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All comments by Jan Martel
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Having the same boards played in all matches will always cause security issues. Those issues may be more or less a problem depending on the physical space being used. For example, I have been told that the Senior KO Quarterfinal Sunday will be played in two separate rooms - 4 tables in each room. We will be showing 2 of the matches on Vugraph. With that sort of arrangement, it would be very bad from a security perspective to have the same boards played in all matches.

A few years ago I did a poll on the BBO forum to ask about how the Vugraph audience felt about having all matches play the same boards. The responses were mixed - some pointed out that if each match plays a different set of boards there is more chance for interesting hands; others preferred being able to see what is done at more than 2 tables on a specific board. My conclusion was that although it's probably somewhat better for Vugraph to have all of the matches play the same boards, that should certainly not be done when there are any security concerns. Similarly, it is more interesting to go to dinner with players in other matches when everyone played the same hands, but security is more important.

Of course, if all of the matches are playing the same boards and any match is on Vugraph, whatever rules you apply to spectators should apply to all of the tables, whether that table is on Vugraph or not. My preference for those rules is that a spectator is allowed at the table if s/he arrives before the segment starts, but is not allowed to come in during the segment, when s/he might have seen earlier hands on Vugraph. And of course spectators are not allowed to look at the Vugraph operator's screen.
Nov. 28, 2014
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“Always” is too strong :).
I think it is usually better to use the cheaper cue bid to show the 4th suit, because we need more space without a known fit, but there are a few auctions where that doesn't work well. If the more expensive cue is above 3 of our original suit, it makes more sense to use the cheaper cue for the raise, so we can stop in 3 of our suit. If the more expensive cue is above 3NT and our opening was in a minor, it makes sense to use the cheaper cue as the raise. In both of these situations, the cue that shows the fourth suit has to be a game force, because there just isn't enough room for it not to be.
Nov. 23, 2014
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USBF was granted one Regional sanction a year, starting in 2005. USBF ran the first two Regionals, with very limited success - running a Regional that isn't at a regular time in a known location turns out to be very difficult, particularly when you aren't “local.” Thereafter, USBF authorized individual Units or Districts to run the Regional and the organizer paid a fee to USBF based on the number of tables. Other than in two years when the USBF Regional was held on a cruise ship, the funds raised have been relatively small (less than $3000 a year).

I'm not sure what you mean by a “two way street.” I know that some of our members have attended the various USBF Regionals, but not the same members every year.

At any rate, I believe that the ACBL Board withdrew the USBF sanction this year, at the same time it was adding additional Regionals for many locations. Since I tend to think that there are altogether too many Regionals these days - they aren't a “big thing” any more, but rather something you can go to any weekend you happen to have available - I'm okay with that.
Nov. 5, 2014
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I've just returned from a not free “trip to China” so perhaps I am a little less positive about all of this than I should be. But I do think that those of you who think funding travel and room and board for our Junior International teams is giving them some sort of “perk” with free travel to exotic locations, are missing the point. Believe me (or don't), going to a World Championship in China is NOT a lovely vacation. It's a long flight to spend two weeks mostly in a hotel or in the case of Junior World Championships, a college dorm, playing bridge for about ten hours a day. And the final reward for all but one team at these events is to lose.

I shouldn't of course be so negative - going to these events is one way that people make friends around the world and have the opportunity to test their ability against other top players, in the case of Juniors, other top young players. But what I'm trying to say is that going to World Championships is a reward only in the sense that you get to go and compete - it isn't a “prize” of a free trip abroad. In the case of both Juniors and our regular teams, the expenses that USBF is able to pay (and for which we are grateful) are minimal - coach airfare for the Juniors, no airfare for the regular teams; room and board at whatever venue the WBF has found, whether it's a luxury hotel miles away from anything or a college campus; entry fees; required uniforms.

My view is that having Juniors who do well internationally is one of the things we should be using to attract other players to the game. NOT because they can win these wonderful trips, but because they can aspire to represent the United States in a World Championship, to be a star. I feel the same way about our Open, Women's & Senior teams - their success is, or should be, advertising for bridge. We need things to get people to start playing and to try to improve once they start. The opportunity to play in a World Championship should be one of those things. Not the only one, of course, but one of our ways of advertising.
Nov. 2, 2014
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That $1.50 surcharge is for the International Fund, it has nothing to do with the Junior Fund.
Oct. 31, 2014
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“143-64: for the ACBL to give Junior fund money, the USBF and CBF must provide some minimum accounting”

This is an ENORMOUS misreading of the motion! USBF and CBF have always given ACBL full accountings for Junior fund money. What this motion does is drastically reduce the amount of funding ACBL proposes for Junior International teams. Speaking for USBF, with this level of funding we probably will be unable to send 2 teams to each event at the World Junior Teams Championships.

The motion limits room and board to 7 days. These tournaments have 11 days of play and are usually held in places where there is a 5-9 hour time zone difference (up to as much as 12) for our players, so in order for the players to acclimate properly, they need to arrive at least 2 days early.

The motion provides expenses for 6 players per team. Both USBF & CBF normally send 6 players and a non-playing captain. NPCs are a necessity for these events. In fact, many other countries also send a coach for each team. We don't, although we have sent one person as essentially a “logistics person/chaperone” for all of our teams.

The motion limits airfare to $1500 per person, which is often less than it costs to send players from the US or Canada to Europe or Asia.

The motion has no provision for entry fees, which are significant for WBF events.

The motion has no provision for uniforms, which WBF requires.

The motion has no provision for increasing costs.

