July 2015 Bon’s Mots

By Bonnie Bagley
National Board Representative

What are the benefits of being an ACBL member? You receive the monthly Bridge Bulletin, a bridge magazine for players of all levels, access to 3200 bridge clubs and 1100 tournaments, masterpoints, and recognition for masterpoint achievement. There is also the fun and camaraderie at the bridge table and the opportunity to make friends with players from all over ACBL land, which is all over the world. You can meet people playing online and meet them in person at a tournament. Is that all there is? NO!
There are two opportunities which most D17 players are not taking advantage of. These are the two Grass Roots Events offered by ACBL – the Grand National Teams (GNT) and the North American Pairs (NAP). These events offer a chance for compensation to attend a National and compete with players from every district to win a national event.
Please see the article in this issue of ScoreCard by Jim Horton, D17 NAP Coordinator, for information on the 2015-2016 NAP.

The Grand National Teams consists of four flights: the Championship Flight, unlimited masterpoints, Flight A, up to 6000 masterpoints; Flight B, up to 2500 masterpoints; and Flight C, up to 500 masterpoints but not a Life Master. This is a teams event and your team may consist of four to six players. You qualify at a club GNT qualifying game from September 1-April 30, and then go to the D17 GNT Finals. You do not have to qualify as a team, a team may be made up of players from anywhere in D17, as long as each player is qualified. D17 provides each player participating in the D17 Finals a travel subsidy, and entries for all Flight C teams are paid by D17. Once your team wins and participates in the National Finals at the Summer NABC, this year in Chicago, D17 provides each team with $2000 to help with expenses.
What an opportunity! Why, then, was participation so low at the D17 GNT Finals recently held at the Denver Regional? There were three teams each entered in the Championship Flight and Flight A, 14 teams in Flight B (usually the largest participation), and only four teams in Flight C, even with entry fees paid. What is wrong? What can we do to increase participation?
Rod Southworth, the D17 GNT Coordinator, wants to know. Please contact him at southworth15@yahoo.com or 307 221-2634; let him know why you did not participate and what we can do to encourage more participation.

Congratulations to our D17 GNT Winners

Championship Flight: Drew Casen, Sheri Winestock, Fred Gitelman, and Josh Donn, all from Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a repeat, Sheri, Fred, and Josh have won the D17 Open Flight for four years in a row – in 2012 with teammates Tom Grue and Joe Grue; in 2013 again with Tom and Joe, but adding Brad Moss; and in 2014 with Brad. They are determined to win the national title, and I have confidence that this is their year.
Flight A: Bill Curtis, Mel Levine, Shirley Scott, and Bob Wingeard, all from Colorado Springs, Colorado – the first time for this stellar team.
Flight B: Richard Jacobson and Mark Robertson, Phoenix, Arizona; and Greg Foltz and Dawn Foltz, Fort Collins, Colorado. Greg and Dawn won Flight B last year playing with Gregory Herman and Bill Stoltey, also of Fort Collins. Incidentally, Richard and Mark placed second in this year’s Flight B NAPs and had a subsidized trip to the Spring New Orleans NABC and are now making plans to attend the Summer Chicago NABC.
Flight C: Naomi Cartwright, John Wolf, Robyn Fleming, and Connie Robertson, all from Fort Collins, Colorado are the excited winners. Robyn and Connie have less then 50 masterpoints, John has less then 250, and Naomi got the gold points she needed at the Denver Regional to make Life Master!

The GNTs are near and dear to my heart . . . why? In 1996, a team of four ladies from Colorado Springs who could barely follow suit qualified to play in the Flight C D17 GNT Finals. Back then, D17 Finals were three days for all flights (it was always harder “back then”) – they made it to the 56 board final, played against the defending champions, and yes, they won and went to the Miami Summer NABC, their first national.
The Cinderella story ended after the first day, but they did not care; they were proud and happy to represent D17. That started a love of Nationals for one of them, who became more and more involved with bridge outside of playing, starting as unit caddie chairman and working up to District Director.
You guessed it, that is me.

Plan now on playing in next year’s D17 GNT Finals . . . you never know what might happen. Please contact Rod or me with your thoughts on the GNT: bonnie@bonniebagleyd17.com or 719 593-0205
See you at the Taos Regional September 21-27.