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All comments by Jeff Bayone
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I'm thinking that unless the teacher using a hand or even an entire set of hands from someone else, unless that teacher is planning on publishing the material, this whole discussion is mute. Who, but the teacher's students, will ever see these hands? Isn't it hard enough just to get your own students to take a second look at the lesson hands that you carefully prepared for them?
Oct. 10, 2018
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Common Game hands are very good as generic hands, certainly a good place to start if you are looking to put a course together. What I'm interested in is someone spending the time needed to go over those hands, selecting just the right level hand for my particular class' ability. Also, are the hands vetted? If it is a play or defense hand, is the bidding necessary to get to the desired contract within the grasp of the average player in the class? Is there more than one possible lead, and if so, will that change the way the hand is supposed to be played or defended, taking it away from the topic at hand? Etc,etc….
Oct. 10, 2018
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Excellent, so long as the various people on the Board do their duties. Isn't that always the case?
Oct. 9, 2018
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Context is everything. Every bridge teacher relies on hands from many different sources when putting together a course. Forget hands for the moment. What about bidding? Do I have to contact Marty every time I quote him? I'd be on the phone night and day.
No one can own a hand. It's like saying someone can own a word. Words are what make up a language. Hands are what make up bridge. Can you own a poker hand, a Canasta hand, a chess move?
Where to draw the line? Can I write an article where I practically copy word for word someone else's hands and explanations and represent it as my own? Can I write the same article using just their hands, yet substantially alter the way I present them? Can I cull together various hands from various sources, change the way some are presented, but keep intact the ones where I thought the author did an excellent job, and merely change a word here and there?
If someone is to build a bridge library its value will be as a one stop source for hands where a teacher can go to easily access and put together an entire class, or course, in a fraction of the time it now takes them.
Who builds this? Who is granted access to it? At what cost? Who profits? These are the questions I am concerned with. The individual hands, grouped by content, presented out of context, are just hands, and as such, are “owned” by everyone and no one.
Oct. 9, 2018
Jeff Bayone edited this comment Oct. 9, 2018
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Can this really be happening? Can we expand it to include teachers from all over the country (world)?
Oct. 4, 2018
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Our ACBL manager is responsible for dealing with Club reports, seeing that we get the events we want to hold registered on time, our yearly sanction renewed, resolving discrepancies in members points, etc. He also happens to be our head director so he also is responsible for seeing that all shifts are covered.

If you are going to do this as a team effort, identify what jobs are critical and try to get the best person matched with the job. Having someone in charge of the teaching program would be my #1 concern. Honors even has me, my wife, and two staff members who try to follow every student for the first several courses to see that they don't fall through the cracks.

Structurally, everyone here is on different schedules so when I want something discussed I do it one-on-one or with an email blast to that part of my staff that needs to be reached. With fifty plus in staff between my three clubs, this alone keeps me on my toes.
Oct. 4, 2018
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Here are a few more tasks. But first, a definition of “club manager”. Aviv is our ACBL's listed club manager. He deals with most ACBL matters. But he does not manage the club.

Having said that:
The buck stops with the club manager.
The manager should try to protect their directors by being the go to person for grievances, for correcting wrongs, for arbitrating, and for asking the aggrieved player what they can do for them to “make it right”. Club managers, whenever possible, should try not be club directors too. If a customer has a problem with you, they have no where else to turn.

The manager sets the tone of the club. They hire and train staff. They don't tolerate bad behavior and they don't leave it to their staff to confront problem players.

They set prices. They decide what special events to offer, how often to offer them and whether or not to charge extra for them.

As Sam Marks indicated, they keep their website current. They send email blasts as often as they see fit. They are responsible for promotion, whatever the hell that means.

They try new things. They listen to suggestions from staff and players. They add Scrabble and Canasta if they have dead time to fill and begin thinking about branching out to mahjong and maybe European style board games.

They do everything they can to see to it that there is a viable teaching program and that a system is in place that will have a chance to bring a beginning student along from their first class through their first supervised social experience, and into their first Novice game. They concentrate on the long game. They don't expect the teaching program to be a source of income. They know it will be, it just might take years for the fruits of their labor to show results. But without this teaching program, they know that their club will stagnate and eventually implode.

They start mentoring programs. They find volunteer tutors to help those students who just need a helping hand. They try to have social events with wine and cheese and just fun bridge. They run pro-ams. They set up some way to help find last minute partners for their players.

They try to convince their Unit Board that a financially healthy club is in everyone's interest.

They fill in whenever necessary. They play whenever they want. But they do so knowing that, when they do, they are also setting the tone for how they expect their players to conduct themselves at the table.

They smile, greet their players, return phone calls and emails and make certain that whenever someone comes to them with a concern, they understand that those few minutes with that player may decide how that person views both them and their club for years to come.

They try to make sure that anything that might negatively impact the club is immediately brought to their attention by their staff.

They make certain they have a solid, well trained cleaning person or staff in place.

They go to the bathroom whenever time permits.

