Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Jeff Bayone
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Easy to find out. Jay Whipple has those numbers and they are not pretty.
Dec. 24, 2019
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Why not?
Dec. 24, 2019
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Can we get a breakdown on member creation? Where are new members coming from? Large clubs, small clubs, clubs in retirement communities, clubs in large cities, in small rural areas, clubs that offer a novice program, that teach beginners?
Dec. 24, 2019
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Joe Hertz and everyone else so far on this thread,

In the late 70's my sometime partner and I won the two-session NLM pairs event in Vegas. I don't think it was Nationally rated at the time. But it was a kick. The highlight of my bridge career till then for sure. The few times I do go to Nationals these days, if I have to play in a side event, with all the excitement buzzing around me, it is always a somewhat unsatisfying experience.

That might be how the 0 - 1000 players feel. Where is their excitement? One day's event schedule is pretty much like the next. I don't think there are, except for the GNP and the GNT, any 2-day, let alone 3-day events of any kind for them. What gets their juices going?

We already have a Grand LM rank. Why not Grand NLM's? You have to have won a National Tournament somewhere along the way to earn that title, whether at the 49er, 99er, 199er, 299er, or wherever. And that's a title that will stick with you forever. Why not have at least one National Open pairs, one National Swiss, and one National K-O event at every Nationals, for as many of these ranges as possible?

Oh for the good old days when the pros and their sponsor/clients didn't suck up all the energy and all the Board's attention. Shouldn't players down the line also be given equal consideration? What would happen if I ran my organization the way ACBL runs theirs? Just between Cavendish and Honors, we have about forty to fifty pros playing every day. Our staff affords each of them the same courtesy, the same attention as they do anyone else. Maybe less. Certainly less than many of our developing players. Even from a purely business point of view, this makes sense. There are way more non-pros than pros. Clubs depend on everyone feeling welcome. That means everyone. Successful club managers know that to be seen playing favorites is one of the biggest mistakes they can make.

When the time does come to reorganize the BoD, perhaps having a few club managers on the newly constituted Board, if only to add perspective, will be seen as a necessary component.
Dec. 24, 2019
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Matthew,
I appreciate all the work you've put in. I know studies are important. I was surprised at the number of clubs started. I never would have guessed it to be anywhere near that high. To me that is the most important positive piece of information I've seen in a long time. Can you break that number down? How many of those clubs are full-time, seven plus sessions a week facilities, offering a teaching program? How many were volunteer, once a month clubs, started at a country club or Veteran's Hall? There is a big difference between the two.

Right now the main statistic of importance to me is that large urban clubs are holding their own or increasing in size while clubs in less densely populated area are struggling to survive or worse. What does that say, if anything, about how ACBL's limited resources should be employed?

I did note that in the last two years the decline in total club table count has increased at a faster pace. This will only continue as our median age drifts ever upward. I believe it passes 76 this year. Anyone wondering why National table counts are falling need only look to that statistic.

