Happy Holidays! Still looking for that perfect gift? Bridge lessons and books -- for beginners and the more advanced, too -- are sure to please. And when friends and family exit for home following the holidays, check out the District 4 schedule, below, for plenty of tournaments to fill the days ahead.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Contact your District 4 board members.
I am writing this article midweek of the North American Bridge Championships
(NABC) in Hawaii. Miriam Harris-Botzum (U133) has already had two high finishes
in NABC events, both times playing with family members. Miriam and her husband
John Botzum (U133) were part of the second place finishers in the 10K Swiss Teams
and Miriam and her brother, Martin Harris (District 13), were third in the 10K IMP
Pairs. Well done, Miriam and John.
A big shoutout to Tournament Chairs Jeanne Gehret (U168) and Tom Coxey (U168),
as well as and the entire Lancaster Regional Tournament Committee, for
a wonderful tournament and increasing table count by 2% over 2017 attendance.
These days, it is rare for any ACBL Sectional, Regional or National tournament to
report an increase in table count. In fact, ACBL-wide Regional attendance is
a whopping 9% even though (some might say because) the total annual number
of Regionals increased from 131 in 2017 to 140 in 2018. The average year over year table count for Regionals held in both 2017 and 2018 is an even more staggering decrease of close to 15%. Thankfully, D4 is bucking that trend with the attendance increase in Lancaster and very small attendance decreases in Wilmington, Valley Forge and Syracuse. The entire country talks about D4 Regionals and especially D4 hospitality and the D4 Dupli-Swiss. One survey respondent who claims to travel the country playing in Regionals and Nationals said that D4 hospitality is the best in the country but he/she is reluctant to attend D4 tournaments until the D4 President is incarcerated. Well, I don't look good in prison orange so I guess the respondent is out of luck.
If you look at the 2019 District 4 (D4) calendar
, you will notice that there is no D4 Regional scheduled until the Philadelphia Regional at Valley Forge on June 24 - 30, 2019. This is not an error. Based upon the report of the D4 Tournament Committee chaired by Allison Brandt (U141), which you can read
, plans were in place for Harrisburg (U168) to have a (stand alone) Regional in May 2019 while Wilkes-Barre (U120) moved from a (stand alone) Regional in February 2019 to a split-site Regional in August (split with Rochester [U112]). This rearrangement of Regionals had many advantages that the D4 Tournament Committee Report lists in detail. Unfortunately, the host hotel for the Harrisburg 2019 Regional backed out of an oral agreement with the Harrisburg Tournament Chair and then tried to get U168 to agree to pay much higher prices for rooms and hospitality. U168 has not been able to secure a new venue at an acceptable price so the D4 Tournament Committee had no choice but to cancel the tournament for 2019.
Allison Brandt, who is without a doubt one of the hardest working volunteers and one of the most ardent supporters of, and advocates for, bridge in D4, is retiring as editor of the 4Spot. Allison transformed the 4Spot from a stodgy publication to a vibrant monthly source of news and information for D4. She even got Larry Cohen to contribute a monthly article - how cool is that? It has been a pleasure and honor working with Allison for many years on many different projects and I have learned many things from her. Thankfully, she is not retiring from her numerous other roles and jobs in D4 - she is just handing over the 4Spot to the very capable hands of Janet Johnson (U141). A big D4 thank you and welcome to Janet for taking on the role of editor-in-chief of the 4Spot. I pledge to try to get my articles in on time each month but sometimes I get stuck at the all-you-can-eat buffets and well, hopefully you'll understand.
Finally, December always feels a bit magical to me. People smile more, are more cordial and are more generous to those who are less fortunate. Many of us have started our holiday shopping and have thought about gifts for our family and friends. People tend to thinks of gifts in terms of objects or money. Do not overlook the gift of time. Volunteering your time for a cause close to your heart can be very rewarding and as beneficial and important as a gift of money. During this season, please consider inviting someone who has trouble getting out to play a club game with you. If they can't get to a club maybe you can visit and play some rubber bridge around the table or in the community room of a senior living center.
