September 2020
The political conventions are over, with no big surprises. But speaking of conventions, when you and your favorite partners have a little time (these days, you must have some!) why not review your convention card? You can weed out conventions that never seem to come up and add one or two new ones you always wanted to try. And then make a date to practice at your Virtual Club on Bridge Base Online-- it can use your support plus it's a fun way to stay connected with old friends.
District 4 Officers  
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Contact your District 4 board members.

Meyer Kotkin


Bill Bauer


Joann Glasson 
President's Message
I apologize for a case of premature publication last month when I wrote that Bridge Base Online (BBO) was adding a button to its application interface to make it easier to report suspicious actions on hand. Apparently, it will be awhile before BBO officially implements that feature. However, the ACBL has indeed set up a special site with a BBO-oriented Recorder Form for reporting suspicious on-line plays: That form asks reporting players to provide a link to the BBO “movie.” You can do that by looking at the Hand Records (either through your History inside the BBO App or by going to and clicking on Hand Records) for the event and opening up the movie. The movie will open in a separate window and you can copy the link from that window to the ACBL Recorder Form. If you don’t want to bother including the link, you can just give the date, time and name of the event along with the board number on which the suspicious action(s) took place. You can also send the hand to

Teachers can also use the “movie” links to assemble hands and/or download the hands for teaching purposes and analyses. The BBO app allows you to save hands that you can then load into the BBO Teaching Tables. I think those Teaching Tables are a valuable resource and should be used more frequently. Not only can you load specific hands, you can practice specific areas of bidding and play by constraining the BBO hand dealer/generator. For example, if you want to practice slam bidding, which all my so-called expert partners really should do, you can constrain the two hands to have 30+ high card points and/or some unbalanced shapes.
It appears that the ACBL will run an on-line Regional every other month and a Silver at Clubs event in the months without an on-line Regional. This strikes me as a good balance between the revenue generating needs of the ACBL and the virtual club games that are necessary if brick and mortar clubs are to survive this pandemic. Yet, the one statistic I have seen so far is that only about 48% of ACBL members have played in the ACBL on-line events. That concerns me and I fear as this pandemic drags on we might lose many players who are not interested or able to play online but would have played face-to-face at a tournament or club. I asked the ACBL to give me D4 stats on Regional and on-line play but the ACBL has not sent them yet.

Some clubs (so far all outside District 4 [D4]) are opening up in areas where local directives allow. Those clubs report they are taking extra precautions for sanitizing and virus spread prevention as well as reducing capacity significantly to enforce social distancing. For example, all the clubs I know about require North to be the only person to handle the Bridgemates and East-West to carry their bidding boxes from table to table. I will not offer an opinion on the actions of these clubs but I wanted to note that as far as I can tell, these clubs are all running very small face-to-face games. I believe players are “voting with their feet” not to attend face-to-face games absent a vaccine and/or a cure. I know that the owner of one of the largest clubs in D4 sent out a survey to all his players, both face-to-face and online, essentially asking under what conditions the players would be willing to resume face-to-face play. The club owner reports that the survey replies overwhelmingly indicated that the players would not consider face-to-face play without a vaccine and/or cure. All this leads me to believe that it is unlikely we can successfully execute a Delaware Regional in April 2021 and even the Philadelphia Regional in June of 2021 is becoming problematic. This greatly saddens me but the health and safety of our players is, has been, and always will be our first priority. Even if we could run a tournament, either Sectional or Regional, it is unclear how many players would actually feel safe and comfortable enough to play. The longer this pandemic rages, the more danger we are in of losing the game we love.
I received an invitation to join a 5K Fun Run. Fun Run – an oxymoron if ever there was one – two words that should never be used in the same sentence. Yet, during this pandemic, I find myself doing things, both online and face-to-face that I never did before. I always wear a mask when I go outside and I am happy that science has not found a mask that can block my chick magnetism. I attend religious services on-line and find myself a more frequent attendee than in the past. I work out of my house and have way more video conferences than I used to and during my social team games five times a week on BBO, the players use Zoom Breakout Rooms so we can talk to each other as we play. By the way, if you want to play a social team game, I strongly recommend using some conferencing software while you play – it actually brings back a lot, but not all, of the social aspect of playing even if your friends are as ugly as mine. However, I digress.
The Fun Run is a physical run where the participants would meet on a huge exercise area that would facilitate social distancing during the race. I strongly support social distancing but I do not ever, ever run unless they bring smoked salmon to the buffet table nor do I go outdoors where there might be danger from sunlight and fresh air. Therefore, I proposed to the race organizers that they allow me to participate virtually. I programmed a racecourse app and I could advance along the course by clicking the forward arrow on my keyboard. Yes, I was willing to risk sore fingers and carpal tunnel so I could participate in my first ever mini-marathon. I also proposed that because the race organizers stressed that hydration was necessary, I be allowed to drink beer on the virtual racecourse as for me that is the best hydration I can do with one hand. My proposal did not get the enthusiastic response I was hoping for. While not officially sanctioned, I ran my virtual marathon anyway but I am sad to report I could not complete the course. The 14 beers in the first lap did me in but I will be training harder in the weeks to come.

