Table Talk

woman whispers into a man's ear

Remember the blue publication that arrived in your mailbox more than ten years ago? With the advent of our web site, we no longer publish Table Talk. More information about the La Jolla & Beach Unit 526 can be found on the website than we could ever include in a one page newsletter, like Table Talk.

Grasshopper on the Tournament Trail

Grasshopper on the Tournament Trail
Grasshopper wanted to go on a journey.
“I will find a tournament trail,” he said.
“I will follow that trail wherever it goes.”
One morning Grasshopper found a trail.
It was long and well worn.
It had many tops and bottoms.
“This trail looks fine to me,” said Grasshopper.
“I am on my way!”

Read more.

Adventures in Bridge relocating to Clairemont

It’s official. Adventures in Bridge is moving to a shopping area in Clairemont just off I-805 at the Balboa exit. The new address is 5939 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111. The plan is to hold the last game at the current location on December 19, 2015 and begin play at the new location on December 20th, assuming site modification are completed on time.

Adventures in Bridge has been at its current location for four and half years. The five year lease finished at the end of May 2016 but Adventures in Bridge was offered financial incentives to leave sooner. Finding a new location with sufficient parking was a severe challenge which was not fully met during this relocation. The new location reduces the club’s total table count from 55 to 33, a change that has a big impact on the club which had weekly events that are routinely 45 tables across three pair events (open, 1499er, and NLM). Sectional planning for several units is also affected.

Ken Monzingo elected as the 2016 ACBL President

November 22nd. This just in—our district director 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

As of October 2015, 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.

Kevin Lane prevails in D23 Board of Directors election

Kevin Lane

Kevin Lane has prevailed in the 2015 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.

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.

George Humphrey passed away

George Humphrey

George Humphrey passed away at home on September 28, 2015 after a brief battle with cancer. He was a regular at Adventures in Bridge where he had established partnerships with Ben Domurat and Linda Willingham. He also occasionally played with Gail Dunham and Jeffrey Holmes and in our unit games.

Born in Oakland, California, on September 18, 1938, George and his wife Dee made their home in San Jose where he was an electrical engineer by profession, first with Lockheed and later as a lead engineer with ESL/TRW before his retirement. In the Mad Men era, he was a proud nerd. He was instrumental in many projects involving national security.

George and Dee were gracious hosts to gatherings large and small, impromptu celebrations and planned events. This fit in well with George’s love of playing cards—all kinds, but bridge was his favorite. He met his future wife, Dee, at a bridge club. George played many other games—cribbage, canasta, poker. He was brilliant at all of these, but we always told him he was just lucky. And that’s fine.

He failed to draw trump

Sculpture from Gilgal Gardens

Stanford is runner up in the Collegiate Bridge Bowl

Joshua Wang, Adam Kaplan, Erli Zhou, Ling-Ling Zhang, Edward Yang and Emily Kelly

Emily Kelly (far right), unit board member Ursula Kantor’s granddaughter, played on the Stanford team which was the runner up at the Collegiate Bridge Bowl at the 2015 summer NABC in Chicago.

The final against Chicago was close until Chicago gained 38 IMPs on the first five boards of the last quarter and held on to them for the victory.

Marvin French Movement

For the August 9th game, director Marc Matz ran what he is coining as the Marvin French movement. 17 tables is awkward. With 18 tables, the field is normally split into two 9 tables section with 3 board / round so that each pair meets all the other pairs in opposite direction within their section. With 16 tables, 13 rounds of 2 boards each allows each pair to encounter 81% of the opponents in the opposite direction. If 17 tables is split into two sections, one section will play only 24 boards at 3 boards / round or there will be a different number of boards per round in each section which is awkward to direct. If 17 tables is run as a single section, only 76% of the pairs in opposite direction will be encountered, reducing fairness. One solution is run 14 rounds for a total of 28 boards. This requires fast players… but the unit game players proved up to task. For more read Fairness in Duplicate Pairs Games.

Fourteen Flat

Board 14 from the August 9th unit game was that rarest of results, a completely flat board in a large field. 14 identical results, presumably 4♠ making 5 though curiously N-S can also make 5 on their 4-2 fit! Many of the standard conditions for a very flat board are present: clear major suit game (9 card fit) with notrump seemingly inferior (though +660 is available here), and no two way finesses (it’s possible to run the ♣J here and then later finesse the ♣9 if West covers the ♣J but that is a much worse line than simply finessing the ♣J unless you are very sure West has the ♣Q).

Cass Donovan Memorial

Cass Donavon

Cass Donovan passed away at 6 pm on July 25th. The unit held a memorial for her at noon on Sunday August 9th, an hour before the unit game. Debbie Hedenberg organized the hospitality with help from Judy Elsberry, Judy Hunter, Sydney Jones, and Ann Manaster. Read the memories.

Cass began playing bridge during college in Omaha and took up duplicate bridge in 1997. She has served on the La Jolla unit board since at least 2001, longer than any other recent board member.

Sydney Jones, Ann Manaster, Judy Elsberry, Debbie Hedenberg, and Judy Hunter
Enlarge This ImageSydney Jones, Ann Manaster, Judy Elsberry, Debbie Hedenberg, and Judy Hunter

Ivar Stakgold becomes an emerald life master

Charlotte Blum presents an emerald life master award to Ivar Stakgold

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented an emerald life master (7500 MP) award to Ivar Stakgold at the July 12, 2015 unit game.

Ivar is a mathematician who has done far more than accumulate masterpoints. He holds five national titles: the Silodor Open Pairs, Vanderbilt Knockout Teams, and Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams (all in 1958—what a year!), Spingold Master Knockout Teams (1962), and the Mixed BAM Teams (1969), and has three second place NABC finishes. And he has a 1959 second place finish in the Bermuda Bowl with teammates Harry Fishbein, Sam Fry Jr. Leonard Harmon, Lee Hazen, and Sidney Lazard. He even has a Wikipedia page.

The Platinum LM and Grand LM ranks both require 10,000 MP but the latter requires winning a national title. Holding not one, but rather five national titles and having earned many of his masterpoints before the great masterpoint inflation of the new millennium, Ivar is surely an honorary Grand LM whether or not he sits in a chair for another 2,500 MP.

Even if you have not met Ivar at the bridge table his name may be sound familiar because Ivar is a regular contributor to the It’s Your Call bidding forum of the Contract Bridge Forum newspaper.

Ivar’s mathematical work concentrated on boundary value problems, i.e. scenarios where a continuous (smooth) function is to be determined over a volume given a knowledge of its values or derivatives on a surface. These problems are highly relevant to both classical and quantum physics and have numerous practical engineering applications. One such practical application is the time evolution of the temperature within a solid when heat is applied to the surface of the solid.

2014-2015 Annual Financial Report

Financial spreadsheet logo

The 2014-2015 unit annual financial report is available in summary form with comparisons to the previous three financial years and also in a month-by-month form (Excel file icon, Excel file icon) showing month-by-month income and expense.

The unit showed a profit of $820.36 for the 2014-2015 year. More than half of the profit ($429.20) was generated by investment income. The unit would like to thank our treasurer Barbara Blake for the careful preparation of these reports and a sensible investment strategy.

May sectional profit was down significantly from the previous year, approximately $400 vs. $1,800 last year. But this was partly offset by a $1 increase in the table fees last November and the stabilization of the average table count at 17.0 for FY 2014-2015 after a concerning dip to 15.6 in FY 2013-2014.

2015 Election Results


Five unit board terms expired in June. At our Annual Meeting and Election game on June 14th, Lynne Anderson and Ron Ignelzi were reelected to a 2015-2017 term. Bob Brobst, Val Frager, and Mary Scott Knoll joined the board bringing us back up to our full strength of ten board members.

