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All comments by Len Fettig
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What I heard was that we must treat Gates and Buffet just like any other bridge players. Further, the ACBL cannot try to benefit from their celebrity status.
This information was attributed to the support staff of Gates and Buffet.
March 18
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The idea of having an affiliation with other organizations can provide mutual benefits.
I took my concerns about our ‘one-way’ deal with AA to Bahar Gidwani. He assured me that he had renegotiated the arrangement so that the ACBL received something in return. He did not provide any details.
Bridge is sometimes viewed as a game for old people. Linking our organization to the Alzheimer's Association plays into that stereotype.
I think our organization should explore Strategic Relationships that provide mutual benefits.
Here is what I have previously written:

Strategic Alliances for the ACBL

The ACBL can benefit by developing Strategic Alliances with other organizations. We are all aware that the demographic shift that affected card games also affected board games.

Moreover, there have been multiple waves of demographic changes that have brought us to our current demographic climate.

Our challenge, as an organization, is to chart a path forward that cultivates an interest in Bridge by non-players.

If we look more broadly at the landscape, we are likely to find other organizations that face the same challenges, that are also looking for the best road to follow and that might be eager to work cooperatively to seek solutions.

The core criterion for exploring a Strategic Alliance is that there are mutual benefits. Cross-marketing to the members is important. Collaborating on common issues and possibly working jointly in marketing and promotion.

Several different groupings of organizations could become important Power Partners for the ACBL.

Card-playing Organizations: Pinochle, Poker, Cribbage
Gaming Organizations: Maj Jong, Chess, Backgammon
Problem Solvers: Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku, Scrabble, Logic Puzzles
Life-long learning organizations: Continuing Education, OLLIE
Memory Enhancement Organizations: Lumosity

Exploring Strategic Alliances with other Membership Organizations opens up more possibilities for new members, it may enhance our current member benefits and it opens up communications lines that may yield creative solutions to shared problems.
March 18
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Also before unleaded gas, color TV, 8-track tape decks and many other things. None of which contributed to the decline in bridge play.
March 17
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It used to be called the Brooklyn Bridge, before Jeff bought it.
March 17
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This is the only ‘study’ of bridge in school that I've seen.
http://web2.acbl.org/documentLibrary/teachers/statisticallyspeaking.pdf
It is not research, but still interesting information.
March 15
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When we have an issue and we don't know how to deal with it, we can try these approaches:

- regulate it, make rules
- throw money at it
- do a survey
- form a committee
- do nothing
- complain often

What is missing?
March 14
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Alternately, we could try to keep people from learning to play Bridge. Tell them it is a pilot program and they have to qualify to be a part of it.
If turned down, they can reapply up to two more times to get into the pilot group.
Their friends, neighbors and co-workers may not make it into this somewhat exclusive group.
March 13
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Bravo.

In D15, to get a team to go to the NABC, we sometimes go down to the fourth place qualifying team.
The ACBL should not try a one-size fits all solution. Let the Districts implement their FAIR selection process.

BTW, we are going to ramp up our commitment to GNT's, in part, as a way to give our NLM's more experience in team events. They mostly play pair events and our Swiss team sessions are suffering.
March 13
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A rewarding experience.
March 10
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Jeff,

In Jay's January 2018 message to members (Bulletin), he avoided the pie-in-the-sky goals statements that have traditionally been stated by incoming ACBL Presidents.

Instead he said “…Whipple has an agenda for the year that centers around a single theme: the smooth functioning of the ACBL chief executive officer and the Board.”


We know that did not turn out well. Otherwise, he accomplished all of his goals. ;)
March 9
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Last year, the BoG considered a motion to allow the Club Appreciation games to float; with no specific month. It did not pass, but I'm not sure the members understood the rationale.

Since half of all ACBL members are non-Life Masters, the Gold point award for these team games is appreciated. Even though it is more of a ‘fleck’ of Gold, when it is your first piece, it is exciting to our new players.

We have GNT team games during October and running the Club Appreciation games fills up the monthly calendar pretty quickly.

I'm in favor of the CA games floating and at the discretion of the Club Manager.
March 9
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Jay Whipple begins his article with, “Lessons I learned while on ‘sabbatical’ as President (of the Board) of the ACBL…”

The list of issues that follows his introduction are well known problems. Where is the list of recommendations to deal with those issues? Where is the acknowledgement that, as a member of the BoD, he has ownership of those issues?

As Jay crisscrossed the country, he seemed to enjoy chanting the words ‘Membership Growth’ three times; as if that would magically change something. Even Dorothy knew that one must click their heels together three times to achieve change.

