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All comments by Jeff Bayone
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Thank you Russ. I very much enjoyed sitting in for Al Levy a while back. By session's end, I believe everyone appreciated the benefit provided from having someone at the table who had not come up through the Unit ranks.

Having sat through that meeting, it now leaves me wondering what the full BOD will be doing with all the extra time on their hands once the plan to transition non-core topics off the BOD gets implemented. I imagine it will be to tackle core topics. But with no marketing experts, no full time teachers, no club representation on the BOD, exactly what will that plan look like?

Creating new tournament players is a core topic. At least it is on BW. In this area, our sanctioned clubs are vital. We teach and we provide jobs for many up and coming young experts who wish to devote themselves full time to bridge. There are close to seventy full time professional players, and another dozen staff members, in NYC alone, who depend on the clubs for their livelihood. Today, online bridge and club bridge combine to provide a powerful one-two punch. We cover just about everyone wanting to play and provide jobs for our pro players.

If you buy into this, then you are well aware that half of that ecosystem, our member clubs, is dying. Not so much in some of our major cities and retirement communities, but everywhere else.

From the club owners' perspective, the problem is not in our stars, but in ourselves. The very structure of the ACBL pits clubs against tournaments. The more successful the tournaments, the less successful the clubs. It also works in reverse. A club that offers comfort and a friendly competitive game and stays open during local tournaments, draws heavily from those tournaments.

Before tackling marketing, tackling this basic tournament/club issue needs serious thought. It is tearing at the fabric of our game. A huge number of clubs are about to go under. I've traveled much of the country. Like our farms, way too many clubs are run by, and populated with, players who will not be able to carry on much longer. Without a viable plan in place for how to make our ecosystem function properly, there will no no one wanting to take their place. Nor will there be a need.

Marketing is good. But creating interest, and then not being able to back it up because no clubs exist for interested people to go to, makes little sense.

There are seventy profession players in the NYC area. Most intend on devoting their lives to the game. Many are under 45 with long lives ahead of them. Many are wonderful teachers. None want anything to do with opening a bridge club. Not a one. And these are among the best, the brightest, the most energetic people on the planet. They are also among the most logical and they just don't see the logic in it.

How do we get those 25 Unit members to understand that?
Nov. 29, 2019
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I agree. No matter how attractive folding tables look, they are still folding tables. Set up against our more solid and no more attractive permanent tables, these Stakmore tables just don't stack up well. They look and feel less substantial. Also, coffee and soda cups are more prone to shaking or being knocked over entirely when the table is bumped.
Nov. 29, 2019
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Here's my dream center based table. Found it yesterday by accident. This one is only 24 square. Wonder if Christner makes them larger. If they do, imagine how much fun it would be to start looking for chairs that would work with them. Talk about creating a look!!
https://www.wayfair.com/furniture/pdp/wrought-studio-christner-dining-table-vark4830.html?piid=27276926&experiencetype=2&selectedvertical=11
Nov. 28, 2019
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The base needs to be very heavy which makes moving them to vacuum very difficult.
Nov. 27, 2019
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What I didn't like is that fully half those interviewed were high sixties and above.
Nov. 27, 2019
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Tried that. Had that. Couldn't live with it.
Nov. 27, 2019
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Are you sure that would have had any effect on bridge's future?
Nov. 27, 2019
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Size matters….little. Composition matters much more. We've got 25 experts on how to run a Unit. Zero on how to run a bridge club, a teaching program, or a national organization. I'm thrilled this vote failed. Next time, when putting something to a vote, at least make sure that if it passes it might actually do some good.
Nov. 27, 2019
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Plus or minus what degree of accuracy would you guess?
Nov. 27, 2019
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Len, this should be required studying for every BoD member and club owner. Haven't digested it all. The part that jumped out immediately corresponds with what we are witnessing on the ground here in NYC. Games are back in vogue. We are trying to partner with Hex and Co. They operate four “games' cafes” in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Their younger clientele plays evenings and weekends, ours weekday mornings and afternoons. Great potential synergy here and in every city where this phenomenon is starting to happen.
Nov. 27, 2019
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That's when you do whatever you can to hold onto your students at all costs, even passed the point where it would be better to let them go onto something more appropriate. What incentive does an independent teacher have for giving up their client? I've almost never had one come to me and say,“I have a new customer for you. She's been taking private lessons with me twice a week for three years now and I believe she's ready for your club.”
Nov. 27, 2019
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We have almost the same thing. The card fee at Honors is $35. A standby who does not get to play gets a coupon that allows them to play for $5.
Nov. 27, 2019
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I'm starting to try to organize clubs. Teaching clubs first. You've given me a selling point I hadn't yet considered.
TY
Nov. 27, 2019
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Thanks for the kind words. Those chairs you admired are over $200 a piece. With tax and delivery, well over.

We did find some wonderful side tables, finally. Sturdy, right size, very attractive, easy surface to clean. It has a lower shelf for pocketbooks. Expensive, but I'm guessing, a lifetime's use.
Wayfair:
Ermont End Table by Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse
Color: Charter Oak
Price: $57.99
Nov. 27, 2019
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Morris,
Do you us BeB with your students the way Henry and I do?
Nov. 27, 2019
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We do not compensate our regular open game directors by the table unless they run more than one game and the table count exceeds 20 total tables. The best directors are like the best umpires. After the game, if no one remembers who directed, they did a great job.
For our novice program, the head of the program does get rewarded if table count is high, but only on the understanding that she is not to warehouse the players.
(We do compensate teachers above the beginner/advanced beginner level based on count.)
We do compensate for giving lectures before the game.
As far as singles…see Alan Powell. We try to keep the number of house players available to a minimum. We found that having house players was actually a negative. Singles would refuse to play with one another, hoping instead to land a better playing house player.
Nov. 26, 2019
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Richard,
Exactly how would identifying millions of players out there, while never being able to capture but a hand full of them, be what they wanted?
BTW: When was this survey completed?
Nov. 26, 2019
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“So this information ACBL received through a paid survey run by professionals is ”bull"
The part I do believe is that they paid for this survey.
Nov. 26, 2019
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Without the clubs there is no next generation of players.
Nov. 26, 2019
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I don't see this at all. There are more and more people coming to us with no card skills period. Most of the country probably doesn't know bridge is a card game. There's no money in bridge, outside the bridge community itself. A deck of cards is still a buck. A new bridge game doesn't come out every week. No one pays us for TV rights. We must look after ourselves and try to build our own business from within.
Nov. 26, 2019
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