At the July meeting, the unit board chose to keep the current set of officers 2015-2016: Matthew Kidd as president, Ursula Kantor as vice-president, Barbara Blake as treasurer, and Lynne Anderson as secretary.

Bob Brobst had a successful run betting on horses for profit. His first love is tennis but bridge is a close second. He has been playing with Matthew Kidd at the Soledad Club Thursday night game for several months and at other locations around town. Val Frager is a regular at the Beach and Tennis Club, has helped with the La Jolla High teaching for the last three years, and co-chaired our January 2015 NLM sectional with Ron Ignelzi (tournament report). Mary Scott Knoll switched units to serve on our board. She is president of the local chapter of the Aztec Bridge Club, has served on the San Diego unit board as NLM tournament chair, was the major driver for the Shuffle, Deal, and Cook youth bridge fundraiser, and is a Soledad Thursday night regular, partnering with Thomas Burgeson.

The new members bring a welcome diversity to our board which should allow us to better serve our entire unit and the greater San Diego bridge community, both existing and yet untapped. I believe this will translate into concrete action; for example by hosting a Learn Bridge in a Day session within our unit.

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.

New Tournament Flight: Mid-Flight

For 2015, the ACBL is experimenting with a new flight for pairs events, called the Mid-flight, that would fit between the Gold Rush (0-750) and the open flight. Recall that flighted events are separated whereas the players in a stratified event play each other but are ranked in their strat and all higher strats for the purpose of awarding masterpoints. A typical mid-flight event would have an upper limit of 3000 MP and strats of 1500 and 3000 MP. The second change is the addition of a third strat to open A/X events. Typical strats might be 1500, 3000, and unlimited.

I take a dim view of Mid-flight. At some point players need to grow up and face real opponents. This should be the Gold Rush Graduation. Adding a third strat to open events is a great idea so long as all the players in the lowest strat aren’t drawn away by Mid-flight events. This gives new graduates a chance to continue winning masterpoints, a necessary motivation for some, while being exposed to serious bridge.

Trish Lane’s Recipes

bowl of vegetables

Players have really enjoyed Trish Lane’s hospitality offerings at our unit games and some have asked for recipes. Trish reveals three recipes.

Greg Chaffee and David Oakley won the Weiss Trophy

Greg Chaffee and David Oakley pose with the Weiss Trophy

Greg Chaffee and David Oakley won the Weiss Trophy at the June 14th Annual Meeting and Election unit game.

This pair also won the Weiss Trophy in 2002. David holds the record for the most number of Weiss trophy wins, having also won the trophy with his wife Pauline in 1976 and David Walters in 2009.

Phyllis Pankow, Irv Gold, Gail Whiteley, Doug Woodworth, Ornette Coleman, and Omar Sharif all passed away this summer

Irv Gold
Irv Gold
Irv Gold
Doug Woodworth
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif

Phyllis Pankow, Irv Gold, and Gail Whiteley all passed away in June 2015. Doug Woodworth passed away on July 1st.

Phyllis was 88 when she passed away on June 8th. She had a regular partnership with Betty-Jo Petersen at our unit game and with Ralph Baty on Thursday nights at the Soledad Club until Ralph passed away last summer. She had also regularly partnered with Mary Anne Scott and Alice Leicht and also with Elizabeth Garber, Jeffrey Holmes and Vi Breckenridge at AIB.

Irv Gold was 73 when he passed away on June 9th. He lived in Carmel Valley but played regularly in our unit game in 2013 and 2014, often partnering with Valerie Gwin.

Gail Whiteley lived in San Marcos.

Judge Woodworth passed away at age 87 from pulmonary fibrosis after a short hospital stay. He had his family with him at the end. Read his obituary. A memorial service will be held at All Soul's Episcopal Church at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 8. It will be followed by a reception at The Thursday Club in Point Loma. The family encourages donations to the San Diego Rescue Mission, The Committee of 100, or a charity of choice.

Ornette Coleman passed away on June 11th at age 85. He wasn’t a bridge player but so what—put down your cards and crank up the The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959). What a badass!, the last of a generation.

Omar Sharif, the Egyptian-born actor known for his roles in Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, passed away on July 10th. He also knew a thing or two about bridge. Asked why he spent so much time at bridge when he could have been making movies, he once replied: “The real question is why I spend so much time making movies when I could be playing bridge.” Memories from the bridge community and Quotes.

Anne Terry Update

Good news: the evening after my report at the June 14th San Diego unit game that Anne Terry had stopped eating two weeks prior, her daughter sent me this update:

Mom is back! Somehow with the care of hospice and the gals at the house, Mom has made a miraculous recovery. Those German genes won't stop! Guess they are pretty darn strong! As the hospice nurse told me: it will be like a roller coaster ride! So we are on it!

Unit Zero Tolerance Form

In May 2015 we had a Zero Tolerance incident at our unit game. I am happy to say it did not involve one our regular players but disappointed to see it happen at all. Although the unit had previously upheld its commitment to the Zero Tolerance policy and was prepared to take action, the complaintant requested that we not do so. However, during the ensuing discussion it became apparent that the unit was remiss in not have a Zero Tolerance report form. As a result we have created a form, modeled after the San Diego unit’s form. Printed copies will be available at unit games and it can also be downloaded from the unit website via the Resource → Zero Tolerance Form menu.

Review of Innovative Slam Bidding

Cover of Innovative Slam Bidding book

Even world class players only bid about half the available double dummy slams at team play where slam bidding can result in a game swing. Life masters in pair events are only bidding 28% of their slams.

Irwin Landow thinks we can do better. Read more about his book Innovative Slam Bidding.

Find a unit game partner online

ACBL Partnership Desk

The ACBL has a new online partnership desk. It works for all ACBL sanctioned events, including tournaments, clubs games, and even unit games. Try the U526 unit game link (ACBL login required). The Partnership Desk functionality is new but please give it a try. I had Bruce Knoll at ACBL headquarters run some database queries for me. 60,000 of you have logged into the ACBL at least once since the ACBL website was overhauled last summer, which works out to almost exactly half the players who have attended at least one tournament since that time. You probably logged in to check your masterpoints. Get ready to do more on the ACBL website.

NABC Fund-Raising Game Money Grab

outstretched hand

Should D22 players financially subsidize NABC hospitality for the Fall 2017 San Diego NABC? It doesn’t seem logical to me. Read more.

Dale Phillips and Peter Clark are (bronze) life masters

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented a bronze life master award to Dale Phillips and a life master award to Peter Clark at the April 26, 2015 unit game. Peter joined the ACBL after the new life master requirements went into effect January 1, 2010 so he is effectively a bronze life master under the old system.

Diana Marquardt becomes a gold life master

Charlotte Blum presents a gold life master award to Diana Marquardt

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented a gold life master award to Diana Marquardt at the April 12, 2015 unit game.

Diana is a doctor and a hospital administrator. She was a regular partner in our unit games with Steve Johnson before Steve moved to Hawaii.

April Fools joke at the San Diego regional

The celebrity speakers at the annual San Diego regional are getting more interesting every year. This year we had a prominent Air Force general and a local expert from the past. The unknown prankster appears to be cynical about the ACBL’s Zero Tolerance policy and/or the organization’s commitment to the policy.

Old school cool

Chorus Girls Relax (1928)
Enlarge This ImageChorus girls relaxing between scenes during the filming of Broadway (1928)

Look close. They’re playing our game and even have a kibitzer. Perhaps a third of adults in the United States played bridge back in 1920s.

ACBL Technology committee Q&A in New Orleans

The ACBL Technology committee held a Q&A session at the New Orleans NABC. There is much to note. They released a two hour video of the session on YouTube which I’ve tried to distill in a commentary with many excerpts that can be read in 10–15 minutes. Much of the discussion involves the replacement of ACBLscore and the discontinuation of work on ACBLscore+ announced last summer at the Las Vegas NABC. Our district director, Ken Monzingo, has been supporting ACBL management in a knee jerk manner but the reality appears much more nuanced. ACBL members deserve a detailed and balanced assessment of the ACBL’s role in the ACBLscore+ debacle.

