Welcome to the website for ACBL Unit 526 (U526). We are the La Jolla and Beach Unit in District 22 (D22) of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). Our games are held at 1 PM on the second and fourth Sundays of each month at the Soledad Club at 5050 Soledad Road in Pacific Beach (See also the Interactive Google Map of major San Diego clubs). We tradeoff the occasional fifth Sunday with San Diego Unit 539. If you play bridge but are unfamiliar with duplicate (tournament) play, check out Karen Walker’s introduction. Completely new to the game? Check out the ACBL’s Learn to Play web page.
Joint unit NLM Sectional was successful
The joint La Jolla, San Diego, and Coronado-Eastlake NLM sectional held September 16th and 17th (Friday and Saturday) was a success, both in terms of table count and financially. We had 64 tables, an average of 32 per day. This was a little better than the 54 tables over two days at the La Jolla NLM sectional last year at the fabulous location of the Beach and Tennis Club. It also comparable to recent San Diego unit NLM sectional table counts of 51, 57, 71, and 62, all of which ran for three days rather than two days. And the 32 tables / day average exceed the 13 year San Diego area NLM sectional average of 25 tables / day. Financially, the units are collectively ahead about $300, considerably better than the break even or even small loss the unit have taken individually on NLM sectionals.
Co-chairs Mike Koscielski, from the San Diego unit, and John Dusharme, the Coronado-Eastlake president, did the bulk of the work. This was Mike’s first tournament, so special congratulations to him. Only now can we tell him that he purchased a 10-pack of tournaments. Lynne Anderson from our unit handled partnerships. Matthew Kidd designed the tournament logo and posted the results. The unit also provided the laptop for scoring and all the table placards.
Participation was good from all three units, 20 players from the La Jolla unit, 43 from the San Diego unit, and 28 players from Coronado-Eastlake unit. Factoring in the disparity in unit membership, it works out to 6% of the La Jolla unit membership, 6% of the San Diego unit membership, and 17% of the Coronado-Eastlake membership. The last percentage is undoubtedly high because the new Knights of Columbus venue was close to the Eastlake players and Kathie Angione did a good job encouraging the regulars at her club to attend. We picked up an additional 20 players from the two north county units, 16 more players from Southern California (as far away as Palm Springs), and 7 from more distant lands.
Unit board changes
The unit board is finally back to its full strength. At the July board meeting, the board appointed Susan Koshkarian to fill a long standing vacancy. Susan will serve out a term than ends in the summer of 2018. In August, Val Frager stepped down and was replaced by Gail Dunham who was appointed to serve out a term that ends in the summer of 2017. Gail has helped so much with hospitality, particularly at our sectionals, that it just seems like she has been on the board before, but this is actually her first time serving. Welcome aboard Susan and Gail.
Card fees increasing to $10
The board voted in August to raise the card fees to $10 effective September 1, 2016. Although core inflation remains very low, our expenses are rising. Recently, the sanction fee for Unit Championships was increased from $1.25 to $2.25 per table, or 25 cents per player. The across the board sanction fee increases imposed by the ACBL are probably partly in response to the $1.5m ACBLscore+ debacle, a matter where the ACBL undoubtedly shares some blame despite their best denials and obfuscations. Our rent is going up $15 per day in September which works out to 23 cents / player given our 16.6 average table count for FY 2015-2016. Our directing expenses increased in January in terms of the minimal payment to the director in what averages to an increase of 33 cents / player. Food is also outpacing the core inflation rate. The total of these increased costs is nearly $1 per player.
The rats have been expelled
The two most flagrant cheating pairs were expelled from the ACBL by the Ethical Oversight Committee during the Washington D.C. NABC. Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes were expelled on Tuesday July 26th. Lotan Fisher and Ron Schwartz were expelled the following day. In both cases the committee cited, “overwhelming evidence establishes that charged parties engaged in collusive cheating.” Both pairs forfeit 100% of their total ACBL masterpoint holdings, with loss of all titles, status ranks and privileges.
