November 2020
The results of the national election are not yet known, but D4 has voted and the results are clear: Jeanne Gehret is the district's choice to succeed Meyer, whose 3-year term expires in just a few days. Welcome Jeanne! And to Meyer: We can't possibly thank you enough for all you have given to our district and to the bridge community at large. Please accept a resounding round of virtual applause!

And if you are looking for a break from election news, enjoy this article from the New York Times on Friday about an unlikely intergenerational bridge team:
District 4 Officers  
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Contact your District 4 board members.

Meyer Kotkin

Jeanne Gehret

Bill Bauer

Pat Civale 

Joann Glasson 
President's Message
On Sunday, June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. One of the first towns captured and occupied was Skidel, in the Grodno District. Skidel is located on a major Grodno area trade route and, because of wars and political conflicts, alternated between Russian and Polish control. In 1941, Skidel was in what is now Belarus, but when my father was born there, Skidel was part of Poland. Not long after the occupation of Skidel, my father, his parents, three brothers and scores of relatives from Skidel were deported to the Auschwitz – Birkenau camp complex, the largest and arguably most infamous labor and death camp of the Holocaust, where more than one million people died, including my grandparents and three uncles I never met.

My father, of blessed memory, was “strong like bull,” and he survived four years of hell at Auschwitz and then, as the Allies advanced, he survived a death march to another labor camp in Nazi Germany where he was eventually liberated by US Army forces. No one in his or her right mind would blame my father if he had been bitter, angry and sad. However, my father was not like that. While he never forgot the atrocities of the Holocaust, and probably never forgave those who committed heinous acts in the name of race supremacy, he tried his best to be resilient and go on with life as best he could. November was my father’s favorite month because it contained three of his favorite days of the year: Election Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.

My father thought of Election Day – “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November" – as his chance, as a naturalized citizen, to participate in American Democracy at its finest. He loved the US and all the freedoms, opportunities and safeguards our country provided to its citizens. For my father, voting was a guaranteed right, a civic duty and a privilege. He opposed any efforts to suppress the vote of any US citizen of legal age and he was shocked and disappointed when people, for whatever reason, did not cast their in-person or absentee ballots. Whomever you choose to vote for, please vote.
As of 2018, there were 18.2 million living veterans. My father said he owed his life to the bravery of the US Soldiers whom he always called GI Joes. On November 11, we honor all who served in the Armed Forces of the United States, living and dead. This year, we should also honor and pray for our brave and tireless First Responders without whom the toll of this pandemic would have been far worse.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, it is completely natural to think there is very little to be thankful for in 2020. The COVID pandemic is running rampant and negatively affecting everyone’s way of life. Millions of people have died from COVID, and millions more who recovered might suffer long-term effects of this relentless virus. Very few families and life communities have escaped any impacts from the pandemic and the Bridge Community is no exception. We have lost cherished, active and accomplished members of our community to COVID (and, of course, other illnesses) and the ACBL and our local bridge clubs are facing problematic financial forecasts and futures, as the pandemic seems to have no end in sight. In memory of my father, and maybe in a stupid, illogical glass is half-full stupor, I want to take this opportunity, at this usually special time of the year, to be thankful for what we do have rather than dwell on what we have lost or are in danger of losing as the pandemic rages on unabated.

Thank you to all the volunteers in District 4 (D4) – both at the District and Unit levels. Even without face-to-face tournaments, there is still a fair amount of Unit and District business that the D4 and Unit boards must administer. In fact, there was a Virtual D4 Board meeting on Friday, Oct 30, at which time my term as President expired and a new President – Jeanne Gehret of Unit 112 – took office for a three-year term. Jeanne is dedicated, intelligent, energetic and more competent than I am to lead D4 to the other side of the pandemic and the return to face-to-face bridge. It is true that Jeanne is not half the chick magnet I am, but please don’t hold that against her.
A big thanks to all our Regional and Unit Tournament Chairs and their Committees. All of you made me feel welcome, comfortable and special when I attended your tournaments. It might seem trivial with respect to other consequences of the pandemic, but having to cancel all our face-face-tournaments is a gut punch to these volunteers who invest so much time, energy and heart in to running the successful tournaments for which D4 has become famous. When face-to-face bridge returns, please remember to thank them for all they do.