My son Ethan (U141) made me so proud when he always made it a priority to find time to pick up and play with Dave Treadwell (U190) when Dave was unable to drive on his own and barely able to walk. Ethan played with Dave in the last tournament Dave played in before he died (a Wilmington [U190] Sectional). It was snowing heavily but the tournament was on and Ethan insisted we drive (I wouldn't let him drive in the storm alone) from Cherry Hill to Wilmington because he had promised Dave they would play. On that day, Ethan gave Dave the greatest bridge gift I have ever seen a bridge player give and gave himself and me a bridge memory we will never forget. Well done, son.
As always, I welcome all comments and suggestions on any D4 matters and issues. My e-mail is email@example.com and my cell is 856.986.5109
From the District Director
Joe Jones Announced as new ACBL Executive Director
After an extensive six-month search process, Joe Jones (right) has been named the executive director of the ACBL.
We are pleased Joe has accepted this challenge," says ACBL Pre
sident Jay Whipple. "He has demonstrated his willingness to do whatever the ACBL needs done over the past months. What the Board sees clearly is that Joe cares tremendously about the organization. He's a solid leader." Jones, ACBL's Chief Financial Officer, was asked by the Board of Directors to fill in as the acting executive director in May.
"I feel fortunate to be part of a community of people who find excitement and joy in being with each other and competing at the bridge table," Jones says. "I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and staff to bring more people to the game."
As a self-described "finance guy," Jones puts ACBL's fiscal health high on his priority list. "It's important that we align expenditures and revenue to safeguard the future of the organization."
District 16 Director Paul Cuneo headed up the Search Committee tasked with filling the vacant leadership position.
"The Board has a relationship with Joe," Paul says, "and we appreciate his openness. We respect his background and experience with the ACBL."
Cuneo says the Search Committee performed a detailed rating process on the 21 resumes received - 12 of which came in response to notifications which appeared in ACBL publications and 9 of which were submitted when the position was posted on websites such as LinkedIn and ExecuNet.
The committee then invited six of the candidates for a video interview of 45 minutes to 1.5 hours in duration. For guidance in their candidate evaluation and structured interview process, the committee retained EASI Consultants.
In addition to Cuneo, the Search Committee included: Joann Glasson, District 4; Georgia Heth, District 8; A.J. Stephani, District 11; Claire Jones, District 18 and Richard Popper, Board of Governors Chair. Additionally, Greg Herman of Seattle WA was invited be on the committee.
Cuneo expressed his gratitude to the Search Committee for their hard work.
Cuneo says that one of the first things the committee addressed was the change in title from CEO to executive director. "It's not a change of duties or salary," Cuneo says, "but perception. We feel that executive director more closely aligns with the partnership dynamic the Board envisions."
Jones has worked at the ACBL for eight years. He is a lifelong resident of Memphis TN. He attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis where he obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration and he is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. He and his wife Julie - who is a neonatal ICU nurse - have a son and two daughters.
North American Bridge Championships
Our Monthly Feature
The 4Spot features fantastic contributors, on a regular rotation:
Larry's Learning Center
by Larry Cohen:
January, April, July, October
For Novices Only
by Marti Ronemus:
February, May, August, November
The ABC of Bridge
by Dave Wachsman:
March, June, September, December
This month it's Dave's turn, and he shows the importance of the 3 C's -- brilliantly!
The ABCs of Bridge
I love it when I encounter a bridge hand that highlights the three C's of the ABC of Bridge: Counting, Communicating, and Curiosity. Such a hand occurred recently during a high-level knockout event. The hand is as follows:
653 Vulnerability: Both Dealer: South
S W N E
4♥ P P X
P 4♠ P 5♥
P 5♠ P P Opening Lead?
Let's examine the hand from the perspective of the three C's.
Janis, as North, sought to visualize the four hands by analyzing the bidding and the information that was generated. She recognized that East's heart bid was a slam try showing first round heart control. Looking at the Ace of clubs, she further concluded that East must have solid diamonds to go along with a very good spade suit. As a result, the weakness in EW's holdings clearly was the club suit so she attacked by leading the club Ace.
