Berkeley/El Cerrito/Richmond 497

By The Beer Dude

Hiya MMXVIII & good luck in Monterey if you go; hope ya don’t get any nasty rain/fog on your drives down & back. I’ll be there for D21 meeting & may play 2-session game after. I crash at my mom’s place in Soquel, so it’s not so bad of a drive back to there, save for nasty part of 1 btwn 156 & Watsonville.
2 unit games since last column, including another 1st Friday. Wednesday, November 15 drew 9 tables (biggest in last 2 yrs); Dexter & Gordon shot 70.62% to ace it. Well behind were Eric & Dick 2A, Susan Kovacevic & Carol Scott 3A, Barb Lanier & Trudie 4A/2B, Esther Schroeder & Jeanne Sutter 5A/3B/1C, Ben Grubel & Jan Kosel 4B, & Kerstin Barnett & Catherine Warren 2C. Friday, November 1 was six tables, which “RoJo” topped, with Lamar & Dick 2A, Narvelle & Linda 3A/1B, Prez Joyce & Trudie & “H” & Aki 4/5A. January games are Friday 12th & Wednesday 31st.
In-Out/Rank mover-uppers: Welcome Susan Hoffman, transfer-in from Sonoma-Napa; farewell to Doug Couchman, who I just found out covers some EBCBC games & had to transfer so he could be on the U502 Board. Up go Marge Black (who plays our club games & is a cool gal) to Jr Master, & Caroline Kosovac (whom I’ve never met) to Club Master.
At da club: Dexter & Gordon repeated as MP champs; Catherine Warren topped the NLMs. No club champ game in January, so a shout-out to John Love, who gets there early (he has a key) to set up tables, make the coffee, & set out snax. His reward is free play & he got a holiday bonus check from the unit (which owns the club). And – STOP cards are gone from the bid boxes. Make your jump bid & move on; I suppose you may see an insufficient bid on your left at times; if, so, call the director immediately! It may be to your partner’s advantage to accept it (one of 2 options – more below).
Insufficient bids: If you make one & then realize that you did so, don’t say a word unless it was an up/down mechanical error you wish to correct – call director. Otherwise, if LHO makes any call, you’re off the hook. Same goes if your pard does so & your RHO didn’t notice & took a call. Once the LHO of the person who made the insufficient bid makes a call, the auction proceeds – LHO has condoned the underbid. The mistake players ignorant of the law make is not calling the director immediately, then tell RHO “insufficient” & go on – wrong! It gets tricky when an insufficient bid is intended as conventional/cue bid (most likely when your side has 11+ cards of a suit & interfering @ favorable vulnerability when your foes are going for slam in one of the other three suits). The rules change – basically, any insufficient bid must be treated as natural by offender’s partner (which the director will explain when called to the table). You’ll get an adjusted score if they bid & make the slam they couldn’t have found w/o info they were supposed to ignore). Further, if RHO makes the sufficient bid, you can up the ante by bidding one more in your suit; -500 is better than -650/-680/+. Better yet is beating the slam they bid (as my pard & I did years ago in a Red Ribbon game in Reno – I knew the rules & took full advantage).
Finally – RIP Kathy Golitzen, who fell victim to nasty cancer early November. She & her surviving hubby Peter were board members for years before I came aboard; they moved to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii early 00’s. When I stayed at their place on my second visit (2008, when E was there), I slept on their lanai in the warm night air sans covers. She & Peter both were active in the Kona bridge club, at which both E & I played w/them as partners on our visits; the usual director was barefoot. I clued him in on a 7 ½-table movement that kept the sitout to two boards. Kathy & I were the bouncing pair & had a good time; she was an excellent player & a great gal w/great sense of humor.
Tweak to brag/gripe/suggest; unit info & game results available 24/7 @

Diablo Valley 499

By Lisa Assoni

HHappy New Year! As midnight arrives with singing, fireworks, and champagne toasts, at least that’s how it’s projected on television. However, it does make us take inventory about our lives. We try to make changes for the better, and look back on the past and say farewell. So what sprouts up for Americans? We make 1.9 million New Year’s resolutions each year. If you take into account the whole world, the number of people making resolutions skyrockets to hundreds of millions. And the number one resolution is, drum roll please, losing weight. For us bridge players, we can be sedentary folks. I’m sure we all try to eat well. However, sometimes our food choices fall flat as a pancake. So take this to your bridge table: Eat light and think right!
So, It’s 2018, another year older, and I hope not deeper in debt. We’re indebted to the Unit 499 Board for hosting a fabulous Fall Sectional. Special thanks goes to Anne Hollingsworth, vice president, and coordinator for this event. Then there’s Jackie Zayac, one smart cookie, our president. Lyn Sacco, dedicated secretary for our unit, spent hours of her time by helping our girl Dori feed the hungry. Bill LaMaire, the money-guy, okay treasurer, Bob Barnes, and his wife Laurie, both assisted with all the food. Me too. I’m a foodie, and I even have a website Rich Alft, our storage guy, designer, and distributor of flyers for this event, did a great service for all. Michael Kurley stepped up to the plate to help make a fun day for all. Bruce Johnsonbaugh, the food man, and his wife Sharry, always graciously willing to help. Barbara McKay made lunch simple to order, and ready when players were hungry.
Last, but never least, is Patti Kogan, our teams pairs co-ordinater for the event, and Ted Gunn, armed to do whatever was asked. Repeat players found the high school quite easily. We didn’t even need our sign man, Andy Fine, a previous worker for Pizza Hut to hold the directional sign. For most drivers, it was a piece of cake.
All gathered to begin Saturday and Sunday’s game with gusto. Tables were filled to the brim, as well as coffee cups. Teams members sifted through the cards, and scored big. Please check out our website for details. Oodles of silver points were earned, and the names are listed online at
Then comes Barbara Seagram, that was another awesome event. She’s so accredited, that I can’t begin to list here successes. Lots of folks gathered to hear her poignant view on how to win at bridge. She’s quite a gal, always entertaining, vivacious and nice too. It all began at 9:30 a.m. and ended with a handful of refresher notes, hoping our memory retention, will grasp onto each lesson taught.
We love you.
On the home front, the following bridgees made headlines: set in Bronze were Sefton Byors, Sandi Cummings, Margie Evans, and Carol Harrison. Silver was earned by William Samuels and Krishnam Thondukolam. Sapphire, an awesome stone, went to Tom Trachuk.
X-ellent! Congratulations to all.

