October 2020
If you'd like some personal (but not face-to-face, of course) tips about preparing and posting your convention card on BBO, mark your calendar for Zoom lessons -- even though the sessions began in September, there are lots of October dates remaining. And although the focus is Convention Cards, the tournament director hosts will be happy to answer your other q's about online bridge, too (time permitting).

Also, in the Unit 120 report, below, Doreese Torrey gives step-by-step instructions for filling out your Convention Card, so be sure to take a look.
District 4 Officers  
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Contact your District 4 board members.

Meyer Kotkin 


Bill Bauer 


Joann Glasson 
President's Message
Normally, I start my October 4Spot article reminding you about the upcoming Lancaster Red Rose Regional. Months ago, COVID forced the cancellation of the October 2020 Lancaster Regional and this month COVID delivered another gut punch to District 4 (D4) Tournament Bridge by forcing the cancellation of both the April 2021 Wilmington Regional and the June 2021 Philadelphia Regional at Valley Forge. Both of these Regionals were moving to new, exciting venues and I know the respective Tournament Committees are extremely disappointed. D4 released the dates back to the venues so as not to incur any contractual penalties. The ACBL has cancelled all sanctions through the end of March 2021 and I would expect that ban on sanctioned tournaments to continue at least until an effective and safe vaccine and/or cure is developed and widely distributed.

Yet, D4 business continues and there will be a virtual meeting of the D4 Board of Directors on Friday, Oct 30, 2020. If you have any issues you would like discussed, please contact your Unit Board members. There will be elections for a new D4 President and Vice-President as I end my term limited tenure. While I may no longer be D4 President, extensive testing at the Mayo Clinic has confirmed that my chick magnetism will still be strong even when I am no longer D4 President.

On-line bridge has brought with it an era of suspicions of cheating at all levels of on-line bridge. On-line players are inundating both BBO and the ACBL with reports of suspicious on-line actions. The good thing is that these necessary and vitally important recorder reports are the first line in detecting and catching cheaters. The bad side is that without evidence of some sort of physical cheating act like self-kibitzing, catching on-line cheaters requires lots of time and effort looking at a statistically significant number and variety of deals played by the same player or pair and evaluation of those deals by players of equal experience to the suspect(s). My thanks and appreciation to all the ACBL, BBO and other people working to eliminate this scourge to our game. For anyone interested, you can find completed hearings and cases of cheaters in the ACBL as well as a list of players under ACBL discipline here.
Many people have asked me what I think of the punishments that the ACBL is handing out to convicted cheaters. Talk about a complicated issue – there must be at least 50 articles on Bridgewinners.com discussing punishments for convicted cheaters. My views are not going to be popular but I will share them with you and I can understand if you do not agree with me. Simply put, I have absolutely no sympathy, mercy or tendency to leniency for convicted cheaters of any sort. Cheaters have disrespected, dishonored and damaged the game I love. The spirit of fair competition no longer exists for me as my innocence about cheating is gone. Some of the people who confessed to cheating have written confessions as if their cheating and damage is limited only to the events they cheated in (or were caught cheating) and to the players they cheated against. That is wrong – absolutely wrong. If I could make a Victim’s Impact Statement I would say that every time I sit down to play, I wonder about who might be cheating and why I am bothering to play when some of the players in the event might be cheating. Cheaters have negatively affected everyone who plays the game and many players have stopped playing on-line because they are frustrated. If it were up to me, I would expel all cheaters from the ACBL. I would not define “degrees” of cheating and I would not try to find rationales for the cheating in only certain events. I cannot tell you that my hard line is not due to what I have seen in my work for the ACBL on some cheating cases but I just cannot find a place for sympathy for cheaters.

The only exception for a lifetime ban would be for people who confess before the effort to catch them is expended. Like a lot of plea-bargaining in our judicial system, I can accept that to save volunteers from weeks and months of effort, we should incentivize people to confess.

Allan Cokin was convicted and expelled from the ACBL in 1979 in one of the most famous cheating cases in ACBL history. I got to know Allan when he was a non-playing coach of a high priced national level professional team that had some friends of mine from my early days in Michigan bridge. I would actually go so far as to say Allan and I became friends over the years and we always schmoozed at tournaments and discussed deals and bridge theory, especially when I played against the team he was coaching. He did a lot of pro bono work teaching newcomers and youth and was, by all accounts, a model bridge citizen after he was readmitted to the ACBL in 1984. However, even with all that, I would never have wanted to play with him (not that he ever asked) nor would I ever consider playing with anyone convicted of cheating of any sort. This hard stand probably says more about me than the cheaters, but it is how I feel.

