January 2018

Happy New Year! Here's to a happy, healthy, and successful year for you, your friends, and your family. There's a lot to anticipate this year in bridge. The big news is that we host a National tournament in our district with the Philadelphia Nationals, March 8-18. Each month, the 4Spot will highlight the goings-on, but you can always check out the NABC website for more information. 
There will also be four regionals (Wilmington in April, Valley Forge in June, Syracuse in August, and Lancaster in October), dozens of sectionals (including non-life master sectionals), and plenty of STaCs. Don't forget about the GNTs (April) and NAPs (October). The District 4 website has the full schedule and much more, so check it out. Happy Bridging in 2018! 

District 4 Officers  
small margin
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Contact your District 4 board members.

Meyer Kotkin  

Dave Kresge   
Bill Bauer 

Pat Civale

Joann Glasson 
President's Message

As we all ring in 2018, I would like to wish you and your families a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year as well as an enjoyable, successful and satisfying year at the bridge table. District 4 (D4) will be hosting the Spring 2018 North American Bridge Championships (NABC) in Philadelphia on March 8 - 18. NABC co-chairs Joann and Bob Glasson, and their Tournament Committee consisting of volunteers from all eight units of D4, have planned an exciting event with great bridge, hospitality and entertainment. Mark your calendars and make your plans for attending what promises to be an outstanding NABC. Hosting an NABC is a huge effort and Joann and Bob can use all the volunteers they can get so please consider giving an hour or two of your time on one or more of the days you will be attending the NABC. If you are interested and available, please contact the NABC Volunteer Coordinator, Pat Civale, at
pat@csa-accounting.com .
Since you are already marking your calendars, also mark the dates of the four D4 2018 Regionals:
  • Apr 30 - May 6: Wilmington Regional
  • June 25 - July 1: Philadelphia Regional at Valley Forge
  • Aug 13 - 19: Syracuse Regional
  • Oct 39 - Nov 4: Lancaster Red Rose Regional at Spooky Nook
The entire D4 Tournament schedule, including the dates for the North American Pairs, Grand National Teams, and all Sectionals, is at the D4 website .
At the start of a New Year, people often make resolutions to improve themselves and the various communities in their lives. Of all the quotes I have ever read describing the beauty of bridge, the one that gets the biggest "thumbs-up like" from me is a quote from tennis great Martina Navratilova: " No matter where I go, I can always make new friends at the bridge table." In my close to 40 years as a member of the bridge community, I have indeed made lifelong friends and established relationships I cherish. Yet, more and more at tournaments and clubs, I am seeing behavior that is not only unfriendly but also is intolerable, destructive to the game and the community of bridge, and makes me (and I presume Martina) shudder.
I am not going to go in to a speech about Zero Tolerance (ZT), what constitutes unacceptable or acceptable behavior or how violators should be punished. It is probably impossible to define every behavior covered, in concept, by ZT, but we all know bad behavior when we see or hear it. Unacceptable behavior interferes with the enjoyment of the game on many levels. When you do see or hear unacceptable behavior, CALL THE DIRECTOR! That is one of the reasons they are paid big bucks. Do not provoke or be provoked for any reason. CALL THE DIRECTOR! I have seen good people act badly at tournaments and clubs because they thought they had legitimate reasons. There is NEVER a reason to initiate, or react in kind to, unacceptable behavior. If you feel something is wrong or someone is acting unacceptably, stay calm and composed, and politely CALL THE DIRECTOR! Keep in mind, when you do engage in unacceptable behavior, it affects more than your table and the directors. Besides neighboring tables, the volunteer Tournament Chair, Recorder and possibly the Conduct and Ethics chair and other Unit and District officials often have to get involved and that ruins their enjoyment of the game as well. So let us all resolve not only to eliminate unacceptable behavior but also to promote a friendly, competitive atmosphere at our tournaments and clubs. Resolve that every time you play, you will be friendly and inviting and possibly, like Rick and Louis in Casablanca, you might start a new, beautiful friendship.
D4 adopted and fully supports the ACBL's ZT policy that can be found by clicking the link here.
In better words than I could ever come up with, the editors of the daily bulletins at the Toronto Summer 2017 North American Bridge Championships wrote:
Some people have an extreme sensitivity to fragrances (colognes or perfumes). Many ACBL clubs, units and districts have adopted policies that prohibit players from wearing fragrances. The ACBL has not issued an official policy on the matter, preferring instead to appeal to the goodwill of its members to refrain from using fragrances. Because duplicate bridge requires players to be in close proximity to each other, individuals who suffer from fragrance-related reactions cannot avoid those who are wearing them. Among the commonly reported symptoms are intense headaches (indeed, fragrances can frequently be a trigger for migraine sufferers) or breathing-related problems. For these individuals, the issue is much more serious than simply disliking a particular smell - it's a real health problem. Please, if you're going to play in a club or a tournament, don't wear cologne, perfume or scented lotions.
D4 is way ahead of the ACBL and has adopted a Fragrance, Scent and Smoke Free policy for all D4 Regionals. The exact wording is here . I, the D4 Board, and all Tournament Chairs would like you all, as good, considerate, and friendly members of the bridge community, to resolve to follow this policy every time you play. Remember that wearing fragrances and smoking are choices you make; the physical and health reactions that some people have to those scents is involuntary and often acute.
