District 17 BRIDGE BUZZ
JULY 2020
The Buzz is delivered to you the months the ScoreCard is not published. This online newsletter focuses on District 17 activities and ACBL online events and provides you with links to access the details.  
Contact Cindy Shoemaker , editor, cndyshoemaker@yahoo.com
with feedback and content suggestions.

As COVID-19 rages on, the safety of our membership, staff and volunteers continues to be of prime importance. As a result, 2020 regionals and sectionals along with the Fall NABC, November 26 - December 6, Tampa, have been canceled. This includes the cancellation of remaining non-life master tournaments for 2020 or other tournaments this year where ACBL tournament directors are not technically required.

“It is the right thing to do,” said Joe Jones, executive director, ACBL, in a June 18 message to membership. “We cannot ask our players or staff to travel and risk exposure.”

The thought of not resuming face-to-face play for the remainder of the year is sobering to say the least. I miss the players, the conversations and the energy generated by a crowded room. Even though conditions and government restrictions vary as it relates to COVID-19, the safety of all our members, our volunteers and our staff must rise to the forefront. 

With the exception of unit-controlled clubs, the decision to open a club rests with its owners/board. Should a club choose to reopen, the ACBL released its club safety recommendations, operational guidelines and best practices along with consensus recommendations from health authorities.  

Emphasis on supporting our clubs and our membership through online play will continue. Each month, events such as Silver Linings Week and ACBL regionally-rated tournaments will be held on BBO offering membership the opportunity to earn silver, gold/red masterpoints. Six full-time tournament directors have been brought back to assist with online play. 

The ACBL continues to revise its forecast for 2020. Revenue derived from online play continues to rise as more players enter the virtual arena. This combined with a commitment to hold monthly special events throughout the remainder of 2020 and ongoing expense reductions will now bring the ACBL into a profitable position at year-end. 

The ACBL Board of Directors, committees and task forces meet regularly through conference calls, GoToMeeting and Zoom. In addition to meetings held late May, the ACBL Board of Directors met virtually in the morning and in the afternoon of June 17, 2020.
My next report will follow virtual meetings held the week of July 13, 2020.
As always, I am here to answer your questions and to address your concerns.
Take care and stay safe,

Cindy Shoemaker
ACBL National Board Representative 
Over 29,300 gold and red masterpoints were earned by 9,897 participants during Endless Summer , the ACBL’s second regionally-rated online event. Endless Summer, held Thursday, June 25 through Sunday, June 28, offered both one- and two-session pair events for players of all levels. Video mini-lessons (30 minutes or less) by top bridge celebrities were posted daily. Daily Bulletins were posted to BridgeFeed.  
The ACBL has not made it easy for seniors to earn masterpoints although it has gotten better over the last few years, particularly for players with less than 300 MPs. If you are retired and on a budget, you generally must travel to earn gold and this can cost a lot of money. Health issues make it even more difficult.  
My bridge journey started in the 1970s under the Goren rules. I stopped playing after a few years and returned to bridge when I retired in 2009. I decided to start studying from the beginning and took lessons in Ohio where I am from. In 2012, a friend and I began playing at a senior center. There were only open games at that time. It was difficult to earn points and discouraging to see the top players earn six or seven MPs when the rest of the players would earn 0.8 MPs at best. It was clear to me that things were lopsided. I never understood the system: awarding players who are really good while the rest of us wished we were them.
I then discovered BBO and started playing online at least five days per week. 
We moved to Tucson in 2014 and at that time I had 11 MPs. Still wanting to learn, I attended local seminars held by top instructors such as Barbara Seagram, Audrey Grant and Larry Cohen one to two times yearly.

