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All comments by Mike Becker
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Among other things decided – Keep the old senior seeding points but decay them until they disappear.
Jan. 20
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Yes they were from the ACBL and incorporated into our CoCs.
The Old Appendix P.

You are right, as usual – the above paragraph was last used in 2004 CoCs.
I have nothing after 2004 that uses the word, “probation” in any document. So the Current General CoCs are on the USBF Website:
http://www.usbf.org/docs/COC/General-CoC.pdf
Jan. 13
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I mostly agree.

History: 2000 CoCs 1.e. below = more than 90 days (not 90 days or more) and this wording carries thru on docs in my archives thru 2012. ***However – this pertained to when a player was to play in the WBF event rather than when a player was to play in the USBC. So we should discuss what the 90 day or more (or more than 90 day) period includes. The Trials? The Trials and the WBF event? Both? The WBF may have rules about this that trump our rules.

I can't find info on when, after 2012, that, “more than 90 days” became “90 days or more.” This is a huge difference. But we are talking different docs (Me – WBF event and Jan –the USBF event)

Eligibility for NCBO of ZONE II (ACBL) Nomination for Invitation to WBF Championships:

An ACBL NCBO will nominate a player for invitation to play in a WBF Championship only if he or she:

(a) is a citizen of the United States or a resident of the United States according to ACBL management criteria* or a citizen or resident of Canada, Bermuda or Mexico, as appropriate,

(b) is an ACBL member in good standing,

© meets WBF criteria and/or conditions for nomination, ignoring participation in multinational events,

(d) will not, at the time of the Event, be under ACBL suspension,

(e) will not, at the time of the Event, be under ACBL probation where the period of such probation was more than 90 days,

(f) has not been specifically excluded from playing in such Event by an appropriate disciplinary body under ACBL jurisdiction,

(g) has not been refused nomination by the Board of Directors for reasons of personal hygiene, dress, deportment or ethics, and,

(h) has not played in events in more than one NCBO, in which he or she was eligible for qualification to represent that NCBO in the same WBF Championship (same event and year).

(I) has submitted a signed and dated certification statement, provided by ACBL management concerning the use of illegal drugs and inappropriate behavior during the course of any event requiring nomination and approval by the ACBL Board.

Non-Playing Captains (NPCs) must meet the same eligibility requirements as the players on the team they are serving.
Jan. 13
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“A player not in good standing can play in ACBL events other than the NAP and GNT Unit level or higher competitions.”

A confusing sentence. I think this means a player not in good standing cannot play in unit GNT, NAP, + Regionals + NABCs, but all other unit level competitions are OK = Regular club games, are OK.

Sectionals? Hmm. Sectionals are unit competitions, whether held at clubs or not. At the time they wrote this, there may not have been sectionals held at clubs.

Perhaps the ACBL wanted to allow these players to play in club games so as not to hurt club revenue. I seem to recall that reasoning.

No matter, it's not that relevant to the discussion.
Jan. 13
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So the vote was 17 to 13. Good to know. Thank you.
Would have been better to know earlier.
Dec. 19, 2018
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I see 16 Yes to 22 No and one “other.”
By the old rules, Board members can vote, whether they play in USBCs or not (or whether the TAC Chair has authorized them to be voting members even though they don't play in USBCs)
Two of the yesses are Marty and Brad.
Two of the yesses were “private.”

Assuming
1. the BoD vote was 4 to 3 and the 2 private were not Board members and,
2. all who voted were entitled to vote (Jan that's where you come in),

the vote was 18 Yes to 26 No counting all Board members + 1 “other”

That was the presumption I made from the vote results and based my subsequent remarks on. If it was close to a tie, remove all of my objections to the BoD deciding the matter. My apologies.

Jan?
Dec. 18, 2018
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I heard that the BoD vote was 4-3. Since the ITTC vote was not close, I don't understand why we are making a rule change based on 1 BoD member's swing vote rather than the 36 member TAC or the larger ITTC group. (Other than the BoD has the power to do so!) Did the ITTC overlook some technical reason or misunderstand the issues? Was the issue properly vetted? What if a subsequent BoD, with a change in personnel, revisits the issue decides by a 4-3 vote the other way?

The “prime directive” of the ITTC is to create CoCs responsive to the wishes of the members who play in the event. When the ITTC votes, a clear vote should be determinative. But not to this BoD.