I welcome all comments and suggestions. My e-mail is guymath@comcast.net and my cell is 856.986.5109.
From the District Director 
joann glasson
San Diego ACBL Board Meetings
San Diego was a wonderful place to play bridge. The hotel was lovely and only 10 minutes from the airport. The playing spaces were huge and well lit. And the weather was just perfect! There were plenty of restaurant choices and beautiful views! A hard to beat location - we should return there more often.
The ACBL board met for five full days (including Thanksgiving) and ran over into the first day of bridge play. There were multiple management motions for consideration and the first glimpse of a 2018 budget to be reviewed.
The ACBL has been abuzz with activity since our last meetings. Our CEO, Bahar Gidwani, gave a report on his first few months on the job. I have attached a copy here for your review - CEO Report  
Jay Whipple was elected ACBL President for 2018. Jay's innumerable contributions to the game of bridge include creating the Common Game, Fast Results, the Daily Online Bulletins that you receive when you play in District 4 Regional tournaments and the District 4 Partnership Desk. Jay's most recent innovation is the new REACH games that will enable players to get gold points playing in their local clubs.
Jay is the District Director from District 9 (Florida) and I am proud to be serving as Finance Chair on the ACBL board during his administration.
REACH - Regional Tournaments at the Clubs
The pilot program was held in conjunction with the Chesapeake Regional and was led by Jay Whipple's technical expertise and District 6's Margot Hennings' organizational skills. Players came out in droves to play in their local common game clubs. For a separate fee of $25, players could play up to five times in their local clubs and their best two games would be used to compete in overall awards in red and gold points. The ACBL has asked Jay to run more of these events until they get the technical issues lined up to take them over. The next pilot will likely be a night game for people who work, making the timing better for players on the West Coast.
Experimental KO Games
Different formats to make KO brackets fairer are being implemented across the country. The most popular seems to be a bracketed swiss coming down to a KO on the second day with the number of teams in the bracket divided so that no players are forced to play in a bracket they don't find comfortable. We will see more of these trials run at regional tournaments over the next few months.
Online Individual Tournament
The first online individual event was held in conjunction with the Toronto NABC and the response was amazing. 2,510 players completed the event (the preliminary management expectations were 500-1,000). The Board has approved a contract with Bridge Base Online to hold this event in conjunction with each of the NABCs in the future.
The Meyer Kotkin Rule
At the request of Meyer, I submitted a motion that will allow three strats in Gold Rush Events when A/X and Mid-Flight events are being run simultaneously. The motion passed unanimously so you will see the changes in District 4 Regional schedules.
Reinstatement of Pre-2010 LM Requirements for Lapsed Members
If you joined the ACBL prior to 2010 and subsequently let your membership lapse, you can have your membership reinstated prior to July 1, 2018 and will have the Life Master rank requirements existing prior to 2010 applied to you. If you rejoin after July 1, 2018, you can have the Life Master rank requirements existing prior to 2010 applied to you, but you will have to pay a $50 fee. If you know anyone that this applies to, encourage them to rejoin the ACBL before the July 1, 2018 deadline.
Uniform Electronic Device Policy
The Board approved a motion that states that any electronic devices (except for health exceptions) must be inoperable, turned off and out of sight at Regional Tournaments throughout the ACBL. This includes Apple watches, phones, etc. Directors will be directed to issue penalties for any violations. The Board did not approve that this policy be extended to Sectional Tournaments. Sectionals will be handled by the rules of the Tournament Chair.  
Mixed Team Composition
NABC Mixed Teams are now open to four, five or six players. The teams will play as two mixed pairs: one male and one female. This will allow teams of 4 men and 2 women or 4 women and 2 men to enter instead of the previous requirement that the team must be half women and half men.
Mini Blue Ribbons
The upper masterpoint level for the Mini Blue Ribbon event has been increased to 6,000 masterpoints from the previous 5,000 masterpoints.
For the first time in many years of trying, the Board of Directors approved term limits for themselves. Although the motion grandfathers in existing board members, it is a step in the right direction that will enable new blood to flow on the board. New board members bring new energy and ideas that will help revitalize the organization. In another step forward, the Board of Directors approved a motion to convert to all electronic paperless meetings. This will produce a savings of about $4 to $6K a year in printing and mailing costs.  
San Diego brought a look at the preliminary budget for 2018. The bottom line is a loss of $170K. Major contributors to the loss are the $100K financial commitment to the WBF to support the Orlando World Championship. This was a promise made by ACBL board members many years ago. In addition, there is the great expense of staging the Fall 2018 NABC in Honolulu, something that was also approved eight years ago.
The 2018 budget is based on a large increase in revenue driven by a new $8 temporary ACBL membership that will become available next year. Membership in the ACBL will be required to play in an ACBL event or program. Members will be able to try the ACBL for a month for $8, receive a copy or two of The Bulletin, and hopefully will convert to full membership. Other major costs in 2018 are increased spending on training tournament directors, technology support and marketing efforts to promote ACBL membership. The final budget will be voted on at the Spring NABC in Philadelphia.
Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions on this report.

Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs: 35 - Marty Seligman

Mitchell Open B-A-M Teams: 26 - Connie Goldberg; 48 - Dan Boye, Tom Weik

Senior Mixed Pairs: 27 - Bob and Joann Glasson

Whitehead Women's Pairs: 20 - Patricia Civale, Daisy Goecker

Mixed Swiss Teams: 33 - May Sakr; 38 - Bob and Joann Glasson

North American Swiss Teams: 7/8 - May Sakr; 10 - Marty Seligman; 27 - Tom Weik
Daylight A/X Open Pairs: 2 - David Hoffner; 3 - Barry Gorski, Andie Sheaffer

A/X Open Pairs: 5 - Bob and Joann Glasson

Mon-Tues Side Game: 1 - Judith Argento

49er I/N Pairs: 1 - Kathy Ebeling

A/X Swiss Teams: 1 - Connie Goldberg

Mon-Tues Knockout Teams Bracket 1: 2 - Benito Garozzo

Wed-Thurs Knockout Teams Bracket 1: 3/4 - Benito Garozzo

Fri-Sat Knockout Teams Bracket 2: 1 - Kathy Fisher, Mordecai Schwartz

B/C/D Evening Swiss: 1 - Gary Hillenbrand, Arnold Kritz

Fri-Sun Side Game: 2 - Judith Argento

Friday-Sunday Side Series: 3/4 - Judith Argento

Sat-Sun Knockout Teams Bracket 2: 1 - Jill Fisch, John Gassenheimer

Sat-Sun Knockout Teams: Bracket 1: 3/4 - Michael Shuster

Sunday Gold Rush Swiss Teams: 1 - Jack Rudy, Alexis Peffer

Sunday Fast Pairs, Flight C: 3 - Frank Morgan

Sunday Afternoon Side Pairs: 2 - Michael Shuster
District 4 Schedule    
February 12-18 
March 8-18  
Grand National Teams Flight A 
April 7-8
Grand National Teams Flight C 
April 7-8
Grand National Teams Open Flight  
April 21-22 
Grand National Teams Flight B 
April 21-22
April 30-May 6  
May 7-12
June 25-July 1
Syracuse Regional
August 13-19
District 4 STaC
August 20-26
NAP Flight C
October 13
NAP Flight A
October 13-14
NAP Flight B
October 27
Lancaster Regional
October 29-November 4
December 10-16 
Philadelphia Nationals: March 8-18  
With the new year upon us, it's time to get serious about the Philly Nationals. We're very excited about the whole stretch of games and a whole lot of entertainment, so let's get into it! 
There is a slew events, including NABC+, NABC, Regional, Gold Rush, and I/N-Newcomer games. The events are color-coded on the schedule, so be sure to check the key and then look for the events that suit you best. On most days, events span the clock and can work for anyone, from early risers to night owls.
Now let's talk about some of the fun away from the table. District 4 will be hosting some great entertainment, so be sure to add these events to your Nationals calendar. On Sunday, March 11, after the evening game, stroll down the Atlantic City Boardwalk--right in the Marriott! Enjoy the greatness of the Boardwalk's best days. There will be strolling magicians, photo booths, arcade games, and balloons, as well as all the cotton candy, funnel cake, hot dogs, and more that you can eat.  
Do you have nostalgic photos from your childhood days at the shore? We'd love to include them in our slide show on the Boardwalk. Send digital files to allisonrbrandt@gmail.com.
But, there's more! University of Pennsylvania's premiere a cappella singing group, The Counterparts, will entertain us with shows on three nights. You really won't want to miss this unbelievably entertaining and talented group. The shows will include custom arrangements with lyrics just for us bridge players. More details, including dates, to come in future issues of the 4Spot.
We'll talk transportation, more on entertainment, and the scoop on hospitality next month, so see you back here then. 
For more information, be sure to check the Philly NABC website
News from Around the Units 
four corners
Unit 112: Central New York
DeWitt Henricks 
Unit 112 Sectional
April 7-8
Unit 112 I/N Sectional
April 20-21
Unit 112 Sectional
June 2-3
Unit 112 Sectional
July 14-15
Unit 112 Sectional
September 8-9
Unit 112 Sectional
September 29-30
Unit 112 Sectional
October 20-21
Unit 112 Sectional
November 10-11 
Retired Doctor Rediscovers Bridge
     Dr. Padmanabh Kamath, a retired Rochester pathologist, was surprised to learn recently that he was in the top 25 bridge players in 2016 in the ACBL Helen Shanbrom Ace of Clubs contest in the 5-20 point category. The top 25 scorers were listed in the Bulletin earlier this year, but Dr. Kamath did not see it. Only masterpoints at clubs are counted for these races and do not include points won at STaCs.
     While Dr. Kamath has been playing bridge off and on since his early years growing up in India, it has only been since he retired that he has increased the frequency of his play....now up to 5 times a week at clubs in the Rochester Area Bridge Association.
     "I started playing bridge in my childhood (age 11 or so) in India. It was one of the card games we played. We were not familiar with or followed any conventions. After I started college, I could not play anymore except during holidays.
     "My wife and I immigrated to the USA in 1971. During my professional career, I could only play some weekends with friends. I joined the ACBL In 1995 and played at clubs a few times. However, I could not pursue this seriously due to time constraints and lack of regular partners."
     He has regular partners now... four in fact! They play together Monday through Thursday and then he has another set of partners for Fridays.
   "I am very surprised to hear that I was in the top 25 in my masterpoint level," Dr. Kamath remarked on learning of his achievement. "I consider myself a good player but not a very good one. Every day, I make a few dumb mistakes in spite of knowing the theory."
   "Dumb mistakes" not withstanding, Dr. Kamath racked up 62 masterpoints and ranked 21st in the top 25 in his category.
   So what's the key to his success at the bridge table?
   "For the past 2 years, I have been reading books and seriously studying the conventions. Books by Max Hardy (bidding), Eddie Kantar (defense) and Marty Bergen are my favorites." says Dr. Kamath.
     "The examples in the books are very exciting. With analysis, I can solve many of them. However, during actual games, we do not have much time to analyze. That quick analysis is what distinguishes the great players from the ordinary ones," he adds.
 And what part of the game does he consider the toughest? "Defense...it is the most difficult aspect of the game to master."
   Playing bridge 5 times a week has also helped Dr. Kamath organize his daily routine.
   "Bridge has given me good structure to my days. I study in the mornings, play and practice in the afternoons and watch TV in evening. I like to play to the best of my ability but I do not have any specific targets. It is my hope that I can continually improve," says Dr. Kamath.
     If he does, we just may see his name among the Helen Shanbrom Ace of Clubs winners soon again.
(Editor's note: Mark Tevelow, who plays at The Bridge Studio in Vestal, NY, was also 21stin the 0-5 category with 55 masterpoints but declined to be interviewed.)
Unit 120: Northeastern Pennsylvania 
Fay Pacchioli

