ACBL Board of Directors' Meetings at Reno, NV

March 30, 2004

The ACBL Board of Directors met in Reno, NV, March 15-18, 2004. I have listed below the items that may be of interest to you.

Item 041-137: Life Master Categories

A. Item 863-51A, current Masterpoint Program is rescinded.

B. Item 853-51D, ACBL Masterpoint Plan is amended as follows:

A new category, Emerald Life Master, is added between Diamond Life Master and Grand Life Master. This category will require 7500 masterpoints.

Designation Requirement
[webmasters note: categories below Bronze Life Master were not changed]
Bronze Life Master 500 Masterpoints
Silver Life Master 1,000 Masterpoints
Gold Life Master 2,500 Masterpoints
Diamond Life Master 5,000 Masterpoints
Emerald Life Master 7,500 Masterpoints
Grand Life Master 10,000 Masterpoints – Win a North American Bridge Championship with no upper masterpoint restriction or its equivalent or any of the following WBF events: Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup, Rosenblum Cup; McConnell Cup, Open Pairs, Women’s Pairs, Olympiad, Women’s Team Olympiad, Senior Pairs, World Swiss Teams, World Mixed Teams and Senior Teams. Effective immediately and retroactively.

C. Requirements for Category of Grand Life Master also include the World Mixed Pair Event.

Comment: The primary change here is to add the designation of Emerald Life Master between the Diamond and Grand Life Master. This motion was deferred until the summer meeting in New York City.

Item 041-140: Sanction Fees for Sanctioned Games

Management is authorized to develop and implement a policy of a discounted sanction fee for online games and online clubs.

Carried. Nay: 1 Abstain: 4

Comment: Despite all the problems associated with competitive online bridge play, it is the fastest growing segment of our bridge population. The concern I had that online clubs would harm our current face-to-face clubs is not proving correct. In fact, there is some evidence of just the opposite. Since online clubs can run several masterpoint games a day, 365 days of the year, management should be given some flexibility in the pricing of sanction fees for negotiation flexibility with the various online bridge playing venues.

Item 041-141: Charity Game Fees

A. The ACBL Board is requested to increase the club charity game fees from $4 to $5 a table.

Deferred to Summer 2004 meeting.

Carried. Nay 9, 18.

B. The ACBL Board is requested to increase District/Unit Charity table fees an additional $1.00 per table.

District/Unit Charity table fees will go from $6.00 to $7.00 U.S and $7.00 to $8.00 Canadian.

Carried. Nay: 10, 11, 24.

Comment: I voted against part B of this motion. We currently have a committee studying all of the special events run at the club level. It is premature to make any changes until we hear from that committee at the summer meeting. It makes no sense to increase the table fees for district/unit charity games, while the table fees for club charity games stay the same. This provides just another disincentive for club managers to run district/unit charity events.

Item 041-80: Special Games for Online Sanctions

Item 983-executive committee action Online Masterpoints Policy is amended as shown:

Following discussion of a proposed online masterpoint policy, it was moved and seconded that Management be directed to implement an online masterpoints policy that adheres to the principles below.

1. All previously established sanctioning fees and criteria remain in force unchanged.

2. All previous masterpoint criteria for online play in sanctioned games are amended to comply with the following rules and guidelines:

A. The total number of masterpoints available to be awarded in a sanctioned online club game shall be the same as in a comparably sized face-to-face club game. No more than 1.5 points may be awarded for first place.

B. Subject to (A), Management is authorized to narrow the point degradations in online vs. face-to-face play, provided that no points may be awarded to a player finishing below the top 40%.

C. Sections A and B above notwithstanding, an online sanction may conduct the following special games provided that the additional fees, if any, are submitted. The masterpoint award for these permitted special games will be the same as for a face-to-face game except the points will be unpigmented.
(1) Club Championships (one club championship session per quarter per sanctioned session – may only be a one session event)
(2) Junior Fund Games as per regulation for live play.

D. No more than one- third of the points required to achieve established ACBL status levels may be won from online play. Thus, as of this date, no more than 100 points of the 300 required to make Life Master may come from online play. This supersedes the previous yearly and lifetime maximum of 10 and 100 points respectively.

E. No online points will be credited toward any of the established annual point races, although Management may choose to establish an online ACBL member masterpoints race.

F. In all other respects, awarding masterpoints online shall be the same as for face-to-face play at clubs (not units or districts).

G. There shall be no binding long-term agreements signed with any online services relating to any of the above without going back to the Board for its approval. There shall be no exclusivity; any agreement(s) arrived at will be offered to all qualifying online services.

Not Carried. Aye: 3, 10, 21.

Comment: The field for on-line games is generally much larger than for face-to-face clubs, but since they are restricted from running extra masterpoint events, the maximum award is 1.50 unpigmented points. This motion would allow an occasional extra-masterpoint (still unpigmented) event. (I would restrict Junior games to one each quarter.)

Item 041-120: Stratified Swiss Teams Game

At sponsor option, the stratification level of a team in a Stratified Swiss Event may be determined by the average masterpoint holding of all team members.

Effective date: As soon as Management can implement.

Carried. Nay: 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 24, 25. Abstain: 15, 20.

Comment: This simply provides sponsors another alternative method by which to stratify a swiss team event. It may permit a team to qualify in a lower stratum even though a member(s) of the team has too many masterpoints for that stratum. Under the current stratification rules, the team would have to be in the higher stratum.

Item 041-125: Age for Senior Events

The minimum age for Senior Events, currently at age 55, is increased in one-year increments starting on January 1, 2005 until the age of 60 on January 1, 2009, and remains at age 60 thereafter.

Not Carried. Aye: 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 24.

Comment: Currently, less than 25% of ACBL members are not old enough to qualify to play in a senior event. We have trying to raise the minimum age for senior events for as long as I can remember. The World Bridge Federation has recently adopted the above method by which to do so. This motion would put the ACBL senior events on the same footing. Still, we could not garner a majority vote. Maybe next time!

Please call if you have any questions or comments concerning this report.

Chuck Wilkinson

1806-B Saint Ann Street
Jackson, MS  39202-1257
Phone: (601) 948-7108
Fax: (601) 948-4522

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