East Bay 502

By Sandi Davis

Happy New Year! We ended the year on a sad note with the loss of our unit’s only Grand Life Master. Hugh Ross represented the U.S. on both the nationals and international stages for many years winning the Bermuda Bowl three times and nineteen North American championships. He was always friendly at the table and a genuinely nice person. Our condolences to his wife Min and his many friends in the bridge community.
We welcome new members Peter Bush and David Gin to the unit. We also had one rank advancement as Linda Kohn became a Sectional Master. I had the pleasure of playing with Linda in the Pro-Am and she is eager to learn and a pleasure to partner.
Welcome Peter and David and congratulate Linda when you bump into them.
The Saturday games need more support! The games this month will be held on January 13 & 27 and you still need to email us that you will be attending. It is a lot of fun so come and join the festivities.
The Center will again be hosting several of the Grand National Teams qualifiers starting next month so you should form a team and play! You can’t win if you don’t play, so sign up by February 1 on the D21 website.
New classes are being offered beginning this month. J. J. Kael will be offering the Club Series for new players beginning on January 17 and the Diamond Series beginning on the 15th. Both classes are from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Fred Schwartz will be teaching Defense beginning on the 17th at 10:00 a.m. for 10 weeks. The website has the specifics and information on how to register.
At the December 3 unit game, Susan Wiebe & Sandi Davis won 1st OA with Barry Kael & Eileen Eastman finishing 2nd. N/S Shirley Rodenborn & Loretta Dimitruck finished 1st with Allan Harris & Dave Snyder 2nd.
Give a special shout out to Amy (and Steve) Bess for organizing the holiday party this year. The unit board members and its volunteers provide the sandwiches and delicious desserts at all of the Sunday unit games as well as the terrific spread of food and lunches at both of the sectionals. These behind the scenes worker bees are what make this unit great so take a minute to thank them. The unit board members as of January 1 are president Neal Mazaroff, VP Shirley Rodenborn, secretary Lynne Bromley, treasurer David Snyder, Rose Anne Kase, Larry Bowerman, Russ Rector, Libby Silver, Carol Warren, Amy Bess, Joseph Held, Doug Couchman and Tom Pajak. And speaking of Tom, he will be writing the February column, so I am sure he will not mention that he will likely have been elected president of District 21 at the Monterey board of directors meeting on January 6. So congratulate him and wish him well. It is not an easy job, but he will be amazing!
By the time I had to submit this column only one Holiday STAC game had been played but there were a bunch of winners from the December 4 game at EBCBC. Barak Engel & Lynn Yokel placed 3A, Dan Scarola & Darrel Fung 5A, Marcia & Andy Wasserman 48A, Ed Yunck & Jeff Toman 57A, Donna Rolle & Mary Levine 73A, Joyce Hart & Susan Wiebe 85A, Charlie Tonelli & Jean Wood 63B, and James Bond & David Cartwright 75B. And while you are saying “big deal” about 75B (I can hear you, David), remember that this event was played against nearly everyone on the west coast so yes, it is a big deal.
Well done, all.
We had many players returning from the San Diego NABC with MPs in hand. Let’s shout-out the platinum! Jessica Lai and Grant Vance both bypassed 200 total platinum points during this tournament with the help of partners/teammates from around the bay.
In addition, Mary Levine, Estelle Baum, Stephen and Amy Bess, Glenn Boyce, Ed Seputis, Norman Marks, Libby Silver, Susan Bailey, Rajeev Gupta, Eric Leong, Nick Wiebe, Ching Chao, Joye Sidoti, Calvin Harper, Cole Powell, Steven Drucker and Russ Kirschenbaum made the Daily Bulletin.
If you have any news & you’d like to see your name in print, please email me at & let me know what’s on your mind.

Fresno 522

By Laura Da Costa

If you are reading this Forum and it is still December, think about joining us for the New Year’s Eve Fast Pairs game at 1:00 p.m. If it is already January, then Happy 2018! I want to wish you all a healthy and happy new year.
We will start with a reminder that Presidents Day weekend next month, February 16-19, will be the Fresno Winter Sectional. This Friday through Monday tournament will use the games time we tried in our Fall Sectional (10:00 a.m. morning sessions, 2:00 p.m. afternoon sessions, and 6:30 p.m. on our one Friday evening session). Sunday will continue to be Swiss Teams with pairs games on Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Flyers are now available at the clubhouse.
We had two Sunday games in November. On the 12th was the North American Pairs (NAP) Unit 522 finals. Though many qualified to play in this red-point event, we had only 2 ½ tables attend; disappointing compared to the usual five or more tables for this event. First place winners were Ray April & Laura Da Costa. Everyone in attendance did qualify for the district finals in January and February. Good luck to those pairs planning to attend the next level.
November 19 was the second Pro-Am Swiss Teams game in three months. As with the last one, five teams played a Round Robin game that had each team play every other team. Winners were determined by victory points, and the big winner was Anthony Toto’s team (Rhonda Hampton, Patrick Carroll, & Marge Field). Every team won at least one match, so all walked away with masterpoints. Thanks to all who played and all who brought a great selection of food for the potluck luncheon.
We had five 70% games and one 80% game in November. The 87.5% game occurred in Madera by Gay & Larry Slates. In Oakhurst: Ken Doig & Claire Molnar, 73.96%; in Fresno: Ruby Buttereck & Fred Schellack, 73.75%; Mark Stern & Belva Quattrin, 70.00%; Gerard Laquerriere & Lowell Gist, 73.61%; Laura Da Costa & Ray April, 72.50%.
Welcome new members, Sue Brown (Lemoore), and Tom Callahan (Fresno)!
Easybridge! starts again on Saturday, January 20. Each lesson will begin at 9:00 a.m. and last about two hours. If you know someone interested in learning bridge, let them know about these free lessons. For more details, contact me via email at or Mary Lou Pease at