Unit 120 Sectional
March 2-4
Unit 120 Sectional
June 8-10
Unit 120 Sectional
October 5-7
Winter has arrived in the Northeast and many of our players have headed south for the sunshine and warm weather. Local clubs struggle in the winter in the North. 15-table games can crash to 3 or 4 tables depending on the weather and the illnesses circulating in the area. Nothing is more frustrating than to have to email your loyal players to tell them there won't be a scheduled game due to not enough players. This is the time of the year when your clubs need your support. Weather permitting, try to keep your scheduled bridge days open so you can support your clubs during this difficult time of the year. Its 135 days til spring, and it can be a long winter if those of us who stay here for the entire winter have to stay home due to lack of attendance. We have to miss bridge when the weatherman closes the schools and fouls up the driving, but lets all make an effort to turn out at your local club when the weather is clear and the driving is fine. Your Bridge friends will appreciate it.
The National is coming up in Philadelphia in March, so this is a good time to play with your partner and polish up your game.
JUNIOR MASTER: Costas Lambropoulos
CLUB MASTER: Harold Koehler, Rob Schanker
LIFE MASTER: Joe Distini
Congratulations are in order to all those who have advanced in their category but a special congratulations to our unit member who has earned 3500 points and reached the category of
Be sure and tell Judy congratulations when you see her. I've never been to a Sapphire Life Master Party.  
Unit 121: Berks Montgomery 
Brian C Snyder 
We held the Annual Myrtle Quier Memorial Holiday Party and Unit Game on Saturday December 16 at Sacred Heart Villa. Myrtle Quier was a great benefactor of Unit 121, and for years she provided us with a place to play for practically nothing!  7.5 tables played and a good time was had by all.  First overall winners were Robert Hepp Jr. and Doug Chaney.

Congratulations to the following for achieving their next Rank in the ACBL:

