WHAT IS THE AMERICAN BRIDGE ASSOCIATION

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

The national body of the ABA is divided into eight sections covering designated states. They are: (1) Eastern; (2) Great Lakes; (3) Mid-Atlantic; (4) Mid-Western; (5) Southern; (6) Southwestern; (7) Northwestern: and (8)Western.

The sections are divided into units and clubs. Units are composed of local clubs. If there are two clubs within a 35-mile radius, they may elect to form a unit. However, if there are three or more clubs within the 35-mile radius, they must form a unit.

LOCAL CLUB(S) holds weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly duplicate games and sponsors tournaments. The Club is the building block for the structure of the ABA. It is the nucleus of the local group. Membership in the ABA is obtained through Clubs. Any individual desiring to affiliate may submit his/her membership through an ABA Club if (s)he resides in the area of its jurisdiction (a 35-mile radius).  It is the Club's responsibility to inform individuals of dues obligations.  Forward lists of members each year with membership dues and charter fees to the National Secretary, via the Unit Secretary, who prepares the form PSA 404 and submits the same to the ABA National Office and the Section Secretary. The local club(s) promotes the programs of the unit and of the national body. The local club(s) hold business meetings periodically. Some clubs suspend activities during the periods of National and Sectional Tournaments.

The UNIT is a regional group. It insures that the Section and the national laws and regulations are carried out and adhered to by clubs within its jurisdiction. It promotes Sectional and National programs. A unit may host,the endorsement of its membership, may sponsor regional events, as well as sponsor through its clubs a reasonable number of local and regional contests, a minimum of one per club per year. Programs, fees and playing sites are announced in sufficient time to assure maximum attendance. The unit requires that the Director-in-Charge file accurate game results together with required fees, promptly according to the ABA, Handbook. The unit meets quarterly.

The INDEPENDENT CLUB  (where only one club exists) has the same rights and privileges as Units.

The SECTION oversees the business of Units and Independent Clubs within its jurisdiction. The Section Vice-President is the chairperson of the section Committee and is a member of the Executive Board of the ABA. All applications for clubs and unit charters are subject to review by the section Vice-President. The section Vice-President must approve any sanctioned game in the section. The section provides for necessary meetings, conventions, tournaments and membership activity. It is a clearinghouse for tournament schedules within the section to avoid conflicts. It insures the collection, processing, and maintenance of sanctions, fees, schedules and other such data as may be stipulated.

It insures implementation and communication of procedures, policies and all decisions affecting the interests of clubs, units  and individuals within its jurisdiction. Each year, the Western Section conducts two tournaments (Spring and Fall) at which time the Bi-Annual Open Meetings are  held. The section Vice-President is elected at the Spring Sectional every other year (odd year)

OFFICERS

The national officers are the President, Vice-President, National Secretary and Treasurer.

The general officers are the eight Section Vice-Presidents.

The national and general officers are the Executive Board of the ABA. This board meets at both tournaments. Call meetings are held at other times and places. Much business is conducted through the mail.

The election of national officers is held every other year.  The election is usually held in the "odd" year with the term of office beginning January 1st of the "even" year.

The Section Vice-Presidents are elected every other year by  the respective section. Not all sections hold elections in the same year. The effect is to "stagger" the seating of new board members.

WHAT IS ABA MEMBERSHIP?

Membership in the American Bridge Association, Inc., (ABA) is open to all persons of good character and repute. You may apply for membership through an affiliated club if residing in an area where there is ABA activity. All others must apply for membership through the respective Section Vice-President or National Secretary as a member-at-large.

Each person accepted for membership is assigned a player number. The masterpoint holdings are recorded and the person pays dues.

All members may vote on all matters as may be provided by the By-laws, compete in tournaments, and join any open club. Transfer from one club to another is permissible. A person whose membership has lapsed may be reinstated at the discretion of the ABA.

Free membership is available for New Players who complete at least an eight-week course in bridge from an accredited instructor. The unit/club new player's coordinators should contact the their Section Vice President or the National Secretary at the ABA National Office for more information.

Dues are payable the first day of January each year and continue in force until the last day of December in the same year. Any new member joining the ABA for the first time will receive credit for the last three months of the previous calendar year.

National dues are paid directly to the National Secretary using membership form PSA 404.  Sectional dues and a copy of the form PSA 404 are sent to the Section Vice-President or his/her designee. Dues paid are not returnable or transferable.

The NATIONAL BODY is the nationwide organization. It encourages and develops the game of duplicate contract bridge and unites all bridge players into one group using identical laws and procedures for bridge games. It sponsors, supervises and conducts yearly two tournaments, the Spring and Summer nationals.

The Annual meeting of the ABA is held at the Summer National. The ABA also holds meetings of the membership at the Spring National.