The District 17 Bridge Buzz focuses on district and national news and provides you with the links to access the details. Catch the next Buzz in January.

Contact Cindy Shoemaker, editor, cndyshoemaker@yahoo.com with feedback and content suggestions.

By Elizabeth Hamilton
The "New Normal"

This is the phrase I keep hearing. I hear it from my adult children, I hear it from friends who do not play bridge and from bridge playing friends. What does it mean? In my opinion, it means that covid has permanently changed our world and that probably means different things to each of us. For bridge players, it has taken us into uncharted waters and we are adjusting to the "new normal” with a new bridge schedule. It can be complicated. Do you play online? Do you return to your local club? How do you feel about tournaments? Bridge is a fantastic exercise for the brain and I think most will want to make sure that there are still many opportunities to play in the future.

It is important to support the games at local clubs and to attract new players to join us at the table so our clubs thrive and grow. Do you remember the feeling of walking into the club and seeing your bridge friends? Celebrating their bridge achievements and special occasions? It is a great community.

At the end of January 2021, D17 included 8,781 members and by the end of September, our number had been reduced to 7,871. 
There are people out there who would really enjoy and benefit from bridge. ACBL offers recruitment incentives to teachers, club managers and active club directors. Go to www.acbl.org/marketing/ for more information.

D17 will hold its first regional tournament since March 2020 in Las Vegas, November 8 through 14, 2021. Come join us to reunite with old friends and to make new ones. The D17 NAP (North American Pairs) Championship games will be held there too so if you qualified think about attending. 

The last D17 Board meeting of 2021 will be held at the Las Vegas Glitter Gulch Regional on Thursday, November 11. Get in touch with your District Representative to share your thoughts for 2022. Let’s make next year a great year for bridge. Let’s bring new players into our bridge world. 

I look forward to meeting many of you in November and at the 2022 tournaments in D17. The regional events will be held in Albuquerque, Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas again. 

Go to www.d17acbl.org for our tournament schedule that includes Sectionals, STaCs and special I/N events. There are a lot of bridge activities that can be part of the "new normal”. 

Join us at the Las Vegas Glitter
Gulch Regional!

Our team is thrilled! We cannot wait to see you and welcome you to Las Vegas with all its wonders to explore. This year we will only have evening play on the first Monday, so plan your visit to include great dining and entertainment experiences. Games times are 10:00 am and 2:30 pm every day except Monday when they will be 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Check out our tournament flyer at LVRegional.com to view our event schedule that offers something for every level of player. 

Our Regional will be the first in D17. In fact, it will be the first in the Western part of the country. Are we concerned about that? Absolutely! However, we know you will help us.

Our Motto: Safety First

ACBL agreed to staff our tournament and that came along with our commitment to implement their recommended safety protocols to keep everyone who attends as safe as possible. That means proof of vaccination must be shown with a photo identification. Masks must be worn to comply with CDC regulations. NO EXCEPTIONS.

You will receive safety information when you arrive at the tournament and a wrist band after checking in at the Safety Desk that will allow you to enter the playing area. Our intention is to have you complete this process one time, unless you lose your wrist band of course.
Outstanding Speakers 

We are also very excited about our speaker program. Our amazing line up includes: Marjorie Michelin, Robert Todd, Ken Monzingo, Mike Cochran and Rolf Houtkooper. All very experienced bridge players and educators. These talks will take place Tuesday through Saturday from 9:15 am to 9:45 am. In addition, we will have a special gift for newer players.
We are Here to Help 

If you would like assistance, we will help you find a suitable partner and select the right events. Our volunteer staff is here to make it fun!

Key Tournament Contacts

  • Angie Clark, Tournament Chair angieclark@comcast.net
  • Bob Lafleur, Tournament Manager vegasbob13@gmail.com
  • Liz Hamilton, I/N Chair grtscot@gmail.com
  • Rolf Houtkooper, Partnership Chair rolfhoutkooper@gmail.com
JANUARY 17-23, 2022
By Jerry Keeran
ACBL Unit 374

We are Back and Better
than Ever!

After 18 months of shutdowns, masks and vaccines, New Mexico is back open. We just completed one of our most successful Balloon Fiestas ever in Albuquerque, with nearly 600 hot air balloons from around the country and around the world. Sure, we wore masks, and we socially distanced, and New Mexico is eighth in vaccination rates. We proved we can still put on world class events. So, what does this have to do with bridge you may ask?

Plenty! The Land of Enchantment Regional is on for next January 17-23, 2022. Unit 374 and District 17 are pulling out all the stops to make sure this signature event goes off without a hitch. Okay, maybe one hitch - everybody attending the tournament must have proof of Covid-19 vaccination per ACBL rules. Facemasks, although currently required in New Mexico for indoor events, may go away by next January. We're keeping our fingers crossed, and we'll keep you posted.

We are planning on a full schedule like always, including five days of Gold Rush events, hospitality at every session, free lectures Tuesday-Saturday, the ever reasonably-priced snack bar, and a wide selection of restaurants close by to satisfy any taste and price range.