Thanks to all the Club owners who have set up virtual games and are helping to keep duplicate bridge alive albeit on-line for now. I know this is a tough time for many of you and I applaud your resiliency, flexibility and ingenuity in changing your business models in the face of the COVID pandemic.
There is no adequate way to thank my “gang” of D4 administrators who volunteer for the day-to-day administration of D4 and do all the hard work. Joann “Boss Lady” Glasson, the D4 representative to the ACBL Board of Directors is the hardest working person in Bridge – both for bridge in general and D4 in particular. Patricia “Moneybags” Civale keeps D4 finances in order and specializes in collecting all the monies owed to the District. Something about making offers errant debtors can’t refuse. Janet “Newshound” Johnson has turned the 4Spot into the best newsletter in the ACBL and her extraordinary work has influenced other Districts to change from expensive, cumbersome and outdated print formats to electronic formats. Bob “The Negotiator” Glasson oversees all tournament contract negotiations and his great skills have saved D4 money both in getting refunds for poor performance by venues and in getting tournament deposits back without penalty when D4 cancelled tournaments due to COVID. The D4 Tournament Coordinator, Elaine “The Scheduler” Weintraub, has to juggle all the requests for tournament sanctions to make sure there are no conflicts both inside and outside D4. Tournament scheduling always pisses someone off somewhere, yet Elaine always handles conflicts with tact and grace even though if it were up to me … Finally, the D4 Secretary, Bill “The Enforcer” Bauer, ensures that D4 meets all the ACBL regulatory requirements and that the D4 by-laws are always followed.

Finally, thanks to all of you for all your comments on bridge matters and for welcoming me and talking to me in person when we met at our face-to-face tournaments and when we now meet on-line. Most of all, thank you for all you do to keep the ACBL and clubs afloat by transitioning to an on-line environment as we try to keep bridge alive until face-to-face bridge resumes. Thanks to those of you who graciously agreed to play with me in American Bridge Association games so we could help that noble organization financially. In addition, special thanks to those of you who answered the call from Joann and me, at the beginning of the pandemic, to reach out to players from your local area and clubs and both play with them on-line and provide some friendly contact during these time of bridge isolation.

This will be my last 4Spot article as D4 President. Even though I am no longer the D4 President, feel free to e-mail or call on any D4, bridge or chick magnet issues with which you feel I can help. My e-mail is and my cell is 856.986.5109.

I hope to see you all again at a face-to-face tournament. Please take care of yourselves, your loved ones and all those in your bridge and other life communities. Stay safe and healthy.
America Strong!
From the District Director 
It has been my great pleasure to work with Meyer Kotkin for the last three years as he served as President of District 4. Meyer has worked tirelessly for the game of bridge. He established the policy that allows students to play free at all our regionals, made great connections with the ABTA, focused on District 4 regionals providing the best possible player experience (lots of free food) and handled every situation with fairness and expertise.

He has charmed us with his self-effacing humor and devoted his energies to making bridge better for all. It takes a very special person to give that much of their time and energy to others and we are all incredibly grateful.

Jeanne Gehret of Lancaster has been gracious enough to step into the role of District 4 President after Meyer's retirement. Jeanne has chaired the Lancaster Regional for the last few years and we are very lucky to have her as our new President.

Betsy Cutler of Allentown is our new Vice-President and Pat Civale and Bill Bauer will continue in their roles as Treasurer and Secretary.

Thanks to all for working to make bridge better in District 4.

The ACBL Board of Directors met on Zoom last week to listen to the new marketing program being initiated by the ACBL marketing director, Mary Stratton.

There is serious concern within the organization about the number of players who are not actively playing online. Marketing is working on trying to reach these members and keep them engaged during the pandemic. The ACBL is offering a free guest membership to any new players interested in joining the ACBL to find out what it's all about. Please spread the news to your friends and family.

Also, as part of this new program, the marketing department has introduced a new logo and will be updating the website and bridge bulletin with a younger, cleaner look. There is also plans for a Zoom help desk, manned by our directing staff, to help provide technical assistance for those who need help to play bridge online.

Like everything else bridge, teaching bridge has also gone virtual. Several teachers in our district have already started offering online bridge classes. The most popular way this is being done is to connect students through Zoom, offer any lecture type presentations that way, and then keep Zoom open for audio purposes and connect to the Shark Bridge or BBO teaching platforms.

Want to see what it looks like? Want to learn to teach this way? Listed below are some online resources. If you want to further discuss this, or have questions, please feel free to contact Mary Miller,

If you are interested in teaching you can link to Shark Bridge – watch a demo, sign up for a teacher account and learn to use Shark Bridge:

If you would like to take class on learning to use Shark Bridge – Silvana Morici provides group or individual classes for teachers:

If you would like to learn more about using Zoom – click on Resources for assistance on how to use Zoom at

Additionally, District 4 has started a listing of teachers on the district website. Teachers may send their name, contact information, and a brief bio to me to be included on the website. Please send me an email with a photo, contact information and class information so that we can list your lessons on our website.