Janis and I had just given up 40 years of standard carding in favor of upsidedown count and attitude signals. So that would mean I should encourage the club suit by playing the 2 of clubs. After a moment's consideration, I decided to remove any potential ambiguity by playing the club King on Janis' Ace. I thought that she would think it was a singleton or showed the Queen.
In any event she had no problem playing the club 9 at trick 2. The 9 struck me as a request for a heart return as it was a suit preference signal in case my K was my only club. A heart was returned and Janis trumped the heart to set the contract one trick.
We won 13 imps on this board as North at the other table failed to find the club Ace lead against the same spade contract and our teammates won 13 tricks on a diamond lead. Suppose South's void was diamonds instead of spades. Then when I play a heart for North to ruff, I would lead the J
to ask for the higher ranking relevant suit (diamonds). Suppose that North wanted to uncover a minor suit fit during this auction. A 4NT bid following West's spade bid would not have been Blackwood as she could have bid 4NT at her first turn. A second round 4NT bid by North would have urged South to select his better minor. Take a closer look at the entire hand and recognize that 6 clubs is a viable contract for NS holding only 25% of the HCP.
The amusing thing about this hand is that had it occurred at match points where there was a computer generated printout showing the optimum results, the computer would have concluded that 9 tricks in spades was the maximum result for EW no matter who the declarer was. Furthermore, the computer would show that 6
clubs by NS was a makeable contract. Go figure.
Master Solvers Club
Moderator: Nick Straguzzi
December already? And time to crown our new champions in the District 4 MSC Challenge! And: a brand new contest starts today, so if you've ever wanted to become a full participating member of the D4MSC, this month would be a great time to start.
to read the analysis of this month's problem.
News from Around the Units
Unit 112: Central New York
Unit 112 Congratulates their Advancing Players!
Note to players
- when you advance your rank check your email from our secretary,
Sandy Stockton (sandjack) for a free play to a sectional event!
Ernie Distasio, Syracuse
Nancy Farina, Whitesboro
Reid Holter, Fishers
Marjorie O'Mara, Oneonta
Mary Rab, Oneonta
Janet Tinelli, Sauquoit
Andrew Tomash, Rochester
Sheila Bamberger, Utica
Mary Landrieu, Leicester
Bronze Life Master
Patricia Stadelmaier, Pine City
Anthony Militello, Utica
Elizabeth Patton, Pittsford
James Patton, Pittsford
Sapphire Life Master
Dr Jerome Weiss, Pennfield
Congratulations to our November Sectional Winners
Finger Lakes Sectional Winners
Open Pairs - 2 sessions
Flight A 1
Douglas Ross, Pittsford - Sam Maitra, Rochester
2nd Saul Teukolsky - Roselyn Teukolsky, Ithaca 495.60
Flight B 1st Ellen Ryan - Edythe Krauss, Ithaca 434.13
2nd Ornit Grossman - Stephen Pope, Ithaca 432.37
Flight C 1st Debbie Carpenter - Xiang Long, Ithaca 401.77
2nd George Isgrigg - Barbara McIver, Rochester 397.37
299er Pairs AM
- 9 tables
Flight A & B 1st Shawna Saunders, E. Rochester - Marty Albright, Canandaigua 64.88%
2nd Judy Farris, Canandaigua - Jane Hicks, Canandaigua 60.71%
Flight C 2nd Jeffrey Weiss - Anita Bellucci Weiss, Ithaca 58.33%
299er Pairs PM
- 4 tables
Flight A 1st Jon Davidson, Cazenovia - Dee Derosa, Syracuse 63.19%
Flight A 2nd Marsha Raines, - Steven Gersz, Rochester 56.25%
Sunday Open Swiss Teams
Flight A 1st Sam Maitra, Rochester - David Hunt, E Rochester
Roger Woodin, Rochester - Douglas Ross, Pittsford
Flight A 2nd James Carroll, Lyons - Jerry Manioci, Rochester
Jonathan Forde, Geneva - Dick Tuttle, Cazenovia
Flight B & C 1st Sahwna Saunders, E Rochester - Donald Boyce, Canandaigua
Xiang Long - Debbie Carpenter, Ithaca
2nd David Latart - Allen Bergerson, Rochester
Georger Isgrigg, Pittsford - James Horkheimer, Penfield
------Club News ------
Mohawk Valley Bridge Association
On Tuesday, November 13, MVBA recognized Mike Mihevc for his achievement in becoming a Silver Life Master. Mike has served on the MVBA board for many years and has been instrumental in helping us organize our very popular sectional. In addition, he not only serves as our representative to Unit 112 but he has also served as president of the unit.