The Land of Enchantment Regional will be held at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North. Situated just off of I-25, this stylish hotel offers plenty of free parking, excellent service and free WiFi. Reserve your rooms before January 5, 2022. Special room rates from $114 per night. 
Besides bridge, bridge, bridge and more bridge, Albuquerque and the surrounding area offers many sights and activities. There is the Sandia Peak Tramway and a brand-new high-class restaurant at the top called Ten3 (a reference to the altitude) that offers stunning views of the valley below.
If you get tired of the stony faces at the bridge table, you can go see real stone faces at the Petroglyph National Monument.

We have a large variety of museums locally, some of them unique to New Mexico, such as the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History (remember Los Alamos), the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, and the Abruzzo Balloon Museum at Balloon Fiesta Park. They can even help you book a balloon ascension for that birds-eye view (maybe dummy would look better from 3,000 feet).
World class shopping and restaurants abound in Albuquerque Old Town, and Albuquerque Up Town, both are just a short drive from the tournament location. There are numerous cultural sites that detail the history and traditions of our Native American population, such as the Acoma Pueblo, and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. You can even make tracks to the New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society.

We look forward to seeing you in January!
04-05 Santa Fe, NM ( 499'er)
2021-2022 FINALS
The D17 GNT Finals for the Championship Flight and Flights A, B and C are scheduled to be held at Denver’s Rocky Mountain Regional Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29, and Monday, May 30, if necessary, for the Championship Flight and Flight A.

The National Finals are scheduled to be held at the Summer Providence, Rhode Island NABC Wednesday, July 13 through Sunday, July 17, 2022.

Flight eligibility is based on masterpoint totals as of August 6, 2021:

  • Championship Flight: Unlimited
  • Flight A: 0-6000 masterpoints 
  • Flight B: 0-2500 masterpoints
  • Flight C: NLM with fewer than 500 masterpoints 

The Championship Flight, Flight A and Flight B teams must qualify for the District Finals at a club GNT qualifying game. Please encourage your club owner to schedule these games.
Teams may be formed to compete in the District Final with any D17 player who has qualified. Flight C teams do not have to qualify to play in the District Finals, but are encouraged to play in team games for practice.

There will be opportunities to qualify in online games. Contact Sharon Smith at sharondrsmith@me.com for information regarding these games.

For additional information, contact Bonnie Bagley, D17 GNT coordinator: 719-593-0205 or bon1bon@comcast.net
The decision has been made to move forward with the 2021 Fall North American Bridge Championships scheduled for November 25 through December 5 in Austin.

The ACBL will approach the tournament with an abundance of caution and will hold the event as carefully as possible to protect the health and safety of players, volunteers and staff.
Because of this, meetings and other large social gatherings outside of game play will be very limited and the ACBL is hopeful that it will hold these events during NABCs in 2022. 

All NABC attendees, staff and volunteers must be fully vaccinated to attend the Austin NABC and have face masks properly worn when present in the tournament areas. The ACBL has procured VOW Digital Health to manage the verification process for vaccinations. 

Please do not attend the Fall NABC if you are not prepared to follow the safety protocols. They are in place to protect all attendees, and no exceptions will be made.
On October 6, a new sanctioned Swiss teams event was launched in Denver. It was safe, it was social and it was "oh, so much fun" for local bridge enthusiasts who have missed the in-person challenge and the thrill of face-to-face play. 

Six area country club teams have begun their competition that will continue for five weeks, rotating through the club venues. Several participants had never played in either a sanctioned ACBL tournament or a Swiss teams event. 

Participants enjoyed lunch after the match. Hands were discussed, laughed about or cheered. Participants were all smiles, knowing covid vaccines were required of everyone attending. 

When interviewed: Everyone was happy; nothing should be changed because it was FUN and the other participants were friendly and interesting. 

Jennifer O’Neill, District 17 board member, secured a grant from D17 to underwrite various program expenses and organized the event with Sally Kneser, Denver bridge instructor. 

Denver Metro Bridge Club owner Elly Larson has been extremely supportive. With her help, the event is running smoothly with modified scoresheets and procedures. She will host a pairs event for the final awards ceremony when the traveling trophy will be awarded to the team with the most cumulative points. All participants will receive a door prize.
Elly was pleased that after two weeks of play two ACBL memberships had been renewed, and six people registered for either full or temporary new memberships. At this point, all the participants have won masterpoints, winning at least one round if not the top three cumulative scores.

There will be a spring league for these teams and more clubs will be invited based on interest. 

If you would like information for how to start this program in your area contact Elly at DenverMetroBridge@gmail.com. She will be happy to share the logistical details with other clubs and cities.
ACBL members receive masterpoints® for winning and placing in club games and tournaments as they strive to advance through the ranks. There are 16 ranks, from Junior Master (5 masterpoints) to Grand Life Master (10,000 masterpoints plus a victory in an eligible North American Bridge Championship).
Linda Heinkel, Unit 354
Phoenix, AZ
Susan Karsh, Unit 361
Denver, CO
Lou Liebovich, Unit 354
Fountain Hills, AZ
Kirk Mayberry, Unit 361
Englewood, CO