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Why does it have to be a switch? Why not both?

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Tuesday, 24 December 2013, at 2:01 p.m.

In Response To: Related question: Would a World Ranking System increase tournament participation? (Ken Larsen)

I am convinced that a world-wide system of some sort would absolutely increase participation. Why reinvent the wheel when Contract Bridge has already proven they have a system that works? They get upwards of 4,000 people at their nationals every year, and people pay money to participate, and all they win are points that increase their standing and help them achieve everyone's goal of becoming a Life Master.

When I got out of college (several hundred years ago) I dedicated my life to becoming a life master and played bridge several times a week and made it to every major tournament I could. I took lessons and spent hours talking to and watching Oswald and Jim Jacoby (who played at my club in Dallas).

Thousands of people all over the country were, and still are, doing the same thing just to achieve Life Master status.

Once I became a Life Master I was inspired to continue, as my new status gave me a very special standing in the Bridge community, and I had invested so much time and money and energy to achieve that status I was addicted to the game.

For those who might ask why I am now playing more Backgammon than Bridge, there are many reasons, including the most important: Backgammon is a better game and more fun. Of course, it is also a better gambling game, particularly since it is 10 times easier to cheat at Bridge and there was always a tremendous risk playing Bridge for money with anyone but close friends and people you trust greatly. (Even the world champion Italian team who kept beating the Dallas Aces were found to have been cheating to win every year.)

So a system that rewards not only skill and wins, but also accumulates points just because you showed up, works for Bridge, and I have been "preaching" for 30 years that this is what Backgammon needs as well.

At the same time, why not still have a Giant's List? What does it hurt? And why not have another list that ranks only the very top players by W/L and by PR? What would it hurt?

I believe that publishing skill and performance for the lower echelon players is a more of a deterrent than an attraction, as players who are not that good are not excited about their poorer skills being broadcast and listed world-wide.

So my opinion is leave the purely skill-based reporting for only Open players--they are already committed to the game, and for the rest of the community, including open players, have a point system more aligned with Bridge.

I really like Ken's (and other's) thinking...trying to come up with a system that encourages participation and at the same time trying to find a way to rank the players...but let's only try to rank the top level players for the reasons stated, and let's not assume we must eliminate one thing in order to institute something new.

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