2014 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results

Anant Rathi
Anant Rathi

The 2014 La Jolla Unit Masterpoint Race Winners are final. Anant Rathi also won his Mini-McKenney bracket (300-500) at the district level and placed fourth at the national level. Carol Abramowitz (500-1000), and Elaine Chan (1000-2500) convincingly won their Mini-McKenney brackets. Helen Miller was just behind Frank Fu in the 0-5 Mini-McKenney bracket and Bill Grant was just behind David Abelow in the 5000-75000 bracket.

January 2015 NLM sectional tournament report

The January 2015 non-life master (NLM) sectional was our most successful NLM tournament since the unit resumed hosting NLM sectionals in 2012. Ron Ignelzi, the tournament co-chairman, has written a tournament report (includes pictures).

Tolstoy understood bridge players

The dead man lay, as dead men always lie, in a specially heavy way…

He [Peter Ivanovich] felt that Schwartz was above all these happenings and would not surrender to any depressing influences. His very look said that this incident of a church service for Ivan Ilych could not be a sufficient reason for infringing the order of the session — in other words, that it would certainly not prevent his unwrapping a new pack of cards and shuffling them that evening while a footman placed fresh candles on the table… Read more.

2014 President’s Awards

Continuing his emphasis on partnerships and statistics rather than individuals and what the late great Victor Mollo called monster points, unit president Matthew Kidd presented the second annual President’s awards at the January 11, 2015 unit game based on the unit game results for 2014.


Despite decades of study, including work by Steve’s esteemed colleagues, science has not found a solution to Bridgeauszeichnungangst, the fear of receiving a bridge award. The pharmaceutical industry estimates a successful drug would increase industry profit by 0.000001%.

Nonetheless, Steve Seagren is now a silver life master. Charlotte Blum presented his award at the December 28, 2014 unit game.

Bridge Solver for Android smartphones

John Goacher has written the smartphone app that I wanted to develop in a world of infinite time. I’m glad someone did it and made it free too!

Bridge Solver is a double dummy solver that runs on Android smart phones. Within it you can navigate a web browser to a results page, for example one of the ACBLmerge unit game results, and click on the PBN link (near the top of the page) to save all the hands to the app. Then you can open any hand and explore the double dummy lines of play, much as you have long been able to do at a Windows desktop using the Bridgify software. For example, in the partial screenshot at the right, the subscripts on each card indicate the number of tricks that can be taken when the card is led. Green cards are optimal plays.

Like ACBLmerge and so many other programs, Bridge Solver relies on Bo Haglund’s double dummy solver (DDS) which in turn saw significant performance gains in 2014 as a result of improvements by Soren Hein. Good work, guys!

2014 Holiday Party

ribbon and holly

The 2014 La Jolla unit holiday party (flyer) was held at the La Jolla Country Club. Board members received a lot of positive feedback from attendees.

Card fees increasing to $9

dollar sign

The board voted in November to raise the card fees to $9 effective November 23, 2014. This fee increase is primarily the result of declining table counts. As recently as FY 2010-2011, the average table count was almost exactly 20. There was a notable drop in FY 2011-2012 to 17.6 and another significant drop in FY 2013-2014 to 15.7. Although some of the game expenses scale with the number of players, others such as rent, the caddy, janitorial service mandated by our lease, and insurance, do not.

Suzi Subeck (D13) will be the 2015 ACBL President

Suzi Subeck of District 13 will be the 2015 ACBL President. Our D22 national representative, Ken Monzingo, had also sought this position, edged out 11-13 with one board member abstaining.

Bob Heller, the District 7 (Mid-Atlantic region) representative wrote:

She [Suzi Subeck] is the third president from the past five contested races who won with the bare minimum. Another got 14 votes. An excellent man lost, a former ACBL Volunteer of the Year and a real “players’ board member” who is not reluctant to speak up for the masses even if it might be against the elite or those in power too long. That probably cost him the election.

Healthy news: Suzi is a very hard worker who devotes count less hours every week to bridge. She has shared some fine ideas about committee structure, and we should expect a lot to get done.

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 of Bo Haglund’s double dummy solver (DDS) for a 20% speed improvement over the original Lead Solver.

You can be a fast player

Speedy Gonzales

Matthew Kidd explains his principles of Avoidance and Anticipation in the article How to be a Fast Player.

Soledad Thursday evening game will continue

The Soledad Thursday evening game will continue. Larry Sherman will direct the game after Marc Matz directs his last Thursday evening game on October 23, 2014.

Treasury trove of awards

Both outgoing treasurer Chuck Wilson and incoming treasurer Barbara Blake recently became Bronze Life Masters. Unit President Matthew Kidd presented their awards at the August 24, 2014 unit game.

Learn to Play Bridge in a Day

Learn Bridge in a Day

La Jolla unit’s own Roy Green taught the Learn to Play Bridge in Day program at Adventures in Bridge on Saturday August 23, 2014.

Development of ACBLscore+ discontinued

Development of ACBLscore+ which was to replace the current ACBLscore program has been discontinued. Cessation of work was announced at the National Board of Directors open Q&A meeting at the summer NABC in Las Vegas. Read more.

New ACBL website

New ACBL homepage

The ACBL completely overhauled their website in July 2014, the culmination of many months of effort. The new website is mobile device (i.e. phone and tablet) friendly, has significantly improved search functionality, better navigation features, and enhanced accessibility.

The new design uses a liquid layout which repositions text, images, buttons, and other page elements sensibly as the screen size change. This means the site should work well with nearly all mobile devices without the need to manually customize the website for each new iDevice or Android product.

Accessibility is geek-speak for readable fonts, suitable contrast ratio and similar features that are particularly important to a membership as old as ours.

The overhaul should make the website much easier to maintain and expand because it now built on top of a lot of open source software which is continuously improved by the software community thus allowing the ACBL website developers to focus more on bridge specific issues than reinventing the wheel to scroll a series of pictures, create tabular reports, and similar common tasks. I think this will unleash a wave of creativity. For example, one change already implemented is the ability to view your entire masterpoint history. Check it out and take a trip down memory lane.

Experimental no more

Reading on an iPad

It’s Alive! The experimental Bridge Bulletin viewer is no longer experimental. The ACBL adopted it as part of their major website overhaul, released in June 2014. I worked with the ACBL to make this happen, sharing code and the database. The official version is here and can also be reached via the “Bridge Bulletin Online” link under the “MY ACBL” section at the bottom of the ACBL homepage.

Ralph Baty passed away

Ralph Baty

Ralph Baty passed away on June 25, 2014. He served on the San Diego Unit board for many years and was tournament manager for many of their sectionals. His passing is a big loss for the San Diego bridge community. Ralph frequently played with Sally Ishihara in the La Jolla unit game and on Thursday nights at the Soledad Club.

There was a Celebration of Life ceremony for Ralph at Adventures in Bridge on Saturday July 19th from 5–7 pm. Biography and memories.

Michael Levine becomes a silver life master

Charlotte Blum presents a silver life master award to Michael Levine

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented a silver life master award to Michael Levine at the June 22, 2014 unit game.

Michael regularly plays with his wife Gerri at the Soledad Club and at Adventures in Bridge. They used to play on OKbridge where they went by drapeman and lcutie respectively. Michael received the [Caitlin] Angelfish OKbridge award for his friendliness in the online touraments and when he served a table.

Congratulations, Michael!

