Cindy Shoemaker
ACBL National Board Representative 

The ACBL Board of Directors held its spring meetings face-to-face (F2F) March 8 - 11 in Reno, NV. The Board, committees and work groups continue to meet regularly through Zoom, conference calls and GoToMeeting. 

While attending the Reno NABC, I had the opportunity to speak with members at all stages of their bridge journeys and from different parts of the country including our District 17. It is of great value to hear the negatives and the positives and to share ideas and strategies essential to the vitality of bridge.

In 2022, the Board reaffirmed key goals and objectives for the organization that include a robust return to F2F and tournament play, building and retaining membership and improving technology. Management is developing action plans and implementation strategies for established goals and objectives and will deliver those plans in Providence. The ACBL has invested over $800,000 to remove outdated systems and to build a solid and reliable infrastructure.

Cheating is of great concern and greatly impacts the integrity of our game. Actions to improve the methods of investigating and proving online cheating are highlighted in the Appeals and Charges section below.

I look forward to seeing you at upcoming D17 sectionals and at Denver's Rocky Mountain Regional in May.  

It is a pleasure and a privilege to serve as your representative to the ACBL Board of Directors.


The information presented in this report has been sourced
from the following:

Spring Management Report.
ACBL Board and Staff.
As of year-end 2021, net assets totaled $9.9M. The increase in net assets for the year was $2.65M. This included a COVID relief item from the federal government of $1.5M and $450,000 of non-operating items. Therefore, the actual gain from operations was approximately $700,000. The budgeted loss for 2022 is $858,000 which includes depreciation of $302,000. The Reno NABC loss has yet to be determined, but will significantly impact the actual loss for the year if all other items remain as budgeted. 
The Audit Committee received the report of ACBL independent auditors Dixon, Hughes, Goodman (DHG). There were no significant issues reported as a result of the audit.
DHG reviewed actuarial assumptions regarding post-retirement benefits and were satisfied with current calculations. DHG also reviewed its audit procedures, focusing on payables and receivables related to BBO and clubs, as well as timing and confirmation of deferred revenues.

The 2021 audits of the ACBL Charity Foundation and the ACBL Educational Foundation are nearly complete. The IRS Form 990 returns for these entities and the ACBL are being prepared.
According to the latest ACBL Quarterly Unit Improvement Package (QUIP) Report 
issued 3/31/22, ACBL membership totals 139,108; a decline of 1.54 percent since the report was last issued on 12/31/21.  As of 3/31/22, D17 had 8,077 members and remains the third largest District in the ACBL.
The Board has established key goals and objectives for the organization that include a robust return to F2F club and tournament play, building and retaining membership and improving technology. Management is developing action plans and implementation strategies for established goals and objectives.
The Strategic Committee is developing the long range or vision and setting quantifiable targets. Plans are to be delivered in Providence. 
The Board held Breakout Sessions in Reno to address the challenges facing the ACBL today and into the future. This gave Board members the opportunity to share concerns from their District(s) and knowledge acquired from serving in bridge governance. A detailed report was prepared and delivered to Management to provide additional input into the planning process. 

ACBL Marketing develops and implements initiatives to increase membership and member value. 

The Intro to Bridge program has led to over 880 new bridge players, many of whom transition to the Guest Membership program. Over 2,500 guest members have come through this program since its launch in February of 2021. The ACBL will continue to build on these programs to support its mission to promote, grow and sustain the game of bridge while serving the bridge-related interests of its members.

Marketing has refreshed the ACBL website, streamlining content and improving functionality. It has refreshed the ACBL Bridge Bulletin and rolled out new logos and a tag line: Dealing Infinite Possibilities. 

The first Member Appreciation event was held in October with more than 160 prizes awarded. The event produced strong engagement through ACBL social media channels, improving the ability to identify, target and attract bridge-playing audiences. Additional events are planned for 2022. 
The Speakeasy newsletter electronically delivers updates and event reminders to membership twice monthly, reducing email overload. The Speakeasy is now posted on BridgeFeed and the ACBL Facebook page. 

Long term, Marketing will embark on a research program that will help the ACBL better understand and meet the needs of prospective and current members. Through this process, Marketing has created member/prospect personas and journey maps. Both will provide a clearer picture of each touchpoint and how to improve them, which in turn will lead to greater member retention and membership growth. 
Raising Funds and Awareness for Alzheimer's Disease

The ACBL has raised $7.8 million for Alzheimer’s patient care and research through participation in The Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day fundraising event.

During 2021, approximately 300 Units and Clubs raised $917,000. All Virtual Club Games held the weekend of June 18 and 19 are designated Alzheimer’s Association games, and the ACBL sanction fees will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. Clubs that have returned to F2F play can choose any day during the week of June 19-26 to hold their events and offer upgraded games. 
Marketing is working with The Alzheimer’s Association to schedule informational webinars about the latest scientific research and caregiver/patient support opportunities for ACBL members.

Supporting the People of Ukraine

The United Nations World Food Program will receive net proceeds from the Hollywood Magic Online Regional held March 24-27, and additional proceeds from games held F2F and virtually March 28-31. BBO will donate $10,000. 
The ACBL Charity Foundation will donate up to $25,000 of funds raised in virtual clubs, April 4-10, to UNICEF - Help Children in Ukraine. 
The Task Force Chair reported the accomplishments of improved communication within the Board, between the Board and ACBL Management, and the Board and ACBL membership. A review of the Codification as it relates to communications and communications protocols is complete along with recommendations for improvements to process and timelines. Motions will be put forth in Providence.
In Reno, under Item C221-AC01, the Appeals & Charges Committee reported the outcome of its most recent hearing. 