And, at the end of the day, they leave their club knowing they did the best job they could, but feeling somehow that they might have missed something. Did someone remember to turn off the coffee machine?
Oct. 4, 2018
Jeff Bayone edited this comment Oct. 4, 2018
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Every teacher I know finds and uses hands from wherever they can. From books, from online sites, from articles in the Bulletin, from other teachers at their club. It takes a special talent to be able to make a lesson hand up from scratch. Most teachers can't. How else would you expect the average teacher to teach? Enough already about copyrighted material when it comes to using examples to teach a class. No one living today can say for certain that a hand they think they “created” for a lesson hadn't been created by someone else years before.

So far I haven't seen even one example hand. Want recognition? Send a hand. Want royalties? Well maybe, when a data base of hands exists, that could become a possibility. Build it, they will come…and maybe pay.
Oct. 4, 2018
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Master Point Press will send you an ecopy and all student and teacher notes.
Oct. 4, 2018
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I know it was more common in NYC in the 70's till we learned (grew up?) that it was more important that partner be able to trust your bid.
Sept. 27, 2018
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Just the opposite. The game we “experts” play is actually, to quote Allan Graves, a mind sport. The game 40,000,000 people played in the fifties was bridge.
Sept. 27, 2018
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Your analogy is spot on mate.
Sept. 20, 2018
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Never thought of that. Thanks for the heads up.
Sept. 19, 2018
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If you are referring to just about every teaching club in the country, I heartily agree. As I stated, we are a bridge CLUB.
Bridge's future rests with us. It's that simple. Turning novice players off to the game is in no one's interest. Let us decide, on a club by club basis, what the psyching policy should be.

There is a reason the super chart exists. No one says it can't be used. They do say when and against whom it is appropriate.
Sept. 19, 2018
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Perhaps we are the biggest club in the country partly because we know when and how and why to bend the rules. Besides what works in one club may not work in another. Over the years ACBL has seen that there could be unforeseen consequences when they try micro managing on the club level. Being sanctioned clubs rather than franchisees has is plus side.
Sept. 19, 2018
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Anyone remember the Flip Wilson routine about David and Goliath where Flip asks why a giant needed to bring a club to the fight?

At Honors we ask that all psychs be reported. We also have a rule that professional players are not permitted to psych in any section other than our White section. It is convenient that we have a White section. For most of my 40 years managing clubs we didn't, yet we never had a problem with psyching. Why? Because first and foremost I run my clubs as bridge CLUBS. A social meeting place where bridge is played, respected and championed. Antisocial behavior is never tolerated. I won't try to define antisocial, I know it when I see it. Clubs come and go. They go mostly because management failed to reign in bad behavior.
So when someone psyched against an obviously upset weak opponent I asked if, after the fact, they realized how upset they had made their opponent. If they had, their response gave me an insight into who they were and whether or not I had to keep an eye on them in the future.
On the other hand, if the player that had been psyched against was not a weak player (again, sorry, I know one when I see one) I point out several things to that player. One, psyching is part of bridge. Two, it is creative, daring and exciting to the one attempting the psych and maybe they should try it for themselves. And three, when effective, both sides should applaud it and learn from it.
BTW: Every regular, at every bridge club, knows where they stand. And if they don't, they think they are better than they are. So no regular should have a problem recognizing who should be off-limits to a psych.
Sept. 19, 2018
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Thank you. The changes you made make a lot of sense. It is two years later, are you planning on doing it again?
Sept. 13, 2018
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A lot to digest. Were the new students all real beginners?
I agree that moving after every hour or so might have been better. Do you know if Patty does this?
Having children, adults and very senior citizens all taking lessons together must have been a challenge in itself.
I assume you offer regular beginner classes. How have they been going?
When was the last time you did LBIAD? Were the changes your thought might help ever implemented?
Bottom line…did it lead to real people taking real courses from you?
Sept. 10, 2018
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And….Don't leave us hanging Jane.
So many questions starting with, did the ACBL actually send 18 of their employees? How many did they send the second time?
How long ago did you hold these two LBIAD events?
What did the six month and one year follow up indicate?
Have you done it since?
After doing it at least twice, what did you learn from the two experiences?
What programs did your club have in place as follow ups to these one-day sessions?
Net, net, did they work?
Sept. 10, 2018
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A major stumbling block in trying to attract and develop young players is that 99% of our nearly 2,800 member clubs have little interest in attracting and developing young players.
Can you blame us?

First off, few of the clubs have a teaching program of any kind. My guess would be maybe 10%. Without a teaching program, attracting young players is a total non-starter.

For the 10% of clubs with teaching programs, what young players have the combination of interest, time, and money needed to take lessons, practice at home, come to supervised club sessions, and then work their way through Novice and Intermediate games?

Lot's of empty-nesters and the recently retired do. That's why these two groups are Honors' target audience and the target audience of just about every other teaching club in the country.

ACBL, on the other hand, needs to develop young players if Regionals and Nationals are to be sustained. For the most part, empty nesters and the recently retired are looking to bridge for social reasons. A few will catch the competitive bug. Fewer still will ever aspire to play at the National level. Not a happy thought.

Simply put, the goals of the clubs and the goals of the League are not in sync.

The clubs are the engine of growth, the “life blood of the organization.” A business model would need to be developed that would put a serious premium on youth bridge. Sad to say, until that comes along, clubs simply will not have the resources to throw into programs that, at best, may only pay dividends many many years down the road.
Sept. 7, 2018
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