District Direction

By Ken Monzingo

National Board Representative



Of all the wonderful things that happened at the just-finished Fall North American Bridge Championships and board meetings in San Diego, memorable moments to me were the awards and contributions of four men. First off, the ACBL has made a great choice in naming Warren Buffet and Bill Gates jointly as the 2010 Honorary Members of the year.

Who else has done more to promote our image nationally?

Second, our own Chris Larsen of Costa Mesa was chosen Goodwill Member of the Year. I was honored to be the one to present this great man to the committee. Chris, as always, was thankful and humble.

And last, Eddie Kantar agreed to play a session (three matches) of Flight A Swiss Teams with three novices from the tournaments’s I/N program; one match with each, as the other two played as their teammates. These I/Ns - Robin Rodger and Chrissy & Bob Fried - were selected by lot and were nervous, but thrilled.

Better yet, after getting blitzed the first match as expected, the team actually won their second round by nine IMPs! These three hardly even knew what a Swiss Teams event was, but won 0.40 MPs in a Flight A event at a national tournament. Eddie autographed his books for them (“they were such nice people” –Eddie) and posed for pictures; a memorable event for everyone - including me.

ACBL Board Meetings

Sally Pelmear, Mission Viejo, brought to my mind that a beginner game had a requirement of ten boards to be played to award masterpoints. Timewise, this is undoable following a morning class and preceding an afternoon open game. I filed a motion to reduce the requirements to six boards and it carried unanimously, 25-0 - without discussion!

On other motions presented –

I voted for ...

· The “Mini-Spingolds” to be converted into a Bracketed KO of 32 team brackets playing full day matches. Motion failed.

· At sponsor option, in club games or tournaments, the allowable number of strats in a stratified event be increased from three to five, and that the allowable number of flights in a flighted event be increased from three to four (or five). Motion failed

· The restriction “No more than 1/3 of the masterpoints that are needed to establish ACBL status level can be from online play” is removed. Motion failed.

· Add a Flight A to the North American Pairs event with a masterpoint range of 0-5000. Change the name of the flight for players over 5000 masterpoints to Championship Flight. Motion failed.

· Effective with the 2011-2012 North American Pairs, Flight B will be raised to 0-2500 masterpoints. Motion failed.

I voted against ...

· Membership dues are increased from $35 to $37. Life Master service charges $32 to $34. Household membership dues are increased from $64 to $68. Junior membership dues are increased $14 to $15. New member membership dues are increased $26 to $28. Motion passed.

· Tournament Director session fees increased by 8%. Motion passed.

· And I was the only dissenting vote to raise remuneration to “volunteers” who serve on national appeals committees. How can you raise the “wages” of “volunteers”? Motion passed 24-1.

· The rest of the time I was mostly on the prevailing end of votes. For viewing of all the motions, voting and actions at the Fall Board Meetings go to www.acbl.org

The San Diego NABC

The national was a booming success - 12,927 tables in play making it maybe a top 10 largest Fall NABC, and breaking a previous San Diego Fall NABC record. The players were thrilled with Peter Rank’s “My Fair (Little Old) Lady” production that was  performed the first five days of the NABC, written up in the New York Times bridge column as the “real star of the tournament.”

The packed house Thanksgiving Day Fiesta was much more than any of us had anticipated. A beautiful presentation of wedding dances by Tijuana’s Ballet Folklorico, backed up by Mariachis del Mar and a dynamic vocalist (age 12!) singing Mexican heritage songs and a cappella in four languages. Plus a wonderful dinner.

Of Rose Meltzer’s famous “Breakfast with the Stars” Peggy Kaplan wrote: “With proceeds going to Junior Bridge, the breakfast creates as much good as it does fun and excitement. Thank you, Rose, along with all your stars burning so bright.” –Peggy Kaplan

The CEO of the league, Jay Baum, mused that the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel was probably the finest venue ever for a NABC. I would not dispute that; the place is phenomenal.

My special thanks go to my devoted chairmen, Bonnie Bagley, Fran Foresta, Toshi Yingst, Chris Champion, Wendy Turk, Matthew Mallory, Al Schuster, Audrey Wicks, Ann Cressman, Alice Leicht, Marvin French, Linda Trent, Jody Pedri, Hans Giroux, Letha Couch, Billie Greene, Debbie Gailfus, Alan Gailfus, Ana Lilia Cortes, Laura Loring and Suzanne Lebendig. Plus Leticia and Sergio of my staff; all the willing volunteers who helped.

Well done gang, take a bow!