Message From Georgia Heth – ACBL Board President, April 30
Dear fellow members of the ACBL,
I wanted to give you a real-time explanation of what is happening with the ACBL in these unprecedented times.
Management and staff continue to perform at an unbelievable pace. Getting online bridge clubs and tournaments going and taking care of our financial situation have been our top two priorities. The first cash distributions from these online initiatives were made to clubs last week and will continue monthly hereafter. BBO (Bridge Base Online) pays us only once per month so we cannot distribute more frequently.
The online bridge games have been more popular than we imagined, running at almost 3000 tables per day. There have been hiccups along the way, but that will happen when projects are being pushed out quickly without time for repeated testing. While these games are raising a lot of money for the clubs, they are not as financially rewarding for the ACBL. For example, the Support Your Club games raise approximately $16.00 per table for the clubs while the ACBL receives $1.00 per table.
The online regional tournament Thursday through Sunday this week (April 30–May 3) is a “Support your League” opportunity – offering ACBL-wide competition while raising over $40.00 per table for the ACBL. Who doesn’t love a big regional – especially when there are no travel or hotel expenses! We hope to see every table full. There are I/N games, Gold Rush pairs, two-session Open Pairs and side games – something for everyone. Login and join the fun.
Most of the organization’s expenses have continued even though very little money has been coming in. The regional is an attempt to increase our income. We will evaluate all aspects of the regional before planning any more ACBL-wide games, so please let us know what you think of your experience.
At the beginning of April, staff was reduced to a 32-hour work week, taking a 20% pay cut. Management took the pay cut as well, but many saw no reduction in work hours. Now that we have a better idea of what is before us, we had to make the difficult and sad decision to furlough much of our staff. We were hoping we would qualify for the payroll assistance program under the CARES act, but we did not.
Starting May 3, approximately 40% of our staff is being furloughed. Furloughed employees’ health insurance remains in effect under the same terms as when they were working. This measure is necessary to bring down the projected loss for the year to a number we can afford. If it turns out that that we were overly pessimistic, we can bring people back from furlough earlier than anticipated.
Furloughed employees are not allowed to perform any work, not even take phone calls or respond to emails, even if they are willing. If you are told a staff member is unavailable because they have been furloughed, please respect that and let someone else help you. I know those of you who deal frequently with Headquarters employees have your favorites you depend on to help you, but that may not be possible at the current time.
We value each and every one of our employees and hope they are able to return to work sooner rather than later. We had to take this step to make sure there is an organization for them, and you, to return to after the coronavirus situation is better under control.
Please take care of yourselves and stay safe.
President, ACBL Board of Directors
Play in Place and Win Gold! — April 24
Support Your League and Win Gold!
Sheltering in place? Now you can shelter and play to win gold and red masterpoints® in our new regionally rated online tournament: Stay @ Home, Play @ Home.
Beginning Thursday, April 30, ACBL will host a four-day tournament featuring single and two-session 18-board pairs events awarding red and gold points on Bridge Base Online (BBO). The games – which range from Gold Rush to Side Pairs events – begin each day at 4 p.m. EDT with more events and second sessions starting at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Entries are $15 per player, per session for all events.
Your first step is to be sure you and your partner are both registered as BBO users and have added your ACBL member numbers to your BBO accounts at least 24 hours before the start of the tournament. If your number is not attached to your profile within that timeframe, you will be unable to participate in the tournament. Click here to add your member number to your BBO account.
Entries open two hours before the first session of each tournament event. Each event has a limited number of entries, so be sure to register early. The full schedule of events with the entry limits can be found on our website, in addition to BBO video tutorials.
