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All comments by Jeff Bayone
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Jeff,
I am all in favor of holding tournaments. Master Points and the excitement generated from attending these special events are what keeps our players energized, inquisitive, and engaged. I just want ACBL to compensate US every time a player, that WE developed for THEM, plays in any of THEIR tournaments. And not $10 for a whole year for three years. That's meaningless, clueless of the BoD, and insulting to those working tirelessly and in most cases financially unrewarded.
Jan. 1
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Devastating.
Jan. 1
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Why and how did you stop owning a club?
Jan. 1
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Ellis,
Steve is right. As the chairman of the BoG Club and Teacher Committee he has first hand knowledge of the plight of our member clubs and of our teaching programs. The ecosystem doesn't work, never has. ACBL's mission statement is to support bridge. That has never been true. It has always been to support competitive bridge. According to some, 30 million Americans once played the game socially. Never more than a handful joined the League. I don't know why ACBL never tried to bring more of them into their tent. Snobbery perhaps. Clueless perhaps. But they didn't.

Even here on BW the overwhelming fear seems to be that high level competitive bridge may be in trouble because we can't get young people interested. Screw those empty nesters and the recently retired, they don't count. “How will THEY add to OUR game?”

A rising tide raises all ships. People covet what they see. If they don't see bridge being played, all hope of any future for the game is lost. My generation saw tons of bad bridge being played by their parents, their grandparents, aunts and uncles. Those were our generation's empty nesters and the recently retired. My generation watched, learned, and helped advance the game exponentially.

ACBL may be putting their hopes on online bridge. Studies should be done to determine what percent of new members and new tournament players come from online play. Then they need to look more deeply at what percent of those formed by online will be willing to travel to play or will ever want to leave the comfort of their room to play in f2f competition. If studies prove me wrong, maybe online is the answer. If that be the case, let's throw all our resources at it and continue to let the clubs wither and die. Because that's what's happening to clubs in all but the largest metropolitan areas and retirement communities.

What can be done? Nothing, until everyone buys into what is wrong with bridge's ecosystem. Right now ACBL is eating its young. I don't mean by charging $1 a table and giving nothing in return. For most clubs that's not the real problem. Note that Ellis doesn't even include that. No, the problem is ACBL's focus on keeping the Units and Districts strong at the expense of the clubs. Units and District exist for one reason, Sectionals and Regionals.

Ellis points out that when these events are held in his backyard, drawing his players away, he gets nothing in return. Think about this. Teaching clubs spend much of their energy and resources on developing new players. They have to to survive. A consequence of this is that they also develop new players for ACBL's tournaments. They sow the seeds of their own demise. The more successful they are at creating duplicate players, the more likely it will be that those players will abandon them when they have a chance to play in a nearby Sectional or Regional.

And yet, this is exactly as it should be!!

The problem is, clubs and teachers are not being compensated properly for the heavy lifting. The ecosystem breaks down. It makes no business sense for a club to encourage competitive bridge. Likewise, it makes no sense for an independent teacher to encourage her students to leave the nest. Right now the engines that are in place to teach the next generation of players are running up against a system that is designed to shut them down. We must create a system that rewards clubs and teachers when a member they created plays at the Sectional or higher level. Only then will the ecosystem be in harmony, in balance.

For my money, this, above all else, is what is at the heart of bridge's lack of growth. We haven't learned a thing from past mistakes. Take the recent “generous” increase in the reward, bounty if you will, for what ACBL will now dole out when a club creates a new member. From $5, it was raised to $10, and maybe a little more if that member reups for two more years. $5 potentially comes to as much as $30 over three years. Clueless. How will that make the slightest difference to a club's balance sheet when rent rolls around or when payroll time comes? It's chump change. But I bet it made these Board members feel good. It will change nothing. This is unfortunate because I'm sure valuable time will be spent on studies to determine if this new program is the answer to the League's problems. I'll tell you this. Not one club owner that I've talked with has said this will make even the slightest difference in how they will approach teaching or creating new members. Not the slightest. It will, however, cost the ACBL lots of money, maybe as much as $50,000 a year. Plus, how much more will be spent on the study?