Hello from Alice Leicht

Alice Leicht in Honolulu (2014)

Alice Leicht’s daughter, Elaine Nishime, contacted the unit in June 2014 with memories and minor corrections for the Marvin French memorial. She reports that Alice is now enjoying the next 15 months or more in Miami with her younger daughter, Karen. Life in assisted living in Florida is amazingly luxurious! Alice is enjoying her golden years in Hazel Cypen Center. Feel free to contact Alice thru Elaine at or directly at (cut-and-paste of the e-mail addresses may not work due to spam prevention measures).

Elaine says, “My mom really misses bridge and everyone! This was the passion of her life…teaching, reading, history, traveling, food and BRIDGE—not necessarily in that order!

Letha Couch passed away

Letha Couch passed away on June 4, 2014. Biography and memories.

The summer solstice also marks the one year anniversary of the burial of my friend Olly who vanished on Blà Bheinn in the Isle of Skye early in April of last year, a fantastical event seemingly more from a Gabriel García Márquez novel than reality. He was 33 and had a daughter just eighteen months old. Olly was not a bridge player but he was a superb Scrabble player. You may feel some kinship with him in these memories that I wrote for his daughter Thea.

2014 Election Results


Five unit board terms expired in June. At our Annual Meeting and Election game on June 8th, Cass Donovan, Bill Grant, and Matthew Kidd were reelected to a 2014-2016 term. Barbara Blake and Ursula Kantor, the latter having served for several month prior as an appointment to fill out a vacancy, were also elected. Chuck Wilson decided to step down at the end of his term.

The unit board elected its officers for the 2014-2015 term at the July 13th board meeting. Matthew Kidd will remain president. Ursula Kantor is our new vice president, Barbara Blake is our new treasurer, and Lynne Anderson is our new secretary.

Esplanade Club closes

Donna Wood receives a singing telegram
Well, good bye Donna
This is us, Donna

It’s so sad to lose you now that you belong.

Sadly, the Esplanade Club closed on May 18, 2014, a victim of high rent in north county. But a group of club regulars made sure it ended on the right note for club manager and former owner Donna Wood. Read more.

Essential bridge books

bookshelf with books on it

We live in a golden age of bridge literature. Even a starving graduate student could pick up an excellent library of used bridge books for under $200. What are your essential bridge books? I’ve searched though my extensive bridge library and made up my list.

Soledad Club bans smoking at the facility

No smoking

Smokers, please extinguish all smoking materials. The Soledad Club board passed a motion at their April 2014 board meeting establishing the Soledad Club as non smoking facility. The ban applies to the entire exterior area as well as the interior.

Flat as a pancake

Board 10 from the April 13, 2014 unit game was that rarest of creatures, the perfectly flat board in a big field. All 12 East-West pairs bid a heart game and collected +680.

This hand is fairly typical of the few completely flat hands that I have seen: (1) decent field; (2) clear major suit game with the other major and no-trump being obviously inferior contracts; (3) clear line of play, e.g. no two-way finesses, a situation often enhanced by a nine card trump fit; (4) 27-29 total HCP; (5) flattish shape. The fifth criterion is not met on this hand. Indeed I tried with a 4 splinter after 1♣ 1; 2 but this didn’t coax partner into a 4♠ cue-bid. Still, a heart slam is a better than 50% chance. An onside ♣A makes it trivial as does a low spade lead. But 3-3 spades or the ♠J dropping doubleton or singleton does the job too by allowing the third club in dummy to be pitched on the long spade. Spades work out 35.5% + (1/3) × 24.2% + (1/6) × 7.3% of the time = 44.8% of the time. Combined with the ♣A onside chance, declarer only fails ½ × (100 - 44.8%) = 27.6% of the time, i.e. succeeds 72.4% of the time, fine odds at either matchpoints or IMPs.

Two new silver life masters

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented silver life master awards to Marcia Shulman and Joe Pennario at the April 13, 2014 unit game. President Matthew Kidd presented a diamond life master award to Bette Cornelius at the April 27th unit game.

Notes from Kantar’s Modern Bridge Defense books

Now and then, it’s good to review things you may have forgotten, never really learned, or which slowly evolve. I wrote up some notes after quickly reading Kantar’s two volume set Eddie Kantar Teaches Modern Bridge Defense and Eddie Kantar Teaches Advanced Bridge Defense, both published in 1999.

Gillian Cook and Manzoor Khan Indian buffet returns

Anne Terry and Manzoor Kahn

Manzoor Kahn and Gillian Cook’s Indian buffet was a huge success! View the pictures. This is the second time they have prepared a buffet for the unit; the last time was in 2012.

Susan brought her mom Anne Terry to visit. It was really wonderful to see Anne again.

Also the board appointed Ursula Kantor to fill out a vacant 2012-2014 term at the March board meeting that same morning.

Sunday March 9th at Noon


Back by Popular Demand!!

Prepared by Gillian Cook and Manzoor Khan

Chicken Curry Pasanda style (both mild and medium hot),
Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks, Nan, Rice Pudding, and
a Vegetable Medley of cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, potatoes,
spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

2014 Unit Board Changes


Joyce Bailey resigned in February because she is moving to Oregon unexpectedly soon. Chuck Wilson is once again our treasurer. Jill Seagren also resigned, citing extended travels beyond her usual winter travels. Charlotte Blum is our new secretary. The board appointed Ursula Kantor at the March meeting to finish out a 2012-2014 term. If you are interested in serving on the board please contact unit president Matthew Kidd or any other board member.

2013 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results

Peter Clark Lamya Agelidis

The 2013 La Jolla Unit Masterpoint Race Winners are final. Paul Darin also won his Mini-McKenney bracket (2500-5000 MP) at the district level and ranked fourth nationally. Peter Clark was second in his bracket (100-200 MP) at the district level in both contests. Lamya Agelidis, current president of the San Diego unit, won her 500-1000 Mini-McKenney bracket at the national level with 597.40 MP.

Russ Novak, John Adams, Marvin French, and John Devine

John Adams
John Adams
Marvin French
Marvin French
John Devine
John Devine

Russ Novak passed away in January. He served on our unit board for many years and was a regular in our unit games until the summer of 2011.

John Adams passed away on January 17th. He was a Silver Life Master and a regular at all the San Diego tournaments. Biography and memories.

Marvin French passed away on February 16th. He was a very early Life Master (number 1023), achieving the title “when it was hard” as he liked to say—a true statement. Biography and memories.

John Devine passed away on February 17th. He helped the La Jolla unit with the high school bridge teaching at La Jolla High. One year his daughter was a student! Biography and memories

2013 President’s Awards

Stating that he was more interested in partnerships and statistics than individuals and what the late great Victor Mollo called monster points, unit president Matthew Kidd presented a unique set of awards at the January 26, 2014 unit game based on the unit game results for 2013.

Read the Bridge Bulletin online

Reading on an iPad

For several years it has been possible to read the Bridge Bulletin online from the MyACBL portal. But you are out of luck if you have a device like the Apple iPad that doesn’t run Adobe Flash. And quickly flipping through months of a single feature, e.g. The Real Deal, is very tedious. The new experimental Bridge Bulletin viewer addresses these issues. Give it a try.

Feb 25, 2014 update: The Bridge Bulletin viewer is back! I’ve added ACBL member based authentication to satisfy the legal requirements that the ACBL has with the Bridge Bulletin contributors.

2013 Holiday Party

This year our holiday party was caught in the middle of the back to back scheduled Nationals in Phoenix and the very popular Palm Springs regional. We had 12 tables at the Soledad Club. If you didn’t take a brief break from the tournament trail, you missed out. Jill Seagren arranged for excellent catering from Cafe Athena. Lynne Anderson prepared our table decorations. Charlotte Blum provided additional decorations and prepared the punch with Ron Ignelzi.