Hopefully, the balance of power on the BoD will shift. We have some new Board members so let's see what may happen now.

I wish them good luck.
March 6
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The Child Care topic is on the agenda for the BoD meeting in Memphis. I hope this motion gets positive attention and support.


Submitted by: Board of Governors Date: January 31, 2019

Committee: NABC Review

Purpose: Insure the provision of child care at NABCs

Item 191-50: NABC Child Care

Moved that:

the ACBL provide options for child care at every NABC.

History: Submitted by Gloria Tsoi McDevitt District 25, Fall 2018 NABC meeting in Honolulu, item 183-05BG: NABC Child Care

Discussion:

Notes: This would seem an endorsement of The ACBL Codification, Chapter VIII - North American Championships, Section E: Operations:

1.16 Child Care
1.16.1 Child care services will be offered at all NABCs.

Effective Date: Immediate
Estimated Costs/Savings: TBD
Feb. 27
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The Grass Roots Funds are a by product of Clubs running Grass Roots Fund games. Those games pay more MP's and have a higher entry fee (unless the Clubs have gone to level pricing).
The ACBL returns a portion of those funds to the Districts, in which the GRF games were held.

The GR Funds may only be used to promote participation in NAP and GNT events. Those monies cannot be used for expenses incurred by teams to attend the NABC.

In my District (15) those funds have accumulated for several years. No one has come up with an idea of how to use the money.

My District covers a multi-state area. All of the issues that have been raised, occur in my District also. Yet there are reasonable solutions to most any perceived problem.

I think we always need to go back to the most basic topics. In this case, what is it that we as ACBL members want to accomplish with GNT's?

For me, I see the decline in participation by NLM's in all forms of team games. This discussion about GNT is just one opportunity to promote team games to our most important group of players - the 50% of ACBL members who are non-Life Masters.
Feb. 3
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What if:
The ACBL required that all players who attend the NABC GNT events qualify at their Club Level, qualify at their Unit level and qualify at their District level?

I've seen players who just show up at their District Final, win their bracket and advance to the NABC GNT. Has the term ‘grass roots’ been changed?

I think there needs to be some uniformity to the qualifying process.
Perhaps I'll raise this idea as a BoG proposal. It seems that something has to change. We can go back to a true grass roots event or else we should just delete the GNT from all levels.
Feb. 2
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This is a cute story.

If directing, I'd use my rule book to whack each of the four players up the side of their head. Then, at match points, each side would get a zero. When asked why, I'd say it is the standard result for multiple procedural penalties.
I would not waste time looking for rules for guidance.
Feb. 2
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Tanya, what year? I can't find this on ACBL.org
Jan. 31
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Grand National Team (GNT) comments

There are many pieces to this topic and any remedies are likely to require several actions.

Do our NLM players play in many team games? At tournaments, do they stay for the Sunday Swiss?

When a KO event is offered, do our Flight C players buy an entry?

When I surveyed all of the Clubs in D-15 (90+ clubs), the lack of team games, at Clubs, was attributed to 1) not enough tables, club too small and 2) players object to up-charges for special games.

GNT buy-in - some Districts allow players to advance directly to their District final without ever playing in a Club or Unit qualifying game.

IMP scoring - Where do our NLM players get meaningful practice with IMP strategy?

With electronic scoring devices, the manual team scoring has been eliminated and Victory Points are obscured. Our players don't understand the basis of the scoring. Match points they understand. Team game scoring is a mystery to them.

Do they have any chance of placing in Compact Swiss events?

Do we communicate to our players about the GNT (grass-roots) qualifying process? Do we promote it, market it and provide enthusiastic support at all levels?

There are no doubt other important aspects to this topic. I think we need to do more to encourage play in our grass-roots events. However, if we look at a typical Club calendar, there are many special events, each with meaningful benefits.
Jan. 31
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The new site for the Educational Foundation is: https://www.acbleducationalfoundation.org/

To gain a better understanding or the organization, please read this set of minutes: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c1d658f7e3c3abf96dacded/t/5c4e8082562fa7de1abec5d3/1548648580488/2018+Teleconference++ACBL+Educational+Foundation.pdf

My assessment is that the Educational Foundation is a rudderless ship, with no defined destination and no navigational tools. The position for an Executive Director does not include abilities to define a direction or to build an organization. Instead, he/she is responsible for maintenance activities on this ship of ____.

In the meantime, they have plenty of money and are destined to allocate the funds to most any reasonable grant request.
Jan. 30
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