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

Four bridge players playing outside
Upcoming events
Date Spacer Event
February 14  - Stratified Open Pairs
February 28  - Stratified Open Pairs
March 13  - Stratified Open Pairs
Full 2016 Schedule
District 22 and 23 tournaments

2015 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results

Deborah Goldsmith

The 2015 La Jolla Unit Masterpoint Race Winners are final. Deborah Goldsmith (5-20) and Anant Rathi (500-1000) convincingly won their Mini-McKenney brackets and Freda Anderson (2500-5000) convincing won her Ace of Clubs bracket. Deborah Goldsmith also won her Mini-McKenney bracket at the district level and placed 11th nationally. After Palm Springs Deborah was only 1 MP ahead of Kenny Pan of Irvine but once alerted to the situation on the unit website, she surged to end with a 14 MP lead at the district level.

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.

2015 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 third annual President’s awards at the January 10, 2016 unit game based on the unit game results for 2015.

New San Diego Bridge Clubs

Kathie Angione is opening the San Diego Bridge Club at 3366 Adams Avenue in the Masonic Hall; however for the first couple of months the location will be the Historic Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd. The club will have a game every Tuesday at 10:30 am, starting January 5th. This game fills a gap in the Kathie’s Eastlake Bridge Club schedule and it should help alleviate the pressure on Adventures in Bridge which regularly had a 45 table game on Tuesday at the old location, more than can be accommodated in its new location.

Joe Houde is expanding his franchise with the College Avenue Bridge Club (CABC) located at the Beth Jacob Synagogue at 4855 College Avenue south of I-8 near San Diego State University. He plans to open Monday January 25th with open and 750 MP pairs events Monday through Friday. No website has been announced yet but you may contact Joe’s business partner Steve Provol at (858) 829-3251.

HTTPS (secure connection) enabled

political cartoon about NSA wiretapping

HTTPS, the secure version of HTTP, has been enabled for this website. Simply replace the http part of the URL with https to access any page securely. Any internal link from a secure page will take you to another secure page. Secure connections are vital for preventing the interception of user account names and passwords as well as financial information such as credit card numbers. Without HTTPS, e-commerce would never have been so successful. Secure connections also prevent the interception of page content, for example medical history or the drunken party photos you only intended to share with a few friends. These two concerns are of no importance to this website as it is currently setup. However, HTTPS also encrypts the URL of the page requested. Over a secure connection there is evidence that you visited a website but the specific web pages you visited while there are concealed from third parties.

In 2013 Edward Snowden revealed the large degree to which the U.S. government was spying on its own citizens. But Snowden’s revelations were not shocking to careful observers who understood the full implications of Room 641A, revealed by Mark Klein in 2006 much to the consternation of the Bush Junior administration. The domestic spying situation has not improved under the Obama administration; instead it has largely continued and quietly expanded. In 2014 the Utah Data Center was completed. Its original name was the Orwellian sounding Massive Data Repository, a more accurate description of its purpose.

Though citizens have been surprisingly passive about these events, many technology companies are fighting back on behalf of their users who do seem to appreciate their privacy. The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) partnered with key industry companies to create the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority which reduces the cost (to zero) and the hassle (to an absolute minimum) for obtaining the necessary signed certificate to enable a secure connection. In solidarity with this effort, and in support of freedom, we offer HTTPS using a Let’s Encrypt signed certificate.

Properly implemented high grade HTTPS is secure against even the NSA, though not necessarily against hacking to steal private key component of the public-private key pair, hacking that the agency has demonstrated it is willing to perform. But still the widespread use of HTTPS is a war of attrition against the NSA, forcing it to burn more and more computing resources to achieve less and less.

History of Unit 549 (San Diego North County Inland)

Rex Latus has done a good job writing up the history of Unit 549. We should try to do this for our own unit. Volunteers? Do I hear volunteers?

Geraldine Weiss becomes a silver life master

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented a silver life master (1000 MP) award to Geraldine Weiss at the December 27th unit game.

