MARCH 5-8, 2007




The spring ACBL Board of Directors meeting in St. Louis began with an all day Board Development session led by Dr. Vernette Walker of Board Source, a national consulting firm that specializes in training boards in governance roles, responsibilities and on how to become an exceptional board. We were challenged to look at making some changes in the way we operate that would make us a more effective Board.


Jay Baum, ACBL CEO reported the following:


·       2007 has gotten off to a good start with more than 1,600 paying members than at the end of 2006.

·       Tournament tables in 2006 for sectionals, regionals and StaC’s were up versus sessions played in 2005.

·       Total tables played in 2006 reached a 15 year high due in part to online tables.

·       Over 2,600 members opted to receive membership renewal notices via email. ACBL believes this number will increase substantially when it is more widely publicized, thus reducing paper work substantially.

·       Bridgemate, the on table wireless device for transmitting scores to a computer, has been undergoing testing in Charlottesville, VA. ACBL management believes improvements in the device and lower cost will be forthcoming and has taken a wait and see attitude about purchasing the devices at this time.

·       The 2007 budget has been reviewed by the Finance Committee and based on information received from management after the budget was set, has been revised to reflect anticipated profit of $35,598 rather than the previous $206,006 projection.

·       ACBL has sanctioned games online now at BridgeBase, Ok Bridge and Swan Games. It is anticipated that on-line tables in 2007 will exceed 250,000 tables.

·       The ACBL School Bridge Lesson Series Program, funded by ACBL and the ACBL Educational Foundation, continues to grow. There were 213 total classes taught during the spring/summer session of 2006. There were 3,159 students in the spring/summer session. In the fall session there were 141 classes with 1,671 students. Altogether, in 2006 there were 354 classes and 4,830 students enrolled.

·       Closing on the sale of the Memphis Headquarters property is anticipated by the end of March .

Board actions were as follows:

·       Defeated a motion to designate the month of May as Educational Foundation month.

·       Defeated a motion to replace the June Worldwide Bridge Contest , which would end our involvement with the WBF in this event. I voted for the motion because most of the money that is generated from the event comes from ACBL tables and goes to support WBF, in which ACBL has very little influence, in my opinion.

·       Rescinded a previously passed motion that allowed for the conversion of masterpoints won in countries not in Zone 2 (North America) or ACBL.

·       Approved three (3) exceptions to the NAP & GNT Eligibility policy as follows:

1.     “Snowbirds,” members with seasonal residences who spend more that half of the GNT qualifying period (September 1st – February 28th) in a district other than the district of their principal residence may play in the district of seasonal residence.

2.     Players who live near district borders, and who are members of a unit in which they do not reside, may seek permission to play in the district in which they have a unit membership. Players must have been an active member of the unit in which they wish to play for at least 5 years continuously and must not have played in the GNT in another district for that period of time.

3.     Players with multiple domiciles should apply to the Credentials Committee for a one time choice of district in which they wish to play.

·       Approved on vote of 13-12 a fixed amount prize for awards in all NAP flights. In districts with three qualifiers, 1st place receives $700 each, 2nd place $300 each and 3rd place invited to participate but receives no prize. In districts with four qualifiers, 1st & 2nd receive $700 each and 3rd & 4th place gets $300 each. The vote was 13-12 and I voted for it because I think it gives those attending more flexibility with their travel arrangements.

·       Approved a motion that Board Members per diem while attending the Board meeting would not be affected by the presence or absence of hotel concierge privileges.

·       Rescinded a previous motion to provide hard copy materials for volunteers. This was a management proposal in support of a part of our strategic plan to conduct all of our business between ACBL Districts and Units electronically. I supported this motion with management’s assurance that if certain information be requested, applicable sections of manuals would be faxed or mailed to those not able to communicate electronically.

·       Approved the formation of a new non-profit foundation for the purpose of 1) acquiring, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting objects and materials related to bridge; 2) identifying and recognizing those who have made significant contributions to bridge and 3) serving as the North American repository for objects and materials related to bridge.

·       Defeated by a 13-11 vote a motion that would have permitted the chief tournament director to allow ACBL members not qualified in the Blue Ribbon Pairs 0-5000 masterpoints to play. If passed this would have opened the event to many outstanding foreign players who don’t have more than 5000 ACBL master points. I voted against this motion but voted in favor of allowing the chief tournament director to approve a request from a non-qualified player to play in the Blue Ribbon Pairs, our premier event for the top players.

I have been appointed to serve this year on the Finance, CEO Review, Governance, Real Estate and Marketing Committees of the Board. I am also the Vice Chairman of the Marketing Committee.