Livermore Valley 501

By Rosemarie LaFrancesca

Happy 2018! What are your resolutions for the year? We all should make an effort to be on time to the bridge games to make things easier for the director; we should also make sure we bring snacks once in a while for others to enjoy; and we should all always “play nice!”
The tournament year will start with the Monterey Regional, fondly known as the Clambake. Monterey is a great venue, many great restaurants, golf courses, sights to see, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Of course, most of us will be seeing the inside of the Hyatt. Good luck to all who are planning to attend.
We hope you will join us weekly for bridge at the Livermore Bridge Club. We meet Mondays and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. in the IOOF Building, 2160 First Street, in Livermore. Parking and entrance are in the rear; an elevator is available. Most games, including extra point games, are only $6.00; STAC games are $8.00; educational fund games are $7.00. Reservations are suggested for the Monday STAC. Players bring food to share; the club provides coffee/tea; a good time is had by all. 
Novice Games (0-99 points) are held the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. And you don’t even need a partner. Every Thursday we will guarantee a partner to any player with fewer than 100 masterpoints, even on Thursdays with no special 99er game. Any player can come without a partner and we will match you up with a friendly player for four hours of fun. Encourage your bridge-playing friends to give duplicate bridge a try! We are happy to see some of our 99ers play on Mondays as well. Keep up the good work, 99ers!
The Livermore Bridge Club website is You will find a calendar of events there; you can also find Paul’s bridge tips and publications are links to neighboring units if you want to travel to your next bridge game.
Remember that the end of this month we will host the Livermore Valley Sectional. January 27-28 are the dates at Christensen Middle School in Livermore. It’s a perfect weekend for bridge, the weekend between the NFL championship games and the Super Bowl. Take a break from football and join us for some spirited bridge hands. A partner is guaranteed for all, so come enjoy the food, friends, and cards. Check out our flyer on the ACBL website.
Be there or be square!

Marin 508

By Gail Haar

WWelcome to our newest unit members Tammy Campbell Lucas and Georgianna Farron. And congratulations to those moving up in Master rank: Joan Ehman (Sapphire Life); Arti Bhargava (Gold Life); Bill Bailey (Silver Life); Lani Valentine (Bronze Life); Stephen Levinson, Susan West (NABC); Christine Telischak (Club); Paul Phelps (Junior).
There were three big games in November: Bruce Noda & Ellen Schiller (73.36%); Loarn Thoelecke & Rene Goff (70.45%); Gene Simpson & Laura Kenney (70.14%). Bill Bailey, one of the newer members of our unit, had an incredible November. In the Ventura Regional, Bill & team won two Swiss Teams events (one open and one Bracket II. In Puerto Vallarta, Bill, Arti Bhargava and team won a KO and a Swiss Teams event. Bill finished with a very impressive 180 MPs for those two tournaments.
Unit 508 was well represented at the San Diego NABC. Congratulations to all who did well in the national events where the player rosters are a real “Who’s Who” of bridge. Special congratulations to Tracey Bauer who was the subject of an NABC Daily Bulletin article about her excellent results in the North American Swiss Teams playing with a first time partner!
Coming in 1st in regional events were: Michael Hartnett & Nancy Ferguson; Andrea Johnson & Miriam Kaegi; Beverly Bloss; Cyrus Ansari; Pat Friesen.
We will miss Bob Crossley’s bridge talk he has held for several years after the Friday game at the Crossley Bridge Center. Bob is retired from directing, but his sister Janet is continuing the club games and is even adding a weekly, Open Saturday game at 12:30 p.m. Janet is using one of the Saturday games for her monthly Swiss Teams (previously held on Thursday evening). Check the website for dates of monthly Saturday teams games. Saturday, February 3, Janet will hold the 6th Annual Lura Crossley Memorial Swiss Teams. There will be a sign up sheet at the club for this game in honor of Bob & Janet’s mother, and founder of the Marin Unit.
How many bridge players do you need to change a light bulb? Four. One to change the bulb and three to tell him how he could have done it better.

Modesto/Merced Sonora 529

By Gail Vick

High games for November: A, 69.80%, Bruce Ruskin & Frank Frohman; B, Galen Neptune & Frank Frohman, 64.58%; C, Bob Rodenheizer & Terry Nagode, 61.85%.
November Sunday high game scores: Joyce Rudesill & Gail Vick, 60%; Sharon & Neil Von Tersch, 59.16%; Toni & Ken Hillman, 58.57%. The final Sunday of the month showed the way with two true Engebretsens, John & Imogene Engebretsen won 1st across the board, and Mickey & Jack Holt won 2nd across the board.
At our unit game with nine tables in play on an upswing, celebrating Dave Terry’s Life Master achievement. Overall, Roger Smith & Mike Saeler won 1st in A/B with 64.12%; Mickey & Jack Holt taking 1st in C, and Dee Heller & Dan Catoe, 1st overall in C, but winning 1st across the board (N/S).
Top scoring points for the month are: Ralph Jungwirth 7.26, and Bruce Ruskin 7. With over 1500 life masterpoints, John Mayne has now reached Ruby Life Master status, Congratulations John!
Jeanne Russo and Linda Kenyon are back from their trip to Costa Rica, with a pre-trip to the Tortuga Islands to observe the turtles, which Jeanne was excited to share. They have also traveled down the Amazon, Machu Picchu, Africa. Wonder where their next adventure will be? I know that Australia & New Zealand are on Jeanne’s Bucket List.”
Many of us went to San Diego and had a great time at the Manchester Grand Hyatt; lovely weather, close to Seaport Village for walking and dining, wonderful views. Unsure as to who won what, but I know that Ray Adams, Lee Maddocks, Libby Longstreth, Chris Barkley, Mike Saeler, Sherrie Barakatt, Dee Alexander, Vickie MacClyment, Kathy High, Pam Sand were there, as well as the foursome of Barbara Page, Connie Arnold, Judy Remmers and Gail Vick who captured 1st place in the last two days of a Compact Knockout.
Henry Lichtenstein passed away not long ago. He was very passionate about the game of bridge. Our sympathy and condolences go out to his wife Trish.
From the Foothills: On Thanksgiving day our friend Sharon Fauss lost her battle with a brain tumor. Sharon was our director and teacher at the games in Sonora. She also represented our players on the board of directors in Modesto. We missed her when she moved to Medford, Oregon and remember, fondly, her years with us. For the month of November our players of the month are: Monday, Alan & Susan Hamilton with 3.14 masterpoints. The Hamiltons also scored the highest game for November with a 77.78%; Tuesday, Darryl Rosenheim & Vonny Tiscornia, 1.16 points; Wednesday, Dave Jenkins, 2.75 points; Friday, Bob & Lydia Solomon, 2.01 points.
Merced Happenings: Merced Masterpoint top 5 winners were: Gary Smith, 3.65; Larry Sweet, 3.65; James Higgins, 2.63; Frank Frohman, 2.40; Pat Gallo, 2.21.
Dave Terry became a Life Master in Reno.