It is very encouraging that the ACBL took a firm approach, particularly in light of the European Bridge League’s disappointing ban of Fantoni and Nunes for only five years. Justice can not be fully achieved because the event formats, primarily knockout teams, do not permit the rankings of the tainted events to be reassigned with any sort of confidence insofar as the would be winner may have been cheated out of their win in an early round. But deterrence is both achievable and necessary and this week is a big step in the correct direction.
Also a new Anti-Cheating Commission is now active. Serving as commissioners are Boye Brogeland, Norway; John Carruthers, Canada; Eric Laurant, Netherlands; Brad Moss, U.S.A. and Howard Weinstein, U.S.A.
On , Josef Piekarek and Alexander Smirnov were suspended for four years, beginning , and given a lifetime ban from playing together as a pair in all ACBL-sanctioned events. In accordance with the Code of Disciplinary Regulations 2.2.3 (f), the ACBL CEO is honoring the discipline imposed by the European Bridge League.
Tournament Travel Distances
How far do players travel to NABCs and regionals? Does travel behavior vary significantly from district to district? Can tournaments be classified into types based solely on the shape of their travel histograms? What kind of regionals do we run in D22? See the results for all the 2015 NABCs and regionals.
Al Silverman passed away in June
Al Silverman passed away in June, another loss from the era of Marvin French, Evan Bailey, and Anne Terry.
David Oakley wrote a short biography and some memories.
Tournament Table Counts
The ACBL held 1266 tournaments in 2015. How does this breakdown in terms of NABCs, regionals, sectionals, and STaCs? What is the table count of a typical regional or sectional? To what extent does district participation in tournament play vary in terms of average number of sessions per player in a year? Is it correlated with club participation? Does the tournament schedule affect participation? See the results.
GCC now allows 1NT with a singleton A, K, or Q
As of the Washington D.C. NABC, it’s official: you can have a partnership agreement permitting opening or overcalling 1NT with a singleton ace, king, or queen. Previously this was considered a psych and therefore could not be a partnership agreement. This change to the General Convention Chart (GCC) brings the ACBL into alignment with a practice embraced by many experts. Read the full announcement.
Club Table Counts
The ACBL has just over 3000 clubs. How many tables does a typical club have in a year? What is the distribution of club table counts? Which ACBL districts has the highest number of club sessions per member? To what extent do the biggest clubs dominate the total club table count? Do big clubs significantly raise a districts average number of club sessions per player? See the results.
An ACBL Redistricting Proposal
At the unit and district level, one member one indirect vote is rigorously enforced. This falls apart completely at the national level where all significant policy decisions are made. Representation is far from equal. Each district has one vote on the national board of directors but district populations vary from slightly over 3,300 to just over 20,000 (D9 – Florida). This suggests redistricting is long overdue.
While we are at it, let’s shrink the size of the board, killing two birds with one stone, to create the leaner meaner decision making machine that our times require. Read more.
Unit game results available on Bridge Results
The unit games results are now also available on Bridge Results for 2015 and 2016. These are permanently linked from the yellow menu bar under Events → On Bridge Results. The Bridge Results presentation includes the standard ACBLmerge format used on the unit website but also includes additional features such photo galleries of winners (example), a hand by hand viewer, and inclusion of the results in player pages (example).
History of Unit 549 (San Diego North County Inland)
Rex Latus has done a good job writing up the history of Unit 549. We should try to do this for our own unit. Volunteers? Do I hear volunteers?
Maritha Pottenger’s handouts online
Maritha Pottenger has created many one or two page bridge handouts in the course of teaching bridge in the San Diego area for several years. 42 of them are now available online in PDF form (13 added February 27th). Check back regularly for more.
September 25th winners: Freda Anderson and Gail Dunhamn (Flt A), Ben Domurat and Frederick France (Flt B + C, 2nd Flt A).
