2016 NLM Regional and Sectional Tournament Summary


The 5th annual Northwest Arkansas Duplicate Bridge Tournament has only been over for five months  but avid bridge players might want to start making plans for next year's tournament which is scheduled for August 4-6, 2017.  The tournament, as always, will be held in Bella Vista and is open to bridge newcomers and bridge heavy-hitters as well.  If you like to travel, eat out, meet people, and have a good time, this tournament is for you!  Events at this year's tournament have been changed.  We have dropped the Charity Open Pairs game Saturday evening and replaced it with a Compact Swiss Teams game.  On Sunday, the Swiss Team event has been dropped and two sessions stratified pairs games added.


By making the "Gold Rush Agenda" a primary focus, we want to attract newcomers and social bridge players to our tournament.  It is important that players in the 0-750 bracket have a playing field to play where they are able to compete and, hopefully, take their game to the next level.  When players win their first gold points, we want to enjoy their success vicariously.  It is no accident that 64 percent of our attendees in 2016 came from the 0-750 strata.  We know that newer duplicate players dream of winning Gold Points.  In the race for master points, one usually finds more weeds than flowers but our flowers are of the "golden" garden variety.


We received high player ratings for overall hospitality, food and beverages, customer service, and player accommodations.    Overall, a post-tournament participant survey resulted in a 94 percent positive rating for our tournament.  “This year we will have two tournament directors instead of one,” stated Tournament Chair Robert Gromatka, “and that should boost our positive ratings even higher.”


Gromatka went on to say that he hopes players who visited Bella Vista “saw more than just bridge tables.”  “The countryside surrounding Bella Vista is very beautiful,” he said and “I hope you all will come back for another year of fun, excitement, and friendly competition.” 


Building on the success of last year's tournament which set a new record with 209 tables in play (the previous record was 204.5 in 2012); this year's tournament hopes to be even better.  “We even came out in the black last year,” according to Len Fettig, Bella Vista DBC manager, “thanks to all the newer players who attended our tournament.”  “We want emerging players and developing intermediates to come and celebrate new bridge milestones in Bella Vista,” he said.  “We'll make it special for you, especially if you are working toward a Life Master or want to earn red and gold points which are not usually offered at a sectional tournament.”


Local players who did well at the 2016 Tournament include:


Joe Scott                      27.65 MP

Marina Scott                22.73

Spencer Cole               21.12

Jim Wart                      17.33

John Jennings              16.20

Tom Graff                   10.30

Roger Koeppe             10.30

Robert Gromatka           9.17

Len Fettig                      8.60  


The highest scoring non-local player was Judy Worden from Fort Smith with 13.08 MP's. 


It's true that duplicate bridge serves an aging demographic.  However, the good news is that we are always going to get older so having fun at a bridge table is one of the best ways to observe that.  Now would be an excellent time to put our 2017 Tournament on your bridge calendars.