Dates: April 30-May 3 (Thursday-Sunday)
Entry fee: $15 per play, per session
More info: acbl.org/virtual
Montréal Summer 2020 NABC Canceled — April 15
Following a directive related to festivals and similar events issued by the Government of Québec on April 10, 2020 (coupled with the closing of the Palais des congrès de Montréal until September), the Summer 2020 North American Bridge Championships scheduled for July 16-26 in Montréal, Québec has been cancelled. A copy of the directive may be found here
Likewise, both the 2020 Youth NABC and Collegiate Bridge Bowl, also scheduled to be held this July in Montréal, have been cancelled.
According to ACBL Executive Director Joseph Jones, “The cancellation of the Summer NABC is not entirely unexpected, but it is still extremely disappointing because I know the committee chair and the entire local committee worked very hard to make the NABC a great event for our players. And we are also disappointed that our young players will not be able to compete in their summer events.”
“The NABC local committee receives this news with an immense feeling of sadness,” stated local committee chair Jean La Traverse. “This was not the desired outcome for our event on which we had been have been working so hard for the past eight years. However, given the evolving situation of COVID-19 and the decision by the provincial government regarding all sports, festivals and cultural events, the decision is self-evident. The health and safety of our players, volunteers, ACBL employees, collaborators and partners is our top priority. The ACBL supports the government in its management of this unprecedented crisis and welcomes the measures deployed that are best aimed to protect our players’ health. Our team is already looking forward to rescheduling the Montréal NABC for a yet unknown date in the future.”
If you have already made a hotel reservation, Montréal host hotels will automatically cancel your reservation with no penalty. There is no need to contact the hotel.
While there are currently no plans to reschedule the Montréal Summer NABC, Youth NABC or Collegiate Bridge Bowl, Montréal will be seriously considered as a location in the future as dates become available. As of today, the Tampa Fall NABC (Nov. 26-Dec. 6) will be held as usual.
Thank you and stay safe,
April 15, 2020
April 6 — A Virtual Space for Your Club
Introducing the new way to play “at the club” – ACBL Virtual Club Games!
The ACBL has partnered with Bridge Base Online (BBO) to offer another way for you to play and earn black masterpoints®. ACBL Virtual Club Games will allow your local club to create a private, online playing space just for you and your fellow club members. Only those who have previously played at the club can enter that specific club’s game.
The ACBL Virtual Club Game start times and entry fees will be set by club managers/owners, just as they would for a typical “face-to-face” game.
Due to BBO’s growing technical capabilities, this will be a multi-phase process, with a limited number of clubs being added each week. Clubs have already been notified.
Be on the lookout for future announcements from your local club. You could soon be gathering for your regular game, just online.
In the meantime, don’t forget that you can still play and earn black masterpoints:
“Support Your Club” Pair Games
Pair games held on BBO three times a day (10 a.m., 5:10 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Eastern time). The majority of the entry fees will be given to your usual club(s).
Special Daylong Tournaments
Solo tournaments that can be played over the course of a day. BBO’s robots will make up the rest of your table.
New to Bridge Base Online (BBO)? We have tutorials to help you get started!
March 26 — Have Them Binge on Bridge Instead
Have you been trying to get your friends and family to play bridge?
Take advantage of your newly captive audience and introduce them to online bridge lessons!
The Online Learning Opportunities page has a list of options to help them nail the basics and stop the boredom. From pre-recorded videos to one-on-one or group video conferencing, there are a variety of ways the game is taught.
It’s time to stop bingeing on Netflix and pick up some cards.
March 24: New Chances to Win Points at Home!
Sheltering in place? You still have chances to play bridge, win black masterpoints and support your club!
We’ve partnered with Bridge Base Online (BBO) and The Common Game to offer exclusive online events every day, whether you play solo or as a pair.
The newest chances to win are the special daylong tournaments (one each day), which begin Wednesday, March 25. Every day you’ll have until midnight Eastern to play 18 boards with BBO’s robots. You can pause and restart at any time – even in the middle of a hand.
In addition, more time slots have been added for the already popular Support Your Club pairs games (now at 10 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Eastern).
For more information and an FAQ about both games, visit acbl.org/ClubSupportOnlineGames.