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All comments by Mike Cassel
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An Immodest Proposal

The ACBL Board should consider options to return the GNTs to its original intent as a grass roots event that starts with the common club players and progresses to unit, district, and national competitions where the membership competes against its PEERS.

We can do better for both the membership and the GNT event by adjusting the GNT flights for accomplished top echelon CLUB players who aspire to be, but are not quite yet, competitive with the most elite in the league.

The credentials committee could decide on an upper combined masterpoint holding for the top four players on a team to maintain Open Flight eligibility: 50-60,000MPs?

The league's few, most accomplished players have plenty of opportunities in other venues. If they must be allowed to continue in the GNTs then create a GNT Platinum flight for the league’s most elite teams. Anyone who chooses to play “up” in the platinum flight is welcome, but there would be no expectation of District support for representation at the summer NABC. Splitting funds among 4 teams is burden enough and most Platinum Flight participants would be compensated anyway.

…………
I lobbied for this idea in Louisville with positive comments from many, but specifically not from a couple of very influential ACBL Board members who stated that 4 flights was plenty, that you can't discriminate against the top teams, and that anyone over 5,000MPs should have to play against the league's other top players, even if they aren't really our peers.

I'd support Steve Gaynor's idea for masterpoint averaging if the potential for manipulating contest conditions was adequately dealt with (i.e. i grab a couple of my country club high stakes rubber bridge friends with very few MPs to chop up flight B).

The golf world recognizes the difference with Pro-Am tournaments, but we throw some of our strongest, longstanding club players, who have supported the ACBL for years, into a flight where they have no realistic chance of winning. Thus, the ACBL's districts largest populations: 9,000 and 18,000 members cannot field 5 teams in the GNT Open flight.

And a segue to Steve Bruno's comments: while I would not go so far as to say “ wasted” I would characterize the ACBL's 1/2 Million dollar annual support for International & Junior play and lack of support for events like the GNT disturbing. Where is the “equity” in dinging each of us $1 from our membership fees invisibly?

I am less concerned with the USBF and WBF than the attitude of the ACBL Board. I cannot speak to Steve's comment: “ the USBF has shown itself to be fearful of lawsuits (as is the ACBL) to the point where it does not dare police the behavior of those they nominate and subsidise,” but I am concerned that the International/Federations committee that heard the motion to pay our WBF membership of ~$160,000 from International Fund monies rather than from our membership dues has strong ties to the USBF and WBF and wouldn't support the motion even if they knew it was just.

I was told that the 25 Board members rely on the opinion of the individual committees whose members hear the motions sent to them. If they want their own motions passed, then they accede to the recommendations of their board peers on other motions. If there is elitism in the ACBL and a tilt, it's toward the privileged few and not toward the great masses. Why would anyone expect the International/Federations committee to recommend anything but a no vote on this one? So a motion that clearly has the interest of 160,000 of us received only 4 of 25 votes. Does the ACBL board truly have our membership, most of whom have less than 500MPs, in mind?

Thank you

June 12, 2011
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Hi Paul,

In D14 we encourage both club and unit level play and segregate table fees from unit level events to be distributed to district champions who played in their unit final.

This meant an extra $220 to the 2 4person teams who competed at the unit level this year. I wish the district coffers had the wherewithal to establish a nice subsidy from unrestricted funds. We just don't have any.

One dilemma, imo, is that scheduling a multi-stage district final requires additional high-buck ACBL director sessions. It is one of our most expensive line items for the district finals. But I am in complete agreement that a “best pratices” guide based on the collective wisdom of our many disricts could be very helpful.

Given the more rigorous requirements for lifemasterhood, I would think that promotion of GNT club and unit qualifying events, with their sectional rating and 1/2 red points + fractional gold for overall finishes in 2 session unit finals might be an incentive to bring newer players into the event…. these players are our future tournament competitor/participants and we need to foster their interest in national events. That's one reason why I am on the stump to reward GNT district champions with winning a trip, not the right to pay for one.

thanks for your comments
June 9, 2011
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Lucky you are Michael

I remember the event in our district 20 years ago when you had to finish in the top half of your unit final to be able to go to the district final. then finish in the top 8 of a 2 session Swiss to reach the quarterfinal of a KO to determine the district champion.

You belong to one of 7 districts in the league that actually can pay 4 overall places in the Open flight of the GNTs. You live in a geographically tight district and are in the top 5 in player population. This is a great combo for healthy bridge.

Staggering the flights is also a great idea and you have the ability to hold a multi-stage district final. If you know the recipe for capturing the interest of the newer players I'd be most interested. I suspect one reason is the large number of great players in your area, their accomplishments in national and international competition is an incentive for all members to compete and improve. D21 teams have finished 1st or 2nd in the GNTs 5 times in last decade.

The relatively modest entry fee at the district finals is also a plus as well as the $2,000 team subsidy. I've attempted to frame the event in D14 as the opportunity to compete against your peers whether or not you intend to travel to the NABC. I believe this competition stands on it's own with or without the trip… but it's a much harder sell in a district spanning 5 states.

All this notwithstanding, a study of the event across the country is much less rosy. I'll contact your GNT coordinator to see if the ‘secret’s in the sauce'.

thanks

June 9, 2011
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Jon,

Table fees for NAPs are $4 at the club level and $7 at unit and district levels. They need that kind of revenue to offer $6,000/district to the 1st & 2nd place finishers in three flights. The ACBL absorbs the ~$23,000 of entry fees for national NAP finals. They do not show up as an expense on the Special Events Financial Review

Table fees for GNT events are $1.25/table and the ACBL does not care if districts hold club qualifying games or not. I merely pointed out that the net revenues from the favored grass roots event (NAPs) could cover entry fees at the nationals for both events.

