The Marriott Hotel at the Renaissance center was a great place for a Tournament; the whole event was in one Hotel with lots of playing space and restaurants enclosed. If you wanted to get out there was a monorail that for 50 cents would take you to a place called Greek town that had a Casino and 15-20 restaurants. Detroit had the misfortune to be between San Francisco and Las Vegas plus a snow storm the first weekend, so in spite of a great job by the Tournament Committee the attendance was down about 1,000 tables from the expected number. Speaking of Las Vegas, it will be very large probably over 20,000 tables so make reservations as soon as possible if you want to stay at the host Hotel.

On a personal note I am pleased to have been elected President for the 2008, we had a productive and smooth meeting in Detroit. However there are many issues to be settled this year, some important ones are where our headquarters will be in the future. We are considering the Memphis area, Dallas area, Atlanta area and Orlando. I hope we can resolve this soon. We also have issues with master-points for KO’s and new rules for electronic devices in and around the playing areas, so 2008 will be a busy year. In addition I have been invited to many areas of the ACBL this year so I will not be in Texas as much as I would like (I will miss some of our good Texas Tournaments.).

2007 was a very good year for the ACBL with the number of sanctioned games going over 3,000,000 for the first time. Membership also increased by almost 1,000 members which is a trend I hope we can continue.

One of my priorities this year is Publicity. I believe if social players and non bridge players read about our game in the newspaper or other media they will be more likely to try playing duplicate. I am asking every Club and Unit to form a Publicity Committee who will work to get Bridge mentioned as much as possible. Please recommend this to your club and Unit.

Congratulations to Mike Passell and Nick Nickell on being elected the ACBL’s Hall of Fame.

There are serious concerns about electronic devices; the ACBL believes conduct and ethical standards should be of the highest order. Starting in July with the Las Vegas NABC the following policy will apply to all nationally rated events at NABC’s:

Electronic devices, excluding health related equipment, capable of sending or receiving communication, including but not limited to headphones, earphones, cellular phones and minicomputers: 1. shall not be allowed in the playing areas, adjacent hallways, restrooms, or accessible break areas, and 2. shall not be used during a session.

These restrictions shall apply to all pairs, team members, captains, coaches, recorders and kibitzers and shall apply throughout any actual playing segment.

Violations of this policy shall result in a disciplinary penalty of one full board (or 12 imps at that form of scoring) for the first offence. A second offence shall result in disqualification from the event.

Kibitzers violating this policy shall be removed from the playing area for the remainder of the session.

Please leave your cell phone in your Hotel room or car. Do not take it to the playing area...

There was an error in ACBLScore that resulted in some top bracket KO’s in January and February awarding too many master points, the awards have been corrected retroactive to the beginning of the year. Some players will notice a reduction in their master point total.

The new Strength of field concept that forms the basis of the new master point formula in use appears to be working; however two adjustments have been made. A new reduction formula is in place for bracketed KO’s that have fewer than 16 teams (about a 4% reduction for each team less than 16). Also the master point cap for a team has been raised from 40,000 to 45,000 and the maximum award is made only if the bracket average is 40,000 instead of 35,000. In addition any 3 session team will have a reduction of 60% from a 4 session event even if a 4 session was scheduled.

The new laws will be available soon and will be effective September 8, 2008.

On advice of the Competitions and Conventions Committee the Multi 2 Diamond convention (opening 2 diamonds showing a weak 2 in a major) will no longer be allowed in pair games. It will still be allowed in team games of 6 boards or more (Only in Flight A Regional and higher) effective date August 1, 2008.

The ACBL expressed its disapproval of all non-bridge related public statements and demonstrations by any Zone 2 representatives participating in an international bridge competition...

As a trial project a shortened min-bridge school program was approved effective September 1, 2008. It will be similar to the existing school program except that

  1. No text will be provided.
  2. Teachers will receive a subsidy of $200 for a class of eight hours of instruction and supervised lay.
  3. It will be permitted through the 6th grade level only.

The ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations was amended; interested parties should download the new version form the ACBL website. One of the changes prohibits lawyers from representing those charged in front of committees. This was done to simplify hearings and make them less of a courtroom like atmosphere.

New member secondary mailings have been started. This is a program that sends new members a second bulletin quarterly which provides information about the game, common conventions and non-timely items to help new members learn how to enjoy the ACBL experience.

Effective March 31, 2008 a new policy regarding STAC charges will go into effect. The change is that sponsoring organizations will be charged a total fee based on table count whereas previously charges included a sanction fee, director session charges, and miscellaneous charges.

Over 4th of July the first ever youth National Tournament will be held in Atlanta. If there are youth in your area do what you can to see that they attend and provide them with support.

See you at the tables