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All comments by Jeff Bayone
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I'd like it injected into me most days. Getting tougher all the time.
June 18, 2018
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There's no secret sauce. If there was I'd have franchised my operation years ago. Unlike Starbucks each club is like a snowflake. Different and unique. What works in NYC may not work in Philly. Hell, what works on the East side of Manhattan, doesn't even translate well to the West side.
What works is attention to detail and caring about everything.
You call that a secret sauce? I'm texting at 5:00 am because that's what I love to do. I work 12 hours a day 7 days a week on my Honors Bridge Club because that's what I love to do. Forty years experience makes me good at it.
A magician was once asked how he could find a specific card after someone placed in back in the deck. “I feel where it was placed, and I know how to cut to that exact spot. I've practiced that cut till my hands bled.”
That's your secret sauce. Practice running clubs till your hands bleed. It's that simple.
June 18, 2018
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Steve's right. You're right.
First, please give us our collective moment to vent. We need a place to vent, to let it out. We need a place we can feel secure doing so without worrying that BW players who are not sanction holders will jump down our backs and say how disloyal we are.
Between me, Mike, Chris, and Silvana we have well over 100 years of our lives devoted to bridge and the ACBL. We each would love an improved organization. I imagine you would to.
Is it disloyal to petition for improvement?

Let's look at something you brought up, Alzheimer's, as an example.
Honors leaves a box out for donations during the Longest Day week. I email my 1500 players informing them of it. That's all we do now. No more parties, no more free games and the like. Why? Perhaps, if the ACBL for all the millions we've donated to the Association over the years, demanded a quid pro quo in return, I would be more receptive to donating my time and my players money to the fight. We've all been touched by Alzheimers, we've all been touched by cancer. Alzhermer's is something we can do something about. We can get people to play bridge. There is all the evidence you need that bridge helps slow or wards off this disease. Take a cross section of regular duplicate players. Take a cross section of people who do not engage in social and intellectual pursuits and compare. Alzheimers has never gotten behind this simple fact. What a shot in the arm that would be to ACBL and to its member clubs. Bahar said he was “working on it”. Well I too need to prepare boards for next week. (Actually I don't, someone else does). But I certainly won't be wasting my time on an organization that won't lift a finger for me.

When ACBL gets the Alzheimers Ass. to acknowledge this relationship, which more than anything, they owe it to themselves to do, then Honors will go the extra mile to support them. That's the way it should work. It does in the real world, in the business world. It doesn't seem to work when the organization is a non-profit, run by non business people and proud of its shortcomings.

BTW: We already have postings on club discipline, facebook advertisement, growth, a discussion of club, unit, district relations, and a separate area, “What works? What works!” that is designed for helpful Q&A.
So no, this is not just a forum for vetting. But thanks for letting me vent.
June 18, 2018
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Honors has a teaching staff of 24, a 4 person tutoring staff and a 10 person volunteer staff.
15 of the teachers we hired as fully formed teachers, the rest we taught to teach. Some from scratch, a very few had done some private teaching on their on.
I imagine that this is the way it is at all ACBL full service clubs. Interested players ask if they can get involved in some way.
I must stress that while the TAP program and the new Better Bridge Techniques are important and fill a need, nothing beats day in, day out, hands on learning with support at your side.
Best Bridge Practices is what, 6 - 8 hours? Our instructing staff in training works side by side with some of the best teachers on the planet for months in supervised play sessions listening, absorbing, and taking direction from them. They spend time studying the materials for their specific area of teaching and can come to us for advice and help any time they want. Before teaching a Beginner 1 series they must sit in on Beginner 1 classes. They must also become familiar with our online support program, BesteBridge.com, that our beginning students must work with while they take the beginner course.
None of these nearly two dozen instructors get issued an ABTA or ACBL accreditation.
Not once has ACBL referred someone to me who reached out to them, asking how they might become a bridge teacher. Perhaps ACBL and ABTA should be in the business of teaching people to teach. I'm the first to support the profit motive. But here again we have a situation where it is the clubs verses the Organization. Not one of the people we have taught to teach was ever charged. On the contrary. After just a few sessions, when we think they are ready, we pay them to help assist in SP sessions.
I imagine it is the same in all full service clubs. Trouble is, in the entire organization of 2,800 clubs only a little over 200 offer even one novice game a week. I infer from this that only those handful of clubs teach beginner bridge players.
ABTA and ACBL therefore fill a need. Where full service clubs do not exist, they should step in. But where full service clubs do exist, perhaps they should step aside.
June 18, 2018
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Several club owners are already planing to meet at Honors on Tuesday July 10th. All area sanction holders are welcome to attend. Whether a motion(s) comes out of this or not is uncertain. What is certain is that if it does, it will be presented to Steve and Donald to make sure it is put in proper form.

A 125 member board is not needed to review motions. That can be done by a “review board” 1/20 that size.

A 125 member board should have more than one committee.
A 125 member board should have an agenda.
A 125 member board should set short and long term goals.
A 125 member board should have a secretary informing those 125 members about something, anything.