In attendance to help us honor Mike were his wife Jean as well as several friends from Little Falls - Mike's hometown. Congratulations, Mike.
Lively Group - They not only play bridge but they sing about it!
Rick Reynolds, a member of the Mohawk Valley Bridge Association wrote a "Fight Song" for the club. The song is sung to the melody of Caissons Go Rolling Along, based on a parody in Mad Magazine over 50 years ago.
to see a few of the members singing the song.
For a copy of the words - Click
Unit 120: Northeastern Pennsylvania
Hello Unit 120!! I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself as your new Unit 120 information submitter for the monthly 4Spot publication. This publication is your go-to place for news in our Unit. Please, if you know of or have news you'd like published, feel free to send it to me at
. Thank you in advance for your interest and support.
Now on to the most exciting news! Our Unit has two new directors to introduce: Christopher Stephens and Joe Distini.
Chris runs his game Fridays beginning at 12:30 PM in Clark Summit, Partners Guaranteed. Chris has been directing the game for a few months. For more information on his game, contact for Chris is either by phone 914-536-3082 or email
Joe is directing the Monday and Friday games beginning at 1:00 p.m. at JCC Wilkes-Barre under the mentorship of George Marcy. Beth Rosenthal has also been mentoring Joe and has Joe direct her Wednesday game, which begins at 10 a.m. at Irem Temple in Dallas, when she is not available. For more information, contact Joe at
is Unit 120's new website!! Thank you to Bill Burns who has taken on the responsibility of updating the site. Please take a moment to read the
from Unit 120 president, Bill Orth.
The Unit 120 holiday party will be held on Sunday December 16 at the Appletree Terrace, Newberry Estates, Dallas. Bridge begins at 1:00 p.m. and a bountiful dinner buffet follows. The minimal cost for dinner and the game is $30.00 per person. Your check, payable to
71 N Pioneer Ave, Shavertown, PA 18708 by December 10, is your guaranteed reservation.
Unit 120 thanks you all for your continued support and attendance at all games and wishes everyone Happy Holidays and a joyous 2019! See you all at the Bridge Tables.
Unit 121: Berks Montgomery
Brian C Snyder
Our Annual Meeting and Unit Game was held on Saturday November 17 at the Highlands at Wyomissing. Jean and Jack Gassert won first overall with a 67.45% game. The following officers and Board of Director's were installed:
President - Brian C. Snyder
Vice President - Glenn Trayer
Secretary - Judy Sager
Treasurer - Bill Buskirk
Board Members: Anne Alderman, Jack Berry, Geri Buczewski, Gloria Kintzer, Shirley Lutz, Linda Snyder, Sue Wessner, Larry Yoder
Our next 0-500 Sectional Tournament will be held Friday December 21 at Sacred Heart Villa. More information can be found
Sue Wessner is hosting a bridge cruise May 9-18, 2019.
for more information.
Congratulations to the following for advancing in the ACBL ranks:
Janice B. Miller - Junior Master
Dorothy Ames - Regional Master
Check back next month for a Unit 133 report.
Unit 141 congratulates its New Life Masters and all those who reached new designation levels.
New Life Master
Silver Life Master
Sapphire Life Master
Platinum Life Master
Join us at the next Unit 141 Sectional. We will be back at Bala Golf Club on January 11-13, 2019. Watch for an explanation of all events and stratification/bracketing in the tournament email blasts coming in December.