Ellis, I feel your pain. You basically did this on a volunteer basis. I'm sure you were never compensated properly for the time and effort you put in. When will the League start to understand that bridge must be run as a business? Honors, Cavendish, and Aces have a dozen volunteers that we depend on to fill the gaps. But we also have fifty professionals that run our four million dollar a year businesses. ACBL has those proportions reversed and it's killing us.
Jan. 1
Jeff Bayone edited this comment Jan. 1
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The Busher would have found it without needing to see the hands or asking what the contract was. As Aviv said, when given a lead problem look for the obvious.
Dec. 31, 2019
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True.
Dec. 31, 2019
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Ray,
Can't do much worse than what we've all been doing so far. Want to see if Randy's interested? Maybe we can get him to volunteer.
Dec. 30, 2019
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Of course I like this comment.
Dec. 30, 2019
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Simple Peg. How about we start by having everyone on BW volunteer just two or three hours of their time, once or twice a week, every week from now on?
Dec. 30, 2019
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1. As we know, chess programs are very popular in schools. Yet chess clubs are almost nonexistent. What happens to all those kids after grade school? Do they switch to Magic when they come of age? Only a handful stick with the game, and they are usually super talented. Might there be a bridge lesson there?

2. Are we batting our heads against the wall when it comes to trying to establish hundreds, if not thousands, of kids programs? From Debbie's post, we can see how much effort and commitment go into developing and maintaining just one all volunteer program. Realistically, can we expect to duplicate that nationwide?

3. As to beanbag toss, be careful of what you wish for. Do we really want to mingle with the masses? At our core, aren't we bridge players intellectual snobs? Our target audience is small and select compared to those other forms of entertainment. It is how to reach that select group, young or old, black or white, that we should be concentrating our efforts. Like a good mystery story? Try bridge. Like an intellectual challenge? Try bridge. Like working with others to solve puzzles? Try bridge. Like three hours of quiet excitement? Try bridge. Like to try your hand at the ultimate game?…..
Dec. 30, 2019
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Just an observation:
I clicked on the site and saw eight white people.
My three clubs are almost exclusively white as are every Regional and Nationals I've ever attended. It's not just young we are losing, it's the half of the country that we never had.
Dec. 30, 2019
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The very sad fact is that these Shaw findings, encouraging as they are, are from a study that's been around now for almost 15 years.
Not that it probably matters, but have similar chess studies been done?
Boy do we stink at publicity.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Can be done already. No need to buy out the rights.
Dec. 28, 2019
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Are there reports of possible cheating or are we making way too much of this?
Dec. 28, 2019
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Just came across this thread. If we are so afraid that “Special Games” might be compromised, shouldn't we be just as afraid that ALL our Common Game hands can be just as compromised? I would think West coast players could easily figure a way to see East coast results, if not at the start of play, certainly within the first hour.
Why this special fear of special games?
Stealing is stealing. Cheating is cheating. Often times size doesn't matter when sentencing time rolls around.
Dec. 27, 2019
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Same with 2014 in NYC…Aces BC opened, but Manhattan BC closed.
Just a trade off.
Dec. 27, 2019
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Just “planting the seed”, as you so rightly point out, may in itself be enough to produce results. Many empty nesters, maybe even the majority, who come to bridge later in life, have had some connection with bridge as a child. Programs like yours may have to take the place of watching parents play, since that avenue of how the game has been passed from generation to generation, for maybe all of three generations, looks to be about over.
Dec. 27, 2019
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My point is that we need to start treating bridge more as a business than as a hobby or pastime. Honors has many volunteers. They back up and support our professional staff. Perhaps this might serve as a model for what a real BoD should look like.
Dec. 25, 2019
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We have no preregistration in NYC.
Dec. 25, 2019
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Here's where I differ. If we leave it up to volunteers, we are doomed. We must find a way to make it profitable to recruit and teach the next generation of players, young or old. Clubs like mine and maybe a couple hundred others scattered throughout major cities and retirement areas, will not be enough to save the vast majority of the country from bridge's demise. We have to find a way for independents to take up the mantle. $30, paid out over three years, only helps the 200 clubs already doing the heavy lifting. It will do nothing to get new people interested and involved. For that to happen, the rewards will have to be exponentially greater.
Dec. 24, 2019
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