Jonathan Steinberg

ACBL Board of Directors’ Meetings

2023 FALL NATIONAL BOARD REPORT

The Atlanta NABC finished with 6,643 tables,very close to budget and expectations. What hurts the ACBL is that too few players stay at the host hotel. Going forward, the meeting services model is being reviewed as we look for ways to improve both customer experience and the bottom line.
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Congratulations to the Atlanta NABC Co-Chairs Becky Butler, and Jack Feagin plus all the volunteers who made the Atlanta NABC such an enjoyable tournament.

2023 Summer Chicago ACBL Board Report

The Chicago NABC was an outstanding location in the heart of the “Magnificent Mile” and directly adjacent to the Riverwalk. Final attendance of 8,343 tables was almost 1,000 greater than Providence last Summer. It was 1,300 tables larger than New Orleans in the spring.

Congratulations to Toronto’s Linda Wynston (& Sondra Schubiner of Boca Raton FL) who won the Wagar Women’s Pairs for the second time (Atlanta, 2018, Chicago, 2023). 

The ACBL is doing very well as the pandemic recedes and F2F bridge returns in ever-growing numbers. There are multiple positive signs. Please read the official report from the ACBL Summer Board meetings here

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2023 Spring New Orleans ACBL Board Report

New Orleans is a popular destination and the numbers proved it. There were 7,124.5 tables which was about 1,000 more than pre-tournament estimates. If current trends continue, Chicago this summer will be larger.

Kudos to former Montrealer Vince Demuy who won the Platinum Pairs. Stephane Turcotte & Jean La Traverse were 2nd in the Golder NAP B. Toronto’s Jacob Freeman 5/8 in Vanderbilt.                       __________________________________________________________________________

2022 Fall Phoenix ACBL Board Report

The 2022 Phoenix NABC with 6,677 tables was larger than Austin one year earlier but smaller than the Summer Providence NABC. The fear of illness remains among many of our members who still prefer not to travel and/or attend large gatherings.

Downtown Phoenix was an attractive location: perfect weather, excellent playing facilities, and an abundance of dining options to fit any budget.

As ACBL President Joann Glasson wrote to all of us: “The recent resignation of our Executive Director, Joe Jones, has provided the ACBL Board of Directors the opportunity to streamline the ACBL management structure to improve internal communication, process and teamwork. The ACBL is blessed with dedicated, hard-working employees that will keep the operation running seamlessly through this transition. Employees are already bringing forth opportunities to save money, to improve operations and to increase revenue as part of the effort to finalize the 2023 budget. The reduction in senior management positions in 2022 will save the ACBL more than $500,000 annually. These funds can be directed towards membership growth and retention initiatives and the improvement of ACBL technology.”

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2022 Summer Providence ACBL Board Report

The Providence NABC was well attended with 7,463 tables, close to the high end of official estimates. 3,207 players won masterpoints. It was a well run enjoyable tournament.

Unfortunately, there were widespread reports of players, officials, Tournament Directors, yes – even ACBL Board members – who tested positive during or after the NABC. After returning home, I developed very mild symptoms and tested positive two days later. Within a few days, I was feeling fine and within a week, I tested negative. Fortunately, my experience was similar to many. I have heard of no reports of serious illness or hospitalizations.

My personal view is that Covid today is not what it used to be. The milder Omicron strain combined with vaccinations and anti-viral medications has reached a point where most people believe we have to learn to live with Covid as we do with other ailments. Players will decide for themselves whether or not to travel and attend F2F tournaments. My vote is a resounding yes.

I was very pleased that the motion I submitted would disallow GLM status and/or ACBL Hall of Fame recognition to any player convicted of a first-degree ethical violation with a suspension of two years or longer. It was approved by a 17-3 vote, effective as of July 15, 2022.

I am optimistic that the new pilot project between the ACBL & The ACBL Educational Foundation to find & teach duplicate bridge to prospective ACBL members will bear fruit. This refers to F2F teaching with an affiliation with F2F bridge clubs. The ultimate goal is to increase ACBL membership.

There is still a long road ahead of us to restore ACBL membership and enjoy healthy F2F bridge clubs and well-attended tournaments.  That is my fervent goal, one that is shared with all of my colleagues on the ACBL Board of Directors.