The ITTC has already voted. The TAC has not. The TAC is a more sophisticated group of people. If the TAC feels similarly to the ITTC maybe the BoD will listen. If not, we'll complete this survey, which currently looks to me to be going nowhere – there is no majority on any issue. The largest vote on an issue is 11. This speaks to the issue's complications. (One of the reasons I proposed simplifying the matter (see my comment on question 1 – it eliminates questions 2 and 3)

Also, I'd like to know why people who have not voted —have not voted! 37* people on this important committee with few commentors and voters. let's get out the vote! (*Given that only active members can vote).

I make a MOTION that the TAC vote on whether a player who has won one USBC can play in a subsequent USBC when the WBF events are being held at the same time. Maybe the BoD will listen to the TAC if the TAC produces a clear vote on the matter. But
judging from the comments made, I suspect this vote will fail and we will have to proceed to finish this 100 hour exercise. But more than 11 people need to vote, regardless.
Dec. 18, 2018
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I voted other, I guess.

Today, in the previous discussion I wrote:

Make a rule that a player cannot resign from a winning team if it would disqualify that team under whatever rules we agree upon. That way the winning team would know it cannot be disqualified.

Then I could make a better decision on how to vote on question 1.
======================================
Then Mike R replied:

What if the team wants to play in the particular USBC as a team, but has no problem (or is willing to take the chance of) being disqualified if a pair wins another USBC and drops off? I think that scenario is quite possible. You are basically ‘preventing’ that team competing in the earlier USBC.
======================================
Then I replied:
We should have rules that encourage the winning team to be the one that represents us.
–Not rules where you can enter the event and hope, after you win, that your teammates do not win another trials and leave the team and disqualify you.
–Not rules that allow a second place team to go to the WBF WC instead of the winner.

But the BoD has decided differently. (In my 16 years as chair, the BoD always went along with clear ITTC CoC recommendations, but times have changed.)

My proposal would not disallow someone from changing teams. The proposal would disallow them from changing teams if their original team would be disqualified.

But there MUST be some measurement of the contribution the departing players made to their team's win.
This can be measured by boards played by the remaining players or departing players, each remaining player or the average of the remaining players, or seeding points, or less objectively by a vote of peers (anathema to us). Are there other ways?

So,…
1. We don't want the departing players to be hired guns/premier players.
2. Can the departing players be a little better than their teammates but not hired guns/premier players?
3. Should the departing players be no better than the rest of their team (like the substitution rules in place today)?

The sense of the committee seems to be in 2., above.

We can decide on the threshold if my proposed rule was in place.

Also, I think this eliminates questions 2 and 3, simplifies the issue.

My proposed rule blends Board's position with the clear majority view of the ITTC.
Dec. 16, 2018
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We should have rules that encourage the winning team to be the one that represents us.
–Not rules where you can enter the event and hope, after you win, that your teammates do not win another trials and leave the team and disqualify you.
–Not rules that allow a second place team to go to the WBF WC instead of the winner.

But the BoD has decided differently. (In my 16 years as chair, the BoD always went along with clear ITTC CoC recommendations, but times have changed.)

My proposal would not disallow someone from changing teams. The proposal would disallow them from changing teams if their original team would be disqualified.

But there MUST be some measurement of the contribution the departing players made to their team's win.
This can be measured by boards played by the remaining players or departing players, each remaining player or the average of the remaining players, or seeding points, or less objectively by a vote of peers (anathema to us). Are there other ways?

So,…
1. We don't want the departing players to be hired guns/premier players.
2. Can the departing players be a little better than their teammates but not hired guns/premier players?
3. Should the departing players be no better than the rest of their team (like the substitution rules in place today)?

The sense of the committee seems to be in 2., above.

We can decide on the threshold if my proposed rule was in place.

Also, I think this eliminates questions 2 and 3, simplifies the issue.

My proposed rule blends Board's position with the clear majority view of the ITTC.
Dec. 16, 2018
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Make a rule that a player cannot resign from a winning team if it would disqualify that team under whatever rules we agree upon. That way the winning team would know it cannot be disqualified.

Then I could make a better decision on how to vote on question 1.
Dec. 16, 2018
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Jan and Mike: Thanks.
Jan: I see it is possible if top pair plays all the boards, that the 60% average does have some effect.
Dec. 14, 2018
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Mike R
What's the “core 4?” If a 5-handed team has one player withdrawing, you are saying the team is not disqualified as long as every player played 50% of the boards. Of course. (They will have played at least 75% of the boards.

Jan:
“60% average”, in context above = the team is not disqualified if it loses a player or two on a 6 handed team, or a player on a 5 handed team. It's no threshold at all.

