance or just for the day), different teams face different fields, depending on the lineup choices made by their opponents. In the USBC we (ITTC and USBF) minimize that problem by having the Round Robin pairings unknown until after the teams have submitted their lineups. That way a team with a weaker (or stronger) pair can't choose to sit that pair out against a team they view as particularly strong or weak.

For example, in the Bermuda Bowl, Brazil played Canada in the penultimate match. Brazil had no chance, Canada (obviously) had a good chance. Brazil chose to sit their strongest pair out, perhaps to give them a chance to rest for the Transnationals. Canada won the match by a lot. Early in the tournament, against USA2, Brazil had played its strongest lineup and won the match. I'm not suggesting that Brazil should have done anything different or that USA2 couldn't have qualified if they had just played a little better; of course they could have, but if there's anyone out there who's ever played 7 days of bridge without making some mistakes, I haven't met them. All I'm saying is that the choice of which pairs to play can sometimes be relevant and mean that different teams don't play the same fields. Is there any way to solve that problem and also do what you are suggesting to avoid “irrelevant” matches at the end?
Sept. 24, 2013
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Interestingly, they've added a slight twist to that procedure, which is the way it has been in the past. This year, the 4th, 3rd and even 2nd place teams have the option to say they are willing to be chosen by a higher team, so it's theoretically possible that 1 could choose from all of the other teams. Of course that's unlikely, but it is possible that the 4th place team would opt to be eligible for selection, thinking that would be better for them than guaranteeing that they play the best of the 5-8 teams.
Sept. 22, 2013
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There is no recording of bidding and play at tables that are not on Vugraph. Only the contract, opening lead and result are entered into the Bridgemates.
Sept. 22, 2013
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I want to correct some assumptions implicit in Mr. Bruno's comment. The ACBL International Fund provides support for United States teams in World Championships - ACBL mandates that that support must be the same for the Open, Women's and Senior teams. Subject to that restriction, USBF is in charge of distributing the International Fund money to the players. The amount available is usually somewhat less than the cost of participating in the World Championship, but has come closer to paying the full cost in the last few years.

Other than that, ACBL provides no support to USBF. USBCs (the selection events for our World Championship teams) are paid for from entry fees. When, as usually happens, the USBCs lose money, USBF makes up the loss out of its General Fund. The USBF General Fund has money because USBF has spent less on administration than it has taken in from dues and donations over the years. USBF is a volunteer-run organization. I'm not paid, nor are any of the USBF Board members. USBF does pay its counsel (although at far less than he could earn from any other client), auditor and web designer. That's it. For the USBC's, we pay ACBL for the use of screens, boards & bidding boxes, as well as for directors.
So if you don't think ACBL should be supporting our selection events - it isn't. If you don't think ACBL members who choose to play in International Fund games should help pay for the expenses of our World Championship teams, I respectfully disagree with you.
Sept. 15, 2013
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Of course Marty & I are rooting for the same team :), but if you want a slightly less bridge-oriented look at the Bali Bermuda Bowl, I'm also posting almost every day on the USBF site at <http://usbf.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1257&Itemid=513>;.
Sept. 15, 2013
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This post, and the comments about Hamman's rating on the Power Rating scheme, led me to look at the list of ranked players on the EBU NGS list. Andy Robson & Tom Townsend are near the top, but I couldn't find any of the other four players on England's Bermuda Bowl team in the top 400. And as I was scanning the final page I checked, I happened to notice that Zia is ranked number 401!! That led me to wonder whether Hamman at 109 in the US or Zia at 401 in England is a greater distortion.

What all of this suggests to me is there really isn't a good, easy & objective way to rank bridge players.
Sept. 4, 2013
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