Monterey 530

By Mary Block

The annual Unit 530 Holiday Party was enjoyed by 92 bridge players and a few luncheon guests. Thanks to the chairs of the event, Debbie Davis and Mary Quenette. They were assisted by other board members and our ever-indispensible building managers, Kurt and Arlene. This is always a labor-intensive undertaking to move tables and accessories to the Elks Lodge for the afternoon and back again. Gratitude is due also to Alan Hedegard and his son, Cord, for doing such a good job of directing and assisting. The overall winners were Ray Boehn & Betty Jackson. Lauren Upson & Ron Coffee were the other winners in the open section. Judith Ritchie & Suzanne Taunt and Birgit Ball-Eisner & Rex Pryer placed 1st in the 399er section.
The unit welcomes new members Susan Kendall and LuDeene Slye. We hope to see you at the Bridge Center enjoying our favorite pastime with us.
Janice Skow is now a NABC Master and Konny Murray is a Bronze Life Master. Richard Papst has advanced to the status of Silver Life Master.
The unit has unfortunately lost two members, Robby Meryash and George Raust. Both played in the NLM games for a number of years and will be missed.
Thanks to the generous contributions of our members, facilitated through the Salvation Army, six families will have a happier Christmas. Lyde has, for many years, organized the process to collect gifts of toys, clothes and other items for children, as well as grocery gift cards.
This is your final reminder for Lyde’s New Year’s Eve Party, the annual early celebration of bridge, dinner, and more bridge. Call Lyde for a last-minute reservation at 626-4796.
Hetty Eddy reports on the progress of the beginning players over this past year: I want to congratulate all the beginning bridge players who have been consistently working at their game for the last year. We have had several beginners this year that have received points and several who have come in 1st place. Our 1st-place winners are: Silvia, Amy Pofcher, Ron Lawson, Barbara Callaway, Betty Pribula, Fran Soskins, Barbara Moxley, Barbara Svetlik.
The shuffle and play sessions continue at the Bridge Center on Thursday afternoons, to help these players transition into regular games. Doug Halleen will be announcing the next EasyBridge! lessons after the first of the year.
Good luck to all in the Clambake. Please consider helping out at the Hospitality Desk during the tournament.
We are 831 384-7800. I am The Foundation is

Napa/Solano/Sonoma 512

By Tom Sheahan

Alert! There will be no games in Sonoma on Monday, December 25, Tuesday the 26th, Wednesday the 27th, and Monday, January 1. There will be a game on Friday, December 29, in Napa. Regularly scheduled games will resume in Sonoma on January 3.
What was that loud noise in Sonoma? It was a big cheer when it was announced that Don Powell & Phil Shoemaker came in with a 77% game last month! Great game! Other winners were Bill Wells & Denny Olmstead, Ron Chestnut & Gary Robinson, Evelyn Holtz & Nancy Gunn, Rick Davis & Wayne Gordon (who?), Patty Shribbs & Nan Hallberg, Sigrid Price & Susan Cook, and Tom Jacobson who won twice, once with Marilu Donnici and once with Panette Talia.
499er winners include Marilyn Edwards & Doris Mendell, Dick Hale & Willa Mundell, Helen Herbaugh & Allison Ash, and Brian & Karen Aabel.
There were only two games in Napa last month because of Holidays and they were won by Larry Page & Joanne Wegsten, and Chris Larson & Jerome Fenton. Vicki Lerner & Robin Roche, and Tom Jacobson & Panette Talia took home the prize in the unit games.
Sue Vogtlin continued her winning ways in Rio Vista, once with Bob Lohse ,and Sue and Bob tied another one with John Shick and Alan Morris. Doug & Fran Riedmiller, and Tom Jacobson & Sigrid Price won the other games.
Beginning Bridge will continue in the Vintage Hall in January. If you know anyone that wants to learn this great game, it’s a good opportunity. There will be a notice in VH when classes begin.
It was another sad month as our friend Preston Shackelford’s husband John passed away. Preston is as good a person as there is and our hearts are heavy for her. Betty Magnoli of the Rio Vista club also passed away after a short illness. She was too young for something like this. She will be missed.
Congratulations to Randy Hoyle who garnered his 1500th point to become a Ruby Life Master. How about Adrienne Varin back at the tables a week after having her hip replaced? She is getting along great and you wouldn’t know she recently had major surgery. Michele Burton is also recovering nicely after breaking both wrists. Continued good health to the both of them! A big congratulations goes out to Steve & Nancy Mercer who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Their marriage was a product of the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco and the festivities in Woodstock.
Congratulations to them!
Happy Holidays! I have a nice holiday gift for all of you as I cut this month’s column a bit short so you don’t have so much gibberish to consume.
You’re welcome!

