Judy Kay-Wolff

The Upcoming Las Vegas Regional Crisis

Word has reached my ears that The Las Vegas Bridge Unit has been rattled by countless complaints received regarding the Schedule of the June Regional Tournament being held June 6-12 at Bally’s. Evidently, the schedule was planned by a small cadre of individuals including Liz Hamilton and approved by the District without even the courtesy of a review and approval by the Unit Board which is hosting the event.

There are lots of events for I/N players which is a ‘plus,’ but there are no new two-day Knockout events starting after Wednesday. Also, there are no flighted pair games .. just stratified events eliminating any pairs wishing to play Mid Chart Conventions in pair games.

The Unit Board requested that the District simply allow the addition of two new Knockout events at the end of the week. They were profoundly refused! The Host Unit is responsible for the success or failure of the Regional. This heavy-handed approach by the District defies explanation.

Time is very much of the essence. Contact our District Director, Bonnie Bagley to weigh in on this issue:

bonnie@bonniebagleyd17.com


18 Comments

SamApril 30th, 2016 at 7:15 pm

Won't this have a negative affect on the attendance by the pros? Why would high-paying sponsors want to pay big bucks at a regional to play in Swiss Teams as compared to KOs?

Judy Kay-WolffApril 30th, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Sam:

To me, it sounds like this schedule was designed to accommodate the newer, less experienced clientele. And .. exactly who is to blame for this weighted decision. No doubt it will have a negative impact on attendance (especially the pros who depend on the NABCs and other big drawing, attractive sites from which to make a living). What bridge venue could be more enticing than Las Vegas for fun, entertainment, great cuisine, gambling and so easy to reach????

I know the responsible individual who was in a position to improve the agenda was recently contacted in an effort to add one or two KOs toward the conclusion of the event. However, said DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE stood firm on her laissez-faire position despite strong pleas for a schedule addition toward the end of the tournament from other more knowledgeable and experienced players plus elected Officials (the respective Presidents of the Unit, the District AND the ACBL BOARD PRESIDENT himself.)

All had no objection to the change .. but to no avail.

Go fight City Hall .. or is it the District Rep!! And, if we have a disappointing attendance, who would be responsible for the monetary losses? The District or the Unit?

Bobby WolffApril 30th, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Is anyone kidding or what?

If, by not allowing pro teams to enjoy their KOs and consequently do not show up, no doubt the District itself (#17) should be TOTALLY responsible for any financial difficulties then accrued.

Having previously been a member of a different district, the policy then was simply that those who decide take the responsibility, and as far as my experience in every organization I have known, that obvious caveat is the accepted practice.

To do otherwise is either irresponsible or just plain bullying.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 30th, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Since this particular nightmare stems all the way back to the planning and approval stages of the actual Schedule of Events for our Regional, would anyone in District 17 like to own up to presenting the June Regional’s agenda for consideration (especially to the Unit 373 Board where the event was being held) .. or was it just a fait accompli (signed/sealed and delivered)?

Mapping out a fair and convenient schedule for an event even for a Sectional (as compared to a Regional or National) is serious business. I refuse to believe that an experienced, extremely knowledgeable individual could produce this lopsided, irrational arrangement of events.

Making a mistake is one thing. Denying it and closing one’s eyes to it without rectifying the problem is a hundred times worse. It is never too late.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 30th, 2016 at 10:32 pm

Sam:

I was corrected re the approval of the positions of those consulted. Apparently, the District President said he would go along with the amendment but the almighty Board President declared he would not override the District’s Position. This clarifies what we are dealing with.

Jane AMay 1st, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Hi Judy,

So the “drama” continues. I will not be playing much at the regional this summer as I will be out of town for most of it, but I am saddened to think that this tournament could already be in trouble due to the lack of events for those who really want them, and this certainly could cause some players not to attend. I must say that I had the same issue with the events that were available at the last national held here in Las Vegas. There were not enough ten/three events for non IN/novice players. This situation happened when my partner and I failed to qualify to play the second day in national fast pairs. The next day we wanted to play in a ten/three event- nope, nothing on the schedule.

This also happened early on in the tournament when my partner and I showed up to play in a ten/three event. Nope, nothing available. I obviously did not read the schedule correctly, but was surprised at the lack of events at earlier times for us non professional yet not novice players.

I chatted with Mr. Monzingo about this since he was a co chair of that national, and he told me to write a letter to the ACBL regarding the scheduling of events. I did. I admit I don’t attend a national unless they are in my home town, but I have to believe that this situation does not only apply to me.