A big Ahoy There to all our active duty, reserve and retired Navy sailors. Take some time on October 27, US Navy Day, to remember the contribution of Navy personnel to the defense and security of the United States of America.
Stay safe and healthy!

America Strong!

If you would like to discuss any bridge matters in general, or D4 matters in particular, you can e-mail me at guymath@comcast.net or call at 856-986-5109.
From the District Director 
A special meeting of the ACBL board was held in September to review management's plan for the balance of 2020 and 2021.

Of serious concern to the organization is the downtrend in membership over the last few months. This decline is largely due to two factors. The first is that only about half of our members are actively playing online and the second is that with the loss of face to face bridge, teachers are not teaching new players.

To help with the first issue, the ACBL came up with a terrific parody on Hamilton to contact our existing players. Here's a link: Hamilton Parody
To help with the second issue of bringing new players into the game, a group of teachers in District 4, Mary Miller, Lisa Mita, John Dickenson and me, have gotten together to work on a solution. We have contacted all the certified teachers in our District in order to put together a list for our website of those who are actively teaching beginning bridge and hoping to promote these lessons to a wider community.

Here's a link to the new bridge teacher site: District 4 Bridge Teachers

If you are teaching bridge online and would like your class information added to this site, please let me know.

The District is also planning on offering help to other teachers who would like to acquire the skills necessary to begin teaching beginning bridge online. Please contact Mary, Lisa, John or me for information on how we can help you get started.

n order to make this work, we need your help. We need to advertise these beginning bridge lessons to every community, social group, country club, church and synagogue in District 4. Please get in touch with me if you can help to spread the word about beginning bridge lessons through any social outlet. 
Please don't hesitate to contact me at joannglasson@msn.com with any questions or concerns
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
The year is 2020 and we've dubbed it the year of the double (there are other nicknames for this year, too). So far, we've covered Larry Cohen's take on penalty doubles, maximal doubles and negative doubles. This month, let's concentrate on Larry's insights concerning lead-directing doubles (LDD).

It's important to know not only when you should make use of them, but also what cards your partner can expect you to have for your bid. Be sure to share what you learn with your partners!
Master Solvers Club
Moderator: Nick Straguzzi

We have all been there -- partner is excited about his super hand and you couldn't be less enthusiastic. Still, you have to make a decision (or two) so do you agree with the experts (who, this month, happen to [mostly] agree).
Then visit the MSC website to read next month's problem and submit your answers online: http://d4msc.straguzzi.org
News from Around the Units 
Unit 112: Central New York
Pat Stadelmaier
Local Club News
Mohawk Valley Bridge Association Virtual Club – Big Game – Sept 1 Leah Gabelman, Rome, NY and Judy Slater, Old Forge, NY achieved a 79.17% game.

Leah, who recently turned 99 in August was exposed to bridge at the early age of 10. She took books out from the library and self-taught herself the basic game. She started playing bridge more seriously in her 50’s and played regularly in the Rome and Utica bridge groups. 

Judy, who recently turned 94 in September started playing bridge while in college in the 40’s and has been playing ever since. Judy also regularly played in all of the Utica bridge groups. She would play 7 days a week if there were games and partners available. 

When forced to play virtually in April, 2020 both ladies quickly learned BBO and now regularly play in the MVBA virtual games as well as in other ACBL/BBO games.

Both women have had many different partners over the years. The Leah/Judy partnership has been going on for decades. They play Standard American, “nothing fancy” as Judy said. It has been a great partnership. 
Here’s to many more years of bridge!
Elmira – Corning Area bridge players break from their Virtual Games to enjoy a “social distancing” picnic! Along with other bridge players, they are missing the smiles of their opponents and partners! So they decided to grab their masks, chairs and lunch to meet on the lawn at the bridge club.
Staying Connected throughout the Pandemic!
Continue to support your local VACB games – our advancing player list keeps growing.
Stay Safe and Stay Healthy!
Unit 120: Northeastern Pennsylvania 
Doreese Torrey
Hello Unit 120!!  And Happy Fall Ya'll!!