President Matthew Kidd, assisted by Trish Lane (aka Vanna White the card picker), handed out our door prizes: a vintage Norman Rockwell bridge party pack, a box of Chuao chocolates, the book Winning Notrump Leads by David Bird and Taf Anthias, and a bottle of wine. We also had a big collection of vintage bridge tallies, many from the 1920s and 1930s for players who did not win a door prize. Three are pictured above.

John Strauch became a Grand Life Master in Phoenix

John Strauch took a break from his very busy hiking schedule to become a Grand Life Master at the Phoenix Nationals in December 2013. In addition to the 10,000 masterpoint and various pigmentation requirements, the Grand Life Master title requires a national title. John had achieved this title with local Evan Bailey in the open pairs (now the Silodor Pairs) at the Spring 1995 Nationals, also in Phoenix. This time was a bit of a squeaker. After a week of play, John was still 1.4 MP short. John and his wife Bette decided to stay an extra half day and picked up 2.24 MP in the Friday morning side game.

Lynne Anderson joins the unit board

Lynne Anderson

Lynne Anderson was appointed to the unit board at the November meeting to serve out a vacant 2013-2015 term. This brings the board back up to the full ten members mandated by our bylaws.

Lynne started playing bridge as a teenager in Minnesota in her parents’ game, followed by social bridge with sorority sisters, and then her husband. After a long hiatus she moved to San Diego and joined the ACBL in 2003.

Masterpoint Reports Decoded

Wizard strikes disassembly listing with lightening bolts

Pssst… wannabe a hacker? Step right this way and learn all about masterpoint reports. Find out exactly what the ACBL knows about your playing habits and what data mining options are available to the ACBL. (I promise you won’t spend a month in a Russian airport waiting for a visa for a country you don’t want to live in.) Read more.

2N-3N; pick a lead from ♠A8 T653 8432 ♣QT8

What is your lead at matchpoints? Would it be different at IMPs? See how well your choice(s) rank in the simulation and learn a bit about how to run your own simulations.

The Payoff Matrix

2012-2013 payoff matrix

Which regular partnership is the strongest partnership in the La Jolla unit game? How statistically confident can we be about any determination?

Which partnerships payoff to other partnerships? Which partnerships over/under-perform against other partnerships after the disparity in skill is factored in? What has changed over the last six years? Read more.

Payoff Matrices for the Esplanade Club games and for the Eastlake Bridge Club games are now available for every session using data from the entire 2013 calendar year.

New Photo Gallery of Bridge Players

Osman Guner

Bridge Results now has just over 2200 thumbnail photos of players, the little pictures that appear when you hold the mouse over the player’s name in the ACBLmerge style results. The thumbnails come from many sources including pictures that Matthew Kidd has taken over the years. Some of his pictures are worth presenting at higher resolution. Check out the new photo gallery.

Charlotte Blum becomes a Gold Life Master

If the Awards Chairperson congratulates all unit members who do not congratulate themselves, who congratulates the Awards Chairperson? Gail Dunham and friends at the Monday September 9th Soledad game.

Golden award ribbon

September 2013 Awards Ceremony

The September 8th unit game was preceded by an awards ceremony, hosted by Charlotte Blum. Game attendance was low probably because the Irvine regional concluded on this Sunday. More awards will be handed out at the October 27th unit game.

Billie Greene and Hal Simon Memorials

Billie Greene

Billie Greene passed away on July 29th at 83. She had played bridge for more than 50 years, was a Gold Life Master, and a regular at our unit games. Biography and memories.

Hal Simon passed away on August 6 at his home in La Jolla. He was 85. Biography and memories.

Harmonious Couples

Who says couples can’t play well together? The winners on June 23, 2013 were Ron and Mary Huffaker (Flt A), Avram and Susan Ninyo (Flt B), Morton and Eileen Heinrich (Flt C).

2013 Election Results


The 2013 unit board elections were held at the June 9th unit game. Randy Fadem and Ron Ignelzi were reelected. Charlotte Blum and Jill Seagren were elected. Charlotte had resigned in March but had continued to help the unit both in hospitality and in sending welcome letters to newcomers. It’s good to have her back full time. Jill brings a lot of executive experience. She has been vice-president of the La Jolla High PTA and is currently involved in many charitable activities, notably theater. We are still looking for one more board member to brings us up to ten members. Board terms run for two years and elections are staggered so that five board members are elected each year.

Marge Hughes and Janet Ansfield stepped down at the end of their terms. Marge played a major role in providing hospitality and has been our board secretary for the last two years. We will miss her well written and accurate minutes. She even knows shorthand—see if all you thumb twiddling texting kids can beat that! Janet has been in the La Jolla area for about eighteen years and has spent around fifteen of those on the board. I can not fully enumerate her achievements because many of them predate my arrival but they include taking on the primary responsibility for hospitality shopping, often helping setup the hospitality, organizing the unit holiday party venue and catering many times, and being chair or co-chair of several sectionals.

Rex and Sheila Latus won the Weiss Trophy which is always contested at our annual meeting and election.

The board chose its officers for the next fiscal year at the July board meeting. Matthew Kidd and Randy Fadem were unanimously reelected as president and vice president respectively. Jill Seagren is our new secretary. We had tied vote for treasurer with one board member absent. Chuck continued as treasurer until the August board meeting when the board voted again and Joyce Bailey became our new treasurer.

Changes to 0-750 Game Promotion

The $5 promotional rate for the 0-750 game ended April 28, 2013. However, at the April meeting the unit board established a new policy to help continue promoting the 0-750 game. If you qualify for the 0-750 game but end up playing in the open game and paying for it (as opposed to using a free play) because there are not enough players for a separate 0-750 game, you will receive a free play for a future unit game, good for two months from the date of issue.

We have also added an “Ask the Expert” session at the end of the game. Stick around until the open game finishes for a 10-15 minutes of Q&A. So far Bill Grant, Chuck Wilson, Barbara Norman, Suzanne Lebendig, Roger Doughman, and Maritha Pottenger have volunteered to answer questions.

2012 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results

The 2012 La Jolla Unit Masterpoint Race Winners are final. Peter Clark also won his bracket at the district level. Bill Grant was second in his bracket at the district level. Elaine Chan’s son, Alexander Prairie, won the national 200-300 Mini-McKenney bracket with 614.85 MP. Alex now lives in Washington, D.C. His regular partner Sylvia Shi won the national 500-1000 Mini-McKenney bracket with 891.78 MP.

New 0-750 game in 2013

2013 New Year baby red and blue fireworks red and blue fireworks red and blue fireworks

We introduced a new stratified 0-750 MP game in 2013, starting January 13th. The game runs concurrent with our regular open game.

Fiscal Commentary 2011-2012

Financial spreadsheet logo

Want to know more about the unit budget? Read Fiscal Commentary 2011-2012, which details what is involved in our budgeting and why FY 2011-2012 differed significantly from the previous year.

The board would like to thank David Oakley for our most recent financial audit, which he performed at no cost to the unit.

2012 Holiday Party

St. Nicholas riding a candy cane

For the third year in a row, the Holiday Party was held at the La Jolla Country Club (flyer) on the second Sunday of December.

November 2012 NLM Sectional

Veterans day NLM Sectional, Sunday November 11th (flyer)

The La Jolla unit is holding its first NLM sectional at the Soledad Club since the 1980s.

Eagle in front of an American flag
9:30 am: Bracketed Knockout Teams (1st session)
1:15 pm: Stratified Swiss Teams
Bracketed Knockout Teams (2nd session)

The regular unit game will be held concurrently at the usual time of 1 pm.

This event was small, four tables in the morning and eight in the afternoon, but the players had a good time and several of them commented on what a nice venue we have at the Soledad Club. The unit board feels this was an important first step in greater outreach to NLM players.

