Mike Yuen — Mike talks about bridge

The High $$$$$rice of recognition

All of us were over the moon when ACBL first announced that the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame Committee has selected our very own Eric Kokish as the recipient of The Blackwood Award, given to a person who has served Bridge.

Eric’s accomplishments are well known. Beside being the best coach in the world, so much so that he is known simply as Koach. He and his wife Beverly Kraft had been coaches for many national teams over the years.

He is also a great player. Many times Canadian champion. Two North American championships and many high finishes to his credit. Silver medal in World Open Pairs-1978 and Silver-1995 in the Bermuda Bowl, Two Bronze medals in the Rosenblum-1982, 1990, just to name a few of his playing successes.

Koach also sits on many World Championship appeals committees, system committees. In World Championships, find time to be Vugraph commentator.

As if he is not busy enough, Eric is also a prolific writer. Contributing editor to The Bridge World. Executive editor, World Bridge news. Over the years, NEC Cup bulletins, PABF bulletins. Principal analyst, World Championship Books. Analyst, World Simultaneous pairs.

ACBL HOF Committee also selected Russ Arnold, recipient of the von Zedtwitz Award for long service to bridge combined with expertise as a player.

Russ is a Bermuda Bowl Champion-1981 and earned Silver medal in World Senior Team-1994. May times North American Champion.

In the same ceremony, The Sidney Lazard Jr. Sportsmanship Award is awarded to Betty Ann Kennedy.  Many times North American Champion. Gold medal in World Championships Women’s Teams-1974,1976, 1984, 2003. Gold medal in World Women Pairs-1982.

The induction ceremony/dinner will take place during the 2011 Summer NABC in Toronto, Canada on Thursday, the 21st of July, between the hours of 5.30 – 7pm, at the Royal York hotel.

Needless to say many of us, friends and family of the three deserving inductees would love to show our support at the induction ceremony. It is a great idea till we noticed the whopping price of the tickets! $150 per person?!

Can anybody tell me why is it so expensive? Some of the better restaurants in Toronto, like Bymark and Lee are priced less then that.

The ceremony is in the afternoon, why do we need an elaborate dinner? I would think most people who are playing in the evening, would prefer not to eat a full meal. On the other hand, those that are not playing, would love to go to a leisurely dinner afterwards and wine the evening away.

It is with Eric’s consent and suggestion. To start a petition, with collection of names, and write a open letter to Jay Baum, CEO of ACBL and the 25 Board of Directors. Suggesting that they do something like a cocktail reception with Hors d’oeuvres, with open tables to permit wandering, for $75 per ticket.

If you agree with Eric and I, please help and put your name in the comments. OR you can write to your own ACBL director.


Fred LernerJune 1st, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Do the members of the BOD and all the other ACBL hanger-ons pay the $150? I would be willing to pay the same price they pay.

Bobby WolffJune 1st, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Hi Michael,

When you are right, you are right!

While the costs associated with a dress-up dinner and at a first class hotel are considerable and, no doubt, the $150 charged, is not necessarily an overbid, especially when considerations for the many Michael Yuenistrative freebies (determined by the people in charge) are factored in.

However, from my old, and therefore experienced, eyes, there are other, not so valid reasons (at least to me) why the ACBL refuses to “suck it up” and make it affordable for all nostalgic, enthusiastic but less wealthy ACBL members, especially in these recessionary times, to attend.

In the current scenario of significant professionalism in bridge, many of our more visible players can well afford to “shell” out the prices charged, especially for an event whose main purpose is to honor lifetime achievement for the inductees.

It is my guess that the ACBL BOD’s among others, would be better intended to reduce the cost, especially now that the ACBL’s net worth has been spiraling upward to new heights. At least to me, when there are some (many) who are given free tickets, it appears to be a “slam dunk” that among them might be two free tickets given (if necessary) to others who have been previously elected for a continual reminder to them of their considerable worth to at least, the lore of world wide bridge itself.

Without delving deeper into the psychological reasons, you, Michael, may be rattling, suffice it to say that your post could (should) have the effect of helping the powers that be recognize their responsibilities, both in the Hall of Fame dinners and the providing complete expenses to International players for representing Zone 2 to the WBF World Championship events, if for no other reason, than to recognize current superior bridge expertise and its rewards.

Perhaps our people in charge should better recognize the underlying reasons and principles for what our organization is about rather than treating it solely like a business where all is fair in fleecing our most enthusiastic

and nostalgic members.

By doing the opposite, it could seem to some that the tail is wagging the dog.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 1st, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I’d like to know just who was in charge and agreed to this outrageous rape of the bridge public, especially to see one of their local stars inducted. I should think they would want to lower the price to give their local (Eric Kokish) all the support they can rally. I remember when Murray and Kehela were inducted in Toronto and the house was packed. Sure it wasn’t $125 per head. You don’t need filet mignons and chocolate souffles — but I am sure that is not the cause for the exorbitant rate of a ticket. That money is to cover all the other freebies. Let the ACBL shell some out of their own bulging pockets.

Add our names to the list of the other enraged discontents, please.

Good cause, Michael, go to it!


Katie ThorpeJune 1st, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I agree! I’d love to go but not at that price. I was present for Sami and Eric’s inductions, and I recall it was costly but not outrageous.

MichaelJune 3rd, 2011 at 5:32 am

As far as I can find out.

Vicki Campbell from ACBL answered my email, not sure if that makes her in charge of the this function.

BoD does not get a free pass, they have to pay the $150. However Patron members do get a discount and can buy their ticket at $75.

ACBL is still in the planning stages of the menu; however, the plan, currently, is to have a fresh salad, beef tenderloin filet, Savoyard potato, another type of veggie and a dessert/coffee.

There will be an “open bar” and wine served at each table – all drinks/food is included in the cost of entry into the banquet.

With declining attendance over the years, maybe now is the time for change?

Leave a comment

Your comment