Cincinnati Bridge Association also
known as ACBL Unit 124
Revised 15 JULY 2021
I spent 9 years on the board of CBA including 2 years as President and
3 years as Vice-President and it seems like it took half of that time
to figure out how things work. I am going to attempt to shorten
that process for anyone who might be interested. Potter Orr
Glossary (jargon decoder)
ACBL - American
Contract Bridge League. Runs duplicate bridge in the USA, Mexico and
Canada, awards and tracks masterpoints won at sanctioned games and
tournaments, and manages member discipline.
District - one
of 25 subdivisions of the ACBL. Created by the ACBL to manage a
specific geographical area. Cincinnati is part of District 11 an Ohio 501(c4)
Non Profit which
includes Ohio south of Toledo and Cleveland, Indiana south of Ft Wayne,
almost all of Kentucky and part of West Virginia. District Map
Unit representatives make up the District board.
Unit - a
subdivision of a District. There are 295 Units and each manages a
geographical area within a District. Unit Boards vote for Board of Director
and Board of Govenrors representatives.
- Cincinnati Bridge Association. CBA is an Ohio 501(c4) nonprofit
corporation created to manage Unit 124 of the ACBL. It represents
the 820+/- members of the ACBL who live in Unit 124 (Northern Kentucky, Greater
Cincinnati, Oxford, Middletown and Lebanon). Its oversight responsibilities includes
Sectional Tournaments and Special Unit Events. The Unit serves the bridge
interests of all clubs in the Unit, not just the Cincinnati Bridge Center.
Neither the Unit nor the District have any authority over online bridge.
The ACBL, Districts, Units, Clubs and Teachers are all independent
businesses that operate collaboratively. District do not control Units, and
Units do not control Clubs or teachers, and Clubs do not control teachers.
CBC - Cincinnati
Bridge Center. This is the building at 2860 Cooper Road. In
1997 the CBA board signed a lease for the space and raised money from
the membership to remodel and equip it as a bridge center. The
space is rented to sanction holders to run their games and any game sanctioned by CBA itself.
Sanction - is
the right to run an ACBL sanctioned bridge game at a defined time in a
defined location. Any ACBL member in good standing may apply to the
ACBL for a sanction. If the application does not conflict in time
or location with an existing sanction, it is granted by the ACBL.
Only a certified ACBL Director may run the game itself. Sanction holders are independent business people and may run their
games as they see fit within ACBL rules. They collect money from
players, pay required fees to ACBL, hire directors and teachers, report the results of their games
to ACBL and pay the expenses associated their game.
STaC is a Sectional Tournament at Club. These special games have sectional ratings and award Silver points to winners.
I hope that a picture is really worth 1,000 words. This is a
pictorial view of the ACBL from the top all the way down to individual
bridge games in Cincinnati.
If you follow this down the center, District 11 is a delegate of
ACBL, Unit 124 is a delegate of District 11, CBC (Cinti Bridge
Center), No KY, Oxford, Anderson and Middletown are locations in Unit 124 where sanction holders run games.
Remember the ACBL, Districts, Units, Clubs and Teachers are all independent
Responsibilities & Governance
All Units within the boundaries set by ACBL of District 11 are members of
the District. Each member Unit in the District appoints 2
representatives to be members of the District board. The District
board elects a President and Vice-President. The President then
appoints a secretary and treasurer. Other District officers (Recorder,
Youth Chair, Educational Chair, etc. are selected/appointed by the
board. To see the complete by-laws of District 11 - click here. Current District Board
The primary responsibility of the District is to promote bridge within
the District and run tournaments within the District. Technically the
District is in charge of all Regional Tournaments but District 11 has historically
allocated Regional tournaments to member Units. 11 other Districts do this
in some way. 13 Districts run their own regional tournaments.
All active members of the ACBL who live in the area defined by ACBL as
Unit 124 are automatically members of the Cincinnati Bridge Association
(which is Unit 124 from ACBL's perspective). The members elect a board
of directors in elections held each year at the time of the Fall
Sectional tournament. There are 9 board members with 3 positions up
for election each year. Board members are limited to 3 consecutive
terms (3 years each - total 9 years) before they must take at least 1
year off. The board elects a President, Vice-president, secretary and
treasurer each year at their first meeting. To see the complete
Unit 124 / CBA constitution - click here.
A Unit's job is to promote bridge within it's boundaries and run
tournaments but the ACBL disclaims any responsibility for the actions -
financial or otherwise - of its Units. This is 1 paragraph from the
ACBL Unit Agreement:
"The relationship of the ACBL to each of its
chartered units is that of an independent organization. This
relationship shall not create any association, joint venture,
partnership or agency relationship of any kind between a unit and the
ACBL. Unless expressly agreed to in writing, neither party is
authorized to incur any liability, obligation or expense on behalf of
the other, to use the other's monetary credit conducting its activities
or to represent to any 3rd party that either is an agent of the other."
The board of CBA normally meets
6 times a year - the schedule is posted on the
Board Meetings and
Minutes page. Most meetings are
open to visitors and minutes of the meetings are posted on the website
after they have been approved at the next meeting subject to
corrections. In all cases, minutes may be posted prior to
approval with a "Draft" notation. The board meetings cover many
topics during the year, but certain responsibilities are on the agenda
of most meetings:
Reviewing the financial results of the Unit and the CBC
Long range planning for the Unit
Scheduling and planning tournaments
Coordinating bridge education activities
Promoting ACBL membership within the Unit including the Awards Party, Mentor-Mentee and the Holiday Party
Publicizing and promoting ACBL special events (Charity, International Fund games, Instant Matchpoint, etc.)
