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La Jolla Bridge (Unit 526)

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.

Upcoming Events

Date Spacer Event
November 29  - Stratified Open Pairs
December 13  - Holiday Party (flyer)
December 27  - Stratified Open Pairs
Full 2015 Schedule
District 22 and 23 tournaments

The fifth Sunday November 29th game will be at the Soledad Club, as originally scheduled. Last Sunday, the calendar in the Soledad Club kitchen indicated that the Soledad Club might have inadvertently scheduled a wedding on the 29th. But this is not the case.

2015 Holiday Party

The unit holiday party will be on December 13th at 11:30 am at the Soledad Club. Catering will be from the French Gourmet. Early reservations are recommended. Download the flyer with the reservation form. The price is $20 if you have played in six or more La Jolla unit games during 2015; otherwise $25. If you are not sure whether you qualify for the discounted rate, check this list.

Ken Monzingo elected as the 2016 ACBL President

This just in—our district Ken Monzingo has been elected the 2016 ACBL President. His term will start at the Passing of the Gavel ceremony at the Palm Springs regional in December. Ken has pushed for terms limits on the National Board of Directors and though his efforts to date have failed, he has announced his intention to follow his principles and step down at the end of his current term. He will therefore serve his last year as ACBL President.

Joe Houde takes over from Matthew Belau

The Scripps Ranch Bridge Club is now the Queen of Hearts Bridge Club, still at the Scripps Ranch Community Center. Matthew Belau wrote: “As most of you know, we have had quite a lot of fun at the Scripps Ranch Community Center the past seven years… it’s never been about making money, and is not now. It’s about getting back some free time.” The very competent Joe Houde is directing at the new club.

Fantoni-Nunes busted—the rats are being flushed out

card shark showing the eight of diamonds

The once supposedly world class partnership of Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes has been busted for cheating. Boye Brogeland, assisted by fellow experts Ishmael Del’Monte, Brad Moss, Kit Woolsey, Jeff Meckstroth, Chris Willenken, Norman Beck, Tom Hanlon, Per-Ola Cullin, and Steve Weinstein, has presented compelling statistical evidence, backed by hand records and video footage, that the pair was cheating in numerous events by a prearranged signalling method involving the orientation of the opening lead. They confirmed a prearranged signalling theory first put forward by Maaijke Mevius from the Netherlands. Michael Clark has summarized the evidence in a video that shows many leads and the cards in the suit led. Other prearranged signals are alleged but to date only the most statistically compelling method has been presented.

The evidence is very damning. Hopefully the national bridge organizations (NBOs) and the ACBL will take appropriate disciplinary action. A lifetime ban from the game is certainly merited. A ten year ban, including a lifetime ban on Fantoni and Nunes playing as a partnership, would be an absolute minimum punishment.

The Fantoni-Nunes scandal has arrived less than two weeks after the unraveling of the Lotan Fisher and Ron Schwartz partnership, where video evidence was also key.

September 19th update: Germany withdraws from the Bermuda Bowl after Alex Smirnov admits there is some truth to the rumors circulating about his partnership with Josef Piekarek. Also see Roy Welland’s statement and apology to Boye Brogeland and also Sabine Auken’s statement, both former teammates of Smirnov-Piekarek.

September 23rd update: The cheating story has trickled down to Newsweek.

September 25th update: The Polish pair Cezary Balicki and Adam Zmudzinski falls under suspicion as the credentials committee of the World Bridge Federation withdraws the pair’s invitation to the Bermuda Bowl.

October 30th update: Lotan Fisher, Ron Schwartz, Fulvio Fantoni, and Claudio Nunes have had their ACBL memberships suspended, pending hearings on charges brought before the ACBL Ethical Oversight Committee.

Kevin Lane prevails in D23 Board of Directors election

Kevin Lane

Kevin Lane has prevailed in the District 23 (Los Angeles area) national board of directors election, the position Ken Monzingo holds in our district, despite behind the scenes opposition from Suzi Subeck, the current ACBL president. He beat incumbent Rand Pinsky 55-34 in raw votes and by the slightly smaller margin of 59% to 41% in the weighted voting result that actually determines the outcome. The electors are the unit board member for each unit in the district and their votes are weighted by the number of members in each unit and the number of unit board members in each unit such that each elector represents an equal number of players in the district.

Kevin has spoken frequently about bridge administration issues, technology issues, the damaging lack of transparency at ACBL headquarters, and the future of bridge, on the Bridge Winners website. A list of his postings and comments on other postings can be found on his Bridge Winners profile page. He has regularly provided detailed and insightful commentary on motions before the National BoD and in 2013 he presented a detailed course of action on technology issues. Unit president Matthew Kidd cheers Kevin’s success and wishes him well: “Kevin stands for real change I believe his emphasis on ‘reality-based, fact-driven ACBL policy’ and transparency is sorely needed at this time. Regarding transparency, Kevin may well be able to achieve with level-headedness, worthy ends that Ken Monzingo sought but obscured in emotionalism.”