The West End Bridge Club director, JoAnn Mauger, has reported that 2 of her players, Grace Sutherland and Jan Morganthou have both attained the ranking of New NABC! Congratulations and High Fives to you both!!!

 Our new ACBL director, Fay Pacchioli attended an informative directors meeting and distributed an email to let us know that we all need a completed online convention card with your partners BBO name listed on it in order to comply with ACBL laws. 

The instructions to complete a convention card were printed on page 20 of the September issue of the Bridge Bulletin. If you misplaced your copy, below are the BBO step by step instructions on completing, updating and saving your convention cards so we can all be compliance with ACBL. 
If you haven't already, complete yours today!!

According to the rules of bridge, your opponents are entitled to know about any bidding and defensive carding agreements that you and your partner make. Convention Cards are used, both on Bridge Base Online (BBO) and in "real life" duplicate bridge clubs and tournaments, as the primary mechanism for disclosing your partnership agreements to the opponents.

Some of our tournaments, notably our ACBL tournaments, absolutely require that you play either the Basic SAYC convention card posted for you or post your own card. You cannot play ACBL tournaments with a profile. You have to play the posted card. This is an ACBL rule for their sanctioned tournaments.

Editing and Creating A Card
Click My BBO on the top horizontal row of buttons, and select Convention Cards by clicking on that link in the drop down menu.
This pulls up a list of stock convention cards for you to use as they are, or you can modify them to suit your preferences, and then save them in your list of My Convention Cards.
To change a stock convention card, click Edit and once you have made your changes, put your cursor in the Title space and give it your own name, for example the name of the partner you are going to play the card with, or the name of a tournament where you will play the card.
Create a brand new card by clicking one of the buttons on the list of all the convention cards. For example, clicking New ACBL CC with bring up the standard ACBL convention card you are familiar with when playing in your favorite club or tournament. Complete the card just as you normally do, and then save it with a new name by putting your cursor in the Title space and overwrite with your own name.
To change a card in the list of My Convention Cards click the link to Delete, Show, or Edit.
Using a Convention Card
Click the NS CC or EW CC button on the horizontal list of links below the table for your partnership seating position, and that brings up the list of convention cards. Select your card and post it.

When you sit down to play with a partner in a Bridge Club on BBO, or when you register to play in a tournament with a partner, BBO will see if your partnership has already established a Convention Card by looking at your list of My Convention Cards for your partner's username. If it has, then you will be notified and BBO will use the appropriate Convention Card for your partnership once play starts.

Hope to see each of you have your convention card online.

If you have any questions about when virtual games are being held, please feel free to contact Fay Pacchioli at 610-442-0742 or email Fay at skingp31@aol.com and Fay or her team will gladly assist.

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
As the summer days become shorter and a bit cooler, our thoughts turn to fall. We hope you and your family are safe and well as we all adjust to what is called the “new normal.” While crisper air means pumpkins, autumn leaves, and Halloween, our Unit is sorry many events have had to be cancelled, and continue to be.  

All tournaments have been cancelled for January and February. ACBL is working hard to replace these tournaments with online Regionals for red and gold points and online special games to earn silver points. The Virtual Club Game Committee will let you know about these opportunities as information becomes available.

New Rank Achievements
New Club Master
Mridula Choudhuri
New Sectional Masters
Jane Davenport 
Georgette Drudy
Laura Rabenold 
New Regional Master
Nelson Rabenold 
New Bronze Life Master
L. Irish Murphy
New Silver Life Master
Barbara Laudone 
New Ruby Life Master
Frank Morgan

Annual Meeting - Sunday November 8, 2020
The Nominating Committee of the Unit 133 Board of Directors is currently preparing the Slate of Officers and Board Members at Large which will be presented to the membership. Those elected will serve the unit in 2021. 

During these unprecedented times, the Annual Meeting will certainly be different. However, we will still play 3 online games to celebrate our many achievements in 2020.

On Sunday, November 8th at 1pm there will three games:
0-100 limited game
0-750 limited game
Open game    

Virtual Club Game Charity Donations
The Virtual Club Game Committee is pleased to report that Unit 133 players have raised $2861.24 which will be divided equally between our two local charities, Lehigh Valley Active Life and Second Harvest Food Bank.