Stay well!
District 4 Schedule
Because of COVID-19 related uncertainties about when tournaments can safely resume, please check the ACBL calendar listings.

For a full year D4 calendar, click here.
For the D4 virtual club calendar, 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
Thank you, Marti, for taking time out during House Arrest to share an interesting bidding dilemma and a review of reverses in a most entertaining (as always) read. And, D4, be sure to take Marti up on her plea to help relieve her boredom with your emails during this time of Covid. We like to keep our experts happy! In the meantime, enjoy her diary entry:
Dear Diary—
Among life’s less pleasant moments is the one when, in the middle of an argument, you realize you are wrong. This doesn’t happen too often to me – not because I’m rarely wrong, but because I rarely recognize it. Well, this time not only did I recognize it, but I’m going to own up to it—in public!!

First, a little background. This confinement to our Groundhog Hole due to Covid isn’t my first time under House Arrest. A few winters ago, I slipped on the ice and broke my leg. That is such a boring way of injuring yourself that I told people it was a bungee-cord jumping accident. This meant I was facing about six to eight weeks of house arrest, crutches and a “no driving” edict.

Initially, I thought this was going to be a wonderful opportunity to catch up on my reading and writing, snoozing and TV watching, sleeping late and eating bonbons. By day 8 (the first week was spent in a haze of drugs, which needed quick adjustment, as I reacted badly and thought I was in Peru), I was like the fox caught in a trap—ready to chew off my leg to escape! If I couldn’t get to the club to play some bridge, I was going to go mad!

My husband hid the car keys. I thought I’d make a run for it, but on crutches even going to the mailbox requires advance planning. Then it occurred to me that if I couldn’t get out, I’d just bring the world in. (Sadly, we don’t have that option right now, though, do we?) I called three friends and invited them for a day of bridge. (I did however tell them to bring their own food, as “hostessing” was way beyond me.)

Now, here comes the confession: I have always said (loudly) that Party Bridge isn’t real bridge, it is more like “mini-bridge.” Well, I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I cannot tell you how much I came to enjoy those Fridays of Party Bridge. I think we are played good bridge…and loved every minute of it. While we certainly talk lots, we’re getting 24 hands in, with lots of discussion about the hands. What have I been missing all these years?! What was I thinking?! One of my greatest joys when we “return to normal” will be to resume these dates.
There’s no way that Party Bridge at home is going to replace the club. I am still a duplicate player first and foremost but I take back all the nasty things I’ve said and thought about Kitchen Table Bridge. So there, you heard it here. I was wrong.

My other rope to sanity during that house arrest and this current one has been all the wonderful emails from bridge people around the country.
I love my emails, as not only do they link me to people I might never “meet” otherwise, but they provide all the fodder for my cannons and columns. Here’s an old one that might help clear up Reverses for you.

“Dear Marti,
Too bad about that leg. What on earth would possess you to try bungee-cord jumping at your age? I find that trying to figure out reverses provides me with all the excitement that I need.
Help me with this hand, would you? It came up in a Swiss Team game. I held ♠KQJxxx ♥QJxxxx ♦void ♣x. I opened 1♠, pard responded 1NT, I then rebid 2♥. Pard passed. It makes 5♥ on a diamond lead. Pard held the ♦A and I could sluff my club at trick one.
My question is how to bid this hand to guarantee partner can’t pass me. I would be uncomfortable with a reverse because of so few HCPs. What would work?
Signed, Still at Sea”

Hmmm. Folks, it isn’t often that you’ll pick up a hand where you have 12 cards in two suits. When it does happen, plan to own the table and not give up. I feel that way about hands with 11 cards in two suits, also. Let’s talk about forcing bids first. Our sea-faring friend made just about the only bid that isn’t forcing! A new, lower ranked suit at the 2-level after a 1NT response is NOT forcing; it just asks pard to pick a suit…either by returning to the first bid suit, or by passing.

If you want to force this auction, here are some choices. First, a rebid of hearts at the 3-level would be forcing, forcing, forcing. Another choice would be to open the spade and after pard bids, jump to 4♥, which forces pard to choose at game level.

I showed this hand to several players whose brains weren’t dulled by opiates (have I mentioned how much I came to appreciate the pharmaceutical industry?) and they like opening 1♠ and jumping to 4♥. I’m sure lots of other choices are out there, and I’d love to hear from you about them.