Geraldine has a regular partnership with Michael Levine and plays in many sectionals and regionals.

Why do people play bridge? It’s BASIC.

Jeff Lehman presented this on Bridge Winners in September, attributing it to Michael Huston, a bridge pro from Joplin, MO. The acronym BASIC represents:

B = Beauty. A player who gets a kick out of seeing something special work, be it an unusual squeeze, or a psych.

A = Approbation. A player who enjoys being admired for success.

S = Socialization. A player who enjoys being around others with similar interests.

I = Intellectual. A player who enjoys the solving of puzzles at the bridge table.

C = Competitive. A player who enjoys winning.

ACBL membership is aging 0.44 years / year

Every quarter the unit president receives a Quarterly Unit Information Package (QUIP) report showing various statistics for the unit, including membership, member gains/losses, new member retention, average member age, and average years of ACBL membership. For each category, comparisons are shown with the top unit in the district and for the ACBL as a whole. Drawing on several of these reports average membership age ACBL-wide in December from 2009–2015 has been 68.91, 69.45, 69.83, 70.37, 70.70, 71.23, and 71.56. Membership is aging an average of 0.44 years / year and at least 0.33 years / year in the best years.

Bill Grant elected District 22 president

Unit member Bill Grant was elected the District 22 president at the district board meeting at Palm Springs. Andy Loh from the San Diego unit will be the district vice-president. Jim Parks from Atascadero will be secretary and David Lodge resume his role as treasurer after two years as president.

Otto Newman and Bob Bedore passed away

Otto Newman passed away November 29th at his home at 93. His long and interesting life is detailed on Wikipedia. Otto was a regular in our unit game, always playing with his wife June in a happy marriage of 70 years! Together they ranked in the top 30 for attendance over the last eight years.

Bob Bedore passed away in mid-December. He was a regular in the Soledad Thursday night game until 2009, having an established partnership with Francy Starr in 2008 and with Jean Hughes in 2009, and played occasionally in the evening through 2012. Bob was also active in the Soledad Monday afternoon game until 2013, most frequently partnering with Francy Starr but also with Robert Sanders, and with Ed Layton who passed away in 2009.

Joe Houde takes over from Matthew Belau

Joe Houde

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.

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.

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.

January 31st winners: Lamya Agelidis and Thomas Herzog (Flt A + B), Barbara Blake and Patricia Wilkey (Flt C).

January 24th winners: Jan Gallagher and Janice Joerger (Flt A + B), Paul Alesu and Robert Brobst (Flt C).

January 10th winners: Ron and Mary Huffaker (Flt A), John Lagodimos and Kathie Angione (Flt B), Chris Hastie and Donald Thomas (Flt C).

Recent results
Date Spacer Event
January 31  - Stratified Open Pairs
January 24  - Stratified Open Pairs
January 10  - Stratified Open Pairs
Full 2016 Results 2015 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, Shifting Forces, The Two-Six Dream, The Submarine Ruff, Suicide King, and Curiously Wrong-sided new tout. Triumph of the Intermediates new tout. Lady Lavender new tout. Hand Index.

Days of Thunder, a review and discussion of Eric Rodwell’s The Rodwell Files: Secrets of a Bridge Champion and a close look at one of the many fascinating hands presented therein.

ACBLmerge, ACBLgamedump, and Bridge Results

ACBLmerge 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.

Programmers may be interested in the more recent ACBLgamedump utility for directly reading ACBLscore game files, based on the ACBLscore game file format documentation (reverse engineered). This utility is tied to the future of ACBLmerge and has been used by Bridge Results in recent times to generate de novo reports.

What’s New

2015 President’s Awards. Grasshopper on the Tournament Trail. Lady Lavender. Triumph of the Intermediates. Curiously Wrong-sided. Evening Club Bridge Is Dying. Ocean Air Teaching Report + Worksheets. Partial, Game, Slam, Grand Breakdown.

Contacts and Board Information

camera icon E-mail the Webmaster, E-mail the La Jolla Board, Contact a board member, 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. Tolstoy Understood Bridge Players.

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.