Palo Alto 503

By Carolyn Chaney

Did you have fun at the Holiday Party? Pumpkin pie, yum! And the December fun isn’t over; look for unit games on December 30 (pairs) and Happy New Year Swiss Teams on December 31. Our free lecture on Bergen Raises by Brian Samuels was rescheduled to January 16. Apologies to those trusting souls who read about it last month; remember I am writing this column a month ahead.
If you are new to Unit 503 we offer you a warm welcome with several ways to get involved. This winter Kathy Harper will teach Deadly Defense and Supervised Play, both starting January 8. Frank Smoot will be teaching Topics in Bidding, Declarer Play and Defense for our advanced-intermediate players. Also, newcomers, we have three new bridge sections designed for you: On Tuesdays at 11:30 (right after our free lecture time-slot) director Prue is offering Duplicate for Newer Players with bidding assistance and lunch. On Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. director Gabi is putting out the welcome mat for social bridge players who want to try duplicate. And the Shoreline game (third Saturdays at noon) includes a newer player’s section with a brief lesson on duplicate half an hour before the game begins. We also have an excellent mentoring program: contact for more info.
You may have heard that Larry Cohen will be returning on May 12-13, and sign-ups are already available on our website. Topics include: Second-Hand Play; Notrump Defense at Tricks 1 & 2; Throw-in Plays; and Finding the Queen (which I never guess right!). Larry and our Peninsula Bridge Education Foundation have a special deal for SiVY youth: free admission! Youth: bring your mom for Mother’s Day.
We recently enjoyed a visit by Barbara Seagram, who taught and entertained us well. Here are a few gems from her lecture: Play twice a week; if you play only once a week, you will always be weak. • Law of Total Tricks: Compete to the level of the number of trump your side holds; don’t worry about vulnerability or act nervous or be thinking about Aunt Molly’s bunions; just do it.
• With six clubs, open 3♣; put a low spade in with the clubs and lay out the dummy; someone will notice. If it works well, attribute Barbara Seagram; if not, say you learned it at Podunk Community Center.
• When opponents preempt, your bid is strong; remember that old evangelical hymn: they are weak, but we are strong.
• We love leading singletons, and even doubletons with a high trump to get in; Kantar says we would lead a void if we could.
• If opening 1NT with a weak suit makes you nervous, take Valium and open 1NT. Requiring a stopper in every suit is gone with the bustle.
Don’t forget the Rule of 40: don’t lead fourth best if you can count 40 points in the three hands not including Partner’s.
• When partner opens 1NT and you have 10 points and a 5-card minor, bid 3NT. You only want to play 5 of a minor once a year, unless you have a note from your doctor (or your mother).

Reno 473

By Diane Todd

Another year over already! Whatever happened to 2017? Lots! Reno got a regional. Thanks to all who played at the regional here, the first under District 21 leadership. Unfortunately, with the fires in Northern California, several district members were affected by them and lost property. Because of the fires, we didn’t have the attendance that we had anticipated, but anticipate the next regional here will be better.
We also mourn the loss of Carol Burton, who passed away unexpectedly. We celebrated her life on December 5. We also learned of the passing of long-time unit member, Reba Jo Berland, who moved to Oregon last year.
Elections were held in November, with new members being Larry Ferber, Mark Lundblad, Fred Kelly and Sandy Powell. Mike Schwimmer resigned due to extensive travel; his position will be filled by one of the above members.
October high scores were 68.75% by Virginia Kellermeyer & Gil Ramirez and 69.63% by Linda Averett & Kathy Evans. High scores for the 299ers were LecCleir & Fred Kelly with 59.79% and Jacque Mall & Forest Lorz with 57.81%.
November high scores were recorded by: Sharon Bahry & Rich Scoggin, 75%; Bobbi Kornbluth & Rich Scoggin, 71.16%; Sybil Lucks & Satish Gupta, 66.67%. The 299ers turned in high scores of: 66.67%, Sandy Powell & Brad Stone; Alice & Jon Probst, 58.80%. Marie Ernst & Eleanor Waldren, 57.5%.
Congratulations to new Sectional Masters Marjorie Quaglieri and LecCleir Kelly, new Regional Masters Mary Aaroe, Jenny Garcia, Karol McClellan, Judi O’Connell, and Kathryn & David Welch. Our new NABC Master is Susan Powell, and our new Advanced NABC Master is Judith Robyns. Lastly, our newest Silver Masters are Mark Lundblad and Roni Makteniaks.
Happy New Year and keep reaching new heights!

Sacramento 505

By Miriam Steinberg

Delightful directors fill the ranks in Sacramento, their lives peppered with vignettes. I thought I would share some of these stories with you. Sometimes cards from boards go missing mysteriously. This happened to Albert Chow at the SBC. They searched pockets, purses and under the table. One card just wouldn’t show up, until a player got home, got undressed and found it in his shoe! After having to re-do an entire deck because three cards were missing, Dave Willmott had a sheepish player return the next day having found all the cards in her purse!
Odd things can also occur at the table. Take these happenings under the direction of Ali Topcu. Sitting South, Frank Weil’s RHO East opened 2♠. Frank Weil said double. 2♠’s partner West turned to Michael Grob who was sitting North and inquired “Is that takeout?” to which Michael quipped “No, he is going to eat it here!” Another day, Ali was called to the table to make a ruling on the following bidding: W(Pass) S(Pass) E(Pass) N(Double). Please see Ali for his ruling! Albert Chow was recently called over to a table in the Invitational where a declarer ruffed the ace in the dummy and reneged at the same time. (Exasperated with herself, she requested a hug and got it!). John Hughes was called over to the table at the end of a hand because the four players had played the game without a dummy.
Sometimes the score is always wrong according to one former Monday player at the SBC, who could never seem to work the Bridge Mate properly. And then there are situations like one Dave Willmott described at a STAC game where a pair put in an obvious mistake, a plus 450 for a hand that should have been minus 1100 (The same board was put in twice). They came in 1st, until an opponent from another pair noticed an oddity and questioned the score. The pair dropped to fourth. And watch out for Dave, he can be a real trickster! One April 1, he put the same exact 1NT hand in all directions. The opener got the contract and at each table it was 6NTxx! Then he set up a hand that was something like: ♠-- ♥AKQJ109 ♦AKQ ♣AKQJ. The nasty break was 7-0 and the hand only makes 6 tricks because the opponent with the seven hearts also had two voids, got in and ran his spades. Very funny, Dave!
Ted Muller had a couple of chuckles at the 1989 Reno Nationals. Prior to the start of an afternoon session, Ted was watching an ACBL spokesperson ushering a group of Modesto high school students around the lobby explaining some things. At one juncture she exclaimed, “Oh, look! There’s Sam Stayman over there,” pointing a finger toward the man behind him who was easily recognizable under his well-known beret. The next day, Ted was placed in charge of the Junior games. Answering a summons for the director, he walked over to a table where four of the Modesto kids were playing. Apparently at least one of them thought that the ACBL host had been pointing at him, because she said, “Did you really invent the Stayman convention?” In response, Ted responded probably in his most ironic deadpan manner, “What can I say?”
The day after the Stayman incident, he was called to another table in the Junior section. One of the players asked “What is 2♥ doubled down eight?” After noting that the declaring pair was non-vulnerable versus vulnerable opponents, he congratulated them. “It’s a good save. That’s down -2000 points, but if your opponents had bid and made 7♥, they could have scored +2210.”
The Sacramento Sectional, which was held December 1-3, was a big success thanks to Co-Chairpersons Dave Willmott and Sam Sandusky. We appreciate all of their hard work!
Scott Ewing was the MP winner with around 25 points. The winners of the A/X Swiss Teams were Steve Kolodney, Garth Gregory, Jim Houghton, Carl Oeser, Ted Muller, and Bill Sanford. The B/C/D winning team was Maurie Studin, Jim Bowman, Jim Chenu, and Joel Lesser.
The following Unit 505 members have reached Life Master milestones: Sapphire, Sheldon Fein; Gold, Cynthia Turner; Silver, Ginny Curtis, Piper Smith-Fein; Brinze, Maurie Studin.
The May sectional will be held at the Orangevale Community Center May 4-6, 2018.