Golden award ribbon

October 2012 Awards Ceremony

The October 14th unit game was preceded by an awards ceremony, hosted by Charlotte Blum our new Membership and Awards chairperson. Photos.

Paul Darin and Steve Johnson win D22 Flt A NAP

Paul Darin and Steve Johnson after winning Flt A NAP

If you have been paying attention you may have noticed our unit game director Paul Darin and former board member Steve Johnson getting in practice sessions around town. Their practice has paid off with a D22 Flt A North American Pair (NAP) victory. Good luck at the nationals!

Roy and Mary Green retire in San Diego

Roy Green Mary Green

Have you said hello to Roy and Mary Green? They recently retired in San Diego from Boston and have been coming to our unit games since July. Old-timers might remember that Roy was the ACBL CEO from 1992 - 1998. His achievements included five profitable fiscal years, creation of the Membership Assistance Department and the Bridge Hall of Fame, and prompter delivery of the Bridge Bulletin.

Alex Prairie’s Team Wins Flt C Grand National Teams

Sylvia Shi, Alexander Prairie, David Soukup and Hakan Berk after winning the Flt C GNT in Philadelphia in 2012

Sylvia Shi, Alexander Prairie, David Soukup and Hakan Berk

Elaine Chan’s son Alex Prairie finally transferred from the La Jolla unit about a year after taking a job at the Federal Reserve in Washington D.C. But we can still treat him as an honorary member, especially now that he was part of the District 6 team that won the Flt C Grand National Teams at the 2012 Philadelphia NABC on July 16th. Alex partnered with Sylvia Shi. Since their teammates are both about 15 years old, Elaine thinks they may be the youngest team ever to win the GNT.

2012 Election Results


By voice assent, Joyce Bailey and Charlotte Blum were elected to the board at the June 10th Annual Meeting and Election game. Bill Grant, Matthew Kidd, and Chuck Wilson were reelected to the board. This brings us back up to a full 10 member board after operating with only 8 board members for several months. At the July 8th board meeting, Matthew Kidd became president on a coin toss after two rounds of a 5-5 deadlock. Randy Fadem is vice-president. Chuck Wilson and Marge Hughes remain our treasurer and secretary respectively.

Lynne Newman and Randall Dougherty won the Weiss Trophy, the first time for both of them.

Broadway Does Bridge production at the 2012 San Diego regional

Scene from Broadway Does Bridge theater production at the 2012 San Diego regional

Theater once again returned to the San Diego regional. If you want to download a copy of the video, right click on this video link and choose “Save Target As” (for Internet Explorer) or “Save Link As” (for Firefox) then sit back for a while until the entire 154 MB file finishes downloading. Once you have downloaded the file, double click on the file to play it. Note: this website is not setup for streaming video. If you just click on the link, it may seem like nothing is happening for several minutes and although it should eventually play in your MP4 viewer, e.g. Windows Media Player, you will not have a permanent copy.

Culinary February

Dorinda Lindvall prepared all the food for the Valentines Party on February 12th. Thanks you Dorinda!

At the next unit game on the 26th, Gillian Cook and Manzoor Khan, prepared a six course Indian meal. We had 27 tables for that game, seven higher than the long term average.

February 26th


A Six Course Meal For All Our Bridge Friends

Thank you Gillian Cook and Manzoor Khan!

2011 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results

The 2011 La Jolla Unit Masterpoint Race Winners are final. Carolyn Casey was also the District 22 Mini-McKenney winner in her bracket (0-5 MP) and Elaine Chan was second in the district in her Mini-McKenney bracket (500-1000 MP). Maritha Pottenger, a regular player in our unit games from the San Diego unit, won the district Ace of Clubs in her bracket (5000-7500).

Shuffle, Deal, and Cook Youth Bridge Fundraising Cookbook

Inspired by the youth bridge camp at the Bridge Academy, Mary Scott Knoll talked a group of us into putting together a fundraising cookbook for youth bridge. The books have arrived from the printer just in time for the holidays and are available at many local bridge venues and at district regionals. The cost is $10. Get your copy of Shuffle, Deal, and Cook today.

Although the Bridge Academy’s games and adult teaching are for profit activities, the youth teaching is a 501(c)(3) non-profit registered as the San Diego Bridge Academy for Youth and now a full member of the Balboa Park Education Council which runs the Summer Camp Program. The cookbook committee hopes numerous San Diego area bridge teachers will take part in expanded 2012 summer bridge camps.

ACBLmerge Talk and Publicity

ACBLmerge Logo

Ken Monzingo, our District National Board Representative, asked me to give a talk at the D22 board meeting in Palm Springs about ACBLmerge and what is required to post the full results for a regional. The talk Rich Results with ACBLmerge (PDF icon, Microsoft PowerPoint icon, 3 MB) is available online. Many ACBL leaders were in attendance, including our new CEO, the past and current presidents, and the tournament managers for the Gatlinburg and Las Vegas regionals, the only two regionals with higher table counts than Palm Springs.

ACBLMerge 1.2.3 made its Canadian debut in the huge Penticton regional. This article is excerpted from the Friday Penticton Regional Daily Bulletin

2011 Holiday Party

St. Nicholas riding a candy cane

For the second year in a row, the Holiday Party was held at the La Jolla Country Club (flyer) on the second Sunday of December.

This year we gave preference to players who regularly attend our unit games. The cost was $20 for players who had attended at least five La Jolla unit games in 2011 through Oct 9th; otherwise it is $25.

Mary Huffaker is a D22 Area III Goodwill Nominee

From the November 2011 issue of the Contract Bridge Forum:

Mary Huffaker

Mary Huffaker. Mary is from Unit 539 San Diego. She is the epitome of a good volunteer: she can do almost anything and she does it without anyone asking! She served on the Unit 539 Board as an outstanding Hospitality Chair. She’s a great cook, and attendance grew at the games “because the food is always so good.” Even now, Mary always steps up and fills the empty spot.

The game of bridge inspires Mary’s helpfulness at any location. When other units have games, she can be seen (very quietly, I might add) picking up after people, folding bidding boxes, helping wherever needed. Where there is a game with newer bridge players in attendance Mary always quietly answers any questions and offers a welcoming attitude. A fine example for us all.

It’s all true. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Congratulations Mary.

Want to Contribute to the Website?

steaming coffee cup next to a pen and pad of paper

Want to contribute to the website? You don’t need to know a thing about website programming. You just need to be a writer. E-mail me your bridge related article, editorial, hand commentary, tournament report, etc, and I’ll do the rest. Need to include cards, bids, hands, or hand diagrams? Read more. You can also send me pictures.

Mike Weber Retires

The August 28, 2011 game was Mike Weber’s last as our unit game director. After more than five years as our director, he has retired from his day job and is moving to Portland, Oregon where he will continue to direct bridge. Thanks Mike! Paul Darin will be our new director.

I want to thank Mike for his prompt delivery of the electronic hand records at the end of each game. This made it possible to post ACBLmerge integrated results in a timely manner.

The Social Network

social network depicted by red and blue people connected by dotted line

Who plays with whom? How often? How well do they do on average? What percent does your partnership need to average to be in the top 10% in a game? Who is promiscuous? For an in depth look at our social network, read more.

Attendance Statistics

red and white five pointed star with blue ribbon with Attendance Award written on it

Freda Anderson wins the “award” for best attendance for the last two years. She attended 47 (90%) of the 52 most recent unit games. She is followed by Fumie Graves (46), Phyllis Pankow (45), Sally Ishihara (43) and Tom Tatum (43). Nearly 500 people have played during the two year period, but ~200 players account for 90% of the table count and just 59 regulars account for 50% of the table count.

Club Update

In July, Adventures in Bridge moved to its new location, 6150 Mission Gorge Road, Suite 122, SD, CA 92120, less than a mile away from the previous location.