America strong!

As always, I welcome all comments and suggestions on any D4 matters and issues. My e-mail is and my cell is 856.986.5109
From the District Director 
Once a year it is my pleasure to nominate members of District 4, who make outstanding contributions to the bridge community, to lifetime appointments as members of the ACBL Charity Committee and the ACBL Goodwill Committee.
This year I have nominated members of our District who have helped our bridge community in different ways to deal with Covid 19.

Janet Johnson of Philadelphia is the editor of the District 4Spot, our monthly newsletter, which provides communication and information to everyone in our District.

Janet keeps us all connected during this time when we have lost the ability to get together at clubs and tournaments. She also includes reports from all 8 Units in District 4 in her newsletter so that we can all keep up on what is happening all over the District.

I have received rave reviews from ACBL colleagues all over the country for the top quality newsletter than Janet produces. Editing and distributing the 4Spot is a huge volunteer job and a wonderful contribution to our bridge community. Thank you, Janet.
Susan Morse of Flourtown, PA is a distinguished actor and writer who shares her skills with the bridge community, both through editing the Unit 141 newsletter, and the humorous articles that she writes for the ACBL Bulletin.

She also recently treated a round table of teachers at a regional tournament with her amazing acting skills by performing one of her stories for us. It was a wonderful experience that I was lucky enough to attend.

If you haven't had the opportunity to read her two-page article "Bridge in the Time of Corona" in the June ACBL Bulletin, make sure you do. Click here for the story.
Susan has also authored two books that I just loved reading: "The Habit" and "The Dog Stays in the Picture"
Fay has been the manager and director of the Honesdale-Hawley Bridge Club for 25 years since she retired from running a chain of pet stores with her husband.
The Honesdale-Hawley Bridge Club supports a Scholarship at their High School and also supports the Wayne County Senior Center where the bridge games are held.

When the pandemic hit, Fay and her Co-Director, Jim Mazeika, had never played bridge online, but were determined to provide a place for her players to play, so Fay tackled it in earnest - attending numerous classes and tutorials.
The club needed more online players, so she invited the members of Bridgelady, NEPA-DBC and West End DBC to pool with her. Fay now runs 4 games a week for the members of Unit 120, the Northeastern PA Bridge Association. Some of the members of the club have even gone to player's homes to help beginning players get set up and online.

As long as I have been involved in District 4 administration, anytime we have ever asked for volunteers from the District, Fay has been first in line to help out.
Edward is the owner and director of the Bridge Boardroom in York, PA.

Edward's bridge club is temporarily closed during the pandemic. His website says it best: "My biggest concern is for the heath and safety of my family and friends. You are my friends and many of you are like family to me. I will not jeopardize your health."

