Roland Wald decided to step aside as BBO vugraph co-ordinator. The upcoming World Mind Sports Games in Lille, France will be his last event where he is involved in that role. Mr. Wald came to his decision due to a change in the format Bridge Base Online accepts registrations by event organizers for vugraph shows. From now on BBO will use an automated formular for this purpose. According to Mr. Wald, who did the job for ten consecutive years, accepting registration is typically something you should not automate. Only a co-ordinator of flesh and blood is able to judge on what time and in what quantity shows should be broadcasted.
Here you read an email as sent by Roland Wald to threehundred vuegraph commentators clarifying his position:
August 4th, 2012
This is the last email you will get from me. I am no longer needed after the management has decided to automate vugraph. From now on, organisers request vugraph by filling in a form through the vugraph schedule page. I was happy do that when organisers sent the requests to me, but since I have now been automated, the time has come for me to step aside completely. I am not a robot and I don’t want to be one.
I did not ask for the change of format; in fact, I strongly objected, because it makes no sense to change a winning team (format). However, there is not a lot one can do when one does not have a say, so I have taken this new decision ‘ad notam’ and will bow out after the upcoming WMSG in Lille, August 9-23. That decision is mine, and I feel it’s the right one for me, because I can’t support a format I don’t believe in. Feel free to call me old-fashioned when I claim that automation is not necessarily always good, but similarly, in my opinion, being old-fashioned is not necessarily always bad.
I have been involved in BBO vugraph since its earliest days (in 2002). During that time I have logged a massive number of hours organizing, watching, and commentating on vugraph. I could not have done this without each and everyone of you, and I would like you to know that it comes from the bottom of my heart when I say that I am extremely grateful for everything you have done to make vugraph the success it is today. As a team we have managed to make bridge a spectator sport, and that is an achievement we can be very proud of. Many thanks for your support throughout the years.
With this said, I wish BBO all the best with the new project, because I am a true friend of bridge. No-one is indispensable, and I am sure that vugraph will continue to flourish without me. This was obviously not the ending I was dreaming of, but all good things must come to an end. I have strived to be humble in victory, and I will strive to be gracious in defeat.
I don’t know yet who will be organizing voice commentary, but I am informed that BBO will be in touch.
According to him Mr. Wald received within one day already more then hundred heartwarming emails by commentators expressing that they will miss him and that they have their doubts that BBO is doing the right thing here. BBO founder and President Fred Gitelman stresses the fact that by no means the BBO management intends to marginalize Roland Wald. On the contrary according to Mr. Gitelman the new approach will help him to focus his considerable talents in areas for which they are required (organizing effective teams of voice commentators and commentating himself).
Here you read the full statement of the BBO President.
BBO’s decision to automate much of the process of vugraph administration was motivated purely by our desire to make the process more efficient. We were certainly not trying to marginalize, embarrass, or offend Roland in any way. If anything we hoped that taking Roland out of the loop as far as such mundane tasks were concerned would give him more time and energy to focus his considerable talents in areas for which they are required (organizing effective teams of voice commentators and commentating himself).
My partners and I very much appreciate the massive effort that Roland has put into BBO vugraph over the course of many years. He has done a great service to our site and to bridge. We are sorry that Roland has decided to step down from his role of organizing voice commentators as a result of our recent decisions. I am sure I can speak on behalf of many thousands of bridge players from all over the world in saying that I personally hope that Roland will remain willing to act as a BBO vugraph commentator on occasion – he is one of the very best there is.
However this plays out, my partners and I hope that Roland enjoys his well-deserved retirement. We sincerely thank him for his longstanding dedication to BBO vugraph, for the exceptional effort he has made, and for the outstanding quality of his work.
President Bridge Base Online, Ltd.
Interesting point is that Fred Gitelman (in 2005) and Roland Wald (in 2011) were both elected by the international bridge press as Bridge Pesonality of the Year.