On August 1st, the Esplanade Club changed hands from Donna Wood and Paul Foster to Jade Barrett’s corporation, Tournament Bridge Services and has a new website. Paul Darin has been hired as the club manager. Donna intends to continue helping at the club for about a year.

2011 Election results and Budget

By voice assent Marge Hughes was elected to the board at the June 12th Annual Meeting and Election game. Randy Fadem, Ron Ignelzi, and Janet Ansfield were reelected. The July 10th board meeting officer election results are Randy Fadem (president), Matthew Kidd (vice-president), Marge Hughes (secretary), and Chuck Wilson (treasurer). Gary Mollenkopf has resigned from the board.

Chuck Wilson presented the annual financial report at the July 10th game. The unit lost approximately $4500. Read more.

On August 28th, the board unanimously voted to suspend free plays for board members, effective September 1st. This will save ~$50 per game.

Debbie Gailfus and Alan Gailfus won the Weiss Trophy for the second year in a row and their fourth time total. It was a squeaker though: Mac Busby and Suzanne Lebendig were only 0.15% behind, followed by the first time partnership of Jeremy Fields and Matthew Kidd, 0.51% behind.

2010 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results

The 2010 La Jolla Unit Masterpoint Race Winners are final. 2010 was a poor year for the unit – no one won at the district or national level.

ACBLmerge gains Face View feature

ACBLmerge tooltip illustration showing player's face and number of masterpoints

Do you have trouble keeping track of names and faces? No need to be embarrassed anymore! The 1.2.1 release of ACBLmerge introduces Face View. Just hold your mouse cursor over a player’s name to see their picture and approximate strength.

In order to introduce the feature I have uploaded faces for many unit game regulars. For some of you I have your “happy” face and for others I have your “game” face. As an amateur photographer I like both styles. If you would like to have your picture added or wish to submit a different picture please e-mail the picture to me. If you prefer that your picture not be used, e-mail me and I will remove it from the face database promptly. Eventually, I’ll try to automate picture management through some web forms, but I’m not there yet.

New bridge directories have arrived

The 12th edition (2011) of the printed bridge directory is now available. La Jolla Unit members may pick one up free of charge at any unit game. Extra copies are available for a small charge. Non-unit members should pick one up in their unit. There are many changes since the previous edition was published in 2006. The La Jolla Unit is happy to report that we had a 67% response rate from our members for updated information, the highest of the five participating units.

Larry Sherman writes a series of bridge articles

Larry Sherman

Larry Sherman starting writing a series of articles on bridge for in January 2011. He says his objective is to introduce the game to a broader demographic. His audience is primarily internet savvy people twenty to sixty years old. Have general interest bridge stories you would like to share? Please let him know.

Where are the bridge players in the Patchwork Nation?

Patchwork Nation

In 2010, journalist Dante Chinni and statistician James Gimpel published Our Patchwork Nation. Seeking to move beyond the simplistic blue and red states paradigm, they examined the nation’s 3,141 counties in terms of race, education, income, religion, and politics to get a flavor of local perspectives. They identified 12 different community types based on “common experiences and shared realities” which they breezily named boomtowns, campus and careers, emptying nests, Evangelical epicenters, immigration nation, industrial metropolis, military bastions, minority central, monied burbs, Mormon outposts, service-worker centers, and tractor country. How well is bridge doing in each community? Read more.

2010 Holiday Party

St. Nicholas riding a candy cane

The Holiday Party was held Sunday December 12 at the La Jolla Country Club (flyer), a great venue. Brunch was held in a room with a spectacular ocean view and the bridge was played across the hall with a view of the golf course. View the pictures.

It turns out that even country clubs are not immune from difficult economic times. Janet Ansfield, on behalf of the unit, was able to negotiate an excellent rental rate. Thank you, Janet.

Get Listed!

Address book

The San Diego bridge units are putting together an update to the printed directory which was last updated in 2006. Alice Leicht is heading up this substantial effort. The submission deadline has been extended two weeks to December 14th. Please print out the submission form and mail it in. Many bridge clubs also have copies of the form. Want to advertise in the directory? Talk to Alice.

Board membership changes

BJ Petersen, Dorinda Lindvall and Bob Walters resigned from the board at the end of August 2010. Chuck Wilson was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Dorinda Lindvall and assumed her duties as treasurer. Chuck had previously served on the board for many years in multiple positions. Billie Greene was appointed to the board at the October 10th meeting.

World Bridge Series Championships

World Bridge Federation logo

The World Bridge Series Championships (WBSC), the world’s biggest and most prestigious bridge competition was held in Philadelphia, PA, USA, October 1-16, 2010! It was the first such event to be held in the United States since 1994 and approximately 100 nations were expected to participate in the world series, represented by thousands of the world’s best players competing for world titles. Along with the WBSC, the ACBL District 4 hosted a World Bridge Federation Regional tournament to enable bridge players of all levels to share in the excitement! The World Youth Team Championships also took place in Philadelphia at this time. ACBL & WBF masterpoints were given out for these events.

Judy Rimer and Maritha Pottenger from San Diego made the journey and wrote a tournament report.

Card fees increasing to $8

dollar sign

The board voted unanimously to raise the card fees to $8 effective August 1, 2010. No one enjoys paying more but we are still one of the cheaper (and more competitive) games in town. The sanctioned games at the Soledad Club have been $8 for at least two years. Recently, Adventures in Bridge increased their card fees to $9. Some games in North County are $10. Curious where you card fees go? Read Budgeting 101.

Esplanade Club's first birthday

First birthday cake

The Esplanade Club in Solana Beach celebrated its first year in business on June 26, 2010. Congratulations to Donna Wood and Paul Foster.

2010 Election results

By voice assent at the June 13th Annual Meeting and Election game, Cass Donovan, Bill Grant, Matthew Kidd, Dorinda Lindvall, Gary Mollenkopf were elected to the board for the 2010-2012 term. Please welcome Gary Mollenkopf who is new to the board. Bill Grant and Matthew Kidd were reelected. Cass Donovan had been serving on the board by appointment due to the resignation of Diana Marquardt year (appointments end at the next election). Dorinda Lindvall had served previously on the board from 2004-2007.

Steve Johnson and Manoochehr Bahmanian are stepping down. However, Steve will continue to write the unit news for the Contract Bridge Forum. Thanks Steve!

Technological Advancement

Bridgemate II scoring device BridgePad scoring device

Our January 2010 sectional had Bridgemate machines for electronic scoring. This was the first time I had seen them used at a sectional but the director in charge (DIC) provided them for a small fee and informed me that they had been standard in southern California tournaments for about six months. The 2009 San Diego NABC featured both Bridgemate and BridgePad machines for scoring in what I presume was a trial prior to standardizing on one or the other. Both seem to work well from a player’s perspective though Bridgemate might be a little more with it — the BridgePad website still has a logo that states, “BRIDGEPAD Scores BIG at the NACB” as though they weren’t very familiar with our tournaments. This misspelling persists several months after I informed them about it.

Now local clubs are adopting the technology. The co-located Redwood Bridge Club and San Diego Bridge Academy recently purchased shared Bridgemates. The June 2010 Contract Bridge Forum unit news reports that the North County Bridge Center in Escondido recently purchased both Bridgemates and a PlayerBridgeDealer 4 card dealing machine. This dealing machine is state of the art at 6 seconds per board and does not require barcoded cards. I asked for a quote back in January 2009 and it came to slightly more than $4000. Thus for the unit games we are still better off paying Adventures in Bridge to deal our hands. But large clubs should definitely consider purchasing one.