The 2019 Annual Meeting and Jane Segal/Sonny Jaspan Game will be May 19, 2019 at Bala Golf Club. Watch for flyers after the new year.
Unit 168: Central Pennsylvania
- The HBC Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, December 8, 11a.m., and will be followed by a catered lunch at approximately 11:45 and a pairs Game (Open & 0-750) at 12:30p.m. No charge for lunch or bridge, but you must pre-register by December 1.
- December 10-16: STaC Week
(In addition to our regular day & evening games, the monthly Swiss Team game will be held on December 12 - dinner at 5:45, game time 6:30; a special birthday lunch for Pam Murray and Kay Succa on Thursday, December 13 at 11:30a.m.; and a 0-1500 Swiss Team game on Friday December 14 at 11:30a.m.)
- HBC will host the Unit 168 Annual Meeting on Sunday, December 16. Snacks at 11:45 will be followed by an Open Pairs game, the Annual Meeting and Lunch, and a second Open Pairs game. Bridge and Lunch are provided at NO CHARGE, so please join us!
The Club will be CLOSED on December 24 & 25, and on December 31.
December will be a special month at Maple Grove:
- December 10-14: STaC Games - all SILVER points!
- December 17-21: Club Championships & Holiday parties
to these Unit 168 members on their new masterpoint rank achievements:
David Albin, Mary Berwick, Elizabeth Devita, Terry Johns, Olga Karel, Kurt Meyer, Patricia Miller, Joan Picker
Benjamin Eckerson, Barbara Marion
Haim Blanc, Cathy Brown, Anne Knoll
Advanced NABC Master:
Patricia Grimek-Stover, Mary Moyer, Pamela Rosenberger
Bronze Life Master:
Richard Lyden, Ruth Whitman
Silver Life Master:
Wacky Hands & Gadgets - by Dave Bort
Response to Partner's Double of a Weak Two
On Board 24 in a recent club team game, with no one vulnerable, our opponents held:
West: 9 AQT987 Q92 974East: 864 6432 76 Q632
while partner's and my hands were (I'm in the North seat):
North: J72 K5 KJT5 AT85South: AKQT53 J A843 KJ
Playing 2/1, the bidding went:
North East South
2H X Pass 3S
Pass Pass Pass
Result: Making 6! What ...?! Then, partner wanted to know why I hadn't gone to game after they jumped the bidding to 3S. The problem was that I had doubled on a 12-point, 8- or 7-loser hand (depending on how one evaluates the KJTx Diamond holding, which will take 2 tricks about 75% of the time, unless both the A and Q are offside - a 25% chance). So, when partner bid 3S showing an invitational hand (yes, that's all it showed, since they would have bid 2S with zero points!), I passed, thinking we were high enough. After all, partner could have only a 4-card Spade suit. But, with South's actual 18-point rock-crusher, a game-forcing bid was in order for their first bid. Basically partner had a choice between bidding 3H (a forcing cue-bid of the opponent's suit) or 4S directly. So, how about the following bidding sequence..... (hands repeated for convenience)
: 9 AQT987 Q92 974East: 864 6432 76 Q632
North: J72 K5 KJT5 AT85South: AKQT53 J A843 KJ
North East South
2H X Pass 3H(1)
Pass 4H(2) Pass 4N(3)
Pass 5D(4) Pass 6S(5)
(1) Cue-bid of opponent's suit; forcing
(2) Another cue-bid, showing a control in Hearts
(3) Roman Key-Card Blackwood (RKCB), except you would need to have discussed with partner whether the response to an RKCB ask, without suit agreement, shows key-cards in the last-bid suit, or just Aces
(4) Without suit agreement, I'm only showing you one Ace, partner
(5) Partner, whether you have the Ace or King or a void in Hearts for your cue-bid, I like my chances in slam. And I'll probably finesse West, the opening bidder (albeit, with their Weak Two) for any cards I need to be onside.
