July 2013 Bon’s Mots

By Bonnie Bagley
National Board Representative

The next ACBL Board meeting will be in late July, preceding the Atlanta Summer NABC. It’s too early to know what motions will be put on the table, except for one I will be making requesting I/N Regionals to allow players with up to 750 masterpoints, who are Non-Life Masters, to win some gold points.

One committee I’m very excited about, even though I am not a committee member, has been assigned by ACBL President Don Mamula to examine our Nationals, determine what is done right, and what can be done better, and from these findings propose a “Fantasy” NABC. What is intriguing is the possible revamping of the schedule, perhaps eliminating events that are not successful, and replacing them with new events that could prove to be more popular. The recent success of the 0-10,000 MP (10K) Swiss Teams game, which had its inaugural appearance at the 2013 Spring NABC in St. Louis, proved there is interest in these new 10K events. I look forward to seeing this committee’s report.

Our Regionals
Looking ahead to possible new features for NABCs made me reflect on our D17 regionals. In looking back, 2000 was my first year on the D17 Board; that year, our six district regionals were Albuquerque, Mesa, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix and El Paso. The first five were annual tournaments. El Paso, however, rotated in a three-way with Tucson and Colorado Springs, and occasionally Ruidoso. El Paso held its last regional in 2006 with a table count of 1,062, but following that, the El Paso Unit Board notified the D17 Board they could no longer support a regional.
Ruidoso had succcessful regionals in 2002, 2005 and 2009 with an average table count of 1423. But following their 2009 tournament, again the D17 Board was informed a regional could no longer be held – this time from by the Ruidoso Unit. The main issue precluding a repeat in popular Ruidoso was the rental cost of their Convention Center playing space, not to mention the work required to run a regional by a unit with only 75 members.

Currently, the five “anchor” cities (Albuquerque, Mesa, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix) remain, with just Tucson and Colorado Springs alternating. However, due to the upcoming 2014 Phoenix Fall NABC in November, Tucson held a regional in 2012, and will do so again this year in October (filling the Phoenix Regional fall priority date). Colorado Springs will host a regional in August this year, and again in August, 2014, so as not to compete with the 2015 Denver Fall NABC. After that, Tucson and Colorado Springs will resume alternating every other year.
Does this mean no other D17 city can have a regional? No! Taos will be hosting one in September, thanks to the United States Bridge Federation granting them its regional sanction. Colorful Taos should prove to be a popular venue, and the local unit is hard at work to make it a memorable tournament. Also, the Colorado West Unit has approached the D17 Board with the idea of holding a regional in Vail, Colorado, another very popular resort venue. This is still in the early “talking” stage, but who knows? The point I make is things change, and things stay the same.

Attendance is Good
One change we’re happy with is the increase of table counts at all our D17 regionals. Note: Albuquerque 2000 - 1,450 tables, Albuquerque 2013 - 1,953 (their second highest ever, the largest being the phenomenal 2,026 in 2011).
Mesa 2000 - 1,968, 2013 - 2,323 (Mesa’s largest again in 2011 of 2,557). Mesa’s table count has bounced around a bit due to the fact that their dates are often juggled due to conflicts with the San Diego Regional, which is always held Easter week, and the Gatlinburg Regional, which no one wants to run against.
Denver 2000 - 1,590, 2013 - 2,226, their largest to date. Denver went over 2,000 tables in 2007 and has remained over 2,000 since. Las Vegas 2000 - 4,118, 2012 - 4066.
Las Vegas has consistently maintained a table count in at least the very high 3,000s – usually over 4,000 tables – and is regularly the second largest regional in ACBL. Phoenix 2000 - 1,397 - 2012 - 2,125. The Phoenix Regional has profited since their priority date change from August to more comfortable October. Tucson 2001 - 1,331, 2012 - 1,992, which again was a record.
What accounts for the increased attendance? Hard work by the willing, able, and capable volunteers – without which there would be no success – and the congenial relationship between the D17 Board and unit boards, both working to maintain the high standards of D17 regionals, continuously striving to improve.

New Tournament Innovations
In the time I’ve been on the D17 Board, we have seen the advent of great advances to improve our tournaments: pre-duplicated boards, BridgeMates, BridgeResults, Gold Rush Pairs and, new this year, Sunday’s Bracketed 0-2000 Swiss Teams games.
We will continue to get better.
I hope I got to see you at the huge Las Vegas Regional. Next up for us is the Colorado Springs Regional, August 12-18. A wonderful, scenic city with great District 17 hospitality. See you there!
I enjoy hearing from you. I’m always available at 719 593-0205, or email me at bonnie@bonniebagleyd17.com