High school teaching

Rick Simpson helps a La Jolla High student learn bridge

The La Jolla unit taught bridge to La Jolla High students in May for the second year. This year’s effort was led by board member Randy Fadem with much help from the greater San Diego bridge community. Read the full story or view the pictures. In parallel Bill Grant taught bridge at Chula Vista High, his tenth year doing so. Bill and Randy were featured in a cover article of the May 29th issue of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Bridge Guys and Dolls promotional pictures

Vicki Nardone and Gary Mollenkopf

View promotional pictures for the performance of Joel Hoersch’s Bridge Guys and Dolls, which had two performances at the 2010 San Diego regional. Many cast members from the performance of My Fair (LOL) Lady at the fall 2009 NABC returned for Bridge Guys and Dolls.

Put some faces on the ACBL movers and shakers.

Lena Jelusich reaches 10,000 masterpoints

Lena Jelusich crossed 10,000 masterpoints in April. That is quite a lot. In November 2010, she finally appeared in the life master milestones section of the Bridge Bulletin.

Elaine Chan wins the 2009 National Ace of Clubs

The 2009 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results are final. See the listing of La Jolla unit winners. Elaine Chan has won the National Ace of Clubs in her bracket (200-300) by over 30 MP, avenging last year’s loss of first place by only 2.89 MP. She is also second in the Mini-McKenney race, ~40 MP behind Lenore Cavallero of Hillsborough, CA.

The April 2010 Bridge Bulletin quotes Elaine as saying, “I wasn’t to trying win. I’m just one of those goofs who loves to play.” But Elaine says this quote is misleading. She meant that she wasn’t try to win the Ace of Clubs or Mini-McKenney award but is certainly interested in winning at bridge.

Club News

The San Diego Bridge Academy put up a website in January. They are located in the same facility as the Redwood Club but are a separate organization. The club has evening games on Tuesdays and Saturdays and afternoon game on Thursday. A lesson precedes the Tuesday game.

Did you know the Scripps Ranch bridge club has been hiding in plain site for over a year? Matthew Belau says the stealth is deliberate. They are not listed on the ACBL's website because they don’t want to get too big, having only a 12-table capacity, already hitting 11 tables on some Mondays.

Bridge Parties of Yesterday

Carmen Fullbright

Take a trip down memory lane. David and Pauline Oakley have provided the unit pictures of their bridge parties from 1972 and 1973. See how many people you remember! Have pictures of your own? E-mail the webmaster.

Masterpoint Reform

light bulb

As a lead up to the January sectional, I wrote a couple of articles about the ACBL reward system (Masterpoints or Glory, Against 499er, 799er, 999er Events). Since then I found Robert Frick’s masterpoint reform website that covers the matter in detail. Mathematically inclined visitors may wish to head directly to the page titled A Formula for Masterpoints. If you care about this issue, bear in that we have a new president, Rich DeMartino, at the ACBL. Now is a good time to speak up.

Robleigh Lindvall Memorial

Robleigh Lindvall passed away December 14, 2009 after a long illness. He served on the La Jolla board for several years and often did hospitality for our big parties. Many remember the flowers he frequently brought to the club. A memorial was held on January 24, 2010 at 11:30 am before the unit game. Read the memories.

Also, Joanie Vanderslice passed away in the middle of December after a long illness. She had been a very active player and a bridge teacher.

January 2010 Sectional

Attendance was a disappointing 152 tables but those who did show up had a great time and ate very well. Those who watched football missed out. Nate McCay was the overall masterpoint winner, earning 13.50 MP. View the full results and some of the recipes.

2009 Holiday Party

The Holiday Party was held at the Beach and Tennis Club at 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037 (map).

Unit member David Oakley has reviewed Fred Parker’s Win at Duplicate Bridge.

A Star is Born at the Nationals

Nate McCay stars in My Fair (Little Old) Lady

The La Jolla Unit’s very own Nate McCay was the male lead in the production of Peter Rank’s musical My Fair (Little Old) Lady at the Fall 2009 Nationals held in San Diego. View the pictures. Bill Grant played a Very Vocal Bridge Player. Several members of the San Diego unit also appeared on stage. The show ran five nights during the first half of the Nationals.

Other unit members were also involved in the Nationals. Alice Leicht was the volunteers chairman. Suzanne LeBendig was responsible for pre-tournament hospitality. Debbie Gailfus was the ACBL concierge. Diana Marquardt was seen helping at the registration desk.

First Place Winner

Congratulations to Ron Huffaker who won the Mini Blue Ribbon (0-5000 MP) with his brother Harold. That victory was worth 60 masterpoints! Ron and Mary belong to the San Diego Unit but they are regulars in both our unit games and the Soledad Thursday evening game. Lynne O’Neill and Pat Chapman were 9th in the same event. Susan and Avram Ninyo won a 45 table A/X side game. Paul and Harriett Finger won a Bracket 4 KO. Maybe there is some hope for couples who play bridge.

Big overall masterpoint winners in the unit include Steven Johnson, Charlotte Blum, and Bill Grant. David Oakley has compiled a full list for San Diego county players.

Halloween Potluck

The Halloween Potluck costume winner was Diana Marquardt as the Queen of Hearts. George Soules as a Celebrity Chef and June & Otto Newman together as Bridge and Disciplined Partner were tied for second place.

Everyone contributed many wonderful hot and cold dishes, dessert and a bountiful day was had. George Soules' tasty hot chile casserole with tortillas was noteworthy. The decorations provided by Gail Dunham were beautiful and very festive.

Ed Layton Memorial

Ed Layton, long time unit member, board member, and bridge teacher, passed away peacefully at his home, September 17, 2009. A celebration of his life was held September 27th before the unit game. Full story.

2009 Election Results

By voice assent at the June 14th Annual Meeting and Election game, Janet Ansfield, Randy Fadem, BJ Petersen, and Robert Walters were elected to the board for the 2009-2011 term. Ron Ignelzi was reelected. They will be joining Manoochehr Bahmanian, Bill Grant, Steve Johnson, Matthew Kidd, and Diana Marquardt whose terms finish in 2010.

Janet Ansfield is returning to the board. BJ Peterson is a long time La Jolla resident and player. Bob Walters recently transferred into our unit, but he has been a regular in the Thursday evening Soledad game for several years and has played in many unit games. Randy Fadem arrived from Boston last November where he had previously served on a unit board.

David Oakley and David Walters won the Eric Weiss trophy, an annual award for the election game.

La Jolla Unit teaches bridge at La Jolla High

In May 2009, Bill Grant, David Oakley, Matthew Kidd, and Bob Walters taught bridge to two classes of seniors at La Jolla High during the “downtime” between AP exams and graduation. Full story.

Mark Freundel Memorial

Mark Freundel passed away March 16, 2009. Various memories. A memorial was held 2-4 pm, June 14 at Adventures in Bridge.

Elaine Chan nearly wins the 2008 National Ace of Clubs

The 2008 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results are final. See the listing of La Jolla unit winners. Elaine Chan just missed winning the National Ace of Clubs race in her bracket (5-20) with 140.30 MP, 2.89 MP behind the leader. She claims this is because she spent time with her kids over the holidays but that’s no excuse because they both play bridge!

New Faces at the Newcomer Game

There were about ten new faces at our Newcomers Game on January 25, 2009. Welcome all!

Regina Hickey and the Bridge Legends

Regina Hickey has sent the La Jolla Unit pictures of her with Charles Goren and Billy Eisenberg.

Dayou Zhou Interview

Read Dayou Zhou’s interview with the La Jolla Unit in 2007 after being congratulated for winning the National 100-200 MP Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs masterpoint races with totals exceeding the leaders for all categories within the La Jolla Unit 2006 Masterpoint Races!

Frank Sweeney Tribute

We do not normally publish information about members who have passed away. However some of our former members made significant contributions to our Unit and to bridge in Southern California. This letter from Helen Sweeney to Rob Lindvall is such a nice tribute to Frank that there is no more to add.