The motion has no provision at all for the costs of a selection event or face to face training and virtually no funding for training in “off” years.

Essentially, the motion says that ACBL will no longer be fully responsible for the costs of sending North American teams to the World Junior Championship and will not provide any funding for other International Junior events.

USBF is, unlike ACBL, an all-volunteer organization. We have no paid staff. Both I and Joe Stokes, who has done an incredible job with the organization of the USBF Junior program, are unpaid volunteers. So are Michael Rosenberg & Barry Goren, the primary organizers of our extensive online Junior training program, as well as the many experts who serve as mentors for that program. We do this because all of us believe that helping Junior players to improve and to compete in Junior events worldwide is vital to the future of bridge.

Long ago (I can't even remember exactly when, but sometime around 2004), ACBL transferred responsibility for selecting and funding Junior teams to USBF and CBF. At that time, they agreed to give USBF $50,000 a year to fund the Junior program. The first year was one in which there was a World Junior event, and in order not to borrow against the next year's $50,000 to send players to that Championship, USBF raised something like $25,000 to pay costs not covered by the $50,000 from ACBL. In subsequent years, we pinched and saved and managed to pay for all of our Junior teams. Then ACBL changed its funding method to having us request funding in advance (way in advance - at the Summer NABC in the year before the expenses would be incurred - often before WBF had even announced where the Junior Championships would be held). ACBL then funded part of the amount requested. We have used money in the USBF Junior Fund, which comes from private donations, to make up the difference in the last few years, but we aren't going to be able to do that forever.

Last year, we (mainly Michael Rosenberg) raised about $50,000 from private donors to pay for an in-person Trials and Training week. It was extremely successful but we can't continue to fund it through private donations - our hope was that if it was successful, the ACBL Junior program would take over the funding; instead, we're being told that ACBL won't even fund the costs of sending teams to World Junior Championships.

Oct. 31, 2014
Jan Martel edited this comment Oct. 31, 2014
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I know that the WBF people agree with you. The problem is that the internet situation here changed very recently, which is why it is difficult to post.
Oct. 23, 2014
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The difficulty with the internet here came as a complete surprise to the WBF people, who had no problems posting things from China as recently as December when the SportAccord event was held in Beijing. It seems that China has increased internet “security” very recently.
Oct. 23, 2014
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I'm in Sanya, and the person responsible for the WBF website pages on the tournament asked me to post and say it's just impossible with the Chinese firewall blocking her from posting new pages almost all the time. Internet here is very spotty - right now I'm able to get to BridgeWinners, but most of the time I can't, for instance.

For those who are interested in the Open Pairs format (sorry, I don't know about the Women's and Seniors), today is the SemiFinals, with a SemiFinal A and a SemiFinal B. The players were told that 43 pairs from the A SemiFinal and 6 pairs from the B SemiFinal would qualify for the A Finals, to be held tomorrow and Saturday. Five of the 6 pairs playing in the Rosenblum Final will drop into the Open Pairs A Final, so there will be a total of 54 pairs, who will play a complete Round Robin.
Oct. 23, 2014
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I have many of the WBF links for living players on this list - will try to send you a file later today. I don't have any of the deceased ones, but will look for them if I have time.
Oct. 18, 2014
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Ralph Katz plays with Nickell.

It's Cohen from Katz-Cohen who has others with the same name.
Oct. 18, 2014
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I'm adding WBF reference numbers to Alan's original spreadsheet, just for the players I already had reference numbers to use for the BBO profile pages. Hope this works okay.
Oct. 17, 2014
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Blush :). But I'm lucky not to have to deal with the problems of Chinese internet! It took me forever to get this page to load for instance. I know that the WBF BBO organizer here has a very hard job and is doing his best to provide Vugraph for all of you back home. Working in an environment where so few people speak English is a real challenge, on top of the technical issues with the internet.
Oct. 17, 2014
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I was told that in setting the movement they tried to arrange it so people from the same country played on the first day.
Oct. 16, 2014
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Cute, thanks to both of you.
Oct. 16, 2014
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I've been told the problem is the Chinese firewall, which at the moment is preventing the WBF from uploading things like bulletins (don't know about results, since of course there haven't been any yet). Hopefully they'll be able to figure out away around the problem soon.
Oct. 10, 2014
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My understanding of the Vugraph situation (which could certainly be wrong) is that both OurGame and BBO will broadcast, except for the “final stage” (don't know if that means the KO or just the actual finals). I'm reasonably confident that there isn't a charge for OurGame Vugraph, the Lianzhong account is for other activities on the site.
Oct. 10, 2014
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I couldn't download it - got “Failed to load PDF document”
And for Saturday it says "This bulletin is not yet available, although it is now Saturday in Sanya.
Oct. 10, 2014
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Not exactly a one-liner, but one of my favorite Eric Murray stories, from long long ago (Chicago Nationals in 1969 or so). I was one of the crowd hanging out at the huge bracket sheet for the Spingold where the director was writing final scores. This was probably the Round of 64 (which was earlier then than it is now). Murray's team had been leading by over 100 after 3 quarters. Murray comes up to the director and says, completely deadpan: “Murray by 4.”
Oct. 9, 2014
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We're flying to Hong Kong going, but through Beijing on the way home because the Sanya to Hong Kong flights don't get to Hong Kong in time for a Hong Kong to SFO flight. But now that you've told me about Shenzhen I may have to look at that - I think I've changed flights more for this trip than any other I can think of! United is getting rich off our cancellation fees :-)
Oct. 7, 2014
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