The official report from the Providence Board meetings can be found here  

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2022 Spring Reno NABC & ACBL Board Report

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2021 Fall Austin NABC & ACBL Board Report

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ACBL Electronic  Device Policy (Effective immediately)
 
This policy applies to all events at NABCs and events where ACBL is the Sponsoring Organization. Regional and Sectional tournaments are encouraged to adopt and apply this policy or one more well-suited to their players. A violation of any of the restrictions below will result in an automatic penalty, pursuant to Law 91 of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge.
 
1. Any electronic equipment must be kept in silent mode (except for health-related equipment, where silent mode is unavailable or could constitute a health risk). It is recommended, though not mandatory, that any such equipment remain switched off while in the playing area during a session.
 
Penalties: If it is determined that an electronic device is not compliant with (1) above, the penalty for the first offense is 1/8 of a board, 1.5 IMPs, or ½ VP. For each subsequent offense during an event, the penalty will be doubled. Beginning with the third offense, the player may be subject to disqualification, upon approval of the Sponsoring Organization.
 
2. Players are expected to be paying attention to the game. While at the table, players may not use or interact with their electronic devices during bridge play. When between rounds or sitting out, use or interaction with electronic devices is permitted, provided it is inaudible. For other situations, permission to use or interact with an electronic device will be granted upon the director’s judgment and on a case-by-case basis.
 
Penalties: If it is determined that an electronic device was operated in violation of (2) above, the penalty for the first offense is ½ of a board, 6 IMPs, or 2 VP. For each subsequent offense during an event, the penalty will be doubled. Beginning with the second offense, the player may be subject to disqualification, upon approval of the Sponsoring Organization.
 
The above restrictions apply to all players, captains, coaches and kibitzers, except those persons granted permission by the ACBL, and are in force throughout any playing session or segment of play.
 
A kibitzer in violation of these policies must leave the playing area and may be readmitted only by permission of the tournament director.
 
Penalties for captains and coaches: Same as for players.
 
For the purpose of this policy, each day of a multi-day event is treated independently.
 
Further restrictions and requirements may apply in events involving live internet and/or VuGraph coverage and/or instruction from the Sponsoring Organization.
 
For the purpose of this policy, Sponsoring Organization is the ACBL for NABCs, the organizing District for Regionals, and the organizing Unit for Sectionals.
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Introducing EDGAR
 
Methods of investigating and proving online cheating have not kept up with the times, and
bridge organizations around the world have struggled to adapt. The ACBL is excited to
announce the development of a new tool in detecting and prosecuting online (and perhaps inperson) cheating that offers great potential in changing the way we approach this problem.
 
Developed by chief architects Franco Baseggio and Brian Platnick, “EDGAR” (Electronic Data
Gathering and Anti-cheating Radar) will allow bridge organizations to scan thousands of cases
and look for telltale signs of cheating. EDGAR is currently being tested and refined, and we
expect to place it in use in ACBL cases later this year, initially in support of “traditional”
investigations. The name pays homage to the great Edgar Kaplan, the father of modern bridge ethics.
 
Instead of identifying single hands that look suspicious in a vacuum, EDGAR will be able to
identify whether funny-looking bridge decisions are representative of a larger pattern or
constitute a one-off aberration. Inspired by the work of Nicolas Hammond, Kit Woolsey, and
others in the field, EDGAR will finally show us the forest through the trees. We believe that
players will have confidence in EDGAR’s ability to identify cheaters without raising suspicion of
innocent players.
 
While refinements to EDGAR continue, we are also considering how to best balance concerns
around transparency, accessibility, validation, maintenance, and control. Our goals include:
 
* Providing everyone the information needed to understand how it works, which
gives bridge players important security in being evaluated by a machine;
 
* Providing access to the cheating algorithm and operational details, which means it
can be verified by statisticians, programmers, mathematicians, and anyone else
who wants to “look under the hood” to see if it works as intended;
 
* Inviting contributions of the brightest minds in the bridge world towards
improvements and refinements
 
* Making EDGAR available to all bridge organizations at little to no cost. This
project has been a labor of love and good will for the benefit of bridge (running the
algorithm at scale will provide entrepreneurs an important opportunity here).
 
The project has been managed by AJ Stephani, Chair of the ACBL Appeals and Charges
Committee, as part of a comprehensive transformation in the way cheating cases are handled
by the ACBL. However, we are hopeful that EDGAR will prove to become a critical tool in both
detection and prosecution methods around the world.