These funds are a direct result of our members playing online in our Virtual Club Games. Thank you to everyone who played to support this effort. We hope you will continue playing so we can continue giving! Please reach out to your friends and encourage them to play in our games. Together we can help the people in our community.
Unit 141: Philadelphia 
Howard Kahlenberg
Continuing my thoughts about Master Point achievements from last time, here is a chart with achievers from last month’s 4Spot, compared with those from this month’s. (Does this mean I am having problems finding things to write about when in-person bridge isn’t happening? Guilty as charged.)
Whereas last month’s totals were down from the year before, this month’s are up from last month’s. This suggests that either
* Last Month was a bit of a (low) outlier
* People are becoming more comfortable with on-line tournaments, or the number of them is increasing
* One month is too small of a sample size to make any conclusions

I am certain that at least that last one is true; I will try to take a wider look next month. Of course, that means I will have to start writing the column before 10 PM on the night before it is due. (Kudos to 4Spot editor Janet Johnson, who takes my last-minute submissions with good humor.)
Stay safe and wear a mask, and VOTE:

Putting names to the numbers:
Congratulations to
New Life Masters Frank Feng of Ardmore (I didn’t forget you, Frank) and Cynthia Martin of Moorestown.
New Emerald Life Master (7,500 points) - Betty Sculll
New Diamond Life Master (5,000 points) - Fred Maher
New Gold Life Masters (2,500 points) - Barry Cohen and Jacqueline Umphlet
New Silver Life Masters (1,000 points) - Erma Waters and Stanley Weisfeld
New Bronze Life Masters (750 points) – Christina Dowling, Glenn Fuhrman, Michael Minoff, and Claire Schrager
New Advanced NABC Master (300 Points) - Philip Lebovitz
New NABC Masters (200 points) - Mindy Goldberg, Maureen McLaughlin and Sharon Yonker
New Regional Masters (100 points) – Ruth Brill, Anne-Marie Corner, Gladys Firing, Chris Holroyde, Satya Kunapuli, John Matera, Douglas Murray, Peter Shafron, Eileen Shallow, Roberta Steinberg, and June Zumoff
New Sectional Masters (50 points) – Joan Andrews, Christina Carter, Susan Diederich, Harvey Goldberg, Shelley Goldfarb Goldner, Alison Hargreaves, Donna Heckscher, Neil Houghton, Susan Hurgunow, Cliff Jackson, Roselois Jacobs, Margaret Jennings, Joann Jones, June Knight, Linda Lehn, Katharine Link, Regina Matczak, Kathy McCormick, Eileen McNeill, Karen Meehan, Patricia Morley, Evelyn Nugent, Richard Quinn, Jeffrey Tarnoff, Joanne Tarnoff, Marc Topaz, Barbara Vondercrone, and Joan Walters
New Club Masters (20 points) – Nori Brown, Eleanor Davis, Kristen Fireman, William Goldstein, Kathy Heist, Richard Kane, Lisa Lamason, Margaret McLoughlin, Bonnie Palmer, Leslie Purple, Lorraine Revello, Hongji Wei, Hideko Welsh
New Junior Masters (5 points) – Barbara Binis, Rosemary Davis, Siyuan Liu, Joan Marakoff, Joseph Moseley, Deborah Sweet, Carol Wolfington, Leigh Wood, Karin Wren
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 
CLUB MASTER: Elayne Davidson
NABC MASTER: Robert R. Hatton and Janice P. Newkirk

LIFE MASTER: Judith Cronin

To plan for the return of F2F bridge and to continue to foster our great game now and into the future, at the Annual Membership Meeting, held on September 16th by Zoom, seven Board members agreed to continue into their second year:

Scott Freber
Eli Solomon
Sally Humphrey
Judy Cronin
Kim Holm
Caroline Hughes
Brenda Vogel
The seven Board members elected for the 2020-2022 term are:

Harold Jordan
Soley Kristjansdottir
Mark Henderson
William Herdle
Debbie Schenkel
Tom Tully

Board officers will be elected in the coming year. Come and talk or email these Board members. Lend your voice and input on the present and the future of bridge, both on BBO and in Unit 190. 
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 | October 2020 | Editor: Janet Johnson | janet.johnson210@gmail.com