September Bon’s Mots

Strategic Planning

The July ACBL Board of Directors meeting at the Philadelphia Summer NABC commenced with discussion and exercises, facilitated by strategic planner Sheila Kim to formulate a Strategic Plan. The board moved to approve this plan, directing ACBL management to work with President Sharon Anderson to develop and finalize the plan for presentation at the Fall 2012 meeting in San Francisco.
The guidelines are: Mission - to promote and sustain the game of bridge and serve the bridge-related interests of our members; Vision - we will be a growing, thriving organization that actively meets the diverse needs of our members and bridge players; Strategic Focus Areas, in priority order:
(1) Develop and implement focused programs for member recruitment.
(2) Identify and replicate best practices and innovations.
(3) Integrate technology to meet member needs.
(4) Retain more members.
(5) Provide top-quality directing at tournaments.

Managment Report

Most of the first day was spent on the Strategic Plan, and then it was on to “routine” business. Robert Hartman’s CEO Report noted a slow but steady membership increase; a slight decline in tournament table count with average regional table count being 4% down and average sectional table count being flat. These figures will change as there is an expected increase of ten regionals and a decrease of eight sectionals in 2012 as compared to 2011.
Personnel changes at ACBL Headquarters are: Bruce Knoll is the new Director of Information Technology, Bryan Delfs is the new Education Manager, LeAnn Bowers is the new part-time NABC Coordinator; Sam Whitten has been promoted to Bridge Administration Manager, Ken Horwedel promoted to Bridge Quality & Systems Manager and Debbie Vicknair promoted to Tournament Administrator.
There are three open ACBL positions:
(1) Director of Marketing Communications.
(2) Marketing assistant.
(3) Assistant to the Recorder.
If you have interest in any of these positions, send your resume to or to Human Resources Department, ACBL, 6575 Windchase Blvd., Horn Lake MS 38637.

Board Motions in Philadelphia

• ACBL has decided to run all future Regionals at Sea using in-house resources. Therefore, unfortunately, it is very likely the September, 2012 Western Conference Regional at Sea to Hawaii will be the one and only for us.
• Phase One of ACBLscore+ is complete, and the project is on time and on budget with the new software to be completed in 12-18 months.
• The board continues to approve more codification updates.
• A motion to award Life Master to any player with 1000 masterpoints and an NABC+ event win was defeated. The majority felt the requirements of all pigments (black, red and gold points) should still be met.
• The Grass Roots Task Force presented a motion, which passed, to designate December as “Grass Roots Fund Month.” Clubs may hold special games under the same rules and regulations as the other special fund months. The moniess raised will be sent annually to the district in which the funds were raised. This is step one for the Grass Roots Task Force: we aim for more.
• The motion presented by the Western Conference District Directors (D21 Bruce Blakely, D22 Ken Monzingo and myself) that playing directors in STAC games and their partners are ineligible to receive overall masterpoint awards (they are eligible to receive section awards) passed. This will be effective January 1, 2013. It was felt by most that a STAC playing director’s actions can severely impact players at dozens of other clubs.
The hot topic Strength of Field motion, which was deferred from the March meeting for field testing to be done, was defeated. Robert Hartman presented a summary of the tournament directors’ conclusions, which basically boiled down to there was no pressing need for change.
Minutes of the meeting are posted at
The next ACBL board meetings will be at the November San Francisco Fall NABC.
D17 Players Shine at the Nationals
Congratulations to the following D17 players who shone in national events in Philadelphia: Roth Open Swiss Teams - 1st Fred Gitelman & Geoff Hampson, Las Vegas, 2nd Carolyn Lynch, Scottsdale, Arizona & Mike Passell, Las Vegas; Wager Women’s Knockout Teams - 1st Jill Levin, Las Vegas, 3/4 Jo Ann Sprung, Las Vegas; Spingold Knockout Teams - 2nd Robert Levin, Las Vegas; Truscott/U.S. Playing Card Senior Swiss Teams - 2nd Jeffrey Starr, Las Vegas, 5th Fred Hamilton, Las Vegas; Freeman Mixed Board-A-Match Teams - 3rd John Kranyak, Las Vegas 7th Sheri Winestock & Justin Lall, Las Vegas; Von Zedwitz Life Master Pairs - 5th John Kranyak, Las Vegas; 0-5000 Life Master Pairs - 6th Jon Gustafson & Neil Petrie, Fort Collins, Colorado; Mini-Spingold II (0-1500) - 2nd Stan Weiner, Las Vegas.

Youth NABC

The Youth NABC was held July 19-22 in Philadelphia. Burke Snowden, Fort Collins, Colorado, was second in the Baron Barclay Youth Open Pairs and second in the Bridge Base Online National Youth Swiss Teams. Burke was recently named a Junior/Youth Ambassador, a program that recognizes players 25 and under who have helped to encourage and promote the game of bridge among their peers.
For a complete listing of D17 players who attended the Philadelphia NABC go to

As always, please contact me at ’see you at D17’s next regional in Phoenix, Arizona, October 8-14.