Say, 1.c. “The team remains eligible as long as it has 4 eligible players on it.”
Dec. 14, 2018
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FYI - The total board-percentage played in a match adds up to 400% for 4 players, 5 players or 6 players.

For example,

If a 6 handed team has 4 remaining players who averaged exactly 60% of the boards played, the two departing players played an average of 80% of the boards. 60+60+60+60+80+80 = 400

If a 6 handed team has 5 remaining players who averaged exactly 60% of the boards, the departing player played 100% of the boards. 60+60+60+60+60+100 = 400

If a 5 handed team has 4 remaining players averaging 60% of the boards, the departing player played 160% of the boards! Well, that's not possible. 60+60+60+60+160 = 400

It might be that the percentage of boards played by the remaining team members on a 5-handed team should be revised. Or not. (As a practical matter, quite often, on 5-handed teams 3 players play all the boards and two players play half the boards.)

Putting it another way, on a 5-handed team or 6-handed team, if one person who played any number of boards departs, the team would still be qualified using the 60% average threshold.
a. On a 5 handed team the remaining 4 players would have averaged playing 75% each, even if the departing played played 100%.
b. On a 6-handed team the remaining 5 players would have averaged playing exactly 60% of the boards even if the departing player played 100%

Was this enlightening, confusing or irrelevant to questions 1.c, 1.d, or 1.e? Should any of the questions be edited?
Dec. 14, 2018
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Russ had 5 major NABC wins, 6 seconds, and a first, second and third in world play. All since 1992. I was Russ's teammate from 1992 to 1996. He was a good teammate and we had some good results. When we stopped teaming up, he became an opponent, and my record against him was an amazing, 0-5!

This next paragraph will not leave you with that warm and fuzzy feeling: Russ had given up smoking when we were teammates, but I saw him smoking a cigarette at an NABC in about 1997 and asked him why. He told me, “I'm just having a few of them.” I begged him to not smoke another one. He walked off to speak to other players, and lit up a cigarette. A moment etched in my memory. Russ died from the effects of smoking (notwithstanding any news to the contrary.) To you smokers out there, let his death be, in part, a reason for you to stop.
Dec. 13, 2018
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Jan, thanks for another well written presentation.

I'll lead-off tangentially:

The TAC is about to spend, in sum, 100 or so hours on something that is unlikely to happen to occur, but if it does occur we will have developed the fairest procedures possible. That's what the TAC does.

The USBCs are: Open, Women's, Mixed, Senior and several junior types. Are the junior types excluded from the discussion? Let's presume they are excluded. After the Open, the remaining three are sort of on the same “prestige” level. I cannot imagine anyone who has won an Open USBC trying to qualify to play in one of the others. But,…these days anything can happen for the right amount of money.

The ITTC vote strongly suggests that if you win the first event and second event, you must withdraw from the first event (regardless of which of the four events it is). Stringing it out, if you win three events (if that's possible) you must play in the third one. It would be useful to have a firm “Yes” you must withdraw from the first one,“ here before the conversation starts.

Is the Open USBC the first one held? If it is, IMO, there should be a rule that an Open winner can't play in another USBC. If the Open USBC is not the first one held, someone winning an ”inferior" (pardon my language), USBC held before it can drop off their team by winning the Open USBC.

Should the Open USBC be held last rather than first? Would this increase overall attendance, be better financially for the USBF, or be better for bridge in general? I'm sure I have not thought of the many effects such a change would have on the organizers as well as the players.

One on-topic comment: overall, I would make the rules to change teams as stringent as possible.
Dec. 7, 2018
Mike Becker edited this comment Dec. 8, 2018
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The USBF should have rules designed to send the whole winning team to represent the USBF in the WBF event, not just a majority of the team. A team member winning a USBC and then withdrawing taints the rest of the winning team's right to represent the USBF in the WBF event.
Nov. 13, 2018
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I apologize to the entire TAC for going off topic and going my version of ballistic.

I chaired 30 USBF Board meetings in the 21 months I was its president and ran the ITTC when it was a far more active and powerful committee for 16 years. I am happy that I am no longer involved in the USBF and chairing the ITTC. Life is much better.

I thank all those who serve on the BoD for their service. I have thanked many, many others in the past as well, even those I don't agree with or like. Serving is a thankless task. BoD members get criticized by those who think they did something wrong and hardly get any credit when they do good work. And Board members are doing necessary work that only a handful of people are willing and qualified to do. There have not been contested elections for the BoD, in small part, because not enough people want to serve. Does the Nominating Committee have to reach out to people to get them to serve rather than the other way around? I don't know. At least there are good people serving. And then there's Jan. The USBF would be lost without Jan. She is indispensable. She was also indispensable to me.

