March 2010



Other than the Forum, most of my time is spent dealing with our tournaments. From managing NABCs, to sitting on site selection and tournament allocation committees, to working with our four district regionals. I love tournaments, especially regionals and nationals. The regional sanction allocation committee I am currently on is a result of a motion I presented to the ACBL board a year ago requesting we award Palm Springs “permanent” or “resort” regional status, which would allow us an ex quota (fifth) regional.

The 25 districts of the ACBL are each given sanctions (authority) to host four regionals a year. Anything more must be requested, discussed, and voted upon. This is harder than pulling a stubborn tooth. And often just as painful. Extra regionals are awarded to districts with enormous bridge populations like Florida, or enormous attendances like Gatlinburg or Las Vegas, or to service locations not connected to the continental U.S. – like Alaska, Hawaii, and Mexico.

Since my motion the national board has decided to take an even closer look everywhere and study possible sanction allocation reform countrywide – if necessary.

We, District 22, use our four annual sanctions for Riverside in late January or early February, San Diego during Easter Week, Orange County in September, and Palm Springs in December. I’ve requested the extra one to continue our experimental northern home in Ventura.

By the July Summer NABC in New Orleans our committee will have done its work and the votes will be in on whether we get the additional sanction. Stay tuned; the future looks pretty good.

Western Conference

Being a member district of the Western Conference awards us the advantage of having this newspaper to promote our four regionals through ads, stories, photos and by publishing results. We are one of only three districts in the country to have such a valuable monthly newspaper - all are Western Conference, of course.

The result is that our district’s regional tournaments average about 500 tables more than the national average of 1450, with Palm Springs being arguably the third largest regional in the country (averaged over the past five years). Districts 17 and 21, also of the Western Conference, do a little better, each averaging 2000+ tables per tournament.

Special Club Games

There is a phenomenon called special MP games happening at the moment whereby clubs can award huge masterpoint payouts in what is normally the quiet atmosphere of their local establishment. On the surface it sounded good, but deep down we may have created a black hole.

For openers, the Western Conference depends on its three annual Great Western STACs for a major portion of its operating capital used to publish this paper. These STACs are the largest sectional tournaments in the country, and pay enormous points themselves if you make the overall. However, some clubs have chosen to run the special MP games instead of our GW STAC games in direct competition with us. Such practice, if continued on a large scale, is dangerous to the survival of the Forum.

Another danger of the special MP games is that point-wise they pay like sectionals, so they compete with them for attendance.

A third pitfall is that newer players can now accumulate points much faster in club play and very quickly progress up out of the comfort of their present flight and have to play against much superior opponents.

This is a turnoff to most new players, and to many veterans.

Bridge Technology

We have become a totally electronic scoring district with all our regionals and many sectionals and clubs using the exciting new Bridgemates. What a hoot. You (North) record the score on the pad at the table and it is instantaneously transmitted to the director’s computer. No more caddies looking for pickup slips, no more directors entering scribbled (and often erroneous) scores on a computer keypad. All is done immediately, and the final results are up as soon as the last board is played and recorded.

I love them, and they’ve eliminated at least one director and a couple of caddies from each of our regional’s overhead expenses.

On the controversial side of technology there is heated discussion on how many, and what color, points should be awarded for playing in ACBL games online (Bridge Base Online et al), but I do not believe it is reduced enough. There is strong possibility of cheating or fudging online since you are playing alone, unobserved.

This may well become black hole number two.  I play leisure bridge online, but am negative towards the awarding of bushels of masterpoints under such unguarded atmospheres. There is also much controversy over whether online bridge creates new ACBL players, or takes players out of our clubs and away from tournaments.


Ill be in Reno for the Spring NABC board meetings during the  second and third weeks of this month. You can normally reach me at the Forum office or at