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

Playing bridge at the beach
Upcoming events
Date Spacer Event
May 8  - Stratified Open Pairs
May 20-22  - Sectional (flyer)
June 12  -  Annual Meeting & Election
Stratified Open Pairs
Full 2016 Schedule
District 22 and 23 tournaments

Note: The May sectional is the weekend before Memorial weekend.

Eighth year of Jolla High teaching

La Jolla High mascot

Jill and Stephen Seagren will take over from Sandra Gagnon in heading up the eighth year of the our unit’s bridge teaching effort at La Jolla High. The teaching will run from May 16 – June 15, four periods per day. We are teaching the material from the Bidding and Play of the Hand books of the ACBL Bridge Series. Jill is hoping to have many volunteers, enough to provide one volunteer per table or at least every other table. Please call her at (858) 254-5550 for the times and locations of the classes if you would like to help. There will be a tournament for the students during the last three days of the class.

My Cheating Scandal

stuttering spade The year was 1971. A lot was going on in my life… I am not sure what faith they put in a fellow qualified to inject me weekly for allergies to grass, trees, pollen, hay fever, etc. to cure my stuttering problem…

Larry Sherman recounts the bridge of his youth in his story My Cheating Scandal.

Adventures in Bridge turns 35 on May 8th

Happy 35th Big Boy cake

Adventures in Bridge turns 35 on May 8th. Bob and Mary-Anne Rosenblum started the club in 1981 in the Grantville neighborhood where it remained until the late 2015 relocation to the Balboa neighborhood. The opening game was a robust 49 tables. They sold the club to John Chaison in 1990 and it passed on to Danny and Jean Molnar, Cameron Cotton, and finally Wirt Gilliam.

Read Bob Rosenblum’s history of San Diego bridge before Adventures in Bridge.

Lesley Davis becomes a gold LM

Awards chairman Charlotte Blum presented a gold life master (2500 MP) award to Lesley Davis on April 14th at the Redwood Club where Lesley plays frequently.

Jean Molnar passed away during the Reno NABC

Jean Molnar directing at the Nashville NABC Jean Molnar's name in cards at the 2016 San Diego regional

Local director Jean Molnar passed away on March 17th in San Diego. This is a huge loss for the San Diego bridge community. Read memories of Jean.

New: videos and transcripts from the April 24th memorial at AIB.

Cri de Coeur from ACBL employees

We [the ACBL] have wasted literally millions of dollars on consultants and dead software projects… It is now common for events at NABCs to start late… morale is as low as it has ever been… Leadership—simply put, there is none…

All is not well at the ACBL. The ACBL is Lost letter was mailed from Reno during the Reno NABC to all 25 National Board of Directors members, the ACBL CEO, the president and vice-president of the Board of Governors (a secondary governing body), the chair of the Goodwill Committee and to Bridge Winners. A PDF scan of the original paper letter was initially posted on Donna Compton’s Play Bridge Better blog. The HTML version posted on our unit website is better suited to cut-and-paste and search engine accessibility. Bridge Winners has a long and at times tangential discussion about the letter.

Although unsigned, the letter seems too specific to be a hoax. And if only one or two employees shared the sentiments expressed in the letter, it is likely they would simply leave the organization rather than send such a letter. Accordingly, the ACBL is well advised to carefully consider the points raised.

Mike Giesler, a member of both the D4 and U141 boards, has also written a letter to Ken Monzingo, addressing similar issues, following and referencing the release of the ACBL is Lost letter.

Ken Monzingo has responded to a related letter from D11 President Terrell Holt. The response posted on Donna Compton’s website includes numerous footnotes provided by Donna and Chris Compton.

Soledad Thursday night game terminated

Soledad Thursday evening finale group photo
Enlarge This Image   Soledad Thursday evening game regulars gather for a final group photo.

The Soledad Club board has terminated the Soledad Thursday night bridge game after it hovered at the four table financial break even point for several months. Marc Matz directed the last Thursday night game on April 7th.

Downward red arrow superimposed on a picture of the night sky

The end of the once robust Thursday night game reflects the aging of the membership. Both the aging of the players and the grim prognosis for evening bridge are unfortunate nationalwide trends. 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 occur sooner, as at the Soledad Club. See the data and plots.

La Jolla unit sectional will be May 20-22

Our traditional Memorial weekend sectional will be held one week early this year, May 20-22 (Fri-Sun) at the Soledad Club. For the last three years we have held our sectional at Adventures in Bridge because it was very convenient in terms of the facility and parking and price competitive. We gambled that Wirt would find a similar location before Memorial weekend. When he had to downsize, primarily due to parking issues, it was too late to secure Memorial weekend at the Soledad Club.

Reno recap

The Reno NABC in March was convenient for San Diego players. Direct flights on Southwest were available for $200 and hotel rooms were cheap for not surprisingly unremarkable accommodations. But total table count was 500–600 tables below the budgeted estimate on the heels of a fall NABC in Denver that was 1000 tables below its estimate. Total Reno table count was 11,643½ well below the high of 14,954 in 2004 and the lowest count of the four nationals held in Reno. Local dining was better than expected as Reno undergoes a transformation similar to but less advanced than its Great Basin mirror, Salt Lake City, as described in Tim Sullivan’s No Communication with the Sea: Searching for an Urban Future in the Great Basin. The skiing was promising if you could pull yourself away from the table.

The cheap hotel rooms came at a price. Play was spread over four locations, one ballroom and three casinos. Navigating the casino maze to find friends was a challenge. The playing areas below the casinos suffered only a faint smoke smell, where the residual was actively being covered up by another introduced scent. Hospitality was minimal. Ice water was readily available but coffee was never to be found. $16 / player-session should include coffee!

Unit game results available on Bridge Results

The unit games results are now also available on Bridge Results for 2015 and 2016. These are permanently linked from the yellow menu bar under Events → On Bridge Results. The Bridge Results presentation includes the standard ACBLmerge format used on the unit website but also includes additional features such photo galleries of winners (example), a hand by hand viewer, and inclusion of the results in player pages (example).

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.

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 the normally secured 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?

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.

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.

April 24th winners: Matthew Kidd and Timothy Flaherty (Flt A), Avram and Susan Ninyo (Flt B).

April 10th winners: Bernard Figueiredo and Hanan Deeby (Flt A), Matthew Kidd and Thomas Herzog (Flt B), Paul Alesu and Robert Brobst (Flt C).

March 13th winners: Kathleen Hennessy and Tom Tatham (Flt A), Lamya Agelidis and Lawrence Sherman (Flt B, 2nd Flt A), Barbara Augustine and Richard Hill (Flt C).

Recent results
Date Spacer Event
April 24  - Stratified Open Pairs
April 10  - Stratified Open Pairs
March 13  - 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, Curiously Wrong-sided, Triumph of the Intermediates, and Lady Lavender. Hand Index.

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

ACBLmerge, ACBLgamedump, and Bridge Results

ACBLmerge 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

Larry Sherman’s My Cheating Scandal. Jean Molnar memorial. ACBL is Lost letter.

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.