September District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

Don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
– Richard Bach

With sadness I bid good-bye to my good friend Jay Baum as he finishes his very successful 10-year term as our ACBL Chief Executive Officer. We are much better off as a result of his tenure; he leaves our league in amazingly great shape.

It is with hopeful anticipation that we welcome in our new CEO – Mr. Robert Hartman of Oakland. Selected by a board committee and voted in by acclamation, Robert will be firmly in place by November.

With broken hearts we mourn the loss of beloved former District 6 Director Nadine Wood, who died suddenly August 9.

The Toronto Board Meetings

While attending the ACBL board meetings in beautiful Toronto I experienced a city of charm with the heat of a blazing oven, and another round of losing in my endeavors to curtail international spending. Here are a few highlights and results; see all the motions and results in the board minutes I publish on my personal web site at

Time Goes By

Tournament starting times here in Southern California are primarily 10:30 a.m. & 3:15 p.m. Some nationals are requesting that their games be allowed similar earlier starting times. Philadelphia, next summer, will have the 10/3-type early starts, and now Atlanta, Summer 2013, has asked for the same. I voted yes on this, not because I believe early starts are correct at NABCs, but because I think local sponsoring districts should have the right to choose. It passed.

Masterpoints on the Move

In a first reading, the masterpoint awards for NABC Championships (if you care) have been suggested to be altered – some a little more, some a little less. Why bring this up? Because another movement among some of the league’s board members is to alter our masterpoint awards formula to a “strength of field” scale. I’m against this, since I feel our current point formula is working just fine and the old axiom of, “If it ain’t broke ...” Also, I don’t really want to put additional learning curves on our clubs and tournaments – the extensive new ACBLscore will be hard enough. I have other reasons, but these will be discussed later in Seattle at the Fall NABC.

Fit to Print

The seventh edition of the The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge is nearing completion – I think this is one of the better things management does. Also, ACBL’s “Club Manager’s Handbook” has been updated and is available online at – as is the updated “Unit Membership Chair Handbook.”

One more very nice piece is the marketing department’s classy new promotional brochure titled “Your Best Partner in Bridge.” Clubs: I highly recommend you order some of these from ACBL.

Second Best in Toronto

Some days were meant to stay in bed. I experienced about a week of those at the July Toronto Summer NABC board meetings as I seemed to be on everybody’s wrong side throughout. Also, I was defeated in several issues I was passionate about.

By the way, my bridge was, at best, lousy.

After a couple of other districts joined us in requesting that my motion to slow down our international spending on so few, we were surprised that the Board of Governors (an organization that oversees decisions of the ACBL board) voted not to have the motion reviewed in Seattle. Teri Atkinson filed this motion to review and was the only voice we had. An employee of the USBF spoke hard to protect their position that we pay their WBF membership.

Also, a big time professional spoke against us. I wonder if these people ever listen to the members?

But on the positive side, the Board of Governors, by Teri’s suggestion, chose to require the ACBL board to review a defeated motion that would have awarded all GNTeams free card fees at the national finals. Strange, we vote to spend $400,000 a year on six teams to represent us internationally, but defeat a motion to spend $20,000-$30,000 on our GNTeams from across all of ACBL-land.

Since the original GNTeams motion was defeated by only a 12-13 vote, I have great hope that the Board of Governors request will be rewarded with a positive outcome next time. Stay tuned.

One More Loss

The WBF requested another $100,000 ACBL donation to support a future World Bridge Series Championship in North America, like the one they held last October in Philadelphia. During that one we chipped in the $100K and the USBF raised another $250K to cover their expenses – it didn’t. I alone voted no on ACBL repeating donations to ease their losses – none of our nationals show deficits, why should we pay theirs? Maybe they could manage better.

Motion passed 24-1. I could have stayed in bed.

Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
– Marlene vos Savant