Now, why not a reverse? Listen carefully. A reverse promises the following things: The second-named suit must be of higher rank than the first-named suit. It also promises a very specific shape…the first-named suit must be longer than the second-named suit. NOT equal to, LONGER. And finally, point count…that varies somewhat depending on various systems and agreements. The one thing it guarantees is a MUCH more than minimum opening hand.

Notice that this hand doesn’t meet any of the requirements for a reverse, but it does deserve special treatment. I agree with my drug-free friends and would probably open the spade and jump to game in the hearts.

Well, there you have it…a (rare) confession of the error of my ways and an interesting bidding challenge. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. I’m still trapped at home, bored bored. Please email me about anything…your personal injuries, bridge wounds, anything you think might amuse me.
Master Solvers Club
Moderator: Nick Straguzzi

Under what circumstances do you bid No Trump with a singleton? Maybe you never do, maybe there are exceptions, but, as always, it's enlightening to see what our experts have to say.
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
Pat Stadelmaier
Updated Website
Thanks to Jim Patton for assisting Doug in getting our Unit Website User Friendly! Unit 112 Website has all your information with links to the District and ACBL websites. Please continue to help Doug by sending your club information to him. Clink on this link to view our updated website -  Please add this link in your favorites!

Unit 112 Virtual Board Meeting Saturday, November 14, 9AM

Continue to support your home virtual games and stay healthy!
Unit 120: Northeastern Pennsylvania 
Doreese Torrey
Hello Unit 120! Some fabulous recognition is due to the following online unit 120 players, so let's get right to it!

New Life Master              Raman L Daga, Athens PA

Advance NABC Master  Fran W Hofherr, Swoyersville PA

NABC Master                  Janet A Morganthau, E Stroudsburg PA

Regional Master              Kelly Sherry, Mountain Top PA

Junior Master                  Donna L Detrick, Sayre PA

Standing ovation to you all!

There are points to be had from playing bridge online at BBO.

Did you know:
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2020 occurs on Thursday, November 26. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Also, there was no traditional turkey or pumpkin pie on the menu of the 3 day celebration in 1621. Rather, historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

Please stay safe and Happy Thanksgiving

See you at the virtual bridge table!
Unit 121: Berks Montgomery 
Brian C Snyder
Sue Wessner will host a bridge cruise November 9-20, 2020.   CLICK HERE  for more information.
Unit 133: Lehigh Valley 
Lois Fuini
Happy Thanksgiving!
As the leaves change color and begin to fall, our thoughts turn to the many things we are thankful for. Unit 133 thanks you for your participation at our virtual club games. As you are all enjoying your Thanksgiving dinners, please remember the many people who are experiencing difficulties during these unprecedented times. Many of them will be eating Thanksgiving dinner because of your generosity. Just by playing bridge, we have donated $1600 to each of our local charities, Lehigh Valley Active Life and Second Harvest Food Bank. If you are not playing in our virtual games but would like to help our charities, please email Lois Fuini at We are grateful for everything you do for our unit and for one another. Happy Thanksgiving!

New Rank Achievements 
New Junior Masters
Lynn Codream
June Gordon
New Club Master
Kimberly Schadt
Robert Schundler
New NABC Master
Grace Sutherland
New Silver Life Master
Jim Kenny

Annual Meeting/Holiday Party Games
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Instead of our traditional face-to-face Annual Meeting, we have scheduled three online games on Sunday, November 8 at 1pm to celebrate our many achievements in 2020. There is no extra fee to play.
Please join the celebration at one of these games:
0-150 limited game
0-750 limited game
Open game    

In Memoriam Games
Sunday, December 6, 2020
The In Memoriam Game is scheduled online on December 6 at 1pm.
Please join us to recognize the members of Unit 133 who have passed away in the last year. We will celebrate their lives and achievements by playing 3 charity games of duplicate bridge in their honor. Proceeds from the games will benefit active older adults at Lehigh Valley Active Life.
Please join us at one of these games:
0-150 limited game
0-750 limited game
Open game    
Unit 141: Philadelphia 
Howard Kahlenberg
Just to make sure that I don’t bury the lede, if you haven’t already done so:

Finishing my Master Point achievement trilogy, I looked at all of the Unit 141 Achievers for the last two reporting years.

The breakdowns by month:
Not to overwhelm you with numbers (that’s what the spreadsheet for) but two more breakdowns:

The number of achievers has gone up (!) since the pandemic:
And there does seem to be an uptick in the number of achievers at the end of the year:
Before I list the actual achievers, one note. It seems like I have been a reporting cycle behind when citing people’s achievements. So, this month’s list covers two reporting periods, to get things caught up.

