Two Web Sites
This site is maintained by the NEBC. The NEBC was created in the 1940s and first developed a website around 2001. A newcomers' page was added in 2004, but wasn't very active. Novice and intermediate attendance at New England duplicate bridge tournaments began increasing in 2007. Virtually all our regional tournaments now feature intermediate/novice games. In 2009, we introduced Gold Rush events for players with less than 750 masterpoints. In 2010 we were the first district to offer Gold Rush teams. When the web site was completely redesigned (June 2011), we decided to divide it into two - this one, www.nebridge.org, and an intermediate and novice site www.nebridge.inn.org. They remain joined at the hip - you can switch between them by just clicking the appropriate tab on the lefthand menu. If you've played little duplicate bridge, you may find the intermedite/novice page more relevant than this one. If you want to find out what a trump or a trick is, this main website won't tell you. We assume you already know these things.
What's the NEBC?
The New England Bridge Conference, or NEBC, is District 25 of the American Contract Bridge League, which is known far and wide by the acronym ACBL. The ACBL sanctions bridge clubs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and also sanctions duplicate contract bridge tournaments at three levels: Sectionals, Regionals, and Nationals. All ACBL-sanctioned bridge games award masterpoints for good scores, and masterpoints are recorded on the ACBL's computers. ACBL headquarters are in Mississippi. Each year the ACBL runs three 11-day national tournaments in cities that vary year to year. Bridge tournaments schedule various events, which take anywhere from four hours to seven days to determine winners. If you attend, you don't have to attend the whole tournament, only the events you enter. The ACBL has about 158,000 dues-paying members. Anybody can join, and anybody who does also becomes a member of the district containing his or her address. Games are open to the public for an entry fee, but to get your masterpoints recorded, you must join and pay your dues. As a member, you'll also receive the Bridge Bulletin magazine, and various other member benefits. See www.acbl.org for further details.
The ACBL is divided into 25 geographic districts, and District 25, the NEBC, covers the six New England states. District 25 has about 7440 members. The NEBC is the sixth largest district. The Florida district (District 9) is by far the largest, with about 17,500 members. The second largest, District 7, encompasses Georgia and the Carolinas, and has 11,500 members. Districts run regional tournaments. District 25 usually hosts eight regionally-rated tournaments per year, which vary in length from two to seven days. The locations, dates, and other facts about these tournaments are posted as 'flyers' on this website's calendar well in advance. During and after any District 25 regional, the results of various events are also posted on this web site.
Most districts are known as conferences, i.e. the Mountain Bridge Conference, etc. Each District is composed of Units. District 25 has eight units: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Eastern Massachusetts, Central Massachusetts, and Western Massachusetts. Local players often use acronyms for these bridge associations: MBA, VBA, NHBA, CBA, RIBA, EMBA, CMBA, WMBA. All eight of District 25's units maintain their own web sites, and this web site features links to them. These units run several sectionals per year, which are listed on the district calendar. Sectionals run for one weekend, either two or three days. Membership fluctuates all the time. A snapshot of our numbers in October 2011 gave:
. EMBA 3160 CBA 2244 MBA 596 RIBA 556 NHBA 529 VBA 470 WMBA 311 CMBA 213
What is a Regional Bridge Tournament like?
We run our regional bridge tournaments at various hotels with ballrooms suitable to our events. Before the tournament, these ballrooms are filled with bridge tables and our directors, caddies, and tournament organizers create our environment. If you walk in during a session, the room looks like the photo below, which was taken at our Hyannis regional in April 2011:
From time to time, caddies will roam the area, picking up slips and moving boards. Less often, some table will call for the director, and an authoritative and unflappable person will come to the table with a rule book. A few times per hour, many players will move to different tables. A session lasts about four hours, and costs $11 a head in 2011. It is possible to play three sessions in a day, but most players attend only two, and some only one. There is always water somewhere, a table with pencils and score cards, and outside the ballroom, restrooms, a partnership desk, a bookseller's table, a snack bar, hospitality freebies, and other accessories such as the daily tournament bulletin.
