NEBridge - President's Letter March 2017

2017 Started off with a Bang!

If you missed the Cromwell Presidential Regional you missed a terrific tournament. The weather was great, the hospitality was better, and the attendance was up 100 tables over the previous year, which was a growth year as well. We are still behind the “hey-day years” but strongly heading in the right direction.
 
Next Up: Senior Regional and Open Sectional in Falmouth, MA, Wednesday-Sunday, April 26-30. The Open Flight GNT will also be held in Falmouth on Saturday and Sunday.

If you haven’t noticed, this event is the only place in the ACBL (other than a National and our Rainbow Weekend) where you can earn Gold, Red and Silver Points all in the same venue. To play in Senior Gold Point events you must be born before 1/1/1959.

You’ll be playing in the Seacrest Hotel in Falmouth—a site not to be missed! Newly renovated and sitting on the ocean, it is a venue second to none. The room demand has been so high, we have increased our room block. The rate of $99 is extended through April 12. So, you should have no trouble getting a room if you ACT NOW!

But, to be sure, you should call NOW for reservations. The number is 508-540-9400; use the code “Bridge” to get your rate.

The tournament chair is B.E. Lacy. For partner and questions, you can reach her by email at voilamonami@gmail.com.. The tournament manager is Helen Pawlowski. Her email is tournmgr@nebridge.org

We’ve Made Some Big Changes in 2017

The New “Super Point Series” is one of them.

We replaced the evening side games with the “Super Point Series” It's more than a name change; each event will free-stand as a single-session, regional-rated, game and pay approximately 140% of regional-rated games!  The cost is the same to you (District 25 is paying the extra charity fees) but the points are HUGE! That’s because it’s a series—which means that if you play in two sessions you can qualify for the overall awards for the series.

How much could you win? Look at the awards for this event in Cromwell:

12.39 Gold|Red  Harrison Luba Lynnfield, MA
7.61 Gold       Tom Gerchman   Avon, CT
9.54 Gold|Red   Joyce Regan         East Greenwich, RI
9.54 Gold|Red   Terry Byrne             Jamestown, RI
8.63 Gold|Red   Nancy Ramseyer    Madison, CT
8.63 Gold|Red   Mary Whittemore    Guilford, CT
7.48 Gold|Red   Keith Kimball       Nashua, NH
4.46 Gold|Red   Mike McDonald   North Dartmouth, MA
4.46 Gold|Red   Tom Floyd              North Stonington, CT
4.30 Gold|Red   Bud Leese         Amherst, NH
 
Harrison Luba, by the way, is a junior player whom you want to keep your eye on; his potential is unlimited in this game. Congrats for winning the first SPS.
 
If you can’t make the day games, then just come for the Super Point games in the evening. The awards at these games make it worth the drive.

Next scheduled Super Point Series:

Falmouth Super Point Games (Silver): Friday April 28, Saturday April 29, 2017.

Nashua Super Point Series (Gold/Red) Tuesday-Saturday, June 20-24, 2017@ 7:30 PM. And—this is new— twice on Sunday, June 25.

Do not miss this new chance to win big!

And speaking of Nashua:

We Made Major Changes In The Nashua Monster KO’s!

I told you last email to save the date for Nashua. Here it is: Wednesday-Sunday, June 20-25. There will be pairs and team games for players at every level…plus a new format for the Knockouts.

The new KO’s are for players of all levels. And, to kick things off, we are offering the Saturday-Sunday KO FREE in Nashua this year! That’s right—completely FREE, compliments of District 25. Not just Round 1, every round is FREE for this one event! There’s no fee to enter. And, so long as you win, you’re in…and you get your next entry free.

We would like everyone to experience the excitement of this form of bridge. Many District 25 players have never felt KO’s were for them because they had to compete against players who were out of their league. So, in 2017 we changed everything about the way District 25 does them.

Players have already noticed and responded! We had a recent-year record of 50 tables in the Cromwell KO (compared to just 21 tables the year before). The reason: Knockouts are now bracketed. This means players will compete only against players at roughly their same level (i.e. within their bracket). There were five different brackets in Cromwell. In case you’re wondering, the Directors determine how many brackets, and who plays in which bracket, depending on the total number of teams and the total masterpoints of each team.

New Englanders will now get to see why Knockouts have been the “True Gold Rush” for players of all levels across the country, not just the top tier. The KO is a 4-session event; you’re in as long as you continue to win matches. You play in matches against players at your level; win four matches and you win the event for your bracket! If you unluckily get KO’d Saturday morning, there is a side Swiss Team game waiting for you in the afternoon.

Gone is the Friday night start; seeding has been eliminated, and five sessions will be impossible. Games that do not run will not happen.

Starting in Nashua there will be a Saturday morning lecture by experts on “How to win Knockouts.” The strategy for KO teams is a bit different from pairs. KO’s are scored in IMPS (International Match Points) which makes them a lot more like the rubber bridge you played for years. If you outscore your opponents, you win; if you don’t, you lose. Unlike Swiss Teams, where it pays to win big, in KO’s the margin is immaterial. That’s why the scoring favors bidding games and slams; overtricks have small value—as opposed to match points, where missing an overtrick can be a disaster. Generally, it is more fun and relaxing to play, and you just have to outscore just one opponent at a time to win your round!
 