I, like you, want the IN/novice players to attend our tournaments and have choices for their level of play. But I also believe we should have events for all level of play. In full disclosure, I do not play in knockouts, but I know many people love them, so I wonder why knockouts are not being offered later on in the tournament. Has anyone explained why, or now that it has been asked for, why the powers that be are refusing the request?

Judy Kay-WolffMay 2nd, 2016 at 12:43 am

Hi Jane,
I sympathize with the inconvenience you suffered — which we may be facing again next month
As you may be aware, there are many contributing factors .. stemming back quite a few years. I size it up as 'too many cooks spoil the broth." .. especially when some of the former chefs were neither experienced in the world of bridge — nor qualified to cater the dinner. Since then, all hell has broken loose with much uncertainty ahead.
As far back as I can recall, our local management (Unit board) kept changing, primarily because of voluntary resignations caused by unilateral decisions at the helm being made without authorization. We lost a lot of good workers who refused to tolerate the bullying and called it quits!. Finally, thank heavens, the new Unit leadership is dedicated to altering our wayward course and restoring the peace and tranquility we once enjoyed.
However, it does appear the upcoming June Regional poses more problems toward the end of the week that may seriously affect the turnout because of the scarcity of KOs for the better players after Wednesday. Las Vegas (which is usually a dynamic attraction with so much to offer) figures to cause many of the highly paid sponsored teams to switch plans and patronize other Regional venues being held simultaneously where KOs are more plentiful. And, who can blame them.
Many experienced locals (and well-intending out of towners) pled with the Supreme Beings that a couple more KOs be added toward the end of the week, but in no uncertain terms, their requests were refused and it was made indelibly clear by the Head Honcho that her decision was irreversible. This will no doubt affect the attendance and revenue but since the Unit wasn't consulted on the major decisions, all the responsibility should fall upon the shoulders of those who signed the original contracts, designed the schedule and were unyielding to a reasonable compromise.
There is so much more to share, but I will save that for another time.

bobby wolffMay 2nd, 2016 at 2:25 am

Hi Jane A & Judy,
Continuing the above thoughts please allow me to offer an opinion.
When the powers that be within District 17 stood firm against allowing the Las Vegas Regional to have their normal quota of KO's at our annual Regional coming up in early June, their deed may in fact change the plans of many pro teams, which always circled the LV tournament as never to miss, to go to other Regionals held in other Districts enabling them to have a full week of KO's followed by the usual two session Swiss Team on the last Sunday.
Our LV BODs pleaded our case to both the District 17 President and then to our District representative to the ACBL BOD to allow us to do our utmost to make this tournament financially responsible by having reasonable attendance, a sometime difficult task, considering the ongoing recession.
As all of us here know, Las Vegas has been hit hard by the current recession making the Strip hotels much harder to deal with than in the past. They and the ACBL President vehemently declined our request, causing us to worry about our financial responsibility, leaving us in less than an advantageous position to await the tournament. Although I regard our request would be one to immediately rubber stamp by them, others in control think otherwise, for their own non transparent reason (what else is new among people with non-transparent agendas?), so I'll just sit back and wait hoping for the best, but genuinely fearing less.
To me it is more than weird to take such a position since it will probably directly affect our revenue in a negative manner, but only a few of us, including the local BODs see it the same way and we have no power to overrule them.
My political experience was always totally transparent, but I am left to believe that all that stopped with the morning milk non-deliveries.
One thing certain is that if we have financial problems because of this strange change in schedule it seems clear that District 17 should bear the responsibility to see that we come out whole. It is clearly their idea and not ours, so I do not see any argument that they could state, to change those facts.
Anyway that is what is happening here in Sin City, so hopefully we all need to work overtime to make up for what we should have been granted to begin with.
Wish us luck, we are going to need it!

IraMay 3rd, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Bobby it is true that your former district board has a “policy” that we don’t interfere with whatever Unit sponsers a tournament.
That policy is in direct conflict with our bylaws.

In recent years Regional schedules in D16 and elsewhere have become inexpliquable. Regionals seem to be scheduled by those that never go to other regionals. And there has developed a strong resentment to pros. This resentment is self desrtuctive at best. Pros bring in hotel rooms, attract the better players and set standards of skill and deployment that should trickle down.

“Onward through the fog”

Mac KennedyMay 3rd, 2016 at 8:09 pm

I remember when I started in the early 70’s with no flights, no gold rush and a one bracket KO, usually run as a morning session. I am annoyed when in today’s environment I see someone is lauded for becoming an LM in 7 or 8 weeks and you see they played in KO’s with a pro team. When I did it in around 2 years it was with only my friends I had started playing with from University and I believe 8 or 9 regionals within driving distance. In those days there was a limit to the number of gold point sessions allowed in a tournament. Has this changed? Could this change be associated with the new mid-flight pairs events recently introduced?

