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USBGF: Can we elevate the discussion?

Posted By: David Levy
Date: Friday, 19 July 2013, at 4:14 p.m.

As I ponder my renewal in the USBGF, I am distressed by the tone of the recent discussion both pro USBGF and con. I'm wondering if we could get more specific about what we like about the organization or suggest specific areas for improvement.

I am pretty ambivalent about the organization. The positives I see are:

  • outreach to new players
  • teaching new players
  • the web site (though one would like to see it do better on Google searches)
I find myself ambivalent about the following:
  • the online tournament circuit: I get invitations all the time and can't find a reason to play. I'm playing the right amount of online BG against the strongest competition on GridGammon without the USBGF tournaments.
  • the magazine: The content seems fine, but there is so much other online material available. What is the added value?
  • the ratings system: A fine idea, but it hasn't generated any buzz. Does Carter run around screaming how high his USBGF rating is?
The last point hints at what I see to be a major issue for backgammon organizations today. There are multiple centers of backgammon promotion in the US: the ABT, the USBGF, and the individual directors. In bridge, tournaments are sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League and played according the League's rules. Backgammon obviously works much differently. I understand the positions of each party and don't have a solution. I do, however, feel backgammon would benefit from a more unified approach.

What would I like to see the USBGF spend money on? I posted earlier my thoughts for broadcasting online matches and had a long conversation with Perry about it. I would happily pay increased dues if I could watch live tournament matches on GridGammon with expert commentary. The USBGF has other plans for live broadcasts and I worry about their success.

I would love to see the USBGF increase membership and play a role comparable to the US Chess Federation or American Contract Bridge Leage. I don't see it on that trajectory.

Should any of you ponder a response to this post, please, before you hit "Post Message", take another look at your response for tone...

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