2016 May Sectional Results


EventField Strength (MP)Tables
AX Swiss Teams5121372613 + 12
BCD Swiss Teams91559412 × 2
Sunday Afternoon Open Pairs346112937


EventField Strength (MP)Tables
Saturday Morning Open Pairs3807227228
Saturday Morning 999er Pairs31918014
Saturday Afternoon Open Pairs4299271825
Saturday Afternoon 999er Pairs33822912


EventField Strength (MP)Tables
Friday Morning Open Pairs3702229426
Friday Morning 999er Pairs28816118
Friday Afternoon Open Pairs4010251922
Friday Afternoon 999er Pairs25617810

Total table count: 211   (Fri: 76½, Sat: 78½, Sun: 56)

337 ACBL players attended, 266 taking home masterpoints, with 997.58 total masterpoints awarded. Local player Bette Strauch was the overall masterpoint winner, earning 24.77 MP. John and Bette Strauch won the morning and afternoon open pairs on Saturday! See the ACBL website results for a summary of the winners in each event and the full list of masterpoint winners. Tournament Flyer. TourneyTRAX listing.

Most of you were from local units: La Jolla (67), San Diego (147), Coronado Chula-Vista (22), North San Diego (47), and North Inland (15). But some came from further: Irvine area (18), Inland Valley (9), Palm Springs area (2), greater Los Angeles region (1), Las Vegas (1), Bay Area (3), Hawaii (2), Alabama (1), and Canada (2).

Scaling for the slight difference in table count versus last year, La Jolla unit attendance was up 14%, San Diego and Coronado-Chula Vista unit attendance were both unchanged, North San Diego unit attendance was up 19%, and North Inland unit attendance was up 25%. We also gained from the Inland Valley but lost from the Palm Springs area and had hardly any players from the greater Los Angeles area this year versus 13 last year, while attendance from the greater Irvine area was essentially unchanged. Financial recap.

Scott Campbell was the Director-in-Charge. He was assisted by Tom Ciacio all three days.

This sectional had almost the exact same table count (211 vs. 212) as our May 2012 sectional, the last time we held the May sectional at the Soledad Club. It was smaller than the 230, 260, and 287 tables at the last three May sectionals. But those were held at Adventures in Bridge when it had the large space at 6150 Mission Gorge Road.

I am pleased that moving the sectional up one week did not seem to affect table count. The unit board knew that the five year lease for Adventures in Bridge was up near the time of this sectional. It was our expectation that Wirt Gilliam, the club owner, would be able to renew the lease or find a comparably large facility. In practice he was offered a strong financial incentive to vacate five month early and did so but was unable to find a comparable space with sufficient parking. By then a wedding had been scheduled at the Soledad Club during the Memorial weekend.

Wirt’s inability to find a comparable space may bode poorly for the local bridge community. Real estate pressure may drive bridge clubs out of cheaper areas such as Grantsville, Clairemont, and Serra Mesa, or result in a significant increases in club card fees.


I am very grateful to our caddies. They may be the pawns of the tournament but borrowing from the famous 18th century chess player François-André Philidor, the pawns are the soul of the tournament:

My main purpose is to gain recognition for myself by means of a new idea of which no one has conceived, or perhaps has been unable to practice; that is, good play of the pawns; they are the soul of chess: it is they alone that determine the attack and the defence, and the winning or losing of the game depends entirely on their good or bad arrangement.

The very experienced Davis Bennett single handedly managed Friday. Saturday and Sunday were covered by our regular caddy Allison Ogul, soon to depart for college, and Stephany, a first timer from La Jolla High, recruited at the last minute from our bridge teaching program at that school.

Charlotte Blum and Gail Dunham provided breakfast snacks on Friday and Saturday. Ursula Kantor did the same for Sunday. The sandwiches on Friday were from the San Diego Sandwich Company in Serra Mesa, an establishment recommended by unit board member Lynne Anderson. The Vietnamese sandwiches (Bánh mě) on Saturday were from Pho Time, down the hill near the intersection of Garnet and Lamont. Barbara Blake’s husband picked up the Costco pizza on Sunday.