During the pandemic, Edward has worked tirelessly to organize the bridge clubs in South Central Pennsylvania and move them online so bridge players from that area would have the ability to play and connect with one another. His group includes clubs from the Lancaster and York area.
Betsy has organized an effort in Unit 133 to support the local community during the pandemic. Unit 133 has moved virtual club games online and since they don't have to pay rent to the Lehigh Valley Active Life during this time when there is no face-to-face bridge, they are splitting the proceeds of their games between two worthwhile charities.

The Executive Director of Lehigh Valley Active Life is serving families in the community through the distribution of more than 280 meals each week, driving those meals to those in need himself rather than put senior volunteers at risk. Half of the funds raised in the Unit 133 virtual bridge games is being used to support that effort.

The other half of the funds is going to the Second Harvest Food Bank to support their mission. The Second Harvest Food Bank is a non-profit organization that provides food to those in need in the Lehigh Valley.
Unit 133 has contributed $1,200 in the first two months of online play and has pledged to continue to support these important charities.
Marc Labovitz of Philadelphia is a retired full-time ACBL Director who has worked continually as long as I have known him to support bridge in the Philadelphia community, always giving more of his time than his job required to help with the running of local tournaments.
Raffles Bridge Club, where Marc also directed, has moved online and Marc has pledged all the profits from the virtual games to Philabundance.

Philabundance is a non-profit organization that provides culinary training for low-income adults in Philadelphia and uses the fruits of their labor to feed those in need during the corona virus pandemic.
Please don't hesitate to contact me at 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
If it's September, that must mean Dave. He's back with a great example of how to reach slam with a partner who knows what you are talking about!
                          ABC of Bridge
                                              By Dave Wachsman (

The ABCs consist of Counting, Communicating, and Curiosity. The following discussion focuses on Communicating with an element of Curiosity. The hand was played at a duplicate session pre-Covid 19 in Florida. Curiosity came into play when another player asked me how we bid to the optimal contract.   
Accurate slam bidding is a challenge for players of all skill levels. One way to get a handle on slam exploration is to envision how an English conversation, if allowed, might go. Consider the following hand and the corresponding conversation which is mapped to actual bidding.
Before examining the hypothetical conversation and the bidding below, take a minute or two and determine what you think is the optimal contract.  
One final thing to contemplate- The Blackwood convention was never used in this auction. Use Blackwood primarily to stay out of slam, not to get to a slam. Most of all, remember the ABCs of Bridge. 
Master Solvers Club
Moderator: Nick Straguzzi

It's fun and challenging to know how to handle the unusual, but what about some news you can use--every session (or nearly)? Just because a problem comes up regularly, doesn't mean it's easy! How does your decision on this month's problem 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
Pat Stadelmaier
Looking for VolunteersWe have begun to plan for our Regional in Rochester August 2-8. If you would like to give back to your bridge community by helping, please email Jim Patton
Stay Safe and Stay Healthy!
Unit 120: Northeastern Pennsylvania 
Doreese Torrey
Hello Unit 120!!  Hope you are all enjoying the warm weather, relaxing at home and having a great summer. Let's get right to some virtual recognition achievements. 
Please stand and applaud:
Sectional Master
Elizabeth A Vucic, Poyntelle PA
Lawrence D Hudson, Matamoras, PA
Bronze Master AND Life Master
James B Post, Hanover Township, PA
Regional Master
Costas Lambropoulos, Stroudsburg, PA


1/4 GOLD - 3/4 BLACK
September 21 through September 27th - $6.00

Contact Fay Pacchioli if you are interested in playing or need any additional instructions on how to play online at:
Socializing has not been available for any face to face games, tournaments etc., but online playing is fun and just as rewarding!

Beth Rosenthal had a fantastic idea and sent an email to suggest that we all take the time to do a selfie, a foodie or a picture of an activity that has kept us occupied through these last few months. Please take the time to snap a shot of yourself playing online, cooking, gardening, reading a book, or just relaxing.
Send it by text or email to; she will post it on the unit website so we can all stay connected, at least by photos.