Judy Kay-WolffMay 4th, 2016 at 1:11 am

Mac: So much has changed, I wouldn’t know where to start. When I got into the mix, true, tried and proven experts made the rules, set the standards and tried to keep the game fair to all, without favoritism. Now, as you can see, anything goes! Some (many) people hold posts for which they are not qualified. It seems the bottom line is to get more revenue by raising dues, and taxing the clubs more for special games. I just paid $20 per pair for a ‘special” one session game. To whom is it special? I guess someone has to pay for the million dollar screw up with our computer disaster and pay the rising salaries of the administrators as well as the elevated costs for six-man teams. Bridge administration has really gotten out of hand … but why should they fix it. They like it just the way it is. Everything has changed but as those in the know view the scenario, it is not for the best and figures to worsen as time goes on! I don’t believe in excuses. I try to tell it the way it is! In answer to your general curiosity, it seems everything has turned into a free-for-all.

Judy Kay-WolffMay 4th, 2016 at 2:02 am

Hi Ira, or as they say, .. "another country heard from."

When Bobby told me he had just responded to your queries, I had trouble finding his reply. Being very good friends from their youthful Texas days, both believe in not mincing words and I learned that Bobby corresponded by private email, bemoaning the sad fate and questionable future of what was once our "high-level game."

Sadly the expert sphere has been put on the back burner and those at the helm are going all out to accommodate the newer set. With the K/O requests being rebelled against (and so vehemently), it will not be a shock if attendance is significantly down for the Regional.

However, the ones who call the shots have only themselves to blame for the potential decrease in table count and week long reservations dwindling. What has happened to tournaments in our neck of the woods is easy to understand. Our Unit failed in their unanimous effort to have two more KOs added, but one can only do so much when those at the helm have deaf ears and closed minds. The sad reality is they do not realize that the lesser game just won't cut it and is depriving the many throngs who admire bridge as a fantastic intellectual challenge.

CPRMay 4th, 2016 at 5:22 pm

There has been much talk in the last couple of days about an email sent to the President of the ACBL condemning the District 17 Representative concerning unilateral decisions involving the upcoming Regional being held in LV without any prior consultation or approval of the Host Unit’s Board where it is being held.    Also, It has been reported by those on the Board and attentive active members that over the last couple of years, many of Unit 373’s preferences and requests were ignored for the most part by our ‘since resigned’ Unit Board Chairperson who was responsible for some unapproved independent decisions.   Can you confirm any of the above? 

Also, what do you know about all these gripes and the seemingly legitimate resentment for the District Representative’s actions.   I  think we are entitled to see a copy of the factual complaint sent by a daring member of our Unit to our esteemed ACBL President. At one time, America was a democracy. Can anyone remember that far back?

Judy Kay-WolffMay 4th, 2016 at 6:01 pm

To: CPR

I appreciate your concern for this recent mindboggling episode and your obvious curiosity about the letter you are about to read. It is high time someone rose to the occasion and informed the public exactly what has been transpiring.

In the minds of many appreciative Unit 373 Members, who have long endured bridge abuse by misguided leaders, it is worthy of the following caption:

"SALUTE TO SUE WEINSTEIN"

May 2, 2016

Dear Mr. Monzingo:

Upon hearing the news regarding the poorly designed schedule for the Las Vegas regional, many bridge players have either called or written our District Director, Ms. Bonnie Bagley, to request that KO teams be added the last weekend of our June regional schedule.

Additionally, our Unit President, Tournament Chair and a number of out Unit Board members have pleaded with Ms. Bagley to allow this relatively minor, but significant addition to the schedule.

These additions are allowed in ACBL regulations, by the way.

I assume you are aware of the fact that in 2015, we had 74 KO teams for the Thursday-Friday event, and 35 for the Friday-Saturday event. To deny us what we have so kindly requested, not only will make us lose many players from participating at all, but will cause us to lose vital revenue for our Unit, the District, and the ACBL.

It has been reported that Ms. Bagley’s response to the many hopeful inquiries was, in essence, ‘No, and I am not going to change my mind!’ The impression given to those contacting her was that it didn’t matter to her how many called and/or wrote with pleas for an improved schedule. The condescension and egotism displayed by her is truly appalling.

Does Ms. Bagley’s attitude sound like that of a person who has the best interest of the membership, the players and success of tournaments at heart? No, Mr. Monzingo, it sounds like the attitude of an autocrat, with an agenda, more like that of a school yard bully!

