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All comments by Jeff Bayone
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2% retention is what can be expected whenever there is no program in place that comes between those beginner series of classes and the Novice Duplicate Game. There has to be a gestation period and a gentle one at that. One should never dump beginners into competitive situations before they WANT that experience. Having to do that because your club hasn't the wherewith all to provide a nurturing environment is the worst excuse possible. Worst, but because of economics, sometimes impossible to avoid. That's where the need for real rewards come in. Clubs could run lost leaders like much smaller classes, like having supervised social bridge sessions, like having tutors for making up classes and for remedial help, like having bridge parties with wine and cheese, like Pro-Ams where the Pros get paid. They could do all this, at a loss, if they knew that a potential pot of gold awaited them for every tournament level player they would be able to create, that came from having this type of concerted effort on the part of everyone involved in the club's player development program.
Honors does just that. Our retention rate is almost ten times what yours District's rate is.
Aug. 8
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Spot on. Those poor people in Horn Lake who were expected to put in a day's work. My heart goes out to them.
Aug. 7
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The weather?
That's global warming, that's political. Shame on you.
Aug. 7
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Mike knows. We are on the front lines.
Aug. 7
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If you set your club up right, the answer is, “Who cares?”
First, lessons mixed in with social practice sessions, eventually just practice sessions. And when they think they would like to try duplicate, they do. And if they never “graduate” to competitive bridge but continue to come and enjoy themselves socially, celebrate it. You did something marvelous for them.
Club owners please stop drinking the cool-aid. It's not about creating the next Grue. Your goal should be to teach and create bridge players. Some will gravitate to duplicate, but why lose the rest? You already did the heavy lifting, you did so much to get them taught. Reap the benefits.
Last year Honors did 3,500 tables of just social bridge (at $110 a table). That's more tables then 95% of the ACBL clubs had in total last year.
About a month ago one of our older players tried duplicate for the first time. She managed somewhere in the low 30% and loved it. Start to finish, this took three years. She played social bridge five times a week for all that time. We certainly would have lost her had we not had a relaxed and non-competitive environment for her to enjoy while she was developing her skills.
Aug. 7
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John,
Same all over. Those that do nothing between classes usually drop out after one or two cycles. So pushing students shouldn't be a concern. If you don't push them at the start, they won't be with you for long anyway.
Jim,
If you analyze ALL teaching hands you'll see that a student must do something right to make a hand. If they don't they did something wrong. A rose by any other name….Classes lend themselves to constant failure on the students part. How you deal with the important thing. My style is to make light of it. I like to say, “Of course you all went down, this was a play problem.” Or, “Of course you all made the hand, this was a defensive problem.”
We do use positive reinforcement in our social practice sessions where hands are dealt at random and where this is possible. There may be a more right way, but in some cases just following suit for the first 12 cards is sometimes worthy of praise. Everything's relative.
Aug. 7
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Between lessons, for novice players, I like to give them five hands on the same topic for homework. I use the bestebridge.com website to choose the hands. I ask my students to go over and over these same five hands until, when they appear on the screen, they can “see” the solution, all 52 cards, without needing to touch a card. I want them to smile and say, “I recognize this hand and its solution, I can see the pattern”. Being able to see a hand, not as individual cards or suits, is very hard for new players. The hands I select for beginners all have one thing in common. They have but one problem.
This technique can be extended to all level students. When you were studying the game, didn't you learn it this way? I'm sure you had your favorite book of bridge puzzle hands that you went back to until you too saw each solution without needing to play or even think them through. You “saw” the solution and the pattern of cards that produced that solution. That's muscle memory. It's the same, if not more so, for new players. Try to offer them hand patterns that they can recognize and can build on.
Aug. 7
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You're probably right.
My bad.
Aug. 3
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Beg to differ. R.E.A.C.H, being based on Strength of Field actually makes this type of scoring and the awarding of MP's about the fairest method yet. The worst games in ACBL land are the STaCs. Best versus worst. Interesting that both are games held only at our clubs.

$30 to play in a Gold Point event is a lot. Especially when it is added on to the club's card fee. But $30 allows one to play up to six times in these Gold Point events. That's no longer so bad. I know that to be true, because this REACH drew 1300 players and that's in late July, early August, when about half the players are either away or just getting back from Nationals and were too bridged out to think about another week's play.