One of the reasons I resigned as chair was that the ITTC had grown too large. I had difficulty managing discussions online (we used “Google Groups” rather than Bridgewinners). I became frustrated as I would present one topic for discussion and then get responses on 6 different topics (a few worthy of follow-up). So when I continued to voice Howie and Peter's reservations about using proper procedure, off topic, I was doing something that I found frustrating when I was chairing the ITTC. I apologize.

In 2012 there were 74 voting (Active) members and 30 non-voting members on the ITTC and (guess) 75% of the 104 commented and 75% of the voting members voted on the last issue under my aegis: the change in PPs in the Reisinger in 2012. That was a high point of Active Member involvement. They were all pumped up and cared and contributed. These people are a terrific resource for input, even though they made a lot of “noise” in the process. Marty, you are wrong about the members of the ITTC (not the ITC) – they know it exists – either the Board has just not kept them as involved as they used to be, or there are fewer issues these days. The USBF BoD should try to keep Active Members involved as a source for input. Far fewer Active Members are involved now in making CoC decisions or making comments on USBF policy. Getting people involved is a way of refreshing the USBF and ITTCs – that's how you find and groom good people to serve in the future. That's how some of you got involved! The 104 person commenting group was far too large for me to manage. But 7 people is too small. The TAC does provide a middle ground in numbers and is the right body to take this issue on. How many Active Members are on the TAC? No need to respond to me. We are all done and I have exasperated you all too much already.

Humbly,
Mike

FYI - 2012 Active/Voting members in the ITTC Google Group
(some spacing problems)

Aker Ekeblad Katz Pollack Weinstein
Bathurs Feldman Katz Rajadhy Welland
Becker Feldman Kranyak Robinso Wikdavsky
BerkowitFleisher Landen Rodwell Winestock
Boyd Gitelma Levin Rogoff Wolff
Carmicha Goren Martel RosenberWolpert
Casen Greco Martel Shenkin Woolsey
Cheek Grue Meckstro Sher ~~admin~:
Chorush Hamman Meltzer Solodar Blaiss
Cohen Hampson Miller Sprung Gordon
Cohler Harris Miller Stansby Nudelman
Compton Henner Moss SutherliPatrias
Demirev Ivatury Nickell Todd Weinstein
Demirev Jacobs Passell Weinste Moss
Diamond Kamil Platnic WeinsteiMorse
Nov. 10, 2018
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Now I am going to turn a little red. Excuse me.

I'm just someone who thinks good procedures yield good results and bad procedures yield bad results in general.

1. Just for the record, would the BoD please answer Peter's question above "Mike Becker has reminded us of a long-standing policy (per USBF minutes) about how Trials COC's are developed. The board is now operating differently. Was there a discussion and vote to overturn the previous policy, or is it being done this new way just because the old way was unknown to the BoD?

2. , do you now think the procedure that was used in the past is a bad procedure? And do you think the Active Members prefer the new “policy” of the BoD to the old policy?

3. The link Debbie provided has about 4 Active Members in the discussion. How many other Active Members did the BoD discuss this issue with before presenting the new rules to the ITTC? Does the USBF BoD know what the Active Members players want without polling them?

A 7 person committee could vote 5 to 2 or 2 to 5 on an issue, depending on who is on the committee. Asking a larger group would increase the confidence level that the event is being organized in a manner that is supported by its players. And just as important, votes reduce grumbling. I'm not on the BoD. I'm a grumbler.

4. What's the rush?
Nov. 9, 2018
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As I recall, the theory of this set-up (ITTC writes the CoCs) was that Board members come and go and are a small group, but the ITTC is a more stable and a larger group. The USBF BoD consists of seven elected, well respected people. The Active Membership (those who play in the USBCs or have played recently) consists of, say, 130 players (A guess).

The USBCs should have CoCs that are responsive to the wishes of those who play in the events.

I wonder if these changes have the support of the players who play in the USBCs. Marty, do you?
Nov. 9, 2018
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Brad:

In 1991 Devine was proposed to be augmented to a team.
In 1993 an attempt was made for a team to replace Bergen with Meckstroth for money. Bergen was on the winning trials team).
The ACBL did not allow either.

The ITTC began running the USBCs in about 1996.
The USBF, with the ITTC as a subcommittee, has been running the USBCs since its formation in about 2002. What problems has the USBF encountered in withdrawals or augmentations from teams in the last 22 years? How have they been handled? Is there anything broken here?
Nov. 9, 2018
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