Until next time, stay safe, stay home and wear your mask when you go out.

See you virtually at the online 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 Labor Day
Labor Day is the national holiday that honors working people, their contributions, achievements, and sacrifices in pursuit of national prosperity and well being. This year more than ever we need to recognize the many essential workers who are striving to keep us safe. Thanks to all the people who are working so hard to keep all of us happy and healthy in these unprecedented times.

In Memoriam 
We are saddened to report the passing of two of our members.
They will be missed by everyone who knew them and played with them.

Roger Brooks  1936 - 2020
Roger Brooks, 83, of Easton, PA and Sun City West, AZ passed away on April 14, 2020. Roger first joined ACBL Unit 133 about 1970. As a young engineer, he played at the local clubs and sectional tournaments, winning in many local events. Although he loved duplicate bridge, the business responsibilities of his corporation, Brooks Systems Corporation, kept him away from the game for 35+ years. After retiring, he got back into bridge and loved it all over again. Also, an avid poker player, he was proud of the ring he won in a Senior World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas. Roger is predeceased by his parents, and his wife of 53 years, Lucy G. Brooks. He is survived by his children, Dr. Susan Brooks McDonald, Deborah Brooks Sarisky, and son, Bryan Brooks, and four grandchildren. He is also survived by his beloved companion, Barbara Laudone of Easton, PA.
Thanks to Barbara Laudone for contributing this information.

A. Joseph Asber 1933 - 2020
Joey Asber, 87, a longtime member of Unit 133 passed away on July 22, 2020. Joey possessed exceptional talents as a bridge player, becoming ACBL Life Master #880 in the 1950’s. He joined an internationally ranked team which included Bobby Jordan and Arthur Robertson. He served as President of Unit 133 in 1965 and 1966. And, then again in 1987 and 1988. In the early 1960’s, Joey had to make a difficult decision whether to pursue his bridge talents on a full time basis or remain local and care for his Mother. He chose the later, winning most local tournaments while working as a draftsman at Lehigh Structural Steel in Allentown. Joey suffered from polio which restricted his physical activities and limited his bridge playing in recent years. He was a gentleman at the bridge table and will be missed. 
Thanks to Don Swan for contributing this information.

New Rank Achievements
New Junior Masters
Irv Keister
Kathy Lentz
Michael Lentz
Randy MacKenzie
New Regional Master
Robert Davenport 
New NABC Master
Michael Dopera
New Emerald Life Master
David P Wachsman 

Congratulations to Betsy Cutler who has been appointed a lifetime member of the National Charity Committee by ACBL Board Member, Joanne Glasson. Betsy was selected for her efforts in support of both local and ACBL charities such as Super Bowl Sunday and the Longest Day. She is also very instrumental in organizing the Virtual Club Games that support two not- for-profit organizations, Second Harvest Food Bank and Lehigh Valley Active Life. Thank you Betsy, for everything you do to support our community.

Virtual Club Games 
The Virtual Club Games Committee is pleased to announce that Unit 133 members have raised $950 as of July 31st to support two local not-for-profit organizations -- Lehigh Valley Active Life and Second Harvest Food Bank. 

The donation to our local food bank will provide 5,700 meals to benefit our neighbors. Briana McGonagle, Development Manager of Second Harvest Food Bank, said, “While your financial donation can be quantified, the impact it has on the lives of people is immeasurable.” When people in the community aren’t going hungry we all benefit.