The Monster Bracketed KO will start Saturday in Nashua at 10:00 AM and run through Sunday. Brackets will contain between 9 and 16 teams that are the closest in Masterpoints. GOLD is awarded at all levels (100% of the number allowed by the ACBL in higher brackets and 50-30% in lower brackets).

Mid-chart conventions will be allowed only in brackets where the lowest team has a total of 10,000+ masterpoints; the ACBL General Convention Chart applies in all other brackets. If you don't understand the difference, do not worry. This makes you normal. In layman's terms, this simply means no real fancy conventions are allowed in any bracket where the average player at bracket bottom is 2,500 or less.

The Sunday Fast Pairs has been eliminated. Instead, we will hold two separate “Super Point Series” Pair games on Sunday. This allows you to get the 2-session overalls while playing on just one day. The KO teams that lose in semifinals on Sunday morning have a great game to stay and enter in the afternoon!

Don’t Miss The Grand National Team Trials 

There are four flights, based on the masterpoints of the highest player on the team, as of the September 2016 master point cycle: Open (no MP restrictions); Flight A (6,000 MPs), Flight B (2,500 MPs), Flight C (under 500 MPs and no Life Master). Teams may have four, five or six members.

Last year, the GNT Open Flight at the Washington Summer Nationals was won by our own District 25 team. It beat some of the toughest teams in the country. Win your flight this year and your team gets $2,000 CASH to travel to Nationals in Toronto this summer.

The finals for the GNT Open Flight will be held at the Seniors Tournament in Falmouth, on Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30. Qualifications for the other three flights will be held a week earlier, April 22-23, simultaneously with the RAINBOW Weekend in Sturbridge, MA. Flights A and B will qualify over two days, Saturday and Sunday. The Flight C qualifier is a one-day event on Sunday.

If your team should get knocked out in Sturbridge, you can come to Falmouth to play in the Open. Time’s running out. Schedule your team to play now.

The Rainbow Weekend is a 499er Sectional that pays silver points! If you’re in Flight C, you can play Friday and Saturday for silver points to warm up for the GNT (which pays GOLD AND RED POINTS) on Sunday. There will also be Door Prizes and Special Surprises. 

Gold Rush Events Are Plentiful! Even MORE For 2017, In All Regionals!

Tuesday through Saturday in Nashua you will find many 0-750 events. You’ll find them listed in our printed schedules under Flighted Teams or Pairs as the third flight. The qualifier will say “No player over 750.”  

Beyond that, the KO is the perfect place for beginners to play teams, You will be bracketed with teams which have about the same point total that yours does. The other advantage is that if one of your teammates recently went over 750, guess what—he’s are now back on the team! Since brackets are by team average, not highest player, a team of four with, say, 900+100+100+300 MPs will be bracketed as 1,400 total and play against teams with the similar totals.
In Cromwell the 50 teams played in five brackets:
Unlimited
7,500 total
4,400 total
2,600 total
In Nashua we expect many more teams, and therefore, more brackets…and that means the lower bracket ranges could be very low.
 

Ask Your Club Manager To Run Grass Root Fund Games In May!

Most months GRF games can be run. Get your club/unit on board NOW!  You unit Sectionals also can have GRF games making the games pay SUPER Points as well! Talk to your officers!

The Grass Roots games give you an opportunity for EXTRA POINTS, and the ACBL refunds the majority of the funds raised in those games to the District. Last year we used Grass Roots money to help pay the winners of the GNT ($8000 per year), supply duplicated boards when needed for GNT and NAP, plus extra hospitality for NAP and GNT qualification games. It also allows us the luxury of splitting the venues for these games, as we did this year by moving the GNT Open Flight finals to Falmouth from Sturbridge—something we could not afford without GRF Funds.
 

Volunteering

OK. We really need your help.

The District has many spots that we need volunteers to fill. If you want to get involved, you could start with the Board of Delegates. Ask your Unit president if you can be one of the representatives who attend the semiannual District Delegates Meeting.

Who should do this? YOU, that’s who. We need new blood, new thinking, and players from every level of bridge. Yes, even if you have very few points, but and love this game, you should think about stepping up. It is not just “A-players” who can help, we need the viewpoint from every perspective to be a successful organization. 

If the Board of Delegates twice a year doesn’t sound involved enough for you, then email me and give me your ideas, you’re help will be welcome.  Partnership Desk, Education, Lectures, Newcomer Welcoming, Facebook, emails, flyers, committee work, scheduling-- there is a lot to do, and yes, I am asking you.

Remember, if you are not willing to pitch in, and everyone else does the same, “that thing that someone should do” will not get done. Get involved. Get active. Please!!
 

Lectures, Lessons, And Coffee With The President  
Free lectures and lessons will continue at all Regionals, check your schedule for times. Each Thursday morning, at every Regional, from 9:30-10 AM, I will be in the playing area close to the free coffee, to meet players, give explanations and take suggestions.  If I cannot make it, I will do my best to have a District official available to you during this time. 

Get in on the action. The changes are here, our Regionals are all about you! See you at the tables, if you miss coffee time,
 

Bob Bertoni
President, 
New England Bridge Conference (ACBL District 25)

 

More Fun, More Places to Win, More Recognition, all at NEBC Regional Tournaments