Hello from Washington, D.C. where the ACBL Board of Directors held our summer meetings. We certainly dealt with immediate issues and problems but we are also working in groups and committees focused on the future of the ACBL. As you can imagine part of what we are working on are ways to improve our financial health, how to keep members we already have and bring in new members, and how to maintain a strong tournament director staff.
Management is working diligently to keep expenses at a reasonable level and to limit increases in fees for services and our membership dues.
ACBL Marketing and Education Departments continue to develop new programs and fine tune existing programs to help our teachers and club owners bring in new members and keep the members we have.
Management has also developed and are implementing a fast moving program to train those interested in becoming directors at our Sectionals, Regionals, and North American Bridge Championships. In addition to familiarity with our rules they are being mentored as active directors getting live experience at tournaments.
A new membership category has been developed and approved by the board for players under 26. The implementation date is expected to be January 1, 2017. Those under 26 (they do not have to be students) can be members for $5 a year. A difference for them is that they will not get a hard copy of our monthly magazine. They will have access to it online. Our hope is that more younger players will join the ACBL if their dues are only $5. Once they join we then have the ability to communicate with them and encourage continual membership.
By district we are second of the 25 districts in members under 26. We have 136. District 7 (Georgia+) has 177 for first and third is District 9 (Florida) with 80. Hopefully this $5 membership will help us improve our under 26 membership.
It is now legal to open one notrump with a singleton. There will be detailed write ups about this in various places but the
A notrump opening or overcall is natural if, by agreement, it contains no void, at most one singleton which must
be the A, K or Q and no more than two doubletons. If the hand contains a singleton, it may have no doubleton.
ACBL Education Foundation is planning to restructure. They are seeking board members who can be effective in raising money to award to successful bridge organizations. If you might be interested in being involved with them please reach out to them.
Masterpoint limits for some Grand National Teams and Spingold events have been changed. For next year events that used to be 0–5,000 masterpoints will be 0–6,000 masterpoints and events that were 0–1,500 will be 0–2,500.
Lastly we all are aware that some cheaters have been discovered in the ACBL. We are expanding methods of catching those cheating and we are also making it more difficult for them to cheat. To date we have expelled two pairs from the ACBL for cheating. Other pairs are being investigated. Also, if a pair is accused of cheating and hearings will be held by another world wide bridge association we have the right to bar them from ACBL events until their hearing elsewhere is completed.
If you have ideas for improving our bridge activities please email me at RLSmithD21@aol.com or chat with me at the table. Take care.