Junior Master - John Small

Club Masters - Ralph C. Leinbach and Jim Lewis

NABC Master - Diana S. Mulligan

Advanced NABC Master - Elaine S. Van Briggle

Life Master - Pamela A. Rothenberger

Bronze Life Master - Barbara A. Driscoll
Unit 133: Lehigh Valley 
Deepak Khanna 

Unit 133 Sectional
April 27-29
Unit 133 Sectional
October 19-21 
Happenings: On December 10, 2017, on behalf of the ACBL and our Unit, Julie Brooks presented a check in the amount of $5,000 to the Lehigh Valley Active Life Center to support its work for senior citizens.  Rick Dougherty, the director of the Center thanked the Unit. He reiterated his belief that bridge has over the years proved to be a very beneficial activity for senior citizens and reaffirmed that he will continue to cooperate with the Unit to facilitate bridge club games, teaching programs, and tournaments at the Center.  Our thanks to Julie Brooks for her initiative to get a grant worth $ 4,500 from the ACBL. The additional $500 towards the $5,000 donation to the center were funded by our Unit.
A unit-game was played after the board meeting of December 10, 2017.  There were nine and a half tables, David Kresge and Deepak Khanna were the overall winners with a 74.77 percent game.
We are excited to report that at the annual party on November 12, 2017, we had eight full tables in the 299er section. Almost all of the 299er players were graduates or current students of Sara Gainey's beginner bridge programs. The then President Yellin began his annual address by recognizing Sara's tremendous efforts in facilitating newcomer bridge and had high praise for her dedication and her obviously effective beginner program. Jane and Bob Davenport were the overall winners of the 299er game with a 70.83 percent game--wow! Well done Jane and Bob. 
At the annual meeting of November 12, 2017, there was also an open game. There were fourteen tables in the open section. David Kresge and Deepak Khanna were the overall winners with a 67.13 percent game.
The next Unit Game , the Souper Bowl, yes indeed 'Souper' not Super, will be played on Sunday, February 4, 2018, at the Lehigh Valley Active Life Center.
Onward They March: Our congratulations to the following players for attaining higher bridge master point rank--we are thrilled for them and wish them yet more success.
            JUNIOR MASTERS
                        Jane Detra
                        E J Krall
            NEW CLUB MASTER
                        Robert N Davenport
                        Lauren L Dougherty
            NEW NABC MASTER
                        Judith A Cary
            NEW LIFE MASTER
                        Todd E Wachsman
The More the Merrier: The Unit with renewed vigor is attempting to stimulate newcomer bridge programs. We recognize that retention  goes hand in hand with recruitment.  To this end we are placing a lot of emphasis on sustained and ongoing training of the beginner players. Our current efforts include;  1. Teaching Programs 2. Separate Beginner Games--limited to  50 points, 100 points, 299 points. 3. Mentoring Programs 4. Planning a NLM Sectional Tournament (happening soon!).
For the above initiatives to succeed the cooperation and guidance of the more experienced players is vital!  We must be welcoming in our manner and patient at the table. Unfortunately many new players have reported they did not feel very comfortable with the lack of courtesy they perceived at the bridge table. I earnestly appeal to all my fellow players--PLEASE LET US TURN THIS AROUND. Failure to attract and retain new bridge players will inevitably lead to the demise of this game, our game, the game we all love so much! I plan to make it my new year resolution that I have to do my best to facilitate beginner bridge--specifically participate in mentoring programs, share my knowledge of the game with newer players in formal and informal settings, and explore the possibility of starting a 'college bridge program.' Again, we need everybody's help towards this worthy and vital cause--I hope you generously give of your time and energy. Thank you.
Bridge for the Champions of Tomorrow : It is planned that at our next board meeting a formal listing of all programs, classes, games  and such, aimed at the beginner players will be undertaken and we will report it here. In the meantime, here is what we know thus far:
-- Frank Kuebler and Chuck Campbell run a 299er game on Thursdays at 12:30 pm, Venue: Active Life Center. At this game, once a month Chuck (at times with the assistance of others), conducts about an hour long class on bridge from 11 am to 12 noon.
--Belinda Rose Anderson will be holding beginner bridge classes at the Active Life Center. More details may be obtained by calling the Active Life Center at 610-437-3700.
--Mike Kohler facilitates a mentoring program. A more experienced player is paired with a beginner player, they play together at least six times. It is a testament to Mike's efforts and his congenial manner that this initiative has been very well received and is growing each year.  Mike's personal efforts have resulted in twenty-six mentee-mentor pairs this year as opposed to twenty-one the previous year.  All indications are that these mentee-mentor interactions have gone far in facilitating the understanding of the game and sustaining the beginner players' enthusiasm for the game.
--Sara Gainey runs a multitude of classes, games, and learning reinforcement sessions aimed at different levels of beginner players.  These include:
            a. Beginner Bridge Lessons at Brookside Country Club (BCC)  on Thursdays at 4:45 PM. These are delivered in eight lesson sessions--one lesson a week.  Two sessions have been completed thus far, and a third session is planned to start in middle of March. In the meantime, reinforcement sessions are being conducted currently.
              b. ACBL Sanctioned Game at BCC on Thursdays at 6 PM. This game is limited to players with 100 master points or less, though mentoring is allowed. Dinner is served during a break in the game.
             c. Beginner Bridge Lessons at BCC on Wednesdays at 3 PM.  These are also eight-lesson sessions, one lesson per week. The lesson is followed by an hour long bridge playing session. This last activity is not an ACBL-sanctioned game.
             d. Novice Program at Active Life Center on Wednesdays.  A mini-lesson is conducted at 8:45 AM followed by an ACBL-sanctioned game at 9 AM.  The game is limited to players with fifty or fewer master points.
For more information about the above listed initiatives please get in touch with Sara Gainey at 610-417-5982.
I am often present at Sara's Thursday sessions, and am asked to briefly share my perspective on the topic being presented on that particular day. I can therefore speak from personal knowledge that these lessons are remarkably well conducted, very effective, and the camaraderie amongst the students is noteworthy. The proof is in the pudding, thus far in this short period Sara has graduated at least nineteen students from her second session of lessons on Thursdays (these are sequential eight-week sessions), a whopping ninety percent (!) of these graduates have joined the ACBL. It is a tribute to Sara's patience, dedication, and commitment that her beginner bridge initiatives have been so extraordinarily successful. Her passion for teaching and facilitating bridge is very apparent. The Unit Board has given President Kenny the mandate to offer the Unit's  active cooperation and encouragement for Sara's efforts, and convey our appreciation to Sara for all she does.
Unit 141: Philadelphia 
Joan Warren
Unit 141 STaC
December 4-10
Bala Sectional
January 5-7  
Bala Sectional
April 13-15
Unit 141 Sectional (Germantown Cricket Club)
September 21-23 

I wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year and lots of winning bridge in 2018.

Unit 141 congratulates its New Life Masters and all those who reached new designation levels. 

New Life Masters  
A.M. Fischman 
Sharon Segal
Eileen Shelly
Pamela Wilford

Diamond Life Master  Douglas Dye
Real Fradette

Ruby Life Master 
Albert Horng
Harriet Schwartz

Silver Life Master  Barry Dehlin

Bronze Life Master  Beverly Davis
Gino Lenaz
Suzanne Liebman
Harriet Rellis
Eileen Shelly
Alison Shoemaker 

We hope to see you at the January 5-7 sectional at Bala Country Club.  
Come see all your fellow bridge players and wish them a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Unit 168: Central Pennsylvania 
Jeanne Gehret 