The donation to Lehigh Valley Active Life will be used to make facility renovations in order to improve programs, including ACBL Duplicate Bridge, and keep participants safe when the facility reopens. As Rick Daugherty, Executive Director, said, “ Lehigh Valley Active Life will reopen once a vaccine is widely available. With your help, our facility will be better than ever and once again filled with people enjoying life.”
Unit 141: Philadelphia 
Howard Kahlenberg
I am sure that those of you who have watched me misplay a bridge hand have no interest in my so-called thought process. But, when I was thinking about what to write about this month, I said to myself a couple of times “It’s hard to write about bridge when there is no bridge.”
But of course there is bridge; many of you are playing every week, as am I. So we should definitely say thanks to the bridge club owners who have been able to transition to online games, and to the ACBL for being able to work something out.
Today I am going to talk about one ways of quantifying the effect of no in-person. The end of the column will be the traditional listing of players achieving new ACBL ranks. I was curious about how much people are still achieving new ranks, so I did a small sample size experiment. I compared the number of people below to the number of people achieving the same rank during the same period one year ago. Here’s my first ever chart in my column. (Yes, I know that usually columns are in charts.)
Some random thoughts:
1. This month seems to randomly low overall; last month was higher, and next month appears like it will be too, so maybe I didn’t pick the best month to decide to look at this.
2. It’s probably harder to move up the type of Life Master categories without regionals than to advance at the pre-LM levels. That is probably good, so that newer players can find it easier to continue to advance.
3. The lack of Regional Masters seems a little random, since there were a ton last month.
What does it all mean? I’m not sure.
Stay safe and wear a mask!

New ACBL ranks achieved:
New Ruby Life Masters (1,500 points) - Gayle L Davis, Barbara Gordon, and William Schmidt
New Silver Life Masters (1,000 points) – Butch Livingston
New Bronze Life Masters (750 points) – Joyce Levin and Donna Meilinger
New NABC Masters (200 points) - Judy Kaplan, Allan Schneirov, and David Tukey
New Regional Masters (100 points) – Barbara Bickel, David Brill, Terry Bullen-Smith, Sastry Dasika, Jeri Davis, Patricia Davis, John Faber, Madhu Goyal, Sharon Harrington, Maureen McLaughlin, Beth Murphy, Brendan O'Malley, Wanda Romano, Sol Rosenberg, Ginger Sabia, Len Saffren, Kathy Schlesinger, Marie Shafron, Walter Stromquist, Harriet Walcott, Kathryn Warhol, and Joanne Wills
New Sectional Masters (50 points) – Anita Lebow, Amy Rubinsohn, Pamela Scalamandre, Melvin Schwarz, Guy Veroli, and Joan Zylkin
New Club Masters (20 points) – Deborah Barberio, Lisa Barker, Ken Beckelman, Christine Berrettini, Stephen Danley, Alice Farley, David H Heron, Bruce Kraig, Katharine Link, Elisa Lock, Ryan Lock, Rhoda McFadden, Michael Perilstein, Paul Ruth, Anna Swartz, Mary Tassaro, Stevie Thompson
New Junior Masters (5 points) – Jane Austin, Shauna Flynn, Agnes Gancz, Paul Grady, Sheila Herron, Constance Opfell, Barbara Perskie, Phyllis Suckow, Carolyn Vodoklys, and Karen Young.
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

To be fully prepared to support duplicate bridge when Face to Face (F2F) bridge resumes, the DSBA plans to conduct a Zoom Annual meeting on Wednesday September 16th at 7 PM. Instructions on how to join will be posted on the Unit 190 website. In addition to discussing your ideas and thoughts on going forward, this is where the election of board members will take place. Candidates nominated for a two-year term 2020-2022 are:

Harold Jordan
Soley Kristjansdottir
Mark Henderson
Ala Hamilton-Day
William Herdle
Debbie Schenkel.
A seventh candidate is to be nominated “from the floor” at the meeting. 

Come and lend your voice and input on the present and the future of bridge in Unit 190. 

CLUB MASTER: Susan Keyser
SECTIONAL MASTER: Elizabeth E. Bacon and Dorothea Lavigne
For information and links to the UNIT 190 BOARD MEETING BY ZOOM and results of the virtual BBO events, check out the Unit 190 website 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 | September 2020 | Editor: Janet Johnson |