Who pays seems to be an issue. STaC games, those that award Silver, cost the clubs about $5 more per table than regular rating point games. The clubs typically bear that cost. Whether it be the players or the clubs, you can bet that someone is always going to be picking up the tab for these enhanced rated games.
Aug. 3
Jeff Bayone edited this comment Aug. 3
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So Bahar had about 100 items on his plate when he was dismissed.
Let's presume that half were either not to the BoD's liking or were never really going to be implemented. That still left 50. Some were big, some small. Does anyone know what work has been done on these since he left Horn Lake? My fear is that the baby was thrown out with the bath water.
Aug. 3
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The membership meeting and BoG turnout in Vegas was truly pitiful.
The earlier start time may have had something to do with it. Taking away the morning continental breakfast may have also been a contributing factor. I thought the coffee was a really nice touch and was disheartened to see it go, especially without a corresponding gesture from the BoD.
Aug. 3
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Excellent point.
Thank you.
Aug. 2
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My point exactly.
It turned out that the Board didn't really want a change agent after all. Bahar had over 100 ideas on tap when he was dismissed. Some were large, some small. Lots were really good. I know. The CRM, dormant for years, was within a few months of becoming operational. Taken together, this was way too much, way too soon for the Board. Once in control of all this data and with all new programs in place, Bahar would become the center of power. The Board stood to lose much of its hands on control. Some Board members literally panicked. They got together and sold the rest of the Board a bill of goods that duped many into voting for Bahar's dismissal. BTW corroborating “evidence” was actually given by, guess who, Joe Jones. Yes that Joe Jones. The Jones that somehow wound up with that cushy, high paying, do nothing position, now euphemistically refereed to as ED.

They then had to come up with some absolute nonsense about Bahar not living in Horn Lake that was so weak it cost us $600,000 plus. ACBL's council is still getting a pay check for that. But it was not her fault. Her hands were tied. She couldn't give the actual reason for Bahar's dismissal. How do you go to court with a brief that says you want someone gone because they are too good for the job? Too bad. I'd have preferred that. At least, when that got shot down, it would have been the truth.

Chris, why are you not investigating what really happened to your friend? There won't be another Bahar for a long time. Probably never. What competent person would ever now apply for a job that requires that they not be competent?
Aug. 2
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Maybe on paper this all looks doable. But exactly how do we go about finding all the right people to fill all these newly created positions? We haven't even been able to find one to fill a desperately needed CEO position. A position now vacant for almost a year while the organization flounders.
What a mess.
BoD…Of the 25 current members, who gets to stay? Who goes? And why? You think this alone won't take years?
BoG…Reduced to 50 from 125. Same concerns here. Is it simply two instead of five from each District, or just some random composition of 50 diverse, competent, and skilled people? Again, who does the selecting? Competent at what?
What a mess.
I don't see any of this coming about. Even if it did, we'd still need a strong CEO at the helm. I'm told this is how it's done in the real world. We had one with Bahar. He was the right one. How'd that work out? The Board saw its power being “usurped”. The threat was too much. Do you really think this same Board will let their control of the organization be taken away voluntarily without a huge struggle?
I think we are all deluding ourselves. Nothing's going to happen.
It's too hard and the will's not there.

Of course, the easy way is to find another Bahar and this time stay the heck out of his way and let him do his job. Losing Bahar was a punch to the stomach for so many of us here on the front lines. For the first time in forty years we had someone that was putting the interests of the clubs and the growth of the organization at the top of his list of priorities. Playing Regionals and Nationals and glad handing were not his reason for wanting the post. When he was let go it literally sucked the air out of the room and ushered in this return to nothingness.
Aug. 2
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You saw that Danny!
July 26
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Way to go New York.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams all have a few New Yorkers or ex New Yorkers. 6th, 7th, 9/10 too.
Congrats to all.
July 26
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Do they rent by the hour?
July 22
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Richard,
There is plenty of evidence that simple social interaction is enough to have a very positive effect on mental health. There is evidence that cognitive thinking over a three hour period raises T-cell production which is helps the immune system. Together bridge provides a strong one-two punch.
BTW: What is YOUR feeling about this? Bunch of crap or it is beneficial?
July 22
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Since that's not about to start soon, I like my idea.
Doesn't have to be exact or even close. But if the results are dramatic enough, which I believe they will be, that may start the ball rolling.
July 22
Jeff Bayone edited this comment July 22
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Perhaps ACBL should conduct their own study on the incidence of dementia among serious bridge players. Serious as in calculations based on bridge players playing a certain minimum number of duplicate sessions a week or month. Maybe also take into consideration whether the players consider themselves to be more the social player than the competitive one. Losing one's mind on any particular board should not weigh heavily in the overall calculations.
I've been told that the incidence of dementia among the general population increases dramatically with age. It may be in this area that the significance of bridge's long term benefit would be most evident. I've seen figures as high as 30% of people over 80 having some form of dementia. Honors, Cavendish, and Aces have quite a few players over 80. We would certainly be aware of this occurring at that rate if indeed those percentages existed at our clubs. They do not. Not by a long shot.
July 22
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