Or, at least:
North East South
2H X Pass 4S
Comments: With their big hand, South needs to ensure getting to a game contract. Hence, bidding game directly or making a forcing cue-bid is necessary (since partner can pass
only 3S, and should, given their borderline double). By the way, we can talk about bidding Lebensohl (or even better, Transfer Lebensohl) after partner's double of a Weak-Two bid some other time.
1M - 2NT Invitational or Better
In another recent club game (pairs, this time), Board 11 was white-on-white, and partner's and my hands were:
West: JT9542 J4 94 K72 East(me): 73 T JT7653 AT53
while our opponents held:
North: Q6 AK52 A2 J9864 South: AK8 Q98763 KQ8 Q
Playing 2/1, the bidding went (with partner and me silent throughout):
Result: Making 6 - and a good score for partner and me, since some other pairs bid their slam. In our case, although North forced with Jacoby 2NT (showing a game-forcing hand with 4 Hearts and unlimited strength), South, with their ratty Heart suit and an expected losing stiff Queen of Clubs, took a dim view of their hand, thereby missing a solid 30-point slam. So, how could the bidding have been more effective? I'm glad you asked! Many experts have now adopted various systems where their 1M - 2N sequence shows an invitational or better hand. Using one such approach, we have...
(1) Invitational or better, with four Hearts
(2) Showing a 6-loser or better hand, with shortness in Clubs, from among:
3C = any 7-loser hand
3D = Shows 6 or fewer losers, with a non-minimum, balanced hand (including a stiff A or K*). Evaluation is loser-based, NOT point-based. * = With quick winners (slow losers), a stiff A should be treated as a balanced hand. With slow winners (quick losers), a stiff A should be treated as an unbalanced hand.
3H = Shows 6- losers, with a singleton or void in Clubs
3S = Shows 6- losers, with a stiff or void in Diamonds
3N = Shows 6- losers, with a stiff or void in the other Major
4C = Shows a source of tricks (5 cards or more) in Clubs
4D = Shows a source of tricks (5 cards or more) in Diamonds
4H = Shows a source of tricks (5 cards or more) in Hearts (if Opener bid 1S)
4H = Shows 2-7-2-2 in Hearts (if Opener bid 1H), without an outside Ace
4S = Shows 7-2-2-2 in Spades (if Opener bid 1S), without an outside Ace
(3) Initiating a forced cue-bid auction, 3N is a Trump Cue-bid, implying at least 1 of the top 2 honors (here, in Hearts)
(4) I think I know enough to try Roman Keycard Blackwood, partner
(5) Shows zero or 3 keycards in Hearts (or, playing 1430, the bid would be 5D)
(6) Sounds good to me, partner. Let's do this!
Follow-up: There's more to the 2N invitational system than I reported here, but suffice to say that it frees up the 1M - 3M response for preemption, AND provides a useful structure for starting low-level slam auctions.
1) Roman Keycard Blackwood, The Final Word (5th Edition), by Eddie Kantar. An invaluable reference!
2) Details of the particular invitational 2N system alluded to here are available from the author, upon request.
Stay tuned for more wacky hands & gadgets next month.
New Year's Eve is rapidly approaching. If you need some excitement in your life, OR if you have had enough excitement and just want some relaxing fun and games with friends, then come and party at the
Dave Treadwell Sectional
The new and improved
Building 1407, first floor, Room 102.
Located just across the parking lot from where you used to park, easiest entry is from the Foulkstone complex central parking spaces. Come and check it out!
2018 DELAWARE STATE OPEN PAIRS CHAMPIONS
Flight A Winners Eliezer Solomon and Andrew Stayton
Flight B Winners Judy Harrington & Anne Rutledge
Flight C Winners Cindy Hoadley & Edna Bosworth
Charles F. Marginot
Katherine C. Slavin
Robert M. Haas
GOLD LIFE MASTER
SAPPHIRE LIFE MASTER
EMERALD LIFE MASTER
Randall L. Berseth
"Of all the bears that could kill me,
the gummy has come the closest."
For news and results from around Unit 190, check out the Unit 190 website and click on the links below:
Check back next month for a Unit 217 report.
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4Spot | December 2018 | Editor: Janet Johnson | firstname.lastname@example.org