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Buffett Cup Statement

Statement from USBF President re Buffett Cup


This statement is in response to recent correspondence about the role of the USBF in the 2014 Buffett Cup. Bob Hamman has been the US organizer of the Buffett Cup since its inception. Last year, Bob asked the USBF Board to take over organizing the Buffett Cup, including funding and team selection. The Board indicated it would seriously consider this, and George Jacobs, then USBF President, asked non-Board members Jill Levin and Warren Spector to investigate what would be involved and report back to the Board.

This March, Bob, Jill & Warren asked the USBF Board to fund the US team’s business class air travel to the 2014 Buffett Cup. On March 13th the Board agreed to fund these expenses only if we had material input on team selection. George Jacobs appointed two Board member representatives to meet with Jill and Warren to discuss team selection.  Despite Bob, Jill, and Warren's considerable efforts, it quickly became clear there had been a major communications disconnect between them and the USBF Board when, at a telephone meeting on March 16, our Board representatives were told the team had already been chosen with no Board input. On March 18, a second telephone meeting was held but the original committee and the USBF Board representatives could not reach agreement.

The Board’s issues were with the process of team selection. Attempts to find a solution amenable to all parties, including the top pairs, failed, and on April 10th, the USBF Board rescinded its March 13th resolution to provide funding to the Buffett Cup team. The Board’s April 10th resolution has been posted on our website for the last two months.

Less than one month passed from the time we voted to fund business class airfare until the time we formally rescinded that funding. The potential for funding withdrawal was communicated to Bob within a week after initial funding was approved, and well before the formal rescission of funding.


Howard Weinstein

President, USBF


Note:  In his e-mail response to Paul Hackett, Jean-Charles Allavena made reference to (Monaco) being victimized yet once again by the USBF. It is unclear what he is referencing, but it may include the Vanderbilt ruling from a couple of years ago and/or the issue with entry deadlines from last summer's Spingold. The USBF had absolutely nothing to do with these perceived affronts to Monaco. Also, any Buffett Cup issues from two years ago had nothing to do with the USBF, which had no role in the event. If there is another affront which may actually be attributable to the USBF, hopefully Jean-Charles will enlighten the USBF.


Congratulations to the Nick Nickell team on winning the 2014 USBC in a dramatic come-from-behind final set! Nick Nickell, Ralph Katz, Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein, Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell will be USA1 for the 2015 Bermuda Bowl. The Diamond team have now finished second in too many USBCs to count.

Nickell team

Steve Weinstein, Eric Rodwell, Jeff Meckstroth, Ralph Katz, Bobby Levin, Nick Nickell & "Koach" Eric Kokish

Nickell-Bramley Score Adjustment
A director's ruling late Thursday night gave the Nickell team an additional 4 IMPs, changing the half time leader in the very close Nickell-Bramley match. The ruling was based on the fact that the declarer was given the wrong explanation of a bid made by his RHO and the directors concluded that with the correct information the declarer would have had a 25% better chance of making the hand (at the table he went down), so they assigned the score for making the contract 25% of the time and going down 75% of the time, which made a 4 IMP difference. We are told there will be no appeal.
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