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The Death of Teams

Although I enjoy all forms of bridge, at heart, I love teams. And, for roughly 20 years, I've played in many regionals team events with the same guys - my regular partner, Bill Kent, - along with the super father/son duo from Redfield SD - Vern and Monte Evans. While we don't always win, we've had our fair share of good fortune. On top of it, all the guys are great friends, play well and are lotsa fun.  Just the way bridge should be.

Yet, somewhere along the line, the Powers that Be at the ACBL decided to ruin it all for us.  What do I mean?  This.

Although I am not a masterpoint hound myself, I do like to see reasonable parity in events.  Thus, when the masterpoint structure was such that team games were paying out significantly more than pair games, and pairs attendance was suffering as a result, I understood that the calculations needed to be restructured.

Yet, instead of aiming at calculations such that people could choose which format they most preferred, then earn approximately the same masterpoint payout per session, according to how well they did, we got something else. And, that "something else" makes the previous team to pair disparity look like chopped liver.

For instance, at our tournament this week, we see open pair events paying thirtysomething masterpoints for winning a 2 session event.  Teams?  The most heavily attended Swiss paid out 9.45 masterpoints for a win in two sessions!  Other team winners earned six or seven points!

Placing ninth in a two session pair event was approximately the same payout for winning a two session Swiss.

KO's were a bit better - but still way out of whack in contrast to the pairs.  Winners earned high thirty something payouts or in one case, 40. Yet of course, this was for 4 sessions of play; not 2.

At some tournaments, we are seeing The End of Teams.  Many competitors are highly motivated by winning masterpoints.  If they know they can win at best 7-9 points in one event, and yet earn that for finishing 8th or 9th in a pair event - plus the hope of 30+ in a pair event - then pairs is their choice.  So those who really love teams show up - only to find there aren't even enough teams for an event.

Not only is this an issue for those who prefer teams to pairs - it's an issue for those who have other commitments, too. Sometimes, we play 5 or 6 handed because some players have other responsibilities. If they cannot sit out some of the time because pairs is their only option, then not playing is the end result.

I cannot fathom why the League has not addressed this issue. Do many simply not care if team events die? 

Looking forward to your thoughts - and - if at all possible - solutions to this!

Save the teams!

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