Kibitzers are usually welcome. Just ask a player if you may watch, and if they don't mind, pull up a chair and silently observe his or her cards and the action. Our duplicate boards are often predealt, using a random number generator. All of our tournaments are non-smoking, and use bidding boxes, so the room is fairly quiet during play. At the end of the session, scores are posted on the walls and hand records are provided for discussion. All of this information is also stored on this web site, typically at the end of each day's play, and can be accessed by clicking on the results tab on our left hand menu.
Those playing multiple days may want accomodations. Our tournament manager negotiates reasonable bridge room rates with our host hotels. She can do this because our regionals significantly affect hotel occupancy. In fact, the host hotel often sells out before the tournament, and overflow players must seek rooms in nearby motels. Usually there are numerous restaraunts nearby, and some of these venues are resorts, with golf courses, beach access, or other nearby amenities.
Most years we sponsor the following eight regionally rated tournaments:
. January Regional Individual, 3 days February Grand National Teams, 3 days February Knockout Regional, 7 days April Senior Regional, 5 days June Summer Regional, 7 days September Fiesta Regional, 7 days October North American Pairs, 2 days November Masters Regional, 5 days
Click on the calendar tab for details.
What Do I Get If I Win?
What you get if you win is, in a word, Glory. We offer masterpoints, but no cash prizes. The only exceptions are the Grand National Teams and North American Pairs, which offer a partial subsidy to winning members so they can attend the Nationals and represent District 25.
Masterpoints are numerical computerized Glory. Because Glory is our only reward, we take it seriously. Masterpoints are accumulated glory. They are recorded and stored on a computer, and you can't lose any, no matter how badly you lose an event. The ACBL has established categories of glory. A recent snapshot of our membership shows Glory (masterpoints) distributed as follows:
. Title Masterpoints District 25 Members Rookie 0-4 1247 Junior Master 5-19 795 Club Master 20-49 1093 Sectional Master 50-99 919 Regional Master 100-199 840 NABC Master 200-299 461 Life Master (1) 300-499 281 Bronze Life Master 500-999 819 Silver Life Master 1000-2499 747 Gold Life Master 2500-4999 171 Diamond Life Master 5000-7499 42 Emerald Life Master 7500-9999 7 Platinum Life Master 10000+ 6 Grand Life Master (2) 10000+ 12 (1) To make Life Master, some of your points must be silver, red, and gold. Red and gold points are earned only at regionally and nationally rated events. (2) To make Grand Life Master, you also must win a national event.
Because Glory counts for so much, this web site recognizes it in many ways. Each month, we list the names of players who have moved up in rank. Each quarter and year, we list standings in various masterpoint races. If you do something extraordinary at a national, our district director's report from the nationals will mention it. If you do well at one of District 25's regionals, your name will appear among the high finishers on our results page, and if he hears about, the webmaster may mention it in the Buzz column.
Bridge in New England is alive and well. After declining for some years, both membership and tournament attendance are on the rise. Join up and come play. The game of duplicate contract beidge is endlessly fascinating fun.
This district web site was redesigned in June 2011 by Megahertz Computer, with a special tip of the hat to Bob Bertoni. Many features, however, are similar to the prior design. The calendar of upcoming events is maintained by the district tournament manager, grand nationals coordinator, and the webmaster. Results are posted by our tournament directors, typically at the end of each day of our regionals. Rank changes for the previous month are received from the ACBL about a week to ten days into the next month, and materpoint race data are received after each quarter. The final tallies for the year are typically available in February of the next year.
Unlike its predecessor, this new website design is compatible with mobile device operating systems on smart phones, including Windows, Android, and WebOS. We hope it is compatible with all our users' internet browsers. With enhanced security, we are restarting our Discussion Board, which succumbed to internet nasties on the old site. Web sites are continual works in progress. As time passes, we'll be reorganizing our data, adding and deleting features, and hopefully bringing some of our archival material forward into the new design. We will also try to be responsive to any user suggestions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.