I hope that Bonnie Bagley will be replaced in this year’s election. We do not need or want a person who shows so much disdain and so little regard for Unit’s desires, representing us in District 17. And I will certainly do my best to see that this happens.

Sincerely,

Sue Weinstein
Unit 373 Treasurer

Judy Kay-WolffMay 5th, 2016 at 5:20 am

Having given a great deal of thought to the obvious problems we may be facing, my primary fears are twofold:

1) I have already gotten word that the failure to feature more KO events at the end of the week has deterred several of our regular sponsored teams from visiting (having already bowed out over a month in advance); and

2) That also has created a marked possibility of not filling our room quota .. to which we are already committed.

The bottom line is a rather substantial expected LOSS OF REVENUE which should not be the Unit’s responsibility. What more could we have done? We assume no blame as our Unit was never consulted about possible options to draw more guests or even locals.

I hope I am wrong. Only time will tell. No one can say we didn’t try .. but we were fighting from behind the eightball from Day One.

Jane AMay 5th, 2016 at 1:40 pm

And unfortunately our room rate goes up forty dollars a night for the last couple of days of the tournament. I don’t know how or even if this affects the room guarantee numbers as far as dollar signs, but without events scheduled that some players want, even if they come, they won’t stay for the entire tournament. Every room day we fill is important. The past tournament chair did a good job in getting the hotel to give a decent rate for the first part of the tournament, but that may not be enough now to get a good turnout for the event.

From personal experience, I know it takes a massive effort on the part of the folks who volunteer to organize and run an event like this. We can never please everybody no matter what, but this seems like such an easy fix to add a few events. I have seen it done before.

I appreciate Sue’s attempt to rectify what appears to be an error in event scheduling when this tournament originally was set up. I don’t understand the refusal by Bonnie to allow the addition of some knockout events. If there is a good reason for not allowing this to happen, why not tell us what it is? I find it interesting that our unit volunteers are there every day working hard to make these tournaments a success, and yet it is the “district director” who is not allowing a schedule addition to happen.

If there is more to the story, let us know what the story is.

bobby wolffMay 5th, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Hi Jane A,
Back in 1936 when the ACBL was born with the idea of popularizing bridge we have progressed forward, sometimes slowly, but basically surely.
However, today, 2016 (80 years later) it seems we have changed directions, from promoting our great game which has become a World Championship sport with the WBF leading the way,
to a game, now championed by an ACBL and its BODs which has seemed to give up realizing the potential of the greatest mind game ever developed.
They now concentrate on pleasing a much lesser talented group who only play it for a pastime with absolutely no illusions of ever really taking it seriously.
IMO, our founding fathers would be bowing their heads in shame when they would have learned that both Europe and now Asia have recognized our sport as worthy of being in their primary school system but our own parent bridge organization have never really tried to accomplish anywhere near the same.
In addition the regular schedule of bridge events at Regionals is now changing to make the feature attraction those of dumbed down events with the bought and paid for illusion of falsely achieved master points, formerly the calling card of achievement, but now something to only chuckle about, resulting in disparaging jokes.
If that is the definitive objective of the ACBL, so be it, but no one should fall for this phony attempt to bleed those basic beginners into participating in meaningless tournaments where in the not so distant past, all players sought to match wits with the best players around and were proud to so engage.
Perhaps the above is a microcosm of where our country is headed. If so, I am glad I have reached an advanced age which, according to the odds, will not allow me to suffer through it, at least very long.
Our brethren used to try and strive for excellence and not accept failure; they would rise and try again. That is no longer the case. Seeking only to bring in more money is their chief goal and is nothing less than appalling.
And to make matters worse, I believe the chief culprits in this demise are not the players themselves, but rather our greedy, unknowing and worse yet — uncaring leaders.

Judy Kay-WolffMay 5th, 2016 at 6:54 pm

Hi Jane,

While I was out doing early morning errands, Bobby beat me to the punch. I guess we are cut from the same bolt of cloth as Norman shared Bobby’s ideas and ideals.

What puts me to shame more than anything is the fact that with bridge efforts and expenditures in so many different directions, we have not been able to get bridge into our schools unlike many Asian and European countries.

The big to-do which created the keg of fire was all over the addition of two extra KOs which were overlooked (deliberately or not) and when called to the attention of the powers on high were refused loud and clear.

Let it be known Unit 373 bears no responsibility as the Regional schedule was neither conceived nor approved by us, but in recent years that seems to be the direction in which we are heading.

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