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Myrtle Beach Review

I was among many who played at the Myrtle Beach Regional last week.  I've played there many times before since my first in 2005, but missed the 2017-18 tournament.  It was good to return to a familiar location, and see many friends, some of whom I hadn't seen for four years.  Good location, excellent playing site, good off-site eats, good off-site accommodations, and a well-run and well-directed tournament. 

I was surprised to see TD's using a spreadsheet for Round-Robin Teams sign-ups, said spreadsheet projected on the wall behind them with a short-throw projector which gave table assignments for each round; apparently not all of District 7's Regionals use BridgeScore+ software for team games.

Most Brackets were 9 teams; this runs much faster than 8-team brackets (fewer between-round breaks for score comparison and reporting, as all matches are three-ways (rings)), and four overall positions per bracket (44.4% of teams) awarded Gold Masterpoints, rather than the three such positions (37.5% of teams) with overall awards in the eight-team brackets common in my home District's Regionals.

It was good to see the I/N Lectures drawing overflow crowds; holding them in just-about-right-size rooms away from the main playing area certainly helped, as did drawings for one free play per lecture.  The calendars with photos of the lecturers for each month were a nice tchotchke; certainly appropriate for a New Year's Regional.  Several were given away by drawings at each lecture.

The "traditional" schedule with main events being 1 and 7 pm led to good late-evening crowds at the Hospitality Suite; I didn't look for the Bridge Politicians separate hospitality suite; maybe there was none.

Off-site hospitality between sessions one late afternoon was a pleasant surprise; traditional low-country New Years food (ham, mac & cheese, black-eyed peas) with free sodas and cash bar, all handled by the venue's servers, was certainly cheaper than hotel food and I heard no complaints.

And when I saw the Tournament co-chair, Blondelle Grant, caddying in one afternoon session. I was amazed.  She was everywhere all week -- working at the Hospitality Suite every evening, carrying additional chairs into the I/N lectures every time I was there, working at the off-site hospitality event, frequently between the Partnership Desk and the Prize Desk before and between sessions.  I complimented her on how well things were going; her reply was that she and her co-chair Beth Boswell had a great team of volunteers.  Blondie led by example; a shout-out to her and the whole team for an excellent tournament.  God willing, I'll be back in 2021-22. 

My partner for the final four days was at his first have-to-pay-hotel-bills Regional; he may be out on the tournament trail after he retires, but he'll have a hard time finding a better overall experience at any other Regional.

Thanks, Blondie!

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