San Francisco 506

By Kimberly Fanady

Happy New Year, all you Unit 506ers! Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and is looking forward to 2018.

At the bridge table, the New Year kicks off with my very favorite tournament, the Monterey Regional. if you haven’t been there, give yourself a late Holiday gift and go enjoy the Central Coast; the great food, the lovely scenery, the exciting bridge. Hot on its heels is our always terrific San Francisco Winter Sectional on January 13-14, 2018, at the Janet Pomeroy Center out by the zoo. Everyone come represent the 415! And as usual, our hardworking unit board members could use some help with the tournament. Please pitch in and lend a hand. At least throw your trash away instead of leaving it on the tables!
This month’s unit game is on hiatus for the sectional, but the 2018 unit game schedule fires up in February with a pairs event on the 10th. The game will have three sections, open, 499er, and 99er, if attendance warrants. Light lunch at 11:30, game at noon at St. Mary’s Cathedral, at Gough and Geary.
All are welcome.
Looking back to 2017, our I/N players took the recent San Diego NABC by storm. Every time I looked at the Daily Bulletin, I found our newer players in the headlines. Congrats to Kirsten Beda, Brigitte Sandquist, Ashish Gupta, and Ethan Fingerman, all of whom came in 1st in 99er or 299er Pairs games, and Howard Neckel & Gary Mankin, who were 3rd in a huge Gold Rush Pairs. Practically the entire SF bridge crowd seemed to be at the NABC, so no doubt there were lots of other winners I missed. Check out the results online for the names of all the victorious San Franciscans.
Kudos to this month’s Master ladder climbers: (Junior) William Black, Mike Breslow, Lora Danis, Kathleen Meeker, Jeffrey Roos; (Club) Lynne Crawford, Eda McNulty; (Ruby Life) Ronald Goodman; (Gold Life) David Strauss; (Sapphire Life) your faithful columnist.
Welcome as always to our new members: Scott Bays, Edward Dzialo, and Judy Seropan; and transfers: Karen Beard (Reno), Jon Rosen (North State), and an old friend, returning to SF after a long stay in the Midwest, John Craig (Kansas City). Be sure to meet and greet these newcomers at the clubs.
And speaking of newcomers, it’s time to recruit another crop. QuickTricks will be offering its very popular Easybridge! class again this year, starting soon. All the info will be posted on the club website at Word of mouth from current players is a great source of new students. Send us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to play bridge!
Finally, we sadly say goodbye to longtime Unit 506er Maxine Sigel. Maxine passed away in early December at the grand age of 93. Maxine was well known as a sharp dresser and sharp wit. She frequented the SF bridge tables, especially at the Pips club, right up to the end, always looking great and giving her partners and opponents a piece of her mind. She will be missed. Our condolences to her family and friends.
After all the craziness that happened in 2017, 2018 has to be better (doesn’t it?).
See you at the table.

San Mateo 498

By Merren Carlson

Well, the Holidays are truly here and bridge players know how to celebrate. But first some news. There have been some changes in our unit as we now have three sites: the Bayshore Bridge Club on Bayshore Highway in Burlingame, the Peninsula Duplicate Bridge Club at the Holiday Inn Express in Belmont. and the San Mateo Bridge Center at Fattoria E Mare restaurant in Burlingame. Each offers a bridge player a unique approach. Call or email each for the one that serves you best.
There were at least three bridge Holiday Parties, I know of: on December 14 a Holiday Party at the Bayshore Bridge Center, on December 16, San Mateo Bridge Club’s party at Fattoria E Mare Restaurant, and December 29, a celebration of Sal Ignoffo’s 101st birthday. Enjoyable events.
A unit game with 96 players, complete with catered lunch, was held on November 18 at Fattoria E Mare Restaurant. Results will have to be posted another time.
We would like to welcome new members to the unit: Daniel Duffin, Michael Goldstein, Jonathan Osborne, Deborah Penrose, and Nicole Scandlyn. Congratulations to new Junior Master, Marie Parfitt; Club Master, Susan Papilion; NABC Master, Salma Saeed.
A new program for beginning bridge players will be offered at the Bayshore Bridge Club on Tuesdays from January 16 to February 12.
As always, check for lots more information.

Santa Cruz 550

By Karen Schamberg

At our annual meeting and Holiday Party in December, the 2018 board of directors was announced. Congratulations are in order to new directors: Gary Oing, Laura McCabe and Sydney Reuben; and to incumbents Bette Harken and Linda Hanson. Retiring with our heartfelt thanks were Lani Ray, Nancy Wainer and Rich Hill.
The new year always brings changes. Nancy Wainer’s Bridge Camp ended a fun 15 year run in December. Although Bridge Camp is history, newcomers love her bi-monthly Thursday evening lessons and games. Also, beginner bridge lessons are starting on January 8, so contact Nancy for information on them.
High scores in club games were earned by: Judy Osborn & Robert Johnson, 72.95%; Joanne Wicker & Neil Smyth, 72.03%; Linda Hanson & Susan Mazzei, 71.67%; Jeff Belden & Rich Hill, 70.83%. High scores in club beginner games go to: Tom Motter & Pat Emmons, 81.72%.
Our newest Masters are: Michael Burtch, NABC; Robin Lasser, Regional; John Wesolowski & Thomas Burke, Sectional; and Melinda Kovats & Marilyn Payne, Club.
Welcome to new members; Barbara Eddy, Claire Witherspoon, David Hemrick, John Walker, Michael Kerner & Thomas Motter.
To see the Unit 550 schedule and calendar, including various classes, visit our website at
This month I’m introducing you to one of our new board members: Laura McCabe. I asked Laura to share some thoughts with us and here’s what she wrote:
My memories of my parents’ bridge back in the ‘60s included somber moods along with cocktails and long-burning cigarettes balanced on card tables. Three years ago, my dad encouraged me to try bridge and to start lessons.
Fortunately my first lesson involved some hysterical laughter when I quipped “Boy, I have never felt so stupid in my life” and the bridge teacher shot back “Yes, bridge will do that to you!” That was when I realized that Dad was right; bridge is a wonderful gift to the mind and social life. After being widowed for two years, it was time for me to have a new challenging hobby, new friends and some fun!
Although I work full time, take care of three grandkids, and until recently, was also the caregiver for a family member, I’ve found another passion to fit into my day, my Black and Tan Coonhound, Titus. He’s a natural as a therapy dog at a local Alzheimer’s facility and I’m training him as a “hearing aid” service dog. Coonhounds are bred for their noses and their voices and he vibrates the windows in my home with his supersonic baying. Titus is an absolute joy as a companion.
Oh, and after a 55-year hiatus, my dad started playing tournaments again. In November, he scored a whopping 76% in the 2017 San Diego Fall Nationals, earning 12 gold points and finally becoming a Life Master at age 90.
Life is good, life is full and it couldn’t get much better than family, bridge and a dog.