There were few options for bridge north of Tucson, so I put a lot of miles on my car and spent many hours driving to play face-to-face bridge at Tucson Charity Bridge and the Adobe Bridge Center . Last year, the Northwest Tucson Bridge Center opened so now I can play close to home.
I continued to play on BBO and to participate in online tournaments. 
I am so happy that the ACBL and  BBO now give us the opportunity to receive gold and silver points online and I hope that this continues! Those with health issues and/or family issues can stay home, enjoy bridge and earn points! Even in this pandemic, we can play bridge and stay safe.  
"I am ecstatic that I had great success in the Endless Summer Tournament on Friday, June 26. Partner Laura Palascak, Rocky River, OH and I had a 66.30 percent game and earned 23.26 GOLD points in the Yellow Sunshine Super Gold Rush Pairs. I am still in shock!"  
Although my bridge journey has been difficult, I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to learn, to play and to compete for MPs online. 
This seems to be the new normal of bridge playing for a long time. I am glad that the ACBL is offering these tournaments. 
It was my pleasure to serve District 17 (my district) as a district board member and in several other capacities. Now I am trying to serve you and the entire ACBL as National Recorder.
You may have noticed that the nature of our competitions has changed this year!
It has long been thought that there would be some “serious” bridge played online when the kinks were worked out, the main kink being security.
Since contract bridge has existed there have been people who, for various reasons, want to win by any means possible, including cheating. One of the most sophisticated and insidious ways of cheating in live bridge was partnerships signaling each other covertly. Various methods have been used over the years – placement of cigarettes (which used to be de rigueur at bridge games), pencils, coughing, hand from which cards were played, vertical or horizontal placement of card on table when played, movement of the bidding tray under screens, and foot tapping, to name a few.
The surreptitious signaling had to be done in a way that was not only decoded, but not even observed by other players and spectators.
With online bridge, it is as simple as talking across the room to your partner or connecting through a phone call, Skype, or some other electronic communication. In some games (not ACBL) it is possible to self-kibitz using a different computer and user ID.
The vast majority of players would never consider cheating, for altruistic reasons, complexity (it creates different thinking and memory problems), and fear of being caught.
With online bridge in its current state, there is no such inhibition except the former. As a result, we see a significant increase in cheating online. Some of it is from players who cohabit who cannot resist the temptation.
It is no surprise then, that the Office of National Recorder and BBO are busy investigating more cheating, whether noted via Player Memo, an unusual streak of success, or by proprietary methods of discovery by BBO .
Here are some things to remember while you are playing online. First of all, if you think your opponent is cheating, you may report it privately to the director. You may also (or instead) file a Player Memo. We are developing a new, dedicated Player Memo for online, but you can go to the following and file.
One thing you do NOT want to do is accuse your opponent directly or gossip about it. This is a violation of the Code of Disciplinary Regulations (CDR) and will be harshly dealt with. Truth is not a defense. But we stand ready in the Office of National Recorder to investigate any report we receive. That is what we are here for.
Please forward any questions or comments to recorder@acbl.org , and happy hunting!
In 2011, District 17 established a Goodwill Committee to recognize D17 members in good standing who have gone far above the call of duty in service to the District or to their unit and exhibit goodwill attributes, subscribing to the Aileen Osofsky ACBL Goodwill Committee slogan, "It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice."
On behalf of Felicity Moore, D17 Goodwill Committee Chair and your D17 Board -- congratulations! We appreciate your kindness, enthusiasm and dedication to bridge!
