September District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
– Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

It’s true I just returned from two weeks of bridge and board meetings in Atlanta at the Summer North American Bridge Championships. Also true, I could use this entire column to describe the motions we passed and/or rejected. But I have some more fun things to report – people things. My happiest board minute was the near unanimous votes to add four more 0-10,000 national events to our NABC schedules. I believe they will be welcomed by our attendees who choose not to compete against the powerful pro pairs and teams. On the flip side, my two disappointments were losing (9-15-1) a proposed bylaw amendment to limit National Board Representatives to four 3-year terms, and, by 3-22, losing my vote against awarding $90K (instead of $60K) to the USBF to support our junior teams this year. We already donate $285K annually to USBF. For a recap of all the motions, how the votes went, how I voted, and how others voted, view the minutes here at:

Winners, we had Winners

I’ll lead off with a terrific showing of our boys and girls in the tough Summer NABC events. Our four D22 GNT squads entered the national finals with hopes of victory. The open flight went down in day one, but Flight A, Flight B and Flight C advanced. Flight A’s team – Shoichi Yoshihiro, Phil Hiestand, Bo Liu, Weishu Wu, and Xiao-yan Gong – managed to make it all the way to the finals, five grueling days later. In a thrilling finish, they came from behind in the final quarter to win the event by one IMP – national champions one and all.

As the regular games began, D22’s Mark Itabashi and Ross Grabel won the prestigious Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs against a strong field of experts and pros. The two-day event paid the pair 190 platinum points each. Next, Mark entered the Truscott Senior Swiss Teams. Again he was a winner – this time paired with Palm Desert’s Fred Hamilton – garnering another 100 platinum points. Two events entered, two NABC championships, and an easy winner in the Fishbein Trophy race for most points won with 326.70!

On that first Sunday our Flight A GNT team won, Mark and Ross won, Rita and David Wakeman of Irvine were second in the Bruce Life Master 0-5000 Pairs, and Marjorie Michelin was on the winning squad in a star-studded A/X Swiss Teams.
Quite a day for our district.

Goodwill Honorees

Four District 22 people have just received my endorsements as Aileen Osofsky ACBL Goodwill Committee recipients. Four who have given much to bridge.

In Addition: My 2013 vote for induction into our District 22 Goodwill Committee is Jon Brissman of San Bernardino. Jon has served for years as our D22 Disciplinary Chair, and has now retired to return to his original roots in Indiana. Jon is a close friend, and will be missed – both for his friendship and his counsel.

The View from Table Five – Opinion

In July a disturbing impasse occurred between the Israeli Bridge Federation (IBF) and the Indonesian province of Bali. The World Bridge Federation (WBF) is hosting its World Bridge Teams Championships in Bali this month, but unfortunately the Israeli ladies team, which qualified to compete in the Venice Cup there, was stonewalled in an attempt to secure adequate security for their planned stay. The IBF (wisely?) chose to withdraw their girls from the Bali games. What bothers me is that the expected international uproar of support for the ladies never came. In this country several people sent condemning emails to ACBL and WBF league officials, and a few others railed the occurrence on chat sites like Facebook and Bridge Winners. But no uproar.

In a feather-smoothing move, the WBF brokered a consolation deal offering the Israeli ladies a spot in a bridge event sponsored by SportAccord World Mind Games held in Beijing in December. This SportAccord, I’m told by the USBF, is sponsored or funded by China, and is attractive for its hospitality and generous prize money. The word from our board’s senior WBF representative is that the ladies are content – even pleased – with the offer.

So what is my concern? Why am I not satisfied? Well, the Israeli ladies were not treated fairly. Who was at fault? Where was the rally-round-the-girls esprit de corps? Europe was silent on the issue, and our homeland was only a squeak in cyberspace.

Now the IBF wishes the matter be closed; am I just overreacting to what I saw as an international calamity? Wouldn’t be the first time, I suppose.

Peace, my friends.