NAPs used to confer travel and hotel expenses, but they went to $700 & $300 checks some years ago. Before my time the ACBL supported the GNTs as well. But flight proliferation made it prohibitively expensive I would guess.

My point is that building excitement, by offering trips to the NABC for non-life masters, and less experienced players, has the potential to broaden the base of support to have “new blood” to replace our aging membership at the NABCs. We should support the GNTs as it can provide a gateway to increased NABC interest. Currently the ACBL does ZERO for the event.
June 8, 2011
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An interesting thought, Richard. The onus of supporting travelling teams would fall primarily on the units instead of the District. Good deal for financially healthy units, not so much for the less so.
This would completely disrupt, however, the grass roots progression: club, unit, district, national currently in effect.

Don't know how it eliminates travel concerns as it is still quite expensive to get to an NABC if it's not within a day's drive.

Your idea gives rise to the “plate” concept for teams eliminated on the first day. see the Louisville bulletin article by Ron Klinger “A view from abroad”: http://www.acbl.org/nabc/2011/01/bulletins/db9.pdf">http://www.acbl.org/nabc/2011/01/bulletins/db9.pdf

Granting that is is a large outlay for the ACBL to pay for four flights of teams to come to a NABC, I'm rather enamored with the idea of a small ACBL match of up to $500/team, like an employer's 401K/403b match. That outlay of $2,000 is only 1/3 of what the ACBL sends out to the NAP reps from each district's 3 flights, and puts the league in a position of supporting the GNTs a little instead of not at all.

I've been studying sources and uses of funds, and I don't think it would be that difficult to source $75,000 for this purpose. As you are well aware from our experience in D14, the excitement of winning a trip in Flights B & C build momentum for increased participation at the NABCs.

Thanks for your input
June 8, 2011
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Echoing the previous ‘scary’ comment I was quite surprised to see the number of very aggressive calls made in what nominally is an IMP game. I would suspect that in most money games lower level doubles are for business and not ‘card showing’. It seems that the ‘trust your opponents’ motif in high level play tips the balance toward the latter. That being said I'm sure East was more than a bit disappointed to see the double pulled.

A square working 6 count, both vul, opposite a passed hand doesn't look like a bid to me, but I wasn't up 2600imps after 122 boards.

Questionable bids can lead to good results. I watch S make a negative double over a 2H overcall on board 3 Saturday afternoon: http://cavendish.bridgewinners.com/results/pairs3t.htm#Board3
+500 and 166imps. 2H was the final contract at only 3 of the 18 tables.

I think there is much more than meets the less than top flight eye going on. Gamesmanship, controlled aggression on ‘moving day’, etc.

Bridgewinners deserves a huge plaudit for it's coverage. Bridge aspirants have such a rich treasure trove with this resource as well as it's many other departments and features.

May 9, 2011
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If partner sits for the double of 2N and later doubles the final contract of 4H, why would you not lead a trump at trick 1?
You definitely have the balance of power, and want to minimize the ruffing power of the opps.
April 19, 2011
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Yikes, at this rate, 1 round per week, it will be a truly long road to victory. Like maybe until Labor Day?!! I also got to sit NS for these boards so it is great to look at my scorecard, bidding, results to compare strategies, auctions, et.al.
What a great tool the annotated video is.
April 13, 2011
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You're looking at possible trump trick and the A. Partner is doubling for an extra 50? I think this ought to be taken as a lead-inhibiting double promising defense, but not in spades.

But it's a lot easier when you are kibitzing and not under the gun after a week of solid play.

I'm more interested in a discussion of Brad's play at trick 2 on #47 after Fred took quite a while to play the 2 at T1

It's been pretty terrific bridge for much of the week and many kudos to all involved, players, vugraph operators, bbo, & this site as well.
July 31, 2010
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I suspect that the top 4 seeds played in head to heads for 4 winners
and the other 30 teams played 3 ways with 2 winners for 20 more.

What probably happened was the #37 beat #2 and became the #2 seed, but when they listed the matchups in the bulletin today they didn't put that matchup as the second set of 3, but the 8th, nor did they actually assign new ‘seed’ numbers to the original listing.

It will become clearer when they actually post the bracket sheet online.

I should have just waited ….. sry

July 27, 2010
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today's matchups start with the #1 3 4 5 6 7 8 16 seeds from an original 38 teams. If #16 had taken over the #2 spot wouldn't they have been listed as the 2nd seed in today's matchups?
July 27, 2010
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Appendix C lays it out, but I believe you have to have a significant background in math to comprehend the logic of the tables
http://www.acbl.org/assets/documents/play/Conditions-of-Contest/Appendix-C.pdf

I am particularly interested in why the second day of this year's mini-spin (24 teams in 8 3- ways qualifying 2 for the round of 16) has a 3-way between 16-17-37 for tomorrow's “8” seed.

My understanding of “bracketology” is that you desire a semblance of equality in the pairings.
Given the ACBL policy of “seeding by lot”, why wouldn't the top seed in the eighth 3-way include one team from the 9-12th seeds (the #2 seed having been eliminated) and not #16?

I know it's minutiae for most but I am curious. I constructed a table of today's matchups and assigned average seed numbers for assignments by lot ( 3 & 4 = 3.5, 5 - 8 = 6.5, 9 - 12 = 10.5, etc.

The first 3 way totals 55 and the final 3-way 68.5. The other 6 3-ways total between 36.5 and 48.5. It seems to me that this is a very large advantage for the #1 seed today and in 2 days when 1 plays 8. Why was not one of the 9-12 seeds installed as the ‘top seed’ in the last 3 way?

btw, many thanks for the site with it's scorecards kept up to date much more quickly than the ACBL.

July 27, 2010
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