Helping New Players

By Diane Gunther
D22 Goodwill Chairman

Did you know that as of March 1, 2018, all players entering an ACBL sanctioned tournament must be a current member of the ACBL? That means if you are not a member you must join or you won’t be allowed to enter sectional, regional, or national tournament events. To make this somewhat palatable, the ACBL is offering one month league memberships for $7.99. If a new player later decides to join the ACBL on a full time basis, this $7.99 can be applied towards the $39.00 yearly fee.

When this information was presented to the board of Southern Gold Coast Unit 532, the board members were surprised. Why did ACBL make it more difficult for new players to come out and support our tournaments? Who thought of this idea? Isn’t the primary agenda of the ACBL Board of Directors to encourage newer players and to support the units, districts and clubs within the membership? Why then are they making it more difficult and more expensive for new players to attend our tournaments? Our board was a bit shocked, and after just a few minutes of discussion came up with a brilliant idea:
The Motion: Unit 532 will pay the $7.99 temporary membership fee for any non-member who lives in our jurisdiction and wants to play in any of our tournaments. It passed unanimously.
Last year several teachers encouraged their students to attend our tournaments and some students did just that. Because they were not “in the money,” and didn’t earn any masterpoints, the fact that they were not ACBL members didn’t cause them any concern, they came to experience competitive play, meet some new friends, and have a good time. We hope they return this year, bringing with them additional new bridge enthusiasts. And this year, to show our appreciation, instead of adding an additional $7.99 to their card fees, we will help them with their tournament costs by subsidising them to a one month ACBL membership.
Bravo to the board members of Unit 532 Southern Gold Coast!