May 2021
Hopefully, most of you are fully vaccinated now, looking forward to returning safely to the bridge tables. In the meantime, there are still plenty of online games to keep you entertained. Judging from the advancing player lists in the Unit reports, many of you are climbing the ranks, sharpening your skills in the process. New(ish) players: Be sure to check out maxims from Marti Ronemus in her column below. Come to think of it, more experienced players may benefit, too!
District 4 Officers  
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Contact your District 4 board members.

Jeanne Gehret

Betsy Cutler

Bill Bauer

Pat Civale 

Joann Glasson 
President's Message
Brooding for Bridge!

All my life I’ve felt a deep connection to nature – to the seasons, to growing plants and trees, and to the insects, birds and animals that surround us. Spring is a joyous time in nature, a time of nests filled with eggs and baby birds, and a time when flowers bloom again and tree leaves are just small buds on branches. As a young girl raised on a dairy farm, it was seen as Earth renewing itself with the promise of warm weather and abundance during the growing season. Those feelings in me continue to this day.
If you pay attention to such things, reports may have caught your eye that May 2021 is when Brood X cicadas will arise from their 17-year slumber and erupt from the Earth. There will be a whole mess of cicadas – millions of the rascals - in your lawn and on your trees and bushes (yes, land anywhere but on me… you creepy, red-eyed critters!). They will buzz, day and night, trying to find a mate in the hopes of producing an even larger Brood X for 2038.

Perhaps it was due to the giddiness of having received my first vaccination, but it occurred to me while recently enjoying the nice spring weather and outdoor dining at a local restaurant that I felt like a cicada emerging from a “long slumber.” No, I hadn’t been tucked away for 17 years, but it sure seemed like a very long time – and being out of confinement felt wonderful! Are you a-buzz and ready to emerge….. perhaps even ready to return to bridge games at your local club? Are you anxious to get back to tournament play?

While club owners/managers will decide when they can safely reopen for face to face play, the ACBL has final say on which tournaments can be held. And, in an effort to sensibly and safely restart tournaments, the ACBL recently shared its new process for approving tournaments, as well as enhanced practices that will be required by tournament hosts. I am sharing this information with you in the spirit of transparency and to give members a sense that getting Covid-19 under control is key to restarting tournaments. The ACBL email and documents are available using THIS LINK.

P.S. Best of luck to the many teams (45 of them at the time of this writing) competing in the District 4 Grand National Teams play in May!

Please continue to take care, be safe, and I’ll look for you around the table.

I welcome your comments or suggestions (
From the District Director 
In ACBL Board meetings last month, the Board requested that management present in May a plan for the complicated return to face-to-face bridge. The Board provided input on its strategic objectives for post pandemic bridge that will surely include a combination of both online and face-to-face play.

Without face-to-face bridge, membership has dropped dramatically since new members were traditionally taught by local teachers and local clubs. Although online play is more profitable for the ACBL in terms of fee income, it is important that we retain a presence on the ground in order to grow the game of bridge.

Management will be presenting a plan on how we will deal with pooling after the pandemic and how the combination of both virtual games and face-to-face games will be handled. It's a complex problem and club managers and owners in District 4 need to begin developing a firm plan for the future of face-to-face bridge.

The Summer NABC that was scheduled in Providence, RI has been postponed and we will be going to Providence to play at the summer national in July of 2022.

Things are currently looking good for the NABC in Austin, Texas in November. Management is monitoring conditions so I wouldn't book your tickets yet, but there is a feeling of positivity about holding the fall NABC.

The ACBL and its Recorder's Office are continually working on eliminating any cheating in our online game. They rely upon the work of volunteers who research hands and serve on the Online Ethical Oversight Committee to hear cases. District 4's Rick Rowland has recently been unanimously approved by the ACBL Board of Directors as a member of this prestigious committee.

The 2020 audit of the ACBL has been completed. No significant issues were reported as a result of the audit.

Bruce Silverstein, a longtime member of District 4, became a Grand Life Master this year. Because Bruce and Carole are winter residents in New Mexico, the notification didn't appear in the monthly rank advancements for our District. Congratulations to Bruce! He is not just a terrific bridge player, but a gentleman at the table and away from the table.

