I have over 300 masterpoints! Yay! 🙂 And, I got my fake Life Master (fLM) in the best way: with fake points. 🙂
You see, the ACBL instituted a really stupid rule the year before I joined. The rank of Life Master has colored point requirements, intended (to some extent) to require you to play at high-skill events to qualify for the rank. For most people, the hardest color to get is gold, because getting gold requires you to play at a (so-called) nationally ranked* event…and win. You’re also required to get a certain quantity of silver (sectional level) and red (regional level) points. So, it’s Gold > Red > Silver > Black (club games) > Colorless (internet play). These colored requirements existed before I joined. And, I have a ton of red points, all the silver I need plus some, and all the gold I need plus some. I also have a high amount of colorless points, because we play on the internet (BBO) alot.
But, the year before I joined, the ACBL instituted a rule that requires you to get black points. Specifically, you have to get 50 black points, which is more than any other required color. And, unlike any other colored point, having the point color that is a rank above black doesn’t count toward black points. That is, you can’t use a spare 50 silver points as black points.
Here’s my beef with this rule (aside from that it’s keeping me from being an official LM):
- It’s damn hard to get 50 black points. Club games don’t give out very many points per session, because they’re *club* games…they aren’t supposed to be very competitive, so they don’t reward you very much for winning. Also, they don’t get high attendance, and point award limits are based on attendance. The most you can get is ~1.5 points, for a top award at a well-populated club game. So, just getting up to 50 points is much harder than at a sectional, regional, or national.
- You can only get black points at clubs. Silver points are occasionally given out at clubs, and red points are sometimes given out at NAOPs and GNTs (special events that aren’t regionals). But, the only way you can get black points is to go to a club game.
- Most club games are held during the day, because most club players are retired. We’re actually relatively lucky to have as many club games near us as we do, but even with that, it’s very hard for a person who works a standard week to get out to a club game. If you live in an area less bridge-oriented than here, it’s very likely that you, as a working person, wouldn’t be able to find a club game at all. (By the way, even though there are two clubs here with decent timing that are 10 and 23 miles away from us respectively, we’re also a bit screwed because this area has a higher-than-normal density of very good bridge players…meaning those club games are VERY hard to win.)
- Even though the concerns with internet play are mostly unfounded and based on fear rather than reality (and easily preventable if the ACBL cared to do so), internet “clubs” don’t get you black points. They get you colorless points, and only a third of your points for any rank can be colorless. Meaning, for LM, only 100 colorless points count, even if you have more than that. (I don’t have more than 100 colorless, but it’d be much easier for me to hit that point count than to get 50 black, just because there are more internet games in the evenings and on weekends, and I don’t have to leave the house to do one.)
- With the exception of the club games in this area, club games don’t (or shouldn’t) require special skill to win. You’re generally playing with the same people over and over again, not a wide base of bridge talent. So, whereas the red and gold requirement (and even silver to some extent) can be justified as requiring a certain level of play, the club point requirement only exists to force you to spend $$$ at the clubs, which were supposedly suffering vs. regionals and sectionals. And rather than let the bridge version of the free market do its job, the ACBL created an artificial incentive to bail out the clubs.
If I gave a damn (or if I thought the ACBL did), I might write all of this down and send it to them. But, I’m pretty well convinced that the ACBL is filled with retirees who, for all their moaning about getting young people to play, are not willing to learn or accept the technology that would actually encourage people my age and younger to take up the game…and that they’re arrogant asses to boot. So, I’ve decided I’m quite happy with being a fake Life Master and that I may well *intentionally* avoid club games just so that I never get my LM under this stupid rule.
Oh, and what’s better is that I got my fLM with internet points. Ha and ha! Take that, ACBL! fLM party to be scheduled at a later date…possibly over Memorial Day weekend. 🙂
* Note: There’s a color even higher than gold: platinum. The events that award platinum are what I would consider nationally ranked events…but that’s just semantics, I suppose.