Bob Brobst, one of my regular partners, was also my co-chair. He covered the tedious task of mailing flyers to clubs within a 100 mile radius and made several supply runs during the tournament.

Matthew Kidd prepared the roasted Brussels sprouts as well as the bulgur, lentil, and carmelized onion dish served on Friday and the Moroccan Carrot Salad, served on Saturday.

Lynne Anderson was our partnership chair and also made lodging recommendations.

Small Pleasures

We had real half-and-half at this tournament. If you are running a tournament, please do the same. It doesn’t cost much and it is so much better than the powdered creamer. Realistically, players can not expect too much from hospitality and lunch. The hospitality budget works out to under $2 per player-session. Nonetheless, there are small pleasures such as half-and-half, on sale snacks (e.g. chocolate covered almonds), and seasonal fruit, that tournament managers can provide.

If you would be willing to pay an extra $2 or $3 per session in exchange for significantly better hospitality, in particular hot catered food, please let me know. It’s an experiment that no one has been bold enough to run.

Special Features

This sectional was the second La Jolla unit sectional to hold regionally-rated events. Both Friday sessions were regionally rated. The unit chose to donate to the Grass Roots Fund and the ACBL Educational Foundation. Read more about this in the May 2015 Sectional FAQ.

Is this just one more gimmick in a convoluted award system that no one can justify? Yes, of course. But in the present instance the regional rating for the open events was not unjustified. This was one tough crowd. The field strength was roughly the same as the open pairs at the San Diego regional. The sectional attracts few pros but regionals divert a fair number of pros into the top bracket of two session KO team events, which were not on offer at the sectional.

We also ran an afternoon pair game on Sunday. Sunday Swiss attendance has been declining at sectionals, seemingly across all of California and perhaps the ACBL as a whole. The afternoon pairs offers a lighter Sunday bridge commitment. It had reasonable 7 tables.

The Iron Butt Awards

The following 20 players receive the iron butt award for playing in all six sessions. Collectively they represent 14% of the total table count.

Be Social

If you would like to see your picture appear when the mouse cursor is held over your name in the results as in the screenshot below, e-mail your picture and ACBL player number to me at webmaster@lajollabridge.com. Note: cut-and-paste may not work for this e-mail address due to spam prevention measures.

ACBLmerge tooltip illustration showing player's face and number of masterpoints

The field strength numbers are computed as the arithmetic and geometric means respectively of the masterpoint holdings for all ACBL members in a field.

ACBLmerge Recap Hyperlink Illustration ACBLmerge Copy-and-Paste Aid Illustration

Did you know your recap sheet is just a click away? Click on your pair number and wait a couple of seconds for the popup window to appear. Want to copy hands more conveniently? Click on the C button below the double dummy results on a hand to bring up the cut-and-paste aid.

Slow Play Penalties Vigorously Enforced

slow bridge player depicted as snail about to set a world record for slowness

Similar to previous years, tournament directors were instructed to vigorously enforce slow play penalties and players were made aware of the policy through a series of three slides (PDF icon, Microsoft PowerPoint icon) posted at each location where directors collected entries and at the hospitality location.

Slow play penalties are not intended to penalize players who face the occasional genuinely difficult bidding or play situation but rather those pairs who are slow nearly every round. You know the type. Experience has shown that penalties are the only thing that affects the behavior of slow players. Warnings, cajoling, shaming, badgering, etc have all been tried and proven ineffective. Just ask any director. The standard penalty for the first offense is 1/8 of a board, roughly a decrease of 0.5% in the overall session score, doubling for each subsequent penalty in the session.


Playing bridge at the beach

Table tallying notes: the Friday afternoon open pair game had a half table, which I rounded down for simplicity, compensating by rounding up the half table in the Saturday afternoon 999er pair game. Also one team withdrew from the Sunday AX Swiss after three rounds, hence the 13 + 12 above.

Matthew Kidd
Unit President