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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

Sailboat guided by a bridge compass
Date Spacer Event
April 12  - Stratified Open Pairs
April 26  - Stratified Open Pairs (at AIB)
May 10  - Stratified Open Pairs
May 23-25  - Sectional (flyer)
Full 2015 Schedule
District 22 and 23 tournaments

What is a regionally-rated sectional event? What is a Board-a-Match (BAM) event? Read the May Sectional FAQ.

Ocean Air elementary school teaching

Ocean Air Elementary school logo

Ruth Aronsohn and Linda Atkinson have done the hard work of approaching the school system in North County to establish a bridge teaching program. Their first success is an after school program at 3 pm every Wednesday through the end of the 2014-2015 academic year at Ocean Air Elementary in Carmel Valley. Currently, 14 fourth through sixth graders are participating. Ruth and Linda would love to have more helpers. To participate you need to visit the Del Mar Union after School Programs Office at 13030 Ashley Falls Drive, (858) 793-0071, fill out a short application, and write a check for $69 to cover fingerprinting and a background check. You will also need to take a TB test (it cost me $25 at Sharp). The ACBL may reimburse these costs but this is not yet certain. For more information contact Ruth Aronsohn at (858) 350-8382 or Note: cut-and-paste may not work for this e-mail address listed due to automated e-mail address harvesting prevention measures.

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.

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).

2014 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results

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 5000-7500 bracket.

The silence of the lambs

How much does the probability of a 3-3 split in a side suit increase when the opponents are quiet? See the results for some common auctions.

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

Balancing Statistics After One of a Suit

Balancing after one of a suit

How many HCP is your side likely to have when you are in the balancing (pass out) seat after the auction has gone 1♣/1/1/1♠ – Pass – Pass to you? How does it change depending on how many points you hold? How many HCPs are opener, responder, and your partner likely to hold? What is the range of the range of possibilities? See the simulation results.

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 2014 San Diego regional, (also Irvine and Las Vegas).

March 22nd winners: Sam and Yoko Jordan (Flt A), Elaine Chan and Michael Mezin (Flt B), Lynne Anderson and Ursula Kantor (Flt C).

March 8th winners: David Oakley and Gregory Chaffee (Flt A), Jan Gallagher and Janice Joerger (Flt B), Matthew Kidd and Trish Lane (Flt C).

February 22nd winners: Benjamin Domurat and George Humphrey (Flt A + B), Barry and Emily Berkov (Flt C).

Date Spacer Event
March 22  - Stratified Open Pairs
March 8  - Stratified Open Pairs
February 22  - 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

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

The Silence of the Lambs. Suicide King. 2014 President’s Awards. Lead Solver software is 40% faster and now runs on Mac OS X and Unix/Linux as well as Windows. 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.

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