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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

Four bridge players playing outside
Date Spacer Event
September 28  - Stratified Open & 0-750 Pairs
October 12  - Stratified Open & 0-750 Pairs
October 26  - Stratified Open & 0-750 Pairs
Full 2014 Schedule
District 22 and 23 tournaments

D22 Board of Directors nominations

The D22 Board of Directors is accepting nominations for three Area Representatives, one from each of Areas II, III, and IV for terms commencing on January 1, 2015. The La Jolla and San Diego units are part of area III but D22 members may nominate candidates for any of the three areas. Nominations close October 1st. Read Mo Anvari’s memorandum for more details.

From Uno to bridge in four days

In early June I took a four day rafting trip, sponsored by the Glen Canyon Institute, down the San Juan River in Utah. It was a beautiful trip and the all guides and guests were wonderful. Two of guests were eleven year boys. I humored them at first by playing Uno but I longed to teach them a better game, a game in the whist family. They were initially reluctant but by the fourth day they had become wicked and enthusiastic Hearts players who speak about the game in language of bridge, the language of entries, exits, tenaces, and running suits. And they proved far better at two digit arithmetic than most of the La Jolla High students.

By the last day, Ben had become curious about bridge. I did my best explain what I could in a half hour at the pull-out, walking him through a randomly dealt makeable 4♠ contract. When I got home, I mailed him a copy of high school teaching book. Watch for this Los Angeles kid at the bridge table.

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. 18 of them are now available online in PDF form (9 added September 13th). Check back regularly for more.

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 24th unit game.

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, 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.

Masterpoint formula changes proposed for 2015

The ACBL Masterpoint Committee has unanimously voted on a set of changes to how masterpoints are calculated at tournaments and for special club games that are based on some fraction of the sectional rating. The changes will go into effect on January 1, 2015 if the National Board of Directors approves the changes at their fall meeting at the NABC in Providence, RI. Read more.

Hello from Alice Leicht

Alice Leicht’s daughter, Elaine Nishime, contacted the unit in June 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). July 28 edit: corrected e-mail addresses.

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!

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.

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.

The Payoff Matrix

2012-2013 payoff matrix

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.

San Diego unit game and combined La Jolla and San Diego unit game results for 2012-2013 were posted earlier.

See which regular partnership is the strongest partnership in the La Jolla unit game. Find out which partnerships payoff to other partnerships and which partnerships over/under-perform against other partnerships after the disparity in skill is factored in. Learn what has changed over the last six years. Read more.

Are you bidding enough slams?

Slams are not that rare. 13.6% of hands contain a slam in at least one seat. How well do strong partnerships bid slams and what types do they bid? Read more slam statistics.

Read the Bridge Bulletin online

Reading on an iPad

Update: It’s Alive! The experimental viewer is no longer experimental. The ACBL adopted it as part of their major website overhaul, released in June. 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.

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. Searching more than one issue at a time is impossible. The new experimental Bridge Bulletin viewer addresses these issues. Give it a try.

Recent Results

Full results for the 2014 San Diego regional, (also Irvine and Las Vegas).

September 14th winners: Andy and Patricia Loh (Flt A), Kathleen Byrne and Patricia Wilkey (Flt B and 2nd Flt A), Lynne Anderson and Ursula Kantor (Flt C).

August 31th winners: Kitty and Steve Cooper (Flt A), Kathie Angione and John Lagodimos (Flt B), Emily and Barry Berkov (Flt C).

August 24th winners: Kent Hartman and Maritha Pottenger (Flt A), Jacqueline Leifer and Warren Brodine (Flt B+C). Mark McCallum, who owns the Seattle Bridge Center with his wife Patti, played in this unit game.

Date Spacer Event
September 14  - Stratified Open Pairs
August 31  - Stratified Open Pairs
August 24  - Stratified Open Pairs
Full 2014 Results 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, and The Submarine Ruff. 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 1.3.3 was released on July 26, 2012. New features include the ability to write BridgeBase LIN files and enhanced data mining support for pairs games. Several important bugs are also fixed. 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.

At the December 2012 board meeting in Palm Springs, the District 22 board decided to use Bridge Results for all District 22 regionals.

What’s New

Esplanade Club closed. Seventy percent game statistics. Essential Bridge Books. ACBL Bridge Bulletin Viewer (documentation). Lead Solver software. ACBLscore game file format (reverse engineered).

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

2014 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.

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.