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.
Maritha Pottenger’s “Teaching Points” online
Maritha Pottenger has a new series of short form bridge writings which she calls “teaching points” based on bridge mistakes she observes around town. If you ask, she will include you on her e-mail list and send them to you a few times per week. The La Jolla unit is also collecting these online, with plans to add new batches every couple of weeks. Maritha writes quickly in bridge shorthand. Thanks to the Maritha Automated Rectification in Translation Helper Accessory (MARITHA) software, the versions posted online are automatically translated to semi-formal bridge writing, complete with suit symbols and other niceties.
Maritha has also 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 available online in PDF form.
Freda Anderson reaches Diamond life master
Bill Grant reaches Emerald life master
Many unit players recently reached milestones which were acknowledged at the June 10th unit game. Judy Elsberry and Susan Wrightman became life masters. Ann Manaster became a Bronze LM.
Bill Grant reached Emerald life master (7,500 MP), the first in the unit to reach this rank since David Abelow last year. Bill is a great player. In presenting the award, unit president Matthew Kidd remarked on Bill’s aggressive preemption, which makes him a fun partner and a dangerous opponent, and also Bill’s many dodgy 3NT contracts that nonetheless come home more often than not.
Bill’s long service to bridge is also impressive. He has served on the La Jolla unit board at least ten years, perhaps closer to twenty. He has also served on the district board, including a year as D22 president. Bill has co-chaired the San Diego regional for ten years, starting with Alice Leicht and mostly recently with Lamya Angelidis this spring. And finally, Bill was a strong force behind the creation of the La Jolla unit’s successful ten year bridge teaching program at La Jolla high. It was Bill during his days as a high school calculus teacher who identified the otherwise nearly wasted three week period following the AP exams but prior to graduation, as an ideal time to teach bridge to high school seniors. He had started to teach his students at Chula-Vista high and encouraged the unit board to launch a similar program within the unit.
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).
At the July 8th board meeting, the board elected its officers for the year. Bob Brobst has replaced Matthew Kidd as unit president and Matthew will replace Ursula Kantor as vice-president. Barbara Blake will continue on as treasurer. The next secretary will be decided at the next board meeting.
Tenth year of Jolla High teaching
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)
Ivar Stakgold passed away
Ivar Stakgold passed away on May 29th at 92. Obituary. Though he only reached Emerald Life Master, his bridge achievements and a proper allowance for masterpoint inflation easily make him a Grand Life Master in all but the name. Ivar was also a well respected mathematician.
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.
August 12th winners: Jim Johnsen and M Ali Mahdavi (Flt A), Elaine Chan and Jennifer Prairie (Flt B, 2nd Flt A), Matthew Kidd and Robert Brobst (Flt C).
July 29th winners: Steve and Kitty Cooper (Flt A), Sally Ishihara and Ross Rossman (Flt B), Davis Bennett and Robert Keefe (Flt C).
July 22nd winners: Paul Darin and Sam Madison-Jammal (Flt A) winning the Logan Trophy, Carolyn Casey and Marilyn Peters-Dunn (Flt B), Thomas Dorsey and Zach Scherr (Flt C).
Looking for Soledad Club results instead?
What is the worth of AKQxxx? — a geeky tale of probability and simulation.
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 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.
Contacts and Board InformationE-mail the Webmaster, E-mail the La Jolla Board, Contact a board member, Board Members, Governance, Minutes, Financials
2018 Annual Masterpoint RacesU526 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.
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 (, 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.
Marvin French resurrected
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.