Operational issues related to the CBC including but not limited to:
Regional: Cincinnati is one of the larger units in District 11 and
is allocated one of the
4 regionals held in the District each year. It is our unit's
responsibility to make all of the arrangements for the tournament and
to be responsible for the financial results of the tournament. One of
the expenses is a per table fee paid to the district and while there
are no guarantees,
we have generally made a profit on each regional tournament.
Cincinnati Sectional: Historically Cincinnati has run a sectional tournament
in late October each year. Starting in 2013 we also run a non-life
master sectional in May. As with the regional tournaments the financial
results are completely responsibility of the unit.
There are currently 3 STaC tournaments run within our district
and we are the organizing unit for one of them (in either July August).
Since STaC games are by definition held an individual clubs scattered
throughout the district, there are virtually no risks and no potential
for profit in STaC tournaments. They are generally run by a unit
primarily for the benefit of the members in that they allow members to
win silver points without having to travel to a different tournament
NKY Sectional: Prior to 2014 a group in Middletown ran additional sectional in
the unit in August. Attendance at the sectional had declined to the
point where the Middletown group no longer wanted to run the
tournament. When they gave it up, the Northern Kentucky Bridge Club
expressed an interest in running a sectional in August. 2014 was the
1st year for their sectional and it appears to have been successful
enough that they will continue to run the tournament.
NAP District qualificationand District finals. Each year in June, July and
August clubs within the District hold special NAP qualifying
games. In the Fall all players wishing to qualify to play in the
National NAP game play for the right to represent District 11.
These games have usually been held in Cincinnati since we are at the
geographic center of the District.
Unit 124 owns 100 bridge tables purchased for tournament use and
kept in a storage unit. These tables are used for the Regional
and Sectionals in any location within the Unit. In addition, the
Bridgemate electronic scoring devices and sets of duplicate boards from
CBC are used at tournaments within our Unit and are loaned to Dayton
for their Regional (they loan us theirs for our Regional).
In addition to tournaments, there are other unit wide events for which
the unit board is responsible. We run a
unit wide game (if there are 3 clubs
playing at the same time) where the CBC, northern Kentucky and Anderson all play
the same hands and the winners receive significantly larger master
point awards due to the overall scoring of the event. Once each year,
typically in April or May, we run a Medalion Game (and party) where we
recognize the milestones and achievements of members throughout the
unit. We run a Holiday party in December when we celebrate Unit Award
Winners, we run a Membership Meeting and Game (in November), we offer Supervised
Play and Come and Play for Novice players, we run special Mentor Games during
summer months, and we have a beginer teaching program to attract new members.
Locations for Bridge games
Ultimately the responsibility for a game falls to the ACBL sanction
holder (Club Manager in ACBL-speak) but clubs across the ACBL take a
number of different approaches to locations for duplicate games.
Some of the most common arrangements are:
Clubs have their own space. All of the games in the
Unit are run by sanction holders in whatever space they can find for a
game. Anderson, Middletown, Oxford and Northern Kentucky run games in
this manner. Each sanction holder is responsible for their own expenses and supplies.
Some Units (like Dayton) have a bridge center and
own ALL of the
sanctions for games run in the bridge center. They typically hire a
manager to run the center and arrange for directors.
Other Units have a bridge center within their Unit that is owned
and run by an individual or a company. The operator of the bridge
center may run the center as a for profit venture or not-for-profit venture. Some rent
the space to sanction holders and others hold all of the sanctions
A few Units take on the responsibility of operating a bridge
center as a non-profit venture and rent timeslots to individuals who
hold their own sanctions
Cincinnati Bridge Center
Unit 124 (and only about 100 other units out of 300 in the ACBL) own and
operate a bridge center. Years ago Unit 124 leased space
for a bridge center, bought tables, cards, computers and the other
things needed for a bridge center and then rents out the center to
individual directors to run their own games. Club managers lease
space for their game and pay a fixed rent per table played. This rental
approach minimizes financial risk assumed by the club owner. If the center
closes the club owner owes no rent, but the Unit continues to pay its lease and
Financial statements are provided on the Unit Website.
All games are run by
who have their own sanctions from ACBL. The Unit runs sanctioned games for
According to ACBL regulations the sanction owner has complete control over their games. This includes:
Exact start times
Whether or not to cancel due to weather
Fee to be charged
Stratification point limits for A, B and C
Rulings by the director
Discipline of players
When and whether to run "special" games
The sanction holder is the final authority for all discipline at club games except for allegations of cheating.
Disciplinary issues brought to the attention of the Unit are handled at the
District level when the club manager does not have jurisdiction, and only then
for cases that do not involve first degree cheating. See the
ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations for details.
The sanction holders pay a rental fee to the Unit based solely on the
number of tables they have at their games. The rental fee is defined in
the sublease contract with each club owner and is managed fairly across all
games by the Board of Directors. Under the existing arrangement, the Unit is responsible for
Rent, including common area maintenance charges
Maintenance of heating/air-conditioning and plumbing
Cleaning of the bridge center
Computers, printers and bridge equipment
Paper and supplies for games
Cards and duplicate boards
Chairs and tables
Coffee, cups, plates and other kitchen supplies
The Unit Board of Directors treat the Cincinnati
Bridge Center as a separate cost center and reports financial information
The bridge center by itself does not
breakeven from club games alone. Income from unit tournaments (primarily the
regional) subsidize the cost of the bridge center.