A Message from the President                    ACBL Bridge Bulletin, May Issue

By Al Levy

Every year a new president takes office and before you know it, itís over, and another face appears on the cover of the January Bridge Bulletin.  The presidency, albeit short lived, is a demanding position and, as past presidents will attest to, a rewarding experience.  I view the presidency as a full time effort and have planned an ambitious year of activities.

Let me briefly describe the governing and operating bodies within the ACBL.  There are thousands of volunteer organizers who are involved with the 310 Unit organizations and 25 District organizations that run the bridge affairs in their local areas.  Each of the 25 Districts elects a representative to the Board of Directors.  The Board governs bridge within the ACBL, making the final decision on most aspects of the ACBLís overall operations, from establishing the yearly budget to the regulations that govern tournament play and masterpoint awards.  Management, under the able leadership of our CEO, Jay Baum, consists of over 80 employees operating out of our Memphis office as well as 100+ tournament Directors scattered over North America.  Management handles the monumental task of the day-to-day operations of the league.

While the Board operates continuously through email communications and committee work, the bulk of its business is conducted at three annual Board meetings held at the start of each NABC.  Every Board member devotes many hours a week to his or her Board responsibilities and interactions with their local Units and District.  Itís hard to estimate the overall effort of all those that help make the league run.

As president, my duties include residing over the Board meetings and activities, interacting with management, and acting as a goodwill ambassador in my travels.  I plan to attend 18 Regionals, 2 Sectionals, 3 NABCs, the American Bridge Associationís spring Nationals, the WBFís world championships and the European Open Championships where I will be conducting the ACBLís 7th annual world computer-bridge championship.  I try to promote the game wherever I go.  I encourage newcomers and intermediate players to enjoy the game more by learning it better.  To that end I am giving away excellent bridge books wherever I go.  I recognize that Clubs are the heart of our organization, touching the bridge experiences of almost every member, and encourage club managers and directors to seek expert help from our Club Department.  I recognize the accomplishments of the Unit and District volunteers and encourage these local organizations to get more involved in local teaching, especially in the public and private middle schools.

During my tenure I hope to achieve many goals.  My aspirations for the year are highlighted in my interview in the January Bridge Bulletin.  They also appear on my website, in English and in French, at www.ny-bridge.com/allevy.  Some areas that I will concentration on include: bridge in the middle schools; promotion and sponsorship; good world relations; interaction with the Chess Federations; promoting all forms of bridge including online bridge activities, as well as running efficient Board meetings and establishing special committees to brainstorm new ideas.

One project that I am currently undertaking is writing to our 300 youngest members, sending a message of welcome and encouragement along with an appropriate bridge book to further their bridge experiences.

Another project is the establishment of a brainstorming session on the promotion of bridge.  Volunteers that will meet at the summer NABC include Zia Mahmood, Bob Hamman, Jeff Meckstroth, Bob Blanchard, Jeff Polisner, Jim Allen, Alan Truscott, Larry King, Barbara Seagram and Val Covolchaic.

Through my travels and interactions I expect to gain a better understanding of the current state of bridge affairs.  Iím going to write a column every other month describing my impressions and my vision of the future of bridge.