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SILVER SENIORS March 11


Monday's game on March 11 is an ACBL-wide event! If you were born before January 1, 1960 (most of us...) you'll compete with senior players across the country for silver points given to District and overall winners. Usually the only way to earn silver is to play in sectional tournaments.


The mouse that ROARS!


Larger bridge clubs can offer frequent chances to earn master points. Games tend to be larger, and the more pairs you play increases the master point awards. People who live in populous areas away from Northern Michigan usually have more bridge clubs within reasonable driving distance to "scratch the itch" when nothing will do except a competitive F2F bridge game. It wouldn't be surprising if yearly awards for the most masterpoints were NOT full of ACBC players. At the national level that's absolutely true. But when the competitions get down to the district (we're in District 12) or unit (we're part of unit 195) level, the Antrim County Bridge Club is OVER-REPRESENTED.

The ACBL has three yearly competitions for overall master point success. Longest-standing is the McKenney race where the winner (who must travel to tournaments around the country or world on practically a weekly basis) will earn thousands of points each year. For players who primaily play in club games, there's the Helen Shanbrom Ace of Clubs. Finally, in 2023 an online version of the Helen Shanbrom award was added. Each of these awards has unit and district levels of competition. Each is also stratified, so players with all levels of experience can compete against other of similar ACBL rank. As you know (from the article below if nowhere else), ACBC is the 5th largest of 21 (by table count) bridge club in Unit 195. Yet, depending on how one counts our "members" versus occasional players who drop in, 20 ACBC players rank in the top 10 in one or more unit category. Perhaps more notably, 4 players are #1 in one or more category (7 total #1s). Three more players are #2, and they have 6 number 2 finishes between them. In one bracket of the Mini-McKenney, 6 of the top 10 players are "members" of our small club.

So kudos to everyone who placed and particular congratulations to Jinny Crall, Judy Kuiper, Nancy McCully and Anne Misiak who collected 7 1st place finishes (and a couple of 2nds) between them. Sharon Bacon, Margaret Schroeder and Judy Thurston added 6 more 2nds.

Nice work mice!

BEHIND THE HEADLINE...


ACBC did play an all-time record number of tables in 2023, but F2F table counts still lag behind pre-pandemic numbers. In 2019 we played 527 tables, all F2F. In 2023 our F2F count was 473. That's closer to 2018 when we played 488. There's some evidence that as our F2F table counts recover, our online game is shrinking. That's too bad, as online club games offer a chance to play with friends when we scatter for the Winter. Last Winter we averaged 4.5 tables online. This Winter so far we don't always even reach the 2.5 tables of live players to hold a game.

Our largest month this past year was July with 70.5 tables, mostly F2F. Typically, June (63.5) has been our busiest month. In peak years (2016, 2017) June was 76.5 tables, all F2F. Overall, 2017 was our best year F2F with 545 tables (ACBC online didn't exist). We play more games per average week than we did ten years ago, but the games are smaller. Summer games used to routinely play 11 or 12 tables. Now 8 or 9 is more likely, though we did have 10 once in 2023. It's another way of saying fewer members are playing in more games! Our active roster has fewer names than a decade ago. The Wednesday 199er game plays fewer tables on average than the old mid-week open game, but club special events (including popular Royal STaC games started by the ACBL) and year-round Lunch & Bridge games have helped take up some of the slack.

ACBC became an ACBL game in 2004 with 220 tables played. Five years later it was just over 500 and has mostly remained in the 475-525 range ever since. Other bridge clubs have not been so fortunate. There were 40 in Unit 195 (ours) in 2004 and we ranked 19th. By 2014 we were 8th out of 28. This year we rank 5th out of only 21.

We're a tougher club than we used to be. People who play more usually get better. More of our players are tournament regulars and many compete effectively in Traverse City and Petoskey where we used to pretty much be cannon fodder! Our players place highly in the Unit masterpoint races, though the small size of our games and the relative infrequency of available games means we don't show up as dramatically at the District 12 level (more on this in a couple of weeks).

Lessons have REALLY HELPED! Judy King's beginner lessons have provided a steady trickle of new players to offset some of the losses of attrition. Intermediate lessons as part of the 199er game have helped the quality of play in our club games and may have helped make our club players more effective on other stages.


Bulletin

SILVER POINTS at ACBC Monday, March 11!

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