DISTRICT 19 DIRECTOR REPORT
As 2020 draws to a close, we look back at a most unusual year for District 19 and for the ACBL as a whole. We also can take this opportunity to look forward to a new year, with all the challenges and adventures we know we will face.
A LOOK BACK
- A motion to reorganize the ACBL Board of Directors was accepted this year. The transition of many functions away from this Board to other groups is presently underway. By the beginning of 2022, Districts 18 and 19 will be combined into the new Region 13.
- The Code of Disciplinary Regulations (CDR) has been updated. The ACBL Codification is presently also undergoing an update, with the goal of eliminating contradictory and repetitive references, and also to make this guide easier to use.
- ACBL membership has steadily declined over the last several months. This may be due to the fact that many players are not interested in playing online. The organization is working hard to reverse this trend, with marketing initiatives, online teacher training, and the new guest membership program.
- The financial status of the organization continues to be strong, though next year may be more challenging.
- The Office of the National Recorder continues to see an explosion of player memos, almost all involving possible unethical behavior. The work of minimizing opportunities for unethical actions by players in all online games is ongoing, and is considered to be of the highest importance.
- Congratulations to new National Goodwill Committee members from District 19 Karen Rise, Ralph Wilhelmi, and Bruce McIntyre, who were appointed in recognition of their many years of service to bridge in our District.
A LOOK FORWARD
- Sanctions for all face-to-face tournaments are presently cancelled through the end of February 2021. Management is currently considering the status of tournament sanctions through the end of June next year, but no decisions have yet been made.
- The North American Pairs (NAP) competition, scheduled for Columbus in 2020 will be held during the St. Louis NABC in March 2021. If the St. Louis tournament is cancelled, the NAP will be held online. The Grand National Teams (GNT) competition will be held at the Providence NABC in July 2021, and will be held online if necessary.
- Effective January 1, 2021, a new alert procedure system will be introduced. Changes include that instead of announcing “transfer”, we will announce the suit shown, for example, “Hearts”. Support Doubles and Redoubles will no longer be alertable. Articles explaining the new system will appear in the Bulletin.
- There is general agreement that with a return to face-to-face bridge in the future, game sizes and tournament table counts will be smaller. Once the pandemic is under control and bridge can safely be played in person again, online bridge will continue to be offered by the ACBL, including opportunities to play in regionally-rated tournaments. While many people strongly prefer in-person bridge, some players have indicated that they plan to play only on-line in the future. Next year, the ACBL Board of Directors, together with Districts and Management, will be discussing best ways to plan for new opportunities and challenges.
For complete minutes of the latest Board of Directors meetings, use this link: https://www.acbl.org/about-acbl/administration/board-of-directors/meeting-motions-and-minutes/.
In conclusion, it is with regret that I must announce my resignation as the District 19 representative to the ACBL Board of Directors, effective December 31, 2020, due to pressing family matters. I am pleased to let you know that Tim White, of Seattle, in his capacity as First Alternate District Director, will take office on January 1, 2021. I have every confidence that Tim will be an excellent representative for the members of our district.
DISTRICT 19 DIRECTOR REPORT
BOARD OF DIRECTORS ACTIONS
Recent actions taken by the ACBL Board of Directors in June and July include:
· The acceptance of a motion to reorganize the Board of Directors. Implementation of this plan will commence with the election cycle in 2021. The size of the Board of Directors will gradually be reduced from 25 to 13, and will be completed by 2024. The 25 Districts presently in place will continue to exist, and will function as usual. Instead of each district electing its own member to the Board of Directors, districts will be combined into regions, designed to be approximately equal in population. District 19 will be combined with District 18, to form the new Region 13. Region 13 will have the right to elect one member to the redesigned board. Our Region’s first election will take place next year, which is when terms for both existing district directors will expire.
· The Transition Task Force is reviewing the transfer of “non-core” functions of the Board of Directors to other groups of people. This transition process has already begun.
· A motion to equalize the masterpoints that are paid in all events at sectionals and regionals, based upon a new formula that will calculate “Strength of Field” was approved unanimously by the Board. When this is implemented (not earlier than January 2021, and not until there is a return to face-to-face play), masterpoints awarded for tournament events will be based upon a calculation of the difficulty of winning the event, and will not depend upon the other events taking place at a tournament at the same time.
· The Code of Disciplinary Regulations has been revised, to simplify and to clarify the CDR.
· For complete minutes of the latest Board of Directors meetings, use this link: https://www.acbl.org/about-acbl/administration/board-of-directors/meeting-motions-and-minutes/ The July minutes are not yet posted, but should be available soon.
Other information of interest:
FINANCIAL STATE OF THE ACBL CoVid19 has caused havoc with the financial state of the organization. With the cancellation of all in-person tournaments for the rest of 2020, tournament-related revenues for the ACBL were reduced to zero, representing about an 8 million dollar loss. However, between significant expense reductions and added revenues from online play, the current estimates are that the ACBL will end the year with a surplus of over 500 thousand dollars. Financial risks that the ACBL currently faces include the fact that some members are failing to renew existing memberships, and the fact that online bridge play appears to be in decline recently.
CASHLESS PAYMENTS TO CLUBS To facilitate the speedy payment of funds from the ACBL to clubs, a cashless payment process has been introduced. This will avoid delays caused by the mail service. While this has worked easily in the USA, it has been more difficult to implement in Canada. Management now reports that this will be available for Canadians very soon.
ONLINE TASK FORCE A proposal to allow districts and units to offer online regionals and sectionals was turned down by the Board of Directors in May, for a number of reasons. Soon thereafter, a special task force was formed to examine issues related to online bridge play, including the idea of facilitating the offering of locally-based regionals and sectionals. This task force is considering the ways in which online play might be integrated with face-to-face bridge, once in-person clubs and tournaments return. The Board of Directors will receive and discuss a report from this Online Task Force over the course of several days in August.
TEMPORARY MEMBERSHIP ON THE WAY A new temporary membership will be available for free to new members very soon (probably by the beginning of August). The previous program of Guest Memberships will be phased out, once the new program is available.
SPECIAL EVENT PLANS Special monthly ACBL-wide events will continue to be planned until significant in-person play has resumed. These are tentatively planned to include regionally rated events in August, October and December, special NABC Knock-Out and Pairs events in July and November, a Virtual Youth NABC in July, another Silver Linings event in September, and other opportunities for upgraded masterpoints in September on Labour Day, during Club Appreciation Week, and during Club Championship Weeks in September and November.
VIRTUAL CLUBS Some ACBL policies have caused difficulties for virtual clubs in parts of the ACBL. Among the issues under contention are the restrictions for the number of guest players a club may allow in their games and the fact that guest pairs are not allowed to play with each other in clubs they may visit. Both players and clubs in some locations have indicated a desire for more choice. We have been told to expect that there will be some loosening of these restrictions in the future.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me.
Julie Smith District19Director@acbl.org or email@example.com