Club Table Counts

Every year the ACBL publishes the list of clubs with the highest table counts for the previous year in the Bridge Bulletin. Now you can find this information on the ACBL website: 2015 to date, 2014, 2015 to date (D22 only), 2014 (D22 only). The top District 22 clubs are Laguna Woods, Adventures in Bridge, and Dana Harbor. Last year total club table count was ~14,000 in the San Diego unit vs. ~2,000 in the La Jolla unit. This reflects both the 2.4x larger membership of the San Diego unit and the dominance of Adventures in Bridge. In the online world, Bridge Base Online (BBO) now outdraws OKbridge about 7 to 1 in ACBL sanctioned table count.

He failed to draw trump

Sculpture from Gilgal Gardens

Evening Bridge Is Dying, Help!

Downward red arrow superimposed on a picture of the night sky

After the Soledad Thursday evening game dipped to just four tables (financial break even) for four consecutive weeks in May and June, I asked ACBL headquarters to provide national data on evening bridge table counts. The prognosis for evening bridge is grim. Though total club table count has remained nearly constant for the past 25 years, the percentage of those tables played in the evening has fallen from 44% to 16% over the same time period. Utter annihilation of the evening game looks certain within 15 years but collapse due to low table counts will probably occur within half this projected timeframe. See the data and plots.

Keep evening bridge alive in San Diego! Join us at the Soledad Club at 7 pm every Thursday. We are a fun group and we’ll sharpen your bridge skills.

Field Protection, Diversity, and Shannon Entropy

Shannon entropy equation superimposed on black and white fractal like artwork

Is field protection a meaningful concept? Does a stronger field provide greater field protection? How many unique results are there on a typical board in a big field? How large does a pair game have to be to avoid undersampling? Take a mathematical journey and find out.

Marvin French resurrected

Marvin French

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.

Partial, Game, Slam, and Grand Slam Breakdown

Pie chart of part score, game, slam, and grand slam double dummy breakdown

What is the double dummy breakdown of part score, game, slam, and grand slam contracts? What do real bridge players bid? How does their bidding change as they become stronger players? Do players at regionals behave differently from clubs players? See the results.

ACBLmerge 1.3.5 is now available

ACBLmerge 1.3.5 fully supports Mac OS X out of the box just like Windows.

After more than two years, a new release of ACBLmerge (1.3.4) is now available. Important changes include: (1) numerous bugs fixes in the par calculation (thanks in part to the careful eye of local Randy Dougherty), (2) 30% faster double dummy calculations, (3) replacement of revoked LHA-Archive package with 7-zip, (4) faces will no longer jump around anymore when different sized images are used for the Face View feature, and (5) clicking on a board number on a popup recap will move the main report to that board as if you had clicked on a board number link at the top of the main report.

Programmers may be interested in the new ACBLgamedump utility for directly reading ACBLscore game files. This utility is tied to the future of ACBLmerge.

Lead Solver is also now bundled with the latest version (2.8.0) of Bo Haglund’s double dummy solver (DDS) for a 40% speed improvement over the original Lead Solver and it now runs on Mac OS X and Unix/Linux as well as Windows.

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.

Recent Results

Full results for the 2015 San Diego regional.

November 22nd winners: Kent Hartman and Maritha Pottenger (Flt A), Lawrence Sherman and Ying Lin Gu (Flt B), Evelyn Lantz and Merrel Olesen (Flt C).

November 8th winners: Avram and Susan Ninyo (Flt A + Flt B), Matthew Kidd and Trish Lane (Flt C).

October 11 winners: Lena Jelusich and Tom Tatham (Flt A), Elaine Chan and Michael Mezin (Flt B), Robert Mann and Supriyo Datta (Flt C).

Date Spacer Event
November 22  - Stratified Open Pairs*
November 8  - Stratified Open Pairs
October 11  - Stratified Open Pairs
Full 2015 Results 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
  Looking for Soledad Club results instead?
Mon Aft Thu Eve

*Revised Monday November 23rd at 6 pm: Board 3 had a 150 on the wrong side for Nelson-Nelson vs. Frager-Ignelzi.

What is the worth of AKQxxx? — a geeky tale of probability and simulation.

Rodwell Files book cover

More hands: The Bridge Goddess Thumbs Her Nose, “Down Ten” John, Necessary Shape, The Self-Forced Declarer, and Shifting Forces, The Two-Six Dream, The Submarine Ruff, and Suicide King. 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 and Bridge Results

ACBLmerge Logo
Bridge Results Logo

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.

What’s New

Field Protection, Diversity, and Shannon Entropy. Marvin French’s Bidding Handbook, Defense Handbook, AmBIGuous Diamond Bidding System, Skeleton Bidding System, Party Bridge Guide, Five vs. Four, other bridge articles, and blackjack articles resurrected. Evening Club Bridge Is Dying. Ocean Air Teaching Report + Worksheets. Partial, Game, Slam, Grand Breakdown. ACBLgamedump utility. ACBLscore game file format (reverse engineered) documentation substantially updated.

Contacts and Board Information

E-mail the Webmaster, E-mail the La Jolla Board, Contact a board member camera icon

Board Members, Governance, Minutes, Financials

2015 Annual Masterpoint Races

U526 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.

Other Resources

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 (PDF icon, 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.

If you encounter a Zero Tolerance incident at our unit game or any of the clubs within our unit, please fill out our U526 Zero Tolerance form and return it to Bill Grant, our unit recorder.

Various articles: How to be a Fast Player, Essential Bridge Books, Notes from Kantar’s Modern Bridge Defense books, Esplanade Club Closes.