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
June 24  - Stratified Open Pairs
Longest Day Alzheimer’s Fund Game
July 8  - Stratified Open Pairs
July 22  - Stratified Open Pairs
July 29  - Stratified Open Pairs
Full 2018 Schedule
District 22 and 23 tournaments

The Longest Day has been expanded to a full week. The ACBL says units can run Longest Day Alzheimer’s Fund events so long as they don’t conflict with Longest Day events at clubs. We going to give it try, running it as a charity game. $1 / player will go the Alzheimer Fund.

Annual Meeting and Election


The unit board has ten members with staggered two year terms. Terms ended in June for Barbara Blake, Bill Grant, Ursula Kantor, Matthew Kidd, and Susan Koshkarian. All ran for reelection without competition and were reelected at the June 10th Annual Meeting and Election just before the unit game, the slate collectively approved by a majority vote (otherwise there would have been a paper ballot to vote yes or no for each individual candidate).

Tenth year of Jolla High teaching

La Jolla High mascot anointed with a 10 year laurel

Jill and Stephen Seagren wrapped up their fourth year of teaching bridge at La Jolla High on behalf of the unit. They taught 94 student spanning three periods in the classrooms of host teachers Mr. Kinsel and Ms. Menders, over the normal three week duration. There was a tournament for the students during the last two days of the class. This is the tenth year of the program which was collectively taught during the first year, followed by three years with Randy Fadem as the lead teacher, and two more with Sandra Gagnon in that role.

This year’s helpers include Bob Brobst, Leslie Davis, Gail and Bob Dunham, Ron Ignelzi, Malcolm Jarvis, Judy Rimer, Karen Reed, and Martha Woodworth.

Board member Lynne Anderson, a formal school principal, felt that the La Jolla High principal and the host teachers would be happy to receive a note a of appreciation for allowing us to hold the program for the last ten years. The unit had a plaque made and presented it to the school near the end of the teaching this year. We were able to arrange to have the La Jolla Light report on the occasion. (high resolution photo)

On a Tear

Jeremy Fields and Ying Lin Gu (Flt A + B) won the Weiss Trophy this year with a 62.82% game. This wasn’t a fluke. In fact it was a slight underperformance! Halfway through 2018, they are averaging 62.84% over six games. This puts them way ahead of the usual favorites, Kent Hartman and Maritha Pottenger, who have averaged 56.99% over seven games, a slightly down year for them but well within the normal variation of their past year’s performance.

HTTP2 support enabled

Tiger Technologies, our webhosting provider, has finally upgraded to their server software to allow support of HTTP2, a more efficient version of HTTP. This cuts the homepage load time by more than half. Big websites like Google and Facebook have supported HTTP2 for a couple of years now, matching the release for HTTP2 in client browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. Many small websites are still playing catch up.

ACBL CEO Bahar Gidwani canned

by Matthew Kidd

The national board of directors canned the ACBL CEO, Bahar Gidwani, after only ten months of service. The ACBL made an official announcement on the Bridge Winners website on April 30th. No specific reasons were given. Nor could I obtain any information verbally from our district director David Lodge, or two other district directors whom I know. Meanwhile the online rumor mill churns—see ACBL Search Committee Up and Rolling and ACBL CEO: Post-Mortem.

Lacking facts, I cannot call this decision wrong. But it is certainly surprising. Mr. Gidwani seemed highly qualified on paper. He had acquired several hundred masterpoints, enough to understand our game and the people who play it. He came across as reasonable and intelligent in the e-mail correspondence I exchanged with him prior to this announcement. By all accounts, Mr. Gidwani had been successful in business and therefore was not beholden to ACBL politics, which is perhaps a clue to what unfolded.

What bothers me about this announcement is the utter lack of transparency. Four years after the ACBLscore+ debacle, the membership has not been given any accounting of what really happened. No one on the board or at headquarters took any responsibility and there is no indication that any lessons were learned. The board immediately hid behind a legal smokescreen as the rumors swirled. I feel that history is about to repeat itself.

In the corporate world, the company’s board protects the shareholders and shareholder value at the expense of the customers. Customers unhappy about a lack of transparency have little recourse but to take their dollars elsewhere. But we are different. We are members of an organization, effectively both customers and shareholders. The unit, district, and national boards serve us and are accountable to us.

We have little reason to erect legal shields. There is no real reason not to be transparent or put ourselves in situations where we can’t be transparent. We don’t even have any serious competitors and the barriers to entry relative to the benefits—financial, altruistic, reform, etc—are high. Moreover we enjoy a natural network effect with masterpoints; customers flock to eBay because it has the largest market, bridge players accumulate ACBL masterpoints because this market has the biggest bragging rights.

The handling of Mr. Gidwani’s dismissal and the ACBLscore+ debacle are discouraging to those of us in bridge administration. And every year our average membership age increases 0.44 years which makes it harder to find enough volunteers. We cannot afford unnecessary black clouds. I highly encourage you to contact David Lodge at 760-­328-­2004. Understand that he had not assumed office yet when Mr. Gidwani was hired. The issue is transparency.

2017 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 fifth annual President’s awards at the January 28, 2018 unit game based on the unit game results for 2017.

Tournament Travel Distances

Histogram with a clip art car and clip art airplane takeoff superimposed

How far do players travel to NABCs and regionals? Does travel behavior vary significantly from district to district? Can tournaments be classified into types based solely on the shape of their travel histograms? What kind of regionals do we run in D22? See the results for all the 2015 NABCs and regionals.

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

June 10th winners: Jeremy Fields and Ying Lin Gu (Flt A + B) winning the Weiss Trophy, Kathleen Bertram and Susan Wightman (Flt C).

May 13th winners: Timothy Flaherty and Junko Hemus (Flt A), Jeremy Fields and Ying Lin Gu (Flt B), Robert Mann and Supriyo Datta (Flt C).

April 29th winners: Kent Hartman and Maritha Pottenger (Flt A), Donald Davidson and Ramey Farah (Flt B + C).

Recent results
Date Spacer Event
June 10  - Stratified Open Pairs
May 26-28  - Sectional
May 13  - Stratified Open Pairs
April 29  - Stratified Open Pairs
Full 2018 Results 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
  Looking for Soledad Club results instead?
Mon Aft

What is the worth of AKQxxx? — a geeky tale of probability and simulation.

Rodwell Files book cover

new tout The Anti-Finesse Force, Tricky Trump Defense, Criss-Cross Ruffing Clash Squeeze, Trim Squeeze, Risky Loser Discard, Stiff Honor Lead, and Safe Hand Endplay.

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

Using BridgeTab on Amazon Fire Tablets. 2017 President’s Awards. The Anti-Finesse Force, Tricky Trump Defense, Criss-Cross Ruffing Clash Squeeze, Trim Squeeze.

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

2018 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.