2018 May Sectional Results


EventField Strength (MP)Tables
Monday Afternoon Open Pairs3333221026
Monday Afternoon 1499er Pairs41321518
Monday Evening Open Pairs2601116011½


EventField Strength (MP)Tables
AX Swiss Teams5436349414 × 2
BCD Swiss Teams99766911 × 2
Sunday Afternoon Open Pairs197377319


EventField Strength (MP)Tables
Saturday Afternoon Open Pairs3982256229
Saturday Afternoon 1499er Pairs42919820
Saturday Evening Open Pairs4227275614
Saturday Evening 1499er Pairs4743166

Total table count: 193½   (Sat: 69, Sun: 69, Mon: 55½)

338 ACBL players attended, 230 taking home masterpoints, with 858.88 total masterpoints awarded. Alex Fowlie came out on top with 23.13 masterpoints. 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. Financial recap.

Most of you were from local units: La Jolla (72), San Diego (139), Coronado Chula-Vista (13), North San Diego (49), and North Inland (22). But some came from further: Irvine area (13), Inland Valley (9), Inland Empire (5), Riverside (2), Bay Area (2), Tahoe (1), Phoenix (1 + 2 snowbirds), Twin Falls (1), Dallas (1), Houston (1—on a long San Diego visit), Iowa (2), locals assigned to other units (2), unknown (1).

Scaling for the slight difference in table count versus 2016, La Jolla unit attendance was up 17%, North Inland was up 60%, while San Diego was unchanged, and Coronado-Chula Vista was down 36%.

Brandon Sheumaker was the Director-in-Charge. He was assisted by Arleen Harvey for the busy afternoon sessions all three days.


I am very grateful to our caddies. Sam Stevens, our regular unit game caddy, covered Sunday and Kevin O’Neill covered Saturday and Monday. Kevin is Lynne O’Neill’s son but surprisingly this was his first experience as a caddy. Both caddies worked very hard during the busy afternoon sessions.

We could not have done this tournament without Gail Dunham’s help. She played a major role in our hospitality including making the light meal served between sessions on Saturday, supplying four extra tables, and setting up the downstairs coffee service. I finally chased her away Monday morning which was her anniversary, with encouragement from her husband Bob. Unit treasurer Barbara Blake was also very busy with financial matters, some hospitality tasks, and the return of our rented chairs. Barbara also managed to play all six sessions. Her husband picked up the pizza for the Sunday Swiss teams play-through meal.

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

Charlotte Blum, Ursula Kantor, and Mary Scott Knoll all went shopping for various hospitality needs.

Molly Kidd, who doesn’t even play bridge, prepared the Moroccan carrots served on Saturday, three kinds of homemade cookies (snickerdoodles, cocoa oatmeal, and chocolate chip with hazelnuts) for the Swiss play-though on Sunday, the rhubarb bars served Sunday at noon, and the asparagus and pasta salad that constituted the light meal on Monday.

Bob Brobst (open) and Ron Ignelzi (1499ers) were our partnership chairs.

The San Diego unit loaned us six tables at no expense. Had I better predicted the Saturday afternoon crowd, I would have asked for ten but I wanted to minimize the inconvenience to them. Wirt Gilliam’s quick thinking averted the table crisis and reduced the bidding box sharing downstairs to only two or three tables. He made a quick run to Lynne Feldman’s house to retrieve her personal supplies.

Special Features

This was the third La Jolla unit sectional to hold regionally-rated events. Both Saturday sessions were regionally rated.

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 for the Saturday open pairs 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. We introduced this two years ago because 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. Two years ago it had a modest 7 tables; this year it was a robust 19 tables, comparable to a regular La Jolla unit game. Sundays Swiss attendance was also robust, with 25 teams entered (14 A/X, 11 B/C/D).

The Iron Butt Awards

The following 16 players receive the iron butt award for playing in all six sessions. Collectively they represent 12% of the total table count.

Attendance Patterns

This sectional had a 12 pm and 5 pm playing schedule which was different from our ordinary 10 am and 2:30 pm schedule, similar to that used for the D22 regionals. The change was motivated by increasing use of the Soledad Club. A Jazzercise franchise now has a six days per week contract with the Soledad Club to use the facility for about an hour in the morning and a yoga group meets downstairs on Monday mornings. Despite the schedule change, table count was down only 8% versus 2016 (193½ vs. 211), our last open sectional.

Several things helped. Afternoon attendance was very strong. Moreover, evening attendance was not as poor as we had thought it might be. At 56½ tables it constituted 29% of the total table count. By contrast the evening sessions of our D22 regionals are a ghost town even at the half price rate. But our situation was different because we did not hold two sessions before the evening session, with many as the main two-session events, there was time to eat between our afternoon and evening sessions (virtually impossible at the San Diego regional), and the 5 pm start time means an early evening finish around 8:30 pm. Incidentally, as someone who played in the Soledad Thursday night game until it became too small to maintain, it was great to see bridge players at the Soledad Club in the evening.

The large 19 table turnout for the Sunday afternoon pairs game, up from 7 tables when we added in 2006, was enough bring the Sunday table count even with the Saturday table count. This sheds some light on the debate of whether Sunday sectional attendance around the country is falling because of the day or because few players want to play teams and/or want to commit to a full day of teams. The Sunday afternoon pair game may have come at the slight expense of the Swiss Teams but I am convinced that it increased the overall table count.

Single session players chose the following sessions: Sat Aft (54), Mon Aft (48), Sun Aft (18), Mon Eve (5). Did two sessions player stick to one day or play the afternoon of two days? The breakdown is Sun Swiss (31), Afternoon on Sat + Mon (25), Afternoon Sun + Mon (18), Afternoon Sat + Sun (10), Saturday only (10), Monday only (8), other combinations (3). Time of day was the dominant factor.

Three session players broke down as All Afternoons (14), Saturday + Sun Aft (6), Saturday + Mon Aft (6), Sunday Swiss + Sat Aft (6), Sunday Swiss + Mon Aft (5), Sunday Swiss + Sat Aft (3), other patterns (2). Four session players broke down as Sunday Swiss + Afternoon (11), Sunday Swiss + Saturday (10), Sunday Swiss + Sat Aft + Sun Eve (3), Afternoons + Sat Eve (3), other patterns (6).

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 where directors collected entries.

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.

Matthew Kidd
Unit President