September 11th winners: Judy Rimer and Lynne Feldman (Flt A), Carolyn Casey and Marilyn Peters-Dunn (Flt B and 2nd Flt A), Branko Obradovic and Bridget Poizner (Flt C).
August 28th winners: Lynn and Janice Wells (Flt A + B), Barbara Blake and Patricia Wilkey (Flt C).
Looking for Soledad Club results instead?
What is the worth of AKQxxx? — a geeky tale of probability and simulation.
More hands: The Bridge Goddess Thumbs Her Nose, “Down Ten” John, Necessary Shape, The Self-Forced Declarer, Shifting Forces, The Two-Six Dream, The Submarine Ruff, Suicide King, Curiously Wrong-sided, Triumph of the Intermediates, and Lady Lavender. Hand Index.
Days of Thunder, a review and discussion of Eric Rodwell’s The Rodwell Files: Secrets of a Bridge Champion and a close look at one of the many fascinating hands presented therein.
ACBLmerge, ACBLgamedump, and Bridge Results
ACBLmerge 1.3.5 was released on November 19, 2014. It adds full support for Mac OS X. ACBLmerge 1.3.4 was released on November 7, 2014. This is primarily a bug fix release, including the fix of several bugs in the par calculation. Double dummy calculation is now faster and clicking on a board number in the recap sheet navigates to that hand in the main report. Read more.
Since December 2011, Philippe Lamoise, a bridge player in the North County unit, has been developing the Bridge Results website and I have been making many improvements to ACBLmerge to integrate with the functionality provided by his website. Now it is easy for club directors, club managers, and tournament officials to upload game results using a web interface without knowing anything about running ACBLmerge. Read more about Bridge Results.
Programmers may be interested in the more recent ACBLgamedump utility for directly reading ACBLscore game files, based on the ACBLscore game file format documentation (reverse engineered). This utility is tied to the future of ACBLmerge and has been used by Bridge Results in recent times to generate de novo reports.
Contacts and Board InformationE-mail the Webmaster, E-mail the La Jolla Board, Contact a board member, Board Members, Governance, Minutes, Financials
2016 Annual Masterpoint RacesU526 Mini-McKenney, D22 Mini-McKenney, National Mini-McKenney
U526 Ace of Clubs, D22 Ace of Clubs, National Ace of Clubs
The Mini-McKenney counts total masterpoints earned for the year and the Ace of Clubs counts only masterpoints earned at clubs as opposed to sectionals, regionals, and nationals. There are multiple brackets for each race based on the number of masterpoints a player has at the start of the year.
Find news that has migrated off the homepage on the Table Talk page or the Youth Teaching and Masterpoint Notes blogs. Unit News published in the Contract Bridge Forum is also available on our website. The Education & Resources page contains many links to rules and regulations, San Diego players, bidding and card play, online play, and even a bit of humor. The Free Bridge Software page has descriptions and links to some great free programs. The Analysis Projects page links to some in-depth analyses of bridge data, including the The Payoff Matrix.
The Conventional Wisdom series (, 1.6 MB) from the ACBL Bulletin explains how to fill out a Convention Card accurately. Unlike the version on the ACBL website, our version has the entire series in a single document, complete with an index.
Marvin French resurrected
He is baaaack! Or at least his website is. The webhosting contract for Marvin’s original website lapsed in 2015, a few months after his death. Shortly after Evan Bailey passed away I told Marvin that I had vacuumed up a copy of Evan’s website so that I could re-host it after the webhosting contract lapsed. Marvin was happy to hear that and hoped I would do the same for him after he “kicked the bucket.” So here you go, Marvin!
Marvin French’s many contributions to bridge literature include Squeeze Refresher, his Bidding Handbook (Four-Card Majors: Western Natural Updated), Defense Handbook, AmBIGuous Diamond Bidding System, Skeleton Bidding System, Party Bridge Guide, Beating the Experts, Fairness in Duplicate Pairs Games. Five vs. Four, and other bridge articles. He also wrote about blackjack, literature, and reasoned skepticism.