President's Report to USBF Members

USBF President, Jan Martel, sent the following report to all Active and Resident Members of USBF Monday, Oct. 2nd. President Martel promised expansions of several of the sections in the report soon. Expanded reports will be in the About USBF section of this website and linked to the points in the report.

When I was elected USBF President last year, I had some goals. One of them was to send email reports to members on a regular basis. From the fact that I’ve served as USBF president for almost two years and this is the first such report I’ve written, you can judge how well I achieved that goal. However, better late than never (I hope). 

This report will outline what your Board of Directors has done during the last 20 months. I’ll be posting more complete reports on our website, which has a new look and hopefully will improve communication between the Board and the membership. You can reach the new website at our old address: It already has a lot of information about the 2006 USBC, as well as general information about USBF and information about the 2007 USBF tournaments. In the next few weeks, you’ll find pages covering all of the things listed here and more information about this year’s election and next year’s tournaments. In the future, you may find a bulletin board where members can share thoughts, as well as more Web Vugraph pages. If you go to the website and have any comments, questions or suggestions for improvement please send me an email about them. Thanks for listening and I’ll try to be more prompt with my next report. 

In 2005, the USBF took the following actions in these areas:

•    Held four selection trials.
•    Selected six teams for the World Championships in Estoril, Portugal.
•    Distributed approximately $112,000 from the ACBL United States International Fund to support those teams.
•    Helped those teams with hotel arrangements and with systems requirements.
•    Established a recommended dress code for USBF representatives.
•    Established criteria for augmentation to teams with fewer than six players that win a selection trials.
•    Appointed members to an enlarged USBF Credentials Committee, based on recommendations from the Open, Women’s & Seniors’ International Team Trials Committees.

•    Established procedures for selection of Junior teams that would allow a team of at least four players who had medaled at a World Junior championship to defend their title.
•    Selected two teams for the World Youth Team Championships and two teams for the Schools Team Championship in Bangkok.
•    Established rules with regard to behavior by players on USBF Junior teams.
•    Appointed Charlotte Blaiss as USBF Junior Program Chair and gratefully accepted Charlotte’s agreement to perform this function on a volunteer basis.
•    Took over administration of the Mahaffey Scholarship Fund, which distributes scholarships to young people who teach bridge to other young people in high school, college and outside programs.

•    Discussed ways to make USBF more visible and to raise money to provide support for USBF programs and US international teams.
•    Reported to the ACBL Board of Directors about USBF matters.
•    Discussed internet wagering on bridge events.

•    Accepted one application for resident membership in USBF.
•    Clarified the requirements for resident members and improved the resident member application form.

•    With the invaluable support of the Houston Unit ran a Regional Tournament in conjunction with the USBC.
•    Created the position of USBF Recorder and appointed Hemant Lall to serve as the USBF Recorder
•    Increased Vugraph coverage of USBF tournaments and embarked on a fund-raising effort to raise money to support and improve our Vugraph coverage even more in 2006 and future years.

•    Amended the USBF Bylaws provisions dealing with Board composition to provide that in 2006 the USBF Board should consist of seven members (instead of eight) and should have one ABA representative (instead of two) and that starting with January 1, 2007, the Board should have seven members, two Athlete members and five Active members.

In 2006, the USBF took the following actions in these areas:


•    Held the USBC , the open selection trials to choose USA1 for the 2007 Bermuda Bowl.
•    Established procedures for reviewing members of teams that had won selection trials and were seeking nomination as the USBF team for a World Championship.

•    Raised over $55,000 from many generous donors to support our Schools Teams in Bangkot and United States Juniors who desired to attend the World Junior Camp and Pairs in Slovakia.
•    Sent four teams to the 11th World Youth Team Championship is Bangkok Thailand.
•    Provided those teams with training, systems support and financial support of over $74,000 from the ACBL Junior Fund and the USBF Junior fund.
•    Provided tuition to the WBF Juniors Camp for 27 campers and entry fees to the WBF Junior Pairs for 13 pairs, with funds raised by USBF specifically to support Junior programs.
•    Appointed Lisa Berkowitz and Bill Pollack as the USBF trustees for the Mahaffey Fund. Other trustees are Charlotte Blaiss, Barbara Nudelman and Jayne Thomas.
•    Investigated a complaint from a member regarding the behavior of two USBF Schools team members at a New Years’ Eve party after an ACBL Regional.
•    Agreed to send a team to the FISU Games, an event for teams all of whose members are currently students at Universities or were students at Universities last year. The event is to be held in Tianjin, China in October.

•    Accepted three applications for Resident Membership in USBF.

•    Appointed Barbara Nudelman as USBF Assistant Treasurer and worked with Barbara and ACBL accounting personnel to transfer USBF accounting matters to Barbara. Thanked Barbara profusely for agreeing to take on this task on a volunteer basis, saving USBF money and providing clearer information to the Board about USBF income and expenses.
•    Adopted a policy under which active members can pay dues for three years for one payment of $130.
•    Agreed to simplify our election procedures effective January 1, 2007.
•    Joined with the Poker Association to oppose the Goodlatte bill banning internet gambling that would include bridge as well as other card games.
•    Discussed the format of different committees.
•    Discussed ways to improve our financial position.
•    Discussed our relationship with ACBL and issues that had arisen regarding the Junior program.

•    Appointed Joan Gerard to represent USBF at the WBF Congress in Verona and reviewed Joan’s report after the Congress.
•    Requested that WBF and the ACBL representatives to WBF investigate the unusually one-sided results when two Chinese pairs played each other in both the Open and Women’s Pairs Finals.
•    Authorized Jan Martel to work with Kitty Cooper to develop an improved USBF website and approved that website when it was created.
•    Agreed to give Kitty Cooper and Steve Cooper five year active memberships in USBF in exchange for development of a Web Vugraph program that allows visitors to our website to view the results, bidding and play from events that have been shown on Vugraph. Introduced the program for the 2006 USBC.
•    Opened an account with Paypal to allow members and contributors to make payments to USBF online by credit card.
•    Established an “associate member” category of membership that would provide associate members with benefits other than the right to compete in USBF tournaments and to vote in USBF elections. The exact provisions of the associate membership have not yet been developed.

The active membership of the USBF is relatively small. At last count, there were about 250 of you. We hope that you consider USBF as very much your organization. You can help us in several ways
•    Volunteer to serve on USBF committees – you can find out what committees we have by going to the website and looking at the “committees” page under “About USBF.”
•    Send us feedback. If there are things you think we should be doing and aren’t, let us know. You can email people involved with different areas of USBF activities by going to the “contact us” page on the website. You will also be able to send an email to all of the USBF Directors at once, as soon as I figure out how to set that up.
•    Help us raise money. We’d love to find some corporate sponsors, either for individual tournaments or other activities. If you know people who have a say in where advertising money is spent, talk to them about us.

Thanks for listening and for being a wonderful constituency.

Jan Martel,
USBF President