Or not.
June 17, 2018
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Do you happen to know if bridge card fees are commensurate?
June 17, 2018
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Honors card fee average $122 a table and we have 19,000 tables. Care to guess what I thought of your suggestion?
But just because card fees and table counts are high doesn't necessarily equate to bottom line figures. And even if there was a relationship, a $200,000 household income here won't qualify you to rent a two bedroom two bath apartment in Manhattan.
But you are on to something. US, Canada, Mexico…there must be a figure that represents cost of living differential. That would be the multiplier.
June 17, 2018
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I'm afraid it won't be the last either.
June 17, 2018
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That's so true. Even when we teach defense and the declarer KNOWS they're supposed to go minus, they are upset when they do.
June 17, 2018
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Similar epiphany. But mine involved poker and women. Now it would involve Haggen Daz vanilla ice cream.
The sheer beautiful, simple, and yet elegant logic of math was what I enjoyed as a child. But it wasn't a passion. Same with chess. Didn't know at the time what was missing.
When I discovered bridge, I found that out.
Introducing bridge in our classrooms or in our after school programs to like minded children might have the long term affect of producing more bridge experts, but fewer lawyers, engineers, and doctors.
As a society, are we willing to accept these unintended consequences?
June 17, 2018
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I've been on the BoG just under two years, attended three or four meetings, and written exactly one letter to my “constituents” informing them of BoG and BoD progress.
As one of 25 1st Alternates, assuming every 1st A. position is filled, other than standing ready to take over should my BoD District rep not be able to fulfill his or her duties, what are my specific responsibilities to my District, the BoD, the BoG, myself?
As a BoG member, should I be getting regular updates on BoG and BoD areas of discussion? Our Atlanta meeting is little more than a month away, yet I know nothing of what is on the agenda of either my BoG or the BoD. Maybe I should, and just don't know it. Maybe I was supposed to get a play book somewhere along the way and just didn't.
Along with Len, I suppose our current officers are doing a good job, but what exactly is their job?
I know the Chairman gets to sit in on BoD meetings, but doesn't get a vote. I know the Chairman runs the BoG meetings. But what else is he or she charged with?
I learned that the BoG was set up to act as the body representing the members. I've been a sanction holder for 42 years and not once have I ever been contacted by the BoG about any club or member related business, even in the two years I've been on the Board.
I'm ashamed to say that I'm now one of the very same 125 people doing exactly what to help the 165,000 little people I'm supposed to be looking out for. And I'm starting to get uncomfortable in the role of not having a role.
June 17, 2018
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I tell my 0 - 750 students, the tougher the opponent, the higher you preempt.
June 16, 2018
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Yes we do. But Mike was asking about math, so I tried to give him an Honors math class.
June 16, 2018
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Definitely not interested in restructuring the BoD. That's proven to be a non-starter. But if the BoD would agree that half the Board MUST be made up of for profit and/or full service sanctioned holders, I think we would be amenable to that.
Unfortunately the BoG is too large a body and too diverse to be an effective force in the near term.
No, we are going to propose that there be a third Board. A tight knit group of club owners from various size clubs to help set guidelines and direction where membership and club health is concerned.
June 16, 2018
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Exactly.
What is on everyone's mind?
The BoG is supposed to be the players' Board.
The BoD has enough on its plate.
Fiduciary, tournaments, the solvency of the Organization.
We will make a motion in Atlanta that they divest themselves, with Donald's help, from having to deal with member clubs and average strength club players.
June 16, 2018
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I start off telling my Beginner 1 class that bridge is like a detective story that must be solved in a very short time. For them one hand is more like 15 - 20 minutes.
Anyone will tell you that it is far easier to remember a story then it is to remember random facts. What was the story on the hand?

To this day I don't believe I could remember one card more in a gin rummy pack then I could 50 years ago when I switched to bridge. Random facts versus the story.

As to math. I tell my students the truth right away. It's not math, at most, it's third grade arithmetic.
And what of memorization?
How about this?
The Odds:
A suit breaks 3-2…2/3 of the time.
It breaks 4-1 1/4 of the time(28%)
It break 4-2 2/4ths of the time (48%)
And finally, it breaks 3-3 1/3 of the time (36%).
So much for math and memorization.
Now, let's play cards.
June 16, 2018
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Maybe they should. They are ACBL clubs.
June 16, 2018
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Where did this come from - incorrect rules?
How about obtaining a copy of “A Taste of Bridge” and then getting back to me?
Incorrect rules………
June 16, 2018
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I think we may start giving the 3-month membership as a graduation present after our three 6-session beginner courses.

Do you remember when the initial ACBL membership was under $20?
We used to give the entire year away free.
June 16, 2018
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Beg to differ. I believe we are talking about introducing people to bridge. These are not concepts for beginners or even those we refer to as advanced beginners.
1S-2S is what is relevant. The invitational sequence 1nt-2nt is often too challenging for some percentage of our new players.
June 16, 2018
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