Judy Kay-Wolff

UPDATE ON THE LV SWISS TEAM DEBACLE OF 10/22

I just called to wish Martha Beecher a great trip as she is headed once again to the Orient.   You may remember Martha not only as a good player who triumphed with the late David Ashley and others, but who, together with Grace Matthews, literally and physically ran Unit 373 for many years back from the mid seventies to the early nineties, setting all sorts of attendance records, including the 1991 NABC right here in Vegas.   She is no stranger to the game and we talked about how it was THEIR Unit (when they were in command) which determined how many boards they played, the time period allowed, the policies, the types of events, personally selected the directors (CTD and associates), etc.   I had to laugh when she told me she showed up on Friday to play but until the next day did not learn that they were playing IMPS rather than matchpoints as expected. 

She is as surprised as I that we have heard nothing back from ACBL Headquarters in Horn Lake, MS as they have been officially informed of the irregularities that occurred during the Friday October 22nd Swiss Teams — NINE DAYS AGO.  WHAT IS THE HOLD UP?? They have responsibilities to the members to own up to their indiscretions and rectify the bastardization of the final results as soon as humanly possible.

Just for the record, our team were the clear winners.   That is immaterial.  WE HAD NOTHING TO GAIN EXCEPT TO SEE A FAIR CONTEST.  The board-pulling and IMP AWARDS displaced the true second place winner (The Crossley Team) and our opponents (who were not victimized by slow play) were gratuitously awarded IMPS (converted to victory points) and thus, the undeserved IMPS allowed our opponents to go ahead of Crossley.

The questions are quite forthright:

1.  Who made the decision to play eight boards instead of seven?   Just for the record:  The afternoon session (4th match of six) at our table started at 2:07 p.m. as people were still milling around and the boards had not yet been distributed or made.

2.  Who decided that the standard 52-1/2 minutes for 7 boards were to apply to the 8 board movement?  (Bear in mind that the boards must be made; hands bid, played and defended; compared at the end with opponents; checked with teammates; and a ticket filled out and given to the director).  That does take time and is unreasonable to expect eight boards to be played plus all the above and be ready for the next match within the hour mark.   Bridge players are only mortals.  If my math is correct, the match alone (8 boards x 7-1/2 minutes) still equals 60 minutes and an adjustment should have been made.   This is not a Nascar race – but a dignified bridge game.   And — what about the other time-consuming responsibilities?  The board was pulled from us, according to Bobby’s watch at 7 minutes to five.

3.  Who made the decision to pull a board?  To our knowledge at least five were yanked by the floor director.

4.   Was it the DIC Bill Michael or one of the floor people to whom he assigned the decision?

5.   Were there cameras or monitors used to decide whom, if anyone, was at fault for slow play?  Of course not.   And, how did the floor director know what had gone on during the previous boards where she was not present?

6.   Who made the decision to ‘award the alleged victims of the slow play’ an additional three IMPS rather than, if legitimate (which was absolutely not true in our case) subtract them from the purportedly guilty slow players?  No questions were asked by the director.   It was a done deal — an outrageous fait accompli!!!!

7.  Why, after the game, did the DIC not know anything about the pulling of boards and awarding of IMPS to the other side?   This was confirmed by a member of our team with whom he spoke.

8.  Why were not all the directors present when this was discovered as the DIC claimed he could do nothing since the floor people hightailed it out of there — probably for dinner appointments?

9.  We learned in order for the pulling of boards, the SAME PAIR MUST BE GUILTY twice (not their teammates)?  That statement came from the DIC himself after the match but he seemed to know little about what had transpired.   Pray tell, with all due respect, who’s running the ship anyway?

This, in our eyes, is so ridiculous and mishandled that it wreaks from rank amateurism.  True, it was not a world championship, but what the hell?   We all pay our dues and entry fees.   We are entitled to expect a more professionally organized event, run in a timely fashion — rather than an ignored cover up.


5 Comments

RBKNovember 1st, 2010 at 4:46 am

We need more people like you (and Bobby) who are willing to get involved though nothing is officially at stake for you. Burying one’s head in the sand and hoping the problem will go away is not the solution.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 1st, 2010 at 8:19 am

I read with great interest the opening segment of popular District Director 17 Jerry Fleming’s report in the November 2010 issue of The Forum. Of particular interest was the discussion headed ACBL BOARD MEETING.