The Anti-Cheating Commission (not to be confused with the Anti-cheating Committee of the ACBL Advisory Council) was formally disbanded. The Commission was formed in the wake of high-level cheating scandals in 2015 and 2016, resulting from a recommendation of the Bridge Integrity Task Force. Over time, the committee made recommendations and reviewed players of concern to it. However, the committee was not in the position to do anything concrete, and the members did not feel that retaining the structure served any purpose. Discussion between the ACBL Executive Director and the National Recorder about possible reconstitution of the committee as a clearinghouse between bridge organizations resulted in action being taken in that direction apart from the committee. ACBL management believes that it is time to retire the formal committee. Many of the people who generously agreed to serve on the Anti-Cheating Commission will still be available to consult as needed.

Compete information about the ACBL Disciplinary Process can be found at https://www.acbl.org/ethics/. This includes Disciplinary Disposition Summary Charts and various disciplinary committee hearing reports.

The ACBL is excited to announce the development of a new tool in detecting and prosecuting online (and perhaps in-person) cheating that offers great potential in changing the way the ACBL approaches this problem.

Developed by chief architects Franco Baseggio and Brian Platnick, “EDGAR” (Electronic Data Gathering and Anti-cheating Radar) will allow bridge organizations to scan thousands of cases and look for telltale signs of cheating. EDGAR is currently being tested and refined, and the ACBL expects to place it in use in ACBL cases later this year, initially in support of “traditional” investigations. The name pays homage to the great Edgar Kaplan, the father of modern bridge ethics.
Governance had a relatively light agenda for Reno, with three motions, a non-agenda item and two discussion items: 

Motion (Item 221-GV01) eliminates the National Charity Committee and recognizes outstanding members who participate, organize and/or promote charity endeavors in their respective communities through the receipt of a Charitable Recognition Award. It proposes that District Presidents make the selections instead of the Regional or District Directors. Details regarding process and timeline will be reported. Motion carried: Unanimous in Committee/Full Board.  

Motion (Item 221-GV02) reorganizes, updates and clarifies the Codification relating to a Unit’s relationship to the ACBL, Unit requirements and Unit responsibilities and privileges. It eliminates the requirement for Units to hold at least one sectional every two years, and clarifies that the 11 percent of full dues payments and life master service fees paid by their members is intended to supplement Unit funds for activities related to membership building and retention. Motion carried: 19/0/0. 
As the National Board reduces in size to 13 members, non-core related functions continue to be transferred to outside Committees and to Management. This will ensure that a smaller Board can focus on the strategic and financial goals and objectives of the ACBL. This transfer of authority is reflected in the majority of motions and a discussion item brought forth by the Bridge Committee. 
Extended Timelines for NABC Hospitality Fundraising

The pandemic has impacted the ability for Districts to hold all allowed NABC fundraising weeks (for hospitality) in local clubs. A motion (Item 221-BR06) clarifies the current regulation that applies to F2F clubs, allows weeks that were missed in one (or two) of the three years before the NABC to be moved into the last year and adds one week of NABC fundraising in Virtual Clubs (only those run by clubs within the District). 
Due to IT constraints, NABC fundraising in virtual clubs was removed from the motion. Management will report timeline, schedule and cost to run said games during Board meetings in Providence. Motion then carried: 19/0/0. 

Updated Electronic Device Policy

Players rely on their electronic devices to check scores and to pre-register for events. Therefore, (Item 221-BR04) moves that electronic devices (phones, tablets and watches) be allowed to be visible in and out of the playing area. 
Devices must be turned off during the play of the hand, but can be used between rounds. Penalties will continue to be assessed for disruptions due to devices that “ring” during play. Motion carried: 17/2/0.
In 2022, the ACBL will invest heavily in Information Technology. In Reno, IT reported progress and timelines for building a reliable, streamlined and cost effective infrastructure. 

IT will rely on third-party vendors and staff to continue architectural changes to the website, complete migration of the AS/400, update and finalize the Masterpoint Engine and improve ACBL Cloud. In addition, TRAX will be moved to a cloud-based application while ACBLScore will be moved to a web-based application. Progress regarding the tournament registration platform is highlighted below. 

The Board liaison will to communicate progress and challenges.

Masterpoint Engine 

Improvements have been made to the Masterpoint Engine special events calendar, allowing for queueing of special events months in advance. In addition, IT fixed AWS scaling rules to better handle additional load. New application workflows to process large games files previously restricted due to maximum file size limitations also were created.
Report Migration 

IT continues the monumental effort to migrate the reporting from the old AS400 platform. It is building the pipeline to deliver reports and graphics through email distributions as well as the triggering and scheduling elements needed to deliver these emails in a purely automated manner.
Pre-registration Platform

IT has made significant progress toward completing the tournament registration platform. In Reno, members had the option of pre-paying and pre-registering for various events through the ACBL Express Entry application.

In the future, data analytics and reporting information will be provided to help tournament sponsors refine tournament schedules and reduce hospitality and director costs. A partnership “desk” component for those seeking partners for pair and team games will be provided.