Stay well and please contact me anytime with any questions or concerns:
District 4 Schedule
Because of COVID-19 related uncertainties about when tournaments can safely resume, please check the ACBL calendar listings. Phased reopening of tournaments is expected as the year (and herd immunity) progresses.

ACBL has cancelled all STaCs through the end of July. Therefore, the D4 STaCs scheduled for May 3-9 and July 26-Aug 1 are cancelled

For a full year D4 calendar, click here.
For the D4 virtual club calendar, click here
For a 2021online event schedule, click here
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
Marti Ronemus came on board 4Spot to address new players, but her advice really knows no boundaries. Pretend the following says "Dear Every Bridge Player," read on, and enjoy!
Dear New Player
A chief pleasure of bridge teachers is watching you, our new players, evolve. As time advances, no longer do you look like little bunnies, caught in the headlights of the oncoming bus. You no longer have that Hansel and Gretel Lost in the Forest glaze in your eyes. You’ve acquired that “been there, done that” look of the old pro. When you go to tournaments, you know where everything is, you fight to grab the last copy of the Daily Bulletin, you are so blasé that you no longer get to the playing area an hour early! (And don’t worry. We’ll be getting back to tournaments not-that-far down the road.)
If you remember, your teacher warned you on day one that life as you knew it was over. You would become…an addicted member of the Brotherhood/Sisterhood.

I’m proud and I’m impressed.

But spend a few minutes with me before playing that next hand. As your Bridge Spiritual Advisor and Guru, I’ve got some advice. (Surprise!) These are some of the Marti’s Maxims I actually wrote on the walls at our first studio. (The italic comments are the desperate words of my favorite partner and husband Gary.)
1.     Down one is Good Bridge! (But not every hand.) If you are making all your contracts, you just plain aren’t bidding enough. If you are in a competitive auction, don’t sell out too cheap!
2.     Do the Math!! If you can see 25-26 points between you and partner, don’t stop short just because you don’t like your worthless doubleton. (Count on your fingers if you have to. 12 and 12 is NOT game! UNLESS! The hand has something special and you fall in love.)
3.     Open light in third seat. (But the hand shouldn’t be so light it floats!)
4.     Bid until your nose bleeds. Eventually you’ll get good at this. Meantime, think audaciously. Don’t wuss out. Some day your skills will catch up with your courage. (Please. Someone stop her before she kills again!)
5. Listen to the voices in your head. They’re not always wrong. Sometimes you will feel that you just simply must bid. Go ahead. Sometimes you’ll fall in love with a hand for no reason that makes sense. Go with it. Do not be deterred by common sense ALL the time. Bridge is as much an art form as a science. (Maybe I can get the doctor to up her meds.)
6.     Sleep with your convention card under your pillow. It will give you good dreams. (Everyone knows this is true.)

And so, off you go, wiser, wittier, speaking a language only a few of us understand. You’ve learned that your laundry and sleep aren’t nearly as important as that next hand! And please email me with some thoughts and any questions I can help you with. I always have an answer, and sometimes it’s even right.
Master Solvers Club
Moderator: Nick Straguzzi
"This was a toughie" to quote one of our panel. But you do have to bid. What's your call? How does your choice compare with the experts?
Then visit the MSC website to read next month's problem and submit your answers online:
News from Around the Units 
Unit 112: Central New York
Betty Youmans
Unit 112 sends prayers and best wishes to our former President, Mike Mihevc, who is recovering after receiving a double lung transplant.
Unit 112 Congratulates Its Advancing Players!

Junior Masters
Richard Feldman, Rochester
Cyril Meyerowitz, Pittsford

Club Masters
Kay Harvey, Manlius
Perry Harvey, Manlius
Nancy Miller, Binghamton
Willis Osborn, Campbell

Regional Master
Benjamin Dutcher, Rochester

NABC Master
Dorothy Lamkin, Byron
Jo Wilson, Rochester

Life Master
Margaret Symington, Rochester

Bronze Life Master
Prabodh Shah, Pittsford

Ruby Life Master
Margie Spence, Rochester

Gold Life Master
Richard Hurd, Freeville

                                               Unit News
The Mohawk Valley Bridge Association mourns the loss of Judy Slater, age 94.  She and her bridge partner, Leah Gableman, age 99, achieved a 79.17% game a few months ago. Judy learned bridge in college in the 1940’s and played ever since. Judy was a kind competitor and a delight to play with. 