Ashley Erwin, El Paso Unit 159
Nominated by Steve Nordberg
Although Ashley is fairly new to the bridge scene, he has stepped in to help where and when needed, serving on the local board and chairing tournaments. As president, he has handled routine and problem issues with equal enthusiasm. Setting up unit emails for club news and other information such as traffic alerts has enhanced our club experience. He has established rapport with the Las Cruces Unit and shares their information.
Of equal note, his research has enabled us to have additional unit championships so that
we all have a chance to earn more points. He was also instrumental in establishing a Saturday 299’er game to stimulate interest for newer players.
More importantly, he is a “friendly fellow” and willingly plays with all players regardless of rank. Criticism is not in his vocabulary.
Eileen Utter, Mesa Unit 351
Nominated by Lakin Hines
Eileen is friendly and hard working and strives to help others improve and enjoy the game.
Eileen has been the coordinator of the Unit 351 novice/mentor program since 2006. As the coordinator, Eileen receives applications filled out by novices and then pairs each with a suitable mentor. She takes her duties seriously and strives to fill all requests with qualified mentors.
For several years, Eileen has dedicated herself to assisting with partnership requests for the Sun Lakes Duplicate Bridge Club.
In 2011, she was elected to the Unit 351 board and served as president from 2013 to 2015.
Eileen is someone to emulate.
Anne Marie Harrington
Phoenix Unit 354
Nominated by JoAnne Lowe
Anne Marie was an active Unit 354 board member for at least nine years. During that period, she was our partnership chairperson for all tournaments and a co-sponsor of our mentoring program. B etween working the partnership desk and playing almost daily she knows most of the newer, local Scottsdale players.  She encourages and puts new players at ease. At the bridge table, she smiles and greets both friends and opponents. Her love of bridge and people are evident. Anne Marie is an excellent ambassador for bridge. 
Joe Green, Northern AZ Unit 355
Nominated by Bill Phillips
Joe has been a bridge player for many years, partnering with accomplished players and making his way to Silver Life Master through successful tournament and club play. Several years ago, he and his wife relocated from Flagstaff to Sedona, AZ. He now plays in nearly every session at the Sedona Bridge Ce nter . Since that move he has devoted himself to partnering with less experienced players, serving as a gentle mentor and helping many individuals earn masterpoints. He is a treasured member of the Sedona Bridge Center who brings much joy and pleasure to all. 
J oyce Honorof, Tucson Unit 356
Nominated by Steve Reynolds 
Four years ago, Joyce retired from her professional practice as an internist. She discovered bridge which excited and captivated her. After some beginner lessons, Joyce and her colleague, Barbara Starrett, realized the need for organized duplicate bridge games for new players living north of Tucson. They borrowed equipment, practiced ACBLscore, became ACBL directors and started the Small Slams Bridge Club , an ACBL sanctioned invitational club for 749'ers in SaddleBrooke, AZ. Joyce, although a new player herself, became an ACBL Certified Bridge Teacher and focused on teaching beginners.
After the Bridge Center of Greater Tucson closed, Joyce joined a steering committee to continue playing options in north Tucson and the Northwest Tucson Bridge Club was born. 
Ellie Larson, Denver Unit 361
Nominated by Jennifer O'Neill
I have nominated Ellie because she has done so much for our Denver bridge community. Ellie is supportive of newer players and supports the unit by hosting numerous events.
Since the stay at home orders began, Ellie is running online games for local clubs.
She has bent over backwards to accommodate all the requests for help in using BBO and has adjusted her schedule based on requests from members. 
Ellie began playing bridge in college but got hooked on duplicate after a friend asked her to try it and they won five MPs.
After taking over a failing club in 2017, she revived the club with a zero-tolerance policy.
Ellie considers running the bridge club a hobby, not work.