New Life Master (October cycle): Myra Rosenberg (Bala Cynwyd)

New Life Masters (November cycle):
Carol Greco (Philadelphia)
Sherri Lampert (Huntingdon Valley)
Robert W Lowe (Swedesboro)
Barbara Trotto (Yardley)

People who achieved other ranks are:
New Sapphire Life Masters (3,500 points) - Rajiv Agarwal, Inga Cooper, Robert Sylvia, and Maclin Whiteman
New Ruby Life Masters (1,500 points) - Alison Shoemaker and Brigitte Smith
New Silver Life Masters (1,000 points) - James Koss and Catherine Strauss
New Bronze Life Masters (750 points) – Constance Abel, William Cohen, Frank Feng, Bruce Gorman, Joan Regenbogen, and Donna Zebley
New Advanced NABC Master (300 Points) - David Tukey
New NABC Masters (200 points) - Stanley Allen, Jeffrey Brooks, Robert Dougherty, Larry Gash, Lynn Hamlin, Satya Kunapuli, J. Bray Lebrocq, Elizabeth Noferi, Joan Ochroch, Ann Sinatra, Anola Vance, and Peg Woolard
New Regional Masters (100 points) – Moon Beifermanhaines ,Jeanne Castafero, Cynthia Lalone, Louise Marx, Robert Moskowitz, Anne Pearl, Gail Pearson, Jane Pelullo, Owen Powell, Martha Robinson, Thomas Schaffer, Tedd Stickel, and Jackie Topaz
New Sectional Masters (50 points) – Don Adams, Michael Allen, James Andrews, Marilouise Berdow, Christine Berrettini, Phyllis Birch, Patricia Cardone, A. Richard Diederich, Gail Joselson, Pat Kennedy, Barbara Kieffer, George Kieffer, Tamara Kraig, Dale Meitner, Harvey Nachman, and Joyce Silberman
New Club Masters (20 points) – Myrna Asher, Angel Farrell, Virginia Harper, Patricia Himes, Janet Izzo, Harold Katz, Patricia Kelly, David Laskin, David Mark, Jeanne Mellor, John O'Rourke Raynel Otero, Tara Patel, Jodee Scannapieco, John Schussler, Lawrence Stetson, Deborah Sweet, and Cheryl Zenfell
New Junior Masters (5 points) – Richard Abell, Martin Abrahamson, Karen Batchelder, Patricia Bonetti, Mary Carmichael, Gerry Conte, Vinnie Emilianowicz, Susan Freiberg, Susan Heron, Karen Green, Stephen Hughes, Nancy Jerome, Larry Kimble, Carol Knott, Debbie Krochtengel, Richard Levine, Franklin Lucard, Thorley Mills, Declan Mirabella, Beth Pfleger, Sara Rafalin, Melana Regan, Sandra Ringo, Becky Sanderson, John Schussler, Stuart Scherr, Marc Stein, Loretta Vogeler, and Pamela Yih
Unit 168: Central Pennsylvania 
Jeanne Gehret
Check back next month for news about Unit 168. In the meantime, stay healthy!
Unit 190: Delaware 
Ala Hamilton-Day
BBO Transition Help
With the bridge community facing a long wait before the return to live bridge, Unit 190 has decided to help those players who have not yet made the jump to BBO. Carole Everitt and Trina S. Williams will be acting as facilitators in assisting those players who are not yet playing online. For further details, please see the November issue of The Dummy.

Did you Feel the Bern? Unit 190 team games are being waged and the eponymous AMER team has been racking up victories. Then there’s those swashbuckling Four Gay Blades, where detailed analysis might be given, but no questions are brooked about sexual orientation. The Strange Team, (please cue up the theme song from The Outer Limits), is still “out there.” You can play from home against Home with the Holms and It’s a New Century is going strong on the weekends. If you want to take on those trash-talking Tramps, they are up for talking smack and a 12-board morning match. That team was originally called The Lady and the Tramps, but the Lady has apparently stalked away in indignation.

CLUB MASTER: Rohan Mandayam
SECTIONAL MASTER: Kathy M. Baxter and Beth Kinney
Virtual Game Results: Click Here
For information and links to the Dummy and the UNIT 190 website and results of virtual BBO events, check out and click on the links below:
Unit 217: Susquehanna 
Jim McKeown
Optimistically I will invite you to the sectional we hope to hold on June 4-6, 2021 in Boalsburg.
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4Spot | November 2020 | Editor: Janet Johnson |