President’s Mid-Year Report
Al Levy
Entered into the minutes of the 2003 Summer NABC Board meeting

For the first half of 2003 I have attended the following Regionals: Bermuda; Houston; Victoria, B.C.; Gatlinburg; Lake Geneva; Cincinnati; as well as three in my District.

Throughout my travels to Regionals and at NABCs, I have concentrated on Newcomer and Intermediate players and activities.  My lectures to I/N players focuses on “learning the game better” so that they will enjoy the game more, and hopefully, get hooked for life.  I have an I/N web page for their reference, which includes a link to the ACBL’s excellent Newcomer web page. I congratulate I/N coordinators who have good I/N programs.  I give away free bridge books as prizes at seminars and at I/N receptions, as well as take pictures with I/N winners and have them published.  In this month’s Bridge Bulletin I cite the excellent I/N programs offered in Houston and Cincinnati.

I schedule my trips to Regional so that I can attend the sponsoring organization’s Board meetings.  One focus has been to encourage local officials to promote teaching in the public and private middle and high schools in their area, using the ACBL’s School Bridge Lesson series.  Thanks to management’s efforts I now have more useful informational and promotional material to offer prospective School Lesson series teachers.

I visited the ABA Spring Nationals in Minneapolis.  Other Board members visiting the ABA National tournament were Harriette Buckman, ABA liaison, and Sue Himel, District Director of that region.  I spoke at their annual meeting and, with Harriette’s help, hosted an ice-cream reception one evening.  During my visit I discussed ABA/ACBL mutual interests with some of their officers.  There were a number of references to this visit in the ABA’s summer Bulletin.

My travels have taken me to the Garry Kasparov versus Deep Junior million-dollar chess match in NYC where I met with some chess officials and players.  I am in contact with the US Chess Federation president, John McCrary.  A joint bridge-chess activity might draw some publicity.  Also, we may be able to promote bridge and chess as joint school programs, and profit from chess’ success in this area.  Interaction between the two organizations might prove beneficial.

I was invited to the European Bridge League’s first Open Championships in Menton, France.  I greeted and interacted with ACBL members, EBL administrators and many NBO officials.  The trip was very enlightening, letting me see, first hand, the running of an EBL championship and the operation of the EBL’s Zonal organization.

I ran the ACBL’s World Computer-Bridge Championship at the EBL championships.  The EBL was very supportive of this activity, giving us the only air-conditioned playing quarters in Menton, promoting the ACBL event on their tournament web page, publishing the daily results in the tournament Daily Bulletin, and recognizing the winners at the closing ceremony.  A separate report will be given.

A bridge-software promotion, offering juniors throughout the world a chance to obtain excellent bridge-software, valued at between $60-85 was part of this year’s ACBL computer-bridge activity.  Over 150 juniors will receive free software.  For this promotion I obtained a grant from the Educational Foundation and the cooperation of the software developers.

I have written to 310 ACBL youth members, encouraging them to learn the game better through reading, and send each youngster a popular bridge book.

I plan to visiting some of the top bridge clubs in North America and honoring them.  I’ve visited Honors in NYC, the #1 ACBL bridge club (in terms of sanction tables) and presented Gail Greenberg, Honor’s proprietor, a plague honoring her and her club.  She was very appreciative.

Honoring those that promote our game goes a long way in spreading goodwill and promotes future enthusiasm.  A reception that I help for Nick Nickell at the Spring NABC was greatly appreciated by Nick and many of his teammates and friends.

I am planning a “promotional” conference to be held at the Fall NABC, to discuss various promotional activities such as: bridge on TV; a major bridge championship in a resort setting; joint bridge-chess activities; special Internet and Club activities; and a pro-am for the rich and famous.

Two special new committees are meeting during this NABC.  One committee, chaired by Jerry Fleming, will address “local rules” at clubs.  The other committee, chaired by Jim Reiman, will address “Board Procedures.”

I am writing a series of “A Message from the President” articles for the Bridge Bulletin.  This month my focus was on the many enthusiastic volunteers that are the heart of our organization.  Next month I focus on the Internet activities available to players…and I don’t even mention online-bridge.

I believe that the President should give a Mid-Year and End-of-Year President’s report, so here is the first one.

Respectfully submitted,

Al Levy