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.
2018 Holiday Party
The unit holiday party (flyer) will be held December 9th at 11:15 am at the La Jolla Country Club. Early reservations are recommended. No walk-ins accepted. The price is $20 if you have played in ten or more unit games; otherwise $30. If in doubt, check this list.
Dress code enforced. No refund will be given to anyone turned away at the door.
Happy Halloween from Nebraska
Maritha Pottenger’s “Teaching Points” online
19 new write-ups added September 16th
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.
Blue Team cheating scandal revisited
The Italian Blue Team (“Squadra Azzura”) dominated world bridge for over two decades, winning 16 world titles from 1957–1975. They were long dogged by accusations of cheating that were never properly investigated by the World Bridge Federation. Recently, Avon Wilsmore meticulously combed through the tournament records and presents a strong case that the team cheated in his forthcoming book Under the Table (The Case Against The Blue Team). Avon presents many details in his lengthy Bridge Winners article The Talk That Never Was: The Blue Team Rule.
As a both bridge player and a student of statistics I find the evidence damning even from the article alone and expect that the book will drive the nail in the coffin. Kudos to Avon Wilsmore for his heroic effort.
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.
November 11th winners: Lynne Feldman and Steve Cooper (Flt A), Avram and Susan Ninyo (Flt B + C).
October 28th winners: Lynne Feldman and Sam Madison (Flt A), Patrick Chen and Lynne Newman (Flt B), Robert Brobst and Matthew Kidd (Flt C).
October 14th winners: Tim Flaherty and Bill Grant (Flt A), Steve and Jill Seagren (Flt B), Patrick Chen and Pam Nuccio (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.