Santa Rosa/Petaluma 509

By Cecelia Zachar

Unit 509 was hit hard by the 2017 wildfires. An unexpected result of the fires is that it has brought many communities together, including ours at Unit 509. Eighteen players from the Santa Rosa Bridge Gallery lost their homes and their belongings. On November 3, the Gallery and Unit 509 came together to honor them with a “Shower of Support.” Over 50 people crowded into the Gallery to hear the terrifying stories of escape, to share tears and to offer hugs. After a sumptuous lunch and a few hands of bridge, the victims left with armloads of “comfort” gifts: gift certificates, warm blankets, bottles of wine, chocolate, scarves, games, etc. All of us who attended went home with a gift as well, the reminder that bridge is much more than a card game and that those who sit at the table are our opponents in name only.
Unit 509 is a very fine place in which to learn to play bridge. The Bridge Gallery offers series of bridge lessons taught be two great teachers, Kathy Venton and Kate Hill. Their next class, Absolute Beginner Bridge Lessons, begins January 16. See the club’s website for details at
Petaluma Bridge Club offers free classes for beginning to intermediate players before many of their Saturday games. In addition, the unit board is providing a lecture series by World Champion Cris Barrere which is free to unit members. Cris is fabulous! He offers bridge insight to everyone in the room, from newbies to Diamond Life Masters. He is well prepared, an excellent teacher, and entertaining. Cris’ next lecture is on January 28 and will probably include Puppet Stayman over 1NT, a modified version of Jacoby 2NT responses. He’s keeping with the theme of describing your hand to partner without painting a picture of how to defend the contract to your opponents.
Another benefit the unit provides for our newbies is our mentoring program. New players with fewer than 50 points are paired with experienced players for a series of six games. This year the program served 20 of the new players with 13 volunteer mentors. Mentees say they enjoy the opportunity to play with a more advanced player and get focused feedback on their bidding and play.
A few players have moved up in Master rank this month; Shelly Dunietz (Diamond); Conrad Larkin (Life); Wendy Merget, Muthiah Ramanathan (NABC); Brian Aabel (Regional); Kim Fusch (Club). Congratulations all!
We had five 70%+ games this month. In Oakmont, Jim Oswald & Robert Stinson, 70.24%. In Petaluma, Ellen Schiller & Robert Liss, 70%. In Santa Rosa: Laurie Vree & Nicole Barnes, 76.67%; Lynn Westoby & Janice Lee, 70.83%; Mark Rudow & Jim Taylor, 78.33%!
Unit 509 has never had its own website, but it looks like we will have one in early 2018 thanks to Kathy Juarez. We are all very excited. Yay!
By the time you read this, Nancy Stetson, Unit 509’s Forum columnist since 2013, will have moved north to Redmond, Washington, to be closer to her daughters. Nancy plans to play a lot of bridge and is looking forward to the move although she loves Sonoma County. I’m the new Forum columnist for Unit 509, and I hope I can do as good a job as Nancy in bringing you the news from this beautiful part of the world.

Silicon Valley 507

By Ray Yuenger

By Forum deadlines, it’s time for me to anticipate the new year when I’m still recovering from 10 consecutive days of bridge (two-sessions a day) at the San Diego nationals. I have no special announcements from the unit 507 board. We are constantly discussing how to bring players back to the San Jose Bridge Center. If you have any suggestions, please tell me or another unit board member.
At the San Diego Nationals, some unit members did well in national events. Doing well is not limited to getting a good score. Our home-grown director, Lynn Yokel, was given an ACBL Employee of the Year award for extraordinary work as a relatively new tournament director. In terms of getting good scores, Michael Rosenberg’s team was 8th in the Reisinger Board-A-Match. Kevin Rosenberg was 20th in the Nail LM Pairs. Will Watson was 6th in the Mixed Swiss Teams. Bruce Luttrell & K-P Cheng were 14th in the under-10,000 Swiss. Alan Wood was 3rd in the under-10,000 IMP Pairs, while K-P Cheng was 14th. Diane & Lynn Shannon were leading the field in the Women’s Pairs event at the half, and finished in 11th place. Larry Wagner placed 5th in the under-5000 Blue Ribbon Pairs event with Han-Yu Chang 13th.
In regional events at the nationals Ed Becker was 1st in a limited pairs game. Stratification tops in pairs games were earned by Frank Xie, Bruce Luttrell; and Laura de Vesine. On winning Knockout teams were Rick & Kathy Jasper and Tony Trebaol; Michael Bodell & Laura de Vesine; Jim Liu: Elenalani Lam; and Jory Segal.
In the past I’ve reported on section tops in pairs events, but the eleven Daily Bulletins I’m reviewing no longer include that information. While I could look for section tops online by reviewing each of the 321 events held at the San Diego Nationals and each of the sections in those events, I hope you’ll forgive me for not doing so. It would add up to reviewing the results of over 1,000 sections. I’ll continue to do so for local sectionals and regionals.
In a 299er Sectional at the Palo Alto Bridge Club, Wei Chen & Yin Lin had a strat top in a pairs game.
At the Diablo Valley Sectional, Lynn Shannon had a section top in a two-session pairs game. Frank Lowenthal’s Swiss team was 1st in its bracket.
At the Oakland Sectional, Sarah & Steve Chen won an Open Pairs game, while Elenalani Lam had a strat top in a limited pairs game. The Swiss team with Cheryl Mandala & Yul Inn won its bracket, as did Jung Hu’s team.
Unit 507 had another enjoyable and tasty Holiday Party just before Thanksgiving. 20 tables turned out at the Campbell Community Center to partake of the contributions of their fellow players and the barbequed meats provided by the unit. Mischel Postas coordinated the event. First overall in the ensuing Open Pairs game were Michael Hughes & Ray Yuenger. First in the other direction and in both other strats were Jory Segal & Roger Joseph. First in the limited pairs game were Jackie Hiatt & Judy Reeve.
The party was fun, but smaller than usual, and the unit board will have to consider holding future parties at the San Jose Bridge Center, with advance sign-ups mandatory.
Congratulations to the unit’s newest Masters: Brandon Ge, Rajeev Gupta, Rakesh Gupta, Radhakishin Thawani (Junior); Kathi Congistre, Limin He, Jeff Weaver (Club); Amar Chunder (Silver); Neal Webb (Ruby); Peter Friedland (Platinum).
I’m sorry to report the passing of Victor Rivkin in early December. Who doesn’t recall with fondness the friendliness of Victor and Boris at the bridge table and their animated discussions of bridge in Russian after a club game?