Unit 168 Sectional
January 26-28
February 4
March 23-25
Unit 168 NLM Sectional
May 12  
August 12
HELP WANTED : Do you have computer and/or website skills? If so, and if you have the desire to volunteer a little of your time and talent to Unit 168, we're in need of someone to build and maintain our Unit web page. Contact Bob Priest to express your interest, via email, at fthr_bob@yahoo.com . A whole lot of nice bridge people will thank you!
News From Harrisburg :
  • Effective January 3, we are starting a Wednesday afternoon game (starts at 12:15) Pork and sauerkraut will be served at 11:30 a.m. that day
  • The monthly Brunch and Bridge will be held on January 6
  • The monthly Wednesday evening Wine and Cheese will be held on January 10
  • Our first Friday Night Special (3 course dinner and bridge) will be held on January 12
  • January birthdays will be celebrated on Sunday, January 14
  • The Continental Breakfast and Bridge game will be held on January 20
  • Monthly Swiss team game is scheduled for January 31
To register for special events (dinner, birthday, swiss, brunch/breakfast) please contact the club. Our e-mail address is  harrisburgbc@gmail.com  and our phone number is 717-737-4461.
News From Lancaster :
  • Monday, January 22 will be a Swiss Team Game in Lancaster - All are invited! Pre-registration is required. To register, contact Andie Sheaffer at 717-801-7597 or via email at andie.sheaffer@gmail.com.
  • January 22 - 26 will be Club Championship games - extra points!
News From Martinsburg :
  • During our Christmas Party on 12/21, we had 38 players from VA, WV, MD and PA, and celebrated Elaine Rowe (Hagerstown) for her achievement of the rank of Diamond Life Master! Way to Go Elaine!!
  • Our bridge games are held every Thursday at 11:30am at the Martinsburg Senior Center. If you are interested in joining us, please call Charles Meister at 304-267-4173.
Wacky Hands & Gadgets - by Dave Bort
Keycard Over Preempts   In an afternoon club game, both vulnerable, I arranged my hand and found a decision was necessary: Partner's hand was:  North: KQ76 AKJ2 6 KQ98, and mine was: South: AJT543 653 A32 3
After my RHO started with a pass, I had two thoughts: (1) traditionalists might hesitate to open preemptively with two Aces (particularly in second seat, since I would now be as likely to preempt partner as the opponents, and since I had some defensive potential), and (2) I could take advantage of a trick shown me by a highly experienced partner, namely that opening a Weak Two, then later raising to the 3-level, shows exactly my hand - a weak two, but with an outside Ace. So, with that in mind (and remembering the mantra: "It's only a game!"), the bidding proceeded (where an asterisk indicates an Alert was made by the bidder's partner):  
West                   North                  East                  South (me)                                                                         Pass                  2S(1)                  Pass                  4C*(2)                  Pass                  4N(3)
Pass                  6S(4)                  All Pass  
1.     By the Rule of 2-3-4 (the Losing Trick Count version), I'm allowed to open at equal vulnerability with no more than 8 losers, for which my hand qualifies (see my December 2017 4Spot article for more on the Rule of 2-3-4).
2.     Keycard Over Preempts, where 4C over any 2- or 3-level preempt is Keycard 1430 for that suit (except over an opening 3C, for which 4D is the keycard bid). It allows exploring for slam, while often being able to stop in game if slam isn't there. At any rate, it's better than getting too high, after a 4N keycard bid, or missing making slam because we're afraid to get too high after a preempt.
3.     After Keycard Over Preempts, Opener's rebids are in steps, where Steps 1 through 5 respectively show: 0 keycards, 1 keycard without the Queen, 1 with the Queen, 2 without, and 2 with. So, here, I'm showing 2 keycards, without the Queen.
4.     Slam looks like a good bet; let's do this!  
Opponents' hands were:  
West:  9 QT84 QJT85 T62      
East:  82 97 K974 AJ754  
Making 6, on the lead of the Diamond Queen, except... in the real world, partner forgot about the 4C option, and we were actually in 4S, making 6, along with almost everybody else. Sigh, oh well; it won't be the last opportunity lost. At least we had the tools, so maybe next time it'll be different. Hope springs eternal!  
Four-Suit Transfer with Pre-Accept, Cue-Bids, and Redwood  
In another afternoon club game, us vulnerable, opponents not, I checked my hand and found a rather nice collection:   East: AK8 KT93 A42 QJ9, while my partner held: West: 654 A6 KJT9763 5  
RHO was dealer, and the bidding proceeded (where an asterisk indicates an Alert was made by the bidder's partner):                    