In her limited free time, Ellie spends it with her husband, Eric, and in-town granddaughter. She is a great cook and is generous in giving out her recipes. 
Toby McEvoy, Las Vegas Unit 373
Nominated by Liz Hamilton
Toby is playing a key role in building the foundation for the future of duplicate bridge in Las Vegas and deserves recognition for his outstanding efforts. 
Toby McEvoy is a certified ACBL teacher having completed TAP and the Best Practices programs. He is a member of the ABTA and planned to take the ACBL director’s course at the Spring 2020 NABC which was canceled due to COVID-19. He plans to do so at the first possible opportunity. He will be an excellent director.
The 2019 NABC was held in Las Vegas Nevada and Toby served on the tournament committee for three years. He attended meetings with the hotel and assisted with many other tournament decisions.  His key role was as the I/N chair.  He put together an outstanding team of volunteers to make sure the I/N Help Desk and Partnership Desk were friendly services that helped newer players enjoy the tournament. Player feedback was excellent. Toby took personal leave from his full time job in the IT industry to be present at the tournament each day. 
Gene Covington , Santa Fe Unit 383 Nominated by Felicity Moore 
Gene exemplifies the qualities for which District 17 established the Goodwill Committee. He is always pleasant.
Gene played bridge in college at the student union. After graduation, he played socially, but his best friend was a life master who helped him learn real bridge .
At one point, Gene and his partner owned a floral shop in Atlanta, Georgia; they were one of five florists for the 1996 Olympics. Later he had a long career in the oil and gas business, mostly in Dallas, but humidity was not his friend. He then moved to Santa Fe, where the bridge club’s education programs were a special attraction. When he started playing open games at the local clubs, he began wearing unusual hats, and he always makes a particular point of creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere at the table. 
“I have offered to help mentor and play with people starting out and I have SO many great friends who are dependable and treat me with kindness," says Gene. "It is indeed an honor that they have given me. Simple kindness is in my DNA.” 
Charles Wilkins, Santa Fe Unit 383
Nominated by Cindy Shoemaker
Charlie recognizes that bridge is a game of social interactions where lasting friendships are made. 
“At club games and bridge events,” states Charlie, “I notice players happily milling around, chatting with each other, and obviously looking forward to the game. I knew that losers would outnumber winners by 10 to one or more, so it was clear to me that the social and friendship aspects of the game are very important.” 
Sharon Smith, Laramie Unit 422
Nominated by John Grossmann
Sharon brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm to duplicate bridge, supports the players and enhances her bridge community.
Sharon moved to Steamboat Springs, CO in 1994 and helped Elaine Gilbertson restart a local bridge club. Soon she became active in local club operations as a director. In 2018, Sharon organized a highly successful 18 table Learn Bridge in a Day class held at a community center. She is also developing online bridge classes through a local college.
When the covid pandemic hit Colorado, Sharon made a compelling case to BBO about pioneering a virtual club game in a rural setting. Not just one session, but three well- attended sessions a week of virtual bridge. Sharon is extremely pleasant and a wonderful ambassador for our game, all from a person who skis, bikes, hikes, snowshoes and golfs in her beloved Steamboat. 
By John Wolf, Unit 363
 Like many of you, I am fairly new to online bridge, but I enthusiastically embrace it until we can safely meet again in person. My last face-to face bridge game was Friday, March 13 at the Fort Collins Senior Center. Since then, we have all been staying home and making the best of the situation. How is that working out? Fortunately, thanks to bridge activists like Robyn Leming from Fort Collins, John Grossmann from Greeley, Sharon Smith from Steamboat Springs, Jim Johnson from Boulder, and many others, we still play bridge with our friends only now it is online. It’s not quite the same of course, but it has some unexpected benefits for me. For example, I now play bridge with my brother, Jim, in Tucson twice a week, and with my son in Denver once a week. I rarely had this opportunity before the lockdown.
N. Colorado, Unit 363: Who Are We?
Our players come from many smaller communities north of Denver such as Loveland, Fort Collins, Estes Park, Windsor and Greeley.
District 17 players from other cities and states will recognize Northern Colorado Bridge from our tournaments held at Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland, fondly called The Ranch. You might remember our inaugural non-life master regional combined with a sectional tournament back in August 2018. 
The Longest Day 2020
This year was different, and a lot of fun. We formed an alliance with Steamboat Springs, Boulder, and Vail Valley which added more energy and enthusiasm to the theme of The Longest Day.
Literally, we played bridge from sunrise to sunset on June 20.   We started our first game at 9:30 am, continued with another game at 3:00 pm, then an evening game at 7:00 pm. On Sunday, we held another game.
Most of the proceeds from these games were donated to The Longest Day, Alzheimer's Association, to help fight Alzheimer’s disease. Our table attendance at these games totaled 64, which means 248 players participated and contributed to this worthy cause.
In addition to the games, our players also donated generously to our Unit 363 Alzheimer's Team via our fund page. So far, we have seen $1,700 in donations.
Thanks to the organizers, the players, and to those who made a personal donation as well. I am proud to be part of this fundraising effort!
I just received a congratulatory email from our District National Director for my achievement of reaching the rank of Club Master. That means, I have 20 points! Twenty points in three years, now you can count how long it will take me to become a life master (500 points). But, the journey is the goal, so I will continue even it will take me five more lifetimes.
How I made it to the bridge table
I am from Germany. Six years ago we moved to the USA, my husband’s home. My mom, a bridge player, was happy to learn that we moved to Fort Collins, CO because it has a large bridge community. The first year she visited, I drove her to the different clubs up to five times per week. No, she didn’t want to see the mountains or go to the lakes. She wanted to play bridge. 
The next time she visited she left with this announcement: I’ll visit again when we can play bridge together! 
I accepted the challenge as I love to play cards. I didn’t know what kind of adventure was ahead.
It took some attempts 
Completely new to bridge, I played with some women from my golf group, having a lifelong bridge player as our teacher. She tried to give us an overview of the basics. We played in the kitchen, ate cake, talked and laughed a lot. 
Learn Bridge in a