Paul Cronin

Tournaments ??

There are roughly 1300 ACBL members who have over 5000 masterpoints. Some of these are deceased, and some don’t play much any more, so let’s say 1040 of them are available to play in May, 2013.There are 12 Regionals in May, aand 92 Sectionals, so let’s send 10 to each tournament. Those 10 by themselves would only make up 2.5 tables, so what is needed here is some cannon fodder from the lower levels. Since we don’t seem to have the faith that there really are enough players who will voluntarily want to “play up”, we make the strat limits 3000 to infinity, or 2000 to infinity. Then we award the largest number of masterpoints to the winners of this top strat, on the basis that they beat a “quality” field. Anybody see the problem here?


Marty DeneroffApril 30th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Obviously, the fact that you have a top strat doesn’t guarantee that there are (m)any people playing in that strat. This is why the ACBL was looking into awarding points based on “Strength of Field”, a formula based on the mp holding of the people actually playing in an event. great idea. The ACBL, in its wisom, elected not to implement it. Why? I don’t know. They never publicized that this was being investigated, and they never generated a report on what was decided and why.

I would really like to see write-ups on what changes the ACBL BOD considers, what decisions are made, and the rationale for those decisions. You could print these in the bulletin, and the membership would know what is going on! What a concept!

Steven GaynorMay 1st, 2013 at 5:52 pm

‘Strength of Field’ is a horrid idea that the ACBL BOD fortunately recognized for what it was and rejected it for regional and sectional events (except for KO’s where it is already in use).

If SOF was in force it would be in our interest to discourage newer players from playing in open fields. Imagine if the then 14 year old Joe Grue came to play in our tournament (which he did) and we told him he should enter the 49’er game so he would not lower the overall MP award in the open field. Actually I cannot imagine it being good for bridge to push away anyone who wants to compete in an open field.

Even in Regional KO’s where an SOF formula is used the effect has been to keep the top flight MP awards about the same or better, but now the limited brackets award fewer MP’s most of the time. Check out some regional results at the ACBL site- they exist going back several years.

I believe size of field is still the best criteria for calculating awards. There will surely be stonger and weaker fields as we go along, but if they are ‘open’ you still have to play good bridge to win. I have learned that it does not matter much who you are or against whom you are playing: if you play good bridge you will win, if you play bad you will lose.

On the subject of the 5000+ club playing at tournaments, I looked at our regional last October (St Paul). It was modest in table count (968), but there were over 40 diamond, emerald, platinum or Grand life masters in attendance. Another 40 or so were players capable of winning an open regional event. They averaged playing in about 9 of the 18 sessions, so there was about 10 tables of flight A players in each session. They would be spread over 2 championship events since most regionals offer at least one pair and one team event simultaneously.

Marty DeneroffMay 1st, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Steve, I’m afraid I disagree about the ill effects of SOF. If implemented properly, I believe it would have leveled the effect that it is much easier to win big awards at some regionals in remote areas than in ones in large cities. I don’t really believe it would discourage people with small mp holdings from playing, or that the players would do such a thing enough to matter.

Nevertheless, this is a much smaller issue to me than the fact that the ACBL never really discussed the pros and cons with the membership at large, or even publicized that the change was being considered.

Judy Kay-WolffMay 1st, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Hey guys:

The fact that the decisions are made by those on high (the ACBL BOD) does not mean that is what is best for the game. Perhaps more seasoned, qualified top players should put their heads together and come up with a difficult, near-impossible solution, bearing in mind you cannot always make everyone happy.

The lust for masterpoints (as evidenced by their coming out of the woodwork) has enriched the ACBL treasury. It was a great business move (and nothing wrong with that), but is that what it is all about? I suppose — for some — yes. There is no crime in affording the people the enjoyment of playing the game, giving them something to look forward to, specially if they are old or retired with little else to fill their spare time. It certainly produces what most people crave for — as long as you view it for what it is — a way to pleasurably pass the time of day.

On the other hand, there are many serious and talented players who play for the challenge, to learn and improve their game and aspire to go as far as they can with whatever talent they have been blessed. Their goals are different and the amassing of masterpoints are far down on the list — an intangible bonus, at best. To each his own.

There is no easy solution that I can see — perhaps a compromise at best. I am far from qualified to determine what that is. However, a concerted effort should be made to keep bridge on the map for generations to come — regardless of how it is accomplished. Getting it into the schools (as it is in Asia and other countries) is a great starting point. However, I know it has been a hard “sell” as non-bridge players do not realize how important it is in the developmental process of the younger set — regarding reasoning, mathematics, logic, et al.

Greater effort should be exerted toward that end.

DJune 12th, 2013 at 3:37 am

nice and thanks.

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