President's Message


Greetings Bridge Players,

Henry IrwinAs we move toward year’s end there is still quite a bit of work that needs to be done, this year, for the benefit and betterment of the American Bridge Association. You are to be commended for the outstanding support that you have rendered this year. With your conscience effort we have had two successful national tournaments, for this I thank you. This was an election year and for the superb and overwhelming display of support that gave to me as your president, again, I say thank you for another term to serve you. I want you to understand and realize that the American Bridge Association belongs to you the members. The fate of the organization is in your hands. You have elected us to manage the association.But there is nothing at all that we can do without you. I beg you to step up to the plate and put forth the extra effort to bring about the needed changes to sustain our existence.

Membership has been in decline for the past few years and across the association we are losing more members than we are recruiting or reclaiming. You have supported my efforts throughout the year but this is the area where I feel that I have failed. Not only have I failed myself but I have failed you. I have been unable to gain more members because I have been unable to motivate you to reach out to your friends and family to become bridge players and join with us. I can do a lot of things and I am willing to come to your club, talk to potential members and conduct classes for you if that is what it would take. But you have to get the people together for me to greet or teach. I cannot come to your city and do that for you. We have provided the opportunity for you to become certified bridge teachers and I am very pleased with the number of you who have volunteered to get certified and you are doing it at your own expense. In this year alone we have approximately 40 new teachers. It does us no good at all for you to get certified if you aren’t going to use those new found skills to teach the game. Just image what our numbers would be if each new teacher yielded five new members. That’s 200 new members and if they did this just twice in a year that’s 400 members. I believe we can do this and I’ll do anything that I can to help you. Let’s get these classes going.

You have asked that we take a closer look at tournament operations and we have. But there are a few things that you need to know. We are doing everything that we possibly can to give you the opportunity to play in a field with your peers. But for us to do that, you must come to the tournaments. When we don’t have the numbers to sustain a field we have to combine two fields to have the needed participation. You have indicated there were too many team games in a tournament. We have heard you and the National Tournament Committee has recommended that: only one team game be allowed in a three day tournament and two in a four or five day tournament. The Swiss Team Game, though stratified, now keeps the strats separated for the first half of the game before they mix. The board has approved this in our operations. It is also suggested that where there is more than one team game it not include both the Modified Round Robin and the Swiss Team game. Any other combination of team games is highly recommended.

In closing, you can’t be afraid of the game or the competition. If you put forth the effort to prepare yourself and improve your game, you can compete against anyone. You can’t get better if you don’t put forth the effort. We have approximately 2550 members and they breakdown as follows: above 2,000—525, above 5,000—186 and above 10,000—69. As you can see that leaves a little more than 2,000 members with less than 2,000 points. This lets you know why we must, at times, combine fields. Tournament participation is the protector to help field separation. There have been several instances of tournament conflict. In an effort to deconflict events, we are asking the SVPs to oversee and deconflict games in their sections and forward their proposed schedule to the NTC who will deconflict between the sections and approve them to be placed on the website. Check the website and start making plans for your 2018 Spring and Summer National. These events will be in Dearborn, MI, April 12-18 and Austin, TX, July 26-Aug 4 respectively. Plan on being there or you will miss the excitement the host groups are planning for you. LET’S KEEP THE AMERICAN BRIDGE ASSOCIATION VIBRANT AND ALIVE.

Your President,