West                  North                  East (me)                   South                               Pass                  1N(1)                    Pass                   2N*(2)                  Pass                  3C*(3)                  Pass                     3H(4)                  Pass                  3S(5)                      Pass                     4C(6)                  Pass                  4H(7)                     Pass                     5D(8)                  Pass                  6D(9)                  All Pass    
1.     15-17 (in 1st & 2nd seat only, but that's another story).
2.     Transfer to Diamonds, promising nothing but a 6-card Diamond suit.
3.     "Pre-Accept" - bidding one suit below the transfer suit sets trump in the transfer suit, showing 3+ cards with a top honor (A, K, or Q). Then, if partner doesn't have 2 of the top honors in the suit, they just settle in 3 of the minor (yes, this potentially wrong-sides the contract, but it's worth it to find those hands where a fit, with top honors, allows 3N to be a good bet. Or, even something more!)
4.     Cue bid, showing first-round control (an A or void). Ooh, we may have running Diamonds, if partner has the Ace, instead of the Queen!
5.     Cue bid, showing first-round control (an A or void). Hmmm - partner's cue-bidding, thinking we might have running Diamonds. Well, I think so too, so I'll cue-bid (up the line) in return!
6.     Italian Cue, showing first- or second-round control (an A, K, singleton, or void). Partner cue-bids in return, so I'll keep describing my hand. After all, partner may be interested to hear about my second-round Club control!
7.     Now that my partner's shown a Club control, I can ask for Aces using Redwood (which I couldn't do before partner's cue-bid, with two quick losers in the Club suit)! With Redwood, bidding the suit above partner's suit at the four-level is 1430 for the indicated minor (in this case, Diamonds - it would preferably be a jump bid to the 4-level, but here, it should be obvious to partner that 4H is not a real Heart suit - right, partner?!). Note that this is the same bid as could be made using Kickback, which applies similarly to all suits, not just the minors.
8.     Shows 2 keycards (from among the 5 keycards, which include the 4 Aces and the King of trump), with the Queen of trump (when you are aware of a 10-card fit in a suit, tell partner you have the Queen, even if you don't - if partner has it, he will recognize that your bid shows a 10-plus-card suit).
9.     Partner says they have two keycards and the Queen (or that we have 10+ Diamonds), and a 1st- or 2nd-round Club control - I'm going for it!  
Opponents' hands were:  
North: JT973 Q842 Q AK4   South: Q2 J75 85 T87632  
Making 6D, on the lead of the Club 8, except... partner didn't actually make the 3H cue-bid; instead, they took the more straight-forward route of bidding 3N which, regrettably, killed the auction. Although 3N made 6 at the table, it can really only make 5 with perfect defense, while 6D is cold. So, we missed another opportunity for an absolute top, since no one else was in 6D (or 6N). So, note to self (or selves): rather than bid what you think will probably make (or what you think will probably be an effective match-point score), why not actually bid your hand, if it doesn't cost you anything to do so?
Unit 190: Delaware 
Ala Hamilton-Day 
February 9-11
Unit 190 Sectional
June 1-3
July 26-28
Unit 190 Sectional
September 14-16
Unit 190 Dave Treadwell Sectional
December 27-31 
THE BLUE HEN SECTIONAL (February 9-11) After the playing and partying at the End-of-the-Year Dave Treadwell Sectional, people should be ready to enjoy the great hospitality and the fun bridge events at this upcoming Sectional, sponsored and hosted by Unit 190.
Did you know that there is a bridge game every weekday in Sussex County? Check out Shuffles Bridge Club in Ocean View and Rehoboth Beach, as well as the Winning Hand and Shore Bridge Clubs in Rehoboth.
CLUB MASTER : Theresa Doherty, Alicia C. Hutzelmann, and
Michael Vogel
SECTIONAL MASTER : Debbie Schenkel and Audrey V. Thompson NABC MASTER : Judith Cronin and Donna L. Vaughn
BRONZE MASTER : Tina C. Brinsfield
SILVER MASTER : Kathleen M. Bear
Top Unit 190 performers at the Spooky Nook Regional were Rick Rowland (42.54), Mark Henderson (35.73), Melody Henderson (28.70), Ala Hamilton-Day (26.82), Chris Marlow (20.21), Anne Taylor (17.53), Francis Taylor, Jr. (15.54), Karen Pollak 15.38), and Jane Beck (15.38).
Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning, all you need is  
two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you might wish for a  
club and a spade.
Remember to make your dates for the upcoming Delaware Regional, which runs from April 30th through May 6th.
For some devilish play problems, as well as the latest news and information, check out the work of webmaster extraordinaire Mark Henderson, by clicking the link to the unit website below:
Unit 217: Susquehanna  
Jim McKeown
Unit 217 Sectional
June 1-3
Unit 217 Sectional
September 21-23
There is no report for Unit 217 this month. Check back next month for updates. 
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4Spot | January 2018 | Editor: Allison Brandt | allisonrbrandt@gmail.com