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Balancing the field at your local ACBL club

I am the Head (Game) Director at my local ACBL bridge club in northern Indiana.  Unfortunately, I recently had to recently resign my position on our Board of Directors due to meetings too frequently being scheduled when I have to work.

It appears my club's Board of Directors is again interested (infatuated?) in seeding the field.  When I was on our Board, this topic came up frequently and I managed to squelch the idea that this was a huge problem.  (Yes, it is difficult to seed properly when so many pairs feel they must have stationary positions, which is as much or more of a problem than the game director trying to start the game timely and also move a few pairs to better balance the field.  We do occasionally move a pair or two right before the game, but there are one or two club members who strongly feel not enough is done.)

We have always collected money at the table during Round 1.  Now, we will be paying ahead of time "tournament style" to help with seat assignments and therefore, in theory, helping with balancing the field.

Our club has games six days a week including two novice games simultaneous with open games, and the open games are frequently 7 to 12 tables.  We have the second highest table count in Indiana and are in the top 10 in District 8 in table count.

How much effort does your club make in trying to balance the field for local club games?  And is it different for special "one winner" games such as club championships, charity games, NAP qualifiers, etc.?

Also, I've included below the draft copy of how this is all supposed to work at my club.  Some things I like, and other things, not so much.

Feel free to comment if you'd like.


Change of Procedure in Seeding the Field

The current situation presents the following problems:

1. Seeding the field properly has been an ongoing issue ...and has been particularly problematic in the past few months.

2. It is unrealistic to ask directors to seed the field and start the game in 5 minutes.

3. People arrive early in the belief that early arrival will guarantee a north/south seat.

4. There are players who never play one another because of the current way we allow players to “stake out” their territory.

5. It is an ACBL rule to balance the field.

6. A fairer and clearer method of assigning seats is needed.

7. It is apparent we cannot accommodate early arrivals, persons with disabilities, and the ACBL requirement to balance the field. The least important of these three issues is early arrivals.

I intend to make the following changes in procedure:

1. The club manager (or another representative) will be on duty for 45 minutes before game time.

2. Players will pay their fee and be assigned to a table as they arrive (in the same manner that is done at tournaments).

3. The person registering the partnership will pay the full fee.

4. The club manager will assign players to the appropriate A, B, or C table.

5. Only players with more severe disability issues will be automatically granted north/south seating.

My local club reasonably attempts to seed most games
My local club reasonably seeds for special games but not on regular games
My local club makes only minor efforts at balancing the field
My local club makes very little or no effort at seeding/balancing the field for any of their games

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