I also noted that in SF almost everyone playing in Gold Rush events on down was from the immediate area. ACBL is not capturing the interest of the newer players. Case in point: Virtually no one, with fewer than 1000 Master Points, from the NYC area, made the trip. And pretty much everyone of them could have easily afforded to. It looks as if our average newer players feel these 10-day National events offer little more than their local Regionals. Where's the excitement? Where's the National Championships for the 0 -99er, the 299er, the 750 players?
Players with 10,000 points have a National event to look forward to almost every day. Excluding Grand National events, everyone with fewer than 1000 points has none.
Dec. 23, 2019
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I've got my violin out.
Dec. 18, 2019
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Try Buffalo in the dead of winter. That was the coldest I've ever been. One day we left the hotel and couldn't make it to the cab line that was queued up 15 feet away.
Dec. 18, 2019
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Aging out, not pricing out, may be all that's happening. I believe we have data showing the fall-off in attendance at Nationals when players hit 75 and the collapse in attendance when they cross 80. Anyone care to attempt to do a study on what percent of the drop-off was due to players simply aging out over these last few years?
We will then be a in a better position to predict future attendance. Taking this “natural” fall off into account will allow us to compare apples to apples. A 2020 event with 10,000 tables may be more successful than that same tournament was in 2016, even though 11,000 tables were in play back then.
Dec. 17, 2019
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I would think Canasta and Mah Jongg programs will work in communities where access to private membership golf and tennis clubs is limited. It seems people want to be with people. We've created two large sessions a week each averaging ten plus tables. We charge the same as we do for bridge….$35 per person per session. The key was finding the right person to run the program and boy did we get lucky.
We recently branched out to Mah Jongg tournaments. Sold out our first…84 players. The key again was finding just the right person and again we hit the jackpot.
We sell very little besides Best e-Bridge subscriptions and basic bridge book staples on play and defense. Barbara Seagram's and Kantar's two newly updated books. I haven't found the perfect bidding book(s) for players coming out of our seven session beginner program so we rely on that Israeli teaching site (BeB) to bridge that gap.
Dec. 17, 2019
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Jane,
Under one size does not fit all:
I had that same goal of creating duplicate players for my club. That lasted far too long. Too long for me to admit. Once I realized that creating players should be my teaching program's goal, a heavy weight was lifted. Getting them to our nine weekly social sessions now satisfies my goal. It is easier to attain, financially much more rewarding, and has had intended consequences. We have close to sixty tables of supervised play each week. From that large pool come our next generation of duplicate players. They are given time to develop. Partnerships are formed. When the time comes for them to try competitive bridge, they know it. We just added a third duplicate novice game this year.
Dec. 17, 2019
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Eric,
Nothing like Mox here in NYC. Much less sophisticated. A real eye opener. Especially when I saw their complete schedule of events.
When we started offering Mah Jongg and Canasta I wondered if there would be some synergy there. There is. So far many more bridge players have taken Canasta and Mah Jongg lessons and begun to play, then the other way around.
Dec. 17, 2019
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It feels like there's about a dozen within 2 hours of NYC and we're probably not the worst or best depending on your perspective.
Dec. 16, 2019
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There are different approaches to teaching and they often overlap.
My interest lies in trying to explain the reasons a bid means what it does. That's the book I was hoping to read way back when I first picked up “Commonsense Bidding”. If you have to memorize something you could forget it. If you understand the logic behind a bid, it is yours forever. That, and the fact that you need to follow that logic, own the bids at your disposal, in order to build on them to create a language that covers the whole spectrum of what's needed to cover. How can we expect our students to ever be able to find the “right” bid from the “least of all evils” approach, if they don't understand the subtleties of a call or of a sequence of calls?

Like I said, that's where my interests lie. I do understand and appreciate where you are coming from and what you hope to accomplish. I am well aware that many of our students need to memorize. It is how they learn. One size again does not fit all. Fortunately, I'm in a position to see that both approaches have a home at Honors. Truly gifted teachers may be able to combine the two approaches in just the right combination, just the right balance, to appeal to both sides. Even then, the makeup of a class changes every week. That's a tough balancing act for anyone. Be true to yourself and how you teach. Students will gravitate to the teacher who's approach they feel most comfortable with.

Of course, in the long run, understanding trumps memorizing. On a practical level, you won't have students in the long run, if you can't appeal to them in the short run.
Dec. 16, 2019
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Peg,
7.5 minutes times 24 boards equals 180 minutes or 3 hours. The exact length of our duplicate games. Makes for a lovely afternoon or evening out among friends and away from the damn computer screen that I suspect we both spend entirely too much of our lives staring at, don't you think?
Dec. 15, 2019
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Yes. Perfect. For a week.
Dec. 15, 2019
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Start to finish in 7 1/2 minutes. Perfect for today's generation.
Dec. 15, 2019
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Bridge clubs like mine reach mostly empty nesters and the recently retired.
But I see that competitive f2f games playing is having a big comeback among college kids. Think Euro-style games and Europe game tournaments. In Manhattan we already have three games cafes (bars). A 4500 sq. ft. facility is set to open this Spring across the street from Columbia University. And we all know that bridge is the ultimate, competitive, f2f game. We should be perfectly positioned for new young growth. Finally.

Bridge now has the chance to appeal to all these three age groups. These groups make up almost the complete spectrum from college age, through the 30's, through empty nesters, finishing with the near to recently retired. For those keeping score, that's fifty years, the teens all the way through the sixties. We're poised for the big things to come.

Think we'll be able to figure out a way to blow it?
Dec. 15, 2019
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Green stamps…if you're old enough to remember. Not that I am, but my mother sure enjoyed filling up those books.
Dec. 15, 2019
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Exactly. The king is 3 points. Two minds….
Dec. 15, 2019
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Maybe it's meant to be this way. I once asked Joel Sherman, of Scrabble fame, what makes a champion Scrabble player. Matter-of-factly he started out with, “First you have to know all the words.”
Bridge wise, if I tell a student, “Well first you have to know all the bids,” that might sound just as daunting and unattainable
Dec. 15, 2019
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