“The next ACBL Board Meeting will be held in late November. As of the deadline for this article, there are not many motions to consider (How surprising! JKW). The focus of the Fall meeting is financial, and the approval of the 2011 budget will be the Board’s primary objective. Results so far this year are mixed, but I’m hoping that any fee increases passed will be minimal. I think it is important to remember that ACBL financially has had a string of good years.” (CERTAINLY! What happened to their promise to each new Life Master to be entitled to lifetime free dues??? That certainly fell by the wayside soon enough. And — the dues have doubled as well as their net worth should have. No sympathy from me for going back on their word. Incidentally, rumor has it that many employees were ‘let go.’ Because of money problems or having outlived their usefulness .. or .. or .. or ??? JKW)

“I’ve been asked what fees are candidates for potential increases. Among those considered are club per table fees, club per game fees, and annual club sanction renewal fees. We also look at sectional and regional sanction fees and sectional surcharge fees. NABC entry fees and ACBL membership fees are also candidates. ” (Soon the clubs may be going out of business and people will revert to BBO in the comfort of their homes if the fees skyrocket too much. Remember, club owners have rent to pay, other directors to hire, drinks and refreshments to provide, supplies [boards, Bridgemates, playing cards, scorecards, pencils], people to clean up after each game, computer costs, electricity, taxes, etc. They have their financial responsibilities too and have to make a living. JKW).

“But none of the above generate the interest and comments we receive when tournament director (TD) fees are raised. (You must be kidding! JKW) There are good reasons for this. Director fees have gone up steeply and regularly. (What, pray tell. has caused them to go up? JKW). TD charges are currently over $150 per session, and in the case of high level directors, well over.” (The directors, except at the very top, need all the help they can get. Perhaps if their improved skill level were commensurate with the raises, it would be tolerable — but we are paying, in many cases, for incompetency and lack of true bridge knowledge and understanding). Bobby offered a couple of times to come to Memphis on his own dime for a Directors Seminar and was abruptly told they wouldn’t think of inconveniencing his directors in such a way. Believe me, that was looking a gift horse in the mouth. But that is water over the dam. Perhaps serious consideration SHOULD BE GIVEN to a formal training course before they get to a duplicate game. How can it hurt? When $150 PER SESSION flashes through my head for the fiascos of October 22nd in LV, I get ill. It is not short of ludicrous. JKW)

“We’ve got to control this spiral before the rising entry fees tournament managers impose to avoid losing money on their tournaments start to take a significant effect both on attendance and on unit and district willingness to continue to hold sectionals and regionals. But it is a delicate balance. Tournament directors are high skilled (Some perhaps. JKW) people whom we entrust to make our competitive duplicate games run properly and well. They are far from being overpaid.” (You must be kidding. For screwing up like last week? Just look at our Las Vegas Friday Swiss and you will see the largest comedy of errors every compounded in one tournament. JKW)

TDs have a responsibility to protect the players in their highly competitive environment. This requirement must be translated into giving the players (particularly the ones capable of high level performances enough time to accomplish this) — under worry-free conditions to enable them to perform up to their standards without resorting to merely becoming ‘nags’ in their capacity as directors. Compromise should be demanded! JKW

I know Jerry’s heart is in the right place, but directors being overpaid for their recent performances are a bit too much for me to stomach!!

JSNovember 1st, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Judy:

I (and others) following your blog are a bit confused. WHO IS HEAD OF THE DIRECTING STAFF in Tennessee? Was that one of the departmenrs that had a shakeup? WHO IS BEING CONSULTED WITH AND WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG? DID THE DIRECTOR IN CHARGE IN LV DISCUSS THIS WITH ANYONE? WHERE DOES THE CASE STAND NOW? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

JS

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 2nd, 2010 at 8:54 am

JS:

I have contacted both my tournament co-chair as well as Jay Baum in an effort to learn the procedure at ACBL after such an atrocity occurs at a normally delightful well-run tournament. As soon as I learn the official heirarchy as to whom is in charge, I will issue a full report. The longer we wait for an answer, the more infuriated the attendees gets — especially with all the confusion and irregulariites that occured.

Sorry I don’t have more concrete information but be assured I am working on it.

Judy

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 2nd, 2010 at 10:44 am

I have tried to ascertain who has replaced Rick Beye as CTD but have not received an answer. Jay Baum has been very cooperative and offered that Tom Whitesides, long-time Southwest Director, will be working in conjunction with our people, mainly Tom Shulman, trying to fight our way out of this paper bag. I have great confidence in Jay as over the years he has proven to be fair, objective and caring (and I always tease him — despite his 25 pairs of handcuffs).

Hopefully, we will have more definitive answers and explanations as to what should have happened and how it will be fairly resolved. Keep the faith! This Las Vegas debacle will rise from the ashes.

(If I lived in Arizona, I could have signed it The Phoenix — but alas I live in Sin City).

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