South County  500

By Kate Hare

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2018 to All! As usual, December was a busy time for Unit 500. Many members took advantage of the proximity of the Fall NABC and managed to squeeze a trip to Southern California into their busy schedules. The Winter STAC games were held the first week in December with all unit clubs participating. The opportunity to earn silver points at “home” enticed many players to add play days to their normal game schedule.
The unit celebrated the Holidays with the Annual Holiday Party and general membership meeting at Marina Community Center. Time marches on, now it is a new year.
The Helen Shanbrom Ace of Clubs and Mini-McKenney masterpoint race winners for 2017 will be posted on the ACBL website, around January 6. The contenders probably know already who the winners are. The Unit 500 recipients will be formally recognized at the unit sponsored event in spring. The date, time and menu of that event have not yet been finalized. Look for announcements at your local club or check the Unit 500 website,, for details.
For those on the road to the finals in the National American Pairs competition, the district finals will be held in January and February. See the District 21 website, for the finals schedule.
Tournament Trail: Local players were very lucky to have the Fall North American Bridge Championships held in San Diego. Several Unit 500 players were able to get away and enjoy the wonderful location and exciting games at the tournament. Most who attended were among the 4,716 players who brought home masterpoints.
The players from South County who had 1st place wins in their selected events deserve special recognition: Jennifer Carini & Mike Ravera, Sunday B-A-M Teams, Peter Chueng, Monday AXY Swiss Teams, Charlie & Ann Conrad and Valerie Byrne & Bob Hamilton, ABC Swiss Teams, Andy Sass, side games, Carla Francis, Side Series and Don Bierman & Shailesh Shah, KOs. Other players, while not placing 1st in any one particular event, did well overall and brought home nice awards.
The following is a list of all players who scratched and their masterpoint earnings: Terry Terzian (22.43), Andy Sass (21.90), Vadana Vidwans (21.67), Joan Clark (17.44), Carla Francis (11.37), Jennifier Carini (7.89), Mike Ravera (7.89), Charlie Conrad (6.53), Bob Kahn (6.47), Tina Kahn (6.47), Valerie Byrne (6.03), Bob Hamilton (6.03) and Rory Xiao (2.06).
New Members: Welcome to Grace Da Silva, Howard Liu and Jesse Liu who all  transferred memberships to Unit 500.
Advancements: There were a few changes in rank: Janet Quilici (Club Master), Christopher Stack (Bronze Life Master) and Judy Allrich (Silver Life Master). Congratulations to all!

Stockton  510

By Wendy Buchanan

As I sit down to write this month’s Forum article the Holiday Season is in full swing, yet we manage to fit our favorite game into very busy schedules. In fact, our Holiday fun was set in motion with Carol Hakeem’s party at her home the week before Thanksgiving. The well attended party gave us a chance to laugh with one another away from the table; thanks Carol!
Our annual Thanksgiving potluck proved to be a mad scramble for Ken & Toni Hillman as the intended turkey chef, Jerry Barnes, ended up in emergency with gallstones. The Hillmans ended up roasting the bird, saving the day for all of us. We missed the Barnes, but are glad Jerry is okay.
Stockton Bridge Center was well represented at the Fall North American Bridge Championships held recently in San Diego. Playing in a variety of games were Cissy, Glo, Doris, Lorna, Jack, Mary, Rose, Wendy, Debbie D. and Howard. Rumor has it Howard earned over a hundred points (mostly gold with a sprinkling of platinum; his expertise was definitely on display!).
We have two new Masters: Debbie DeZarn (NABC); Debbie Greenberg (Regional). Congratulations to both Debbies!
SBC: High scorers for the month were Ken Hillman & Lorna Crooks, 68.30%; Ray Adams & Chris Barkley, 68.20%. Now that’s what I call close! Lynette Foppiano had a 1st place finish this month playing with Mary Sievers at 60.42%. Masterpoint leaders were Richard Bianchi, 15.38 and Joy Gotelli, 13.88.
SBC Intermediate: The Baba/Bearg team aka the Jerry/Jon team swept both intermediate games this month with 63.62% and 62.82%. Due to a fifth Thursday this November, intermediate players were able to enjoy the usual two sessions; thank you, Ken!
Oak Park: High scorers for November were Team Nutting with a 68.08%, and Ray Adams & Sherrie Barakatt, 66.23%. Player of the month was Alice Del Core with three 1st place finishes. I guess I should mention she earned those 1st place finishes with Ray Cormier! Both were November masterpoint leaders with 6.69 points. High hand of the month was a 1520 for Zulka Dozier & Carol Hakeem and Ken & Toni Hillman.
By the time you read this Forum article, Oak Park players will have enjoyed our Annual Holiday Potluck Luncheon on December 20, and many Stockton players will be headed to Monterey to enjoy a favorite regional, the Monterey Clambake. In fact, this Forum reporter will be too busy enjoying hours of bridge in the Clambake, so there’ll be no article next month. Happy 2018!