The Rochester Area Bridge Association sadly reports the loss of two players, Marcia Seeger and Jean Chandler. Both ladies played into their 90s and were active until the pandemic.
Unit 120: Northeastern Pennsylvania 
Doreese Torrey
Hello Unit 120!! We have some recognition catch-up to do. For the month of March:
New Advanced NABC Master  Gillian A Chase, Saylorsburg, PA
New Regional Master                Lawrence D Hudson, Matamoras, PA
New Sectional Master               Kenneth W Lloyd, Scranton, PA
New Sectional Master               Paul Ricker, Scranton, PA
New NABC Master                   John H Gindhart, Hawley, PA
New Junior Master                    Kenneth Powley, Mountain-Top, PA
WOW!! Lets give them each resounding applause and a HOOT HOOT!!
Well done all and congratulations.
According to ACBL, beginning August 1, 2021 the following sanctions will be allowed to move forward:
  1. STACs
  2. Intermediate/Newcomer sectionals and sectionals that do not require ACBL staffing
 All other tournaments will be reviewed and approved by ACBL on a case-by-case basis.
If you go, the following is MANDATORY:
  1. Vaccination of all staff, players and volunteers    
  2. Face masks, worn correctly, must be on at all times when within the playing area
  3. Tables will be spaced at least 8 feet apart
  4. No food or drink may be distributed except covered “grab and go” types
  5. IF exceptions for the vaccinations and/or face masks are needed for medical or firmly held religious beliefs, ACBL will determine accommodating.
Note that all the above are subject to change at any point during these uncertain times.
Playing Bridge Base Online is easy, affordable and safe, both for those who play for points as well as for those who just prefer a casual game. The games and tournaments for points are at a minimal cost and for those who play casual games, BBO is free. So let's play!
See you at the virtual (and hopefully face-to-face soon) bridge tables!
Stay safe.
Unit 121: Berks Montgomery 
Brian C Snyder
Check back next month for unit news. In the meantime, stay well!
Unit 133: Lehigh Valley 
Lois Fuini
It’s difficult to believe we’re enjoying the second blooming of our spring flowers, bushes, and trees with some COVID restrictions still in place. However, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. With more and more people getting vaccinated, restrictions are continually changing.

Our Club Managers continue to meet to make a plan to get our face-to-face games safely up and running. Our country club games are scheduled to open the first and second week of June, COVID restrictions permitting. The start of all other games is undetermined at this time.

In Memoriam
Mussette Brooks, one of Unit 133's longest continuous members, passed away April 21st at the age of 98. A throwback to her early playing days in the 1950's, Mussette was always elegantly dressed and with impeccable manners, yet skilled enough to have had 'top ten' finishes in national events. Failing eyesight had limited her ability to play during the last three years. Article contributed by Walter Bell.

 New Rank Advancements 
New Club Masters
Paul Barilla 
Andrew Beal
Lou Behringer 
New Regional Master 
Jane Detra Davenport 
New Silver Life Master
Betsy Cutler 
New Ruby Life Master
Kathryn Shumaker

April Team Game 
Unit 133 hosted a third virtual team game in April. We had six full teams that competed. The event seems to be growing as more of our members try this new experience.
Winning Team:
Holli & Stephen Mast and Betty Abrams & Betsy Cutler 

Bid Boxes
The first order of bid boxes has arrived and are ready for pickup if you ordered before today. There are still about 19 boxes from this order unaccounted for so if you want one, contact Betsy. No club is going to require this action but if you would like your own box please contact Betsy Cutler at 610-737-2545 or The boxes will cost $10 each. We feel this is a good way to prevent the spread of not only COVID but also the common cold and other viruses.
Unit 141: Philadelphia 
Howard Kahlenberg
With no Spingerbilts or Reisingers possible during the pandemic, there have instead been a variety of online tournaments featuring top players. One such series has been run by the USBF, the organization that runs the tournaments that chooses US teams for World Championships. The last three events have been named after Justin Lall who sadly passed away in August. The just-finished JLall3 event was won by the Nickell Team. The Nickell team has clearly been the most successful team in the world over the last 25 years. In addition to winning with different team members (the current team includes former Unit 141 member Eric Greco), and both before and during the pandemic, they added another variable to their wins: bridge platform.

The event was played on RealBridge, which is a new platform that has a built-in video feature. While it is still not the same as playing face-to-face, it does add an additional social element to online play. I have been lucky to have played in a series of games on RealBridge over the past few months, and it definitely has promise. The games can be set up for self-alerting or alerting your partner’s bids. The kibitzing that was possible during the USBF event is a relatively new innovation and seemed to go pretty well.

In more local bridge happenings….
Congratulations to 1 new Life Master this month:
Gail Howard of Doylestown. Great name!

Other Masterpoint achievements:
New Ruby Life Masters (1,500 points) – Stephen Emerson, Thomas Foerster, the 4Spot’s very own Janet Johnson, and Herman Schmit.
New Silver Life Masters (1,000 point) - Bonnie Bickman and William Goldstein
New Bronze Life Master (750 points) – Vincent Marcello
New Advanced NABC Master (300 points) - Wendy Hart
New NABC Masters (200 Points) - Ann Basch, Michael Basch, Walter Gaige, Emma May Goddard, Helen Kulp, Pamela Scalamandre, and Sandy Soss
New Regional Masters (100 points) – Don Adams, Leonard Gladstone, Gail Kirrstetter, and Elise Twitmyer
New Sectional Masters (50 points) – Stephen Danley, Robert Edgar, Mimi Nolan, Pamela Ratigan, and Laura Vogel
New Club Masters (20 points) – Linda Connelly, Agnes Gancz, Sheila Herron, Karen Marlo, Jayant Prasad, and Karen Young
New Junior Masters (5 points) – Fred Allemann, Mary Fetchko
Unit 168: Central Pennsylvania 
Jeanne Gehret
Check back next month for Unit 168 news. In the meantime, stay well!
Unit 190: Delaware 
Ala Hamilton-Day
Tired of staring at a computer to play bridge? Would you like to see your bridge buddies in person? We have the answer for you!
JUNIOR MASTER: Brian Ault and Sarah M. McIlvaine
CLUB MASTER: Francis J. Clark and Andrew Weigel
NABC MASTER: Candy Davis
LIFE MASTER: Donald Pyne
The fun continues! Now on to May Mania on Saturdays at 10 AM. Please join us every Saturday at 10:00 am on BBO for the Flighted Pairs games sponsored by the Delaware State Bridge Association (DSBA). We’ve had a decent turnout in April but we’re hoping to increase participation since the DSBA donates $1.00 to the Food Bank of Delaware for each player. Year to date, the DSBA has contributed close to $1,200. The more who play, the more we can give to this very important cause. There are still many families that have been hurt by this horrible pandemic and depend on the Food Bank for their source of nutrition. 

In addition to greeting your friends, door prizes of $25 in BBO currency will be awarded to three lucky winners every week! Send a selfie or other recent picture of yourself to Soley Kristjansdottir (, together with your BBO username. By submitting a picture, you agree to have it posted or linked on the Unit 190 website with your name and BBO ID.  We will post your picture AND you’ll be eligible for a door prize of 25 BBO dollars in each subsequent Saturday session in which you play. Three door prizes will be awarded to players in that Saturday game, and whose selfie was received by midnight the night before. Normal club masterpoints are awarded as well. 

Skip those mundane chores on a Saturday morning. Join us for great bridge, camaraderie, and a chance to give back to our community!

We're delighted to announce the return of in-person bridge in Delaware! The Bridge Studio of Delaware reopens with a limited schedule of games starting May 3. Pre-registration is required, and other restrictions apply. Please visit for up-to-date information and registration instructions. For information on the continuing May Mania BBO games on Saturday, pictures of players, the Door Prizes, the Shuffles games on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30, the February Dummy and other happenings, check out the Unit 190 website and click on the links below:

Unit 217: Susquehanna 
Jim McKeown
Since our earlier sectional was canceled, we hope to hold our next tournament in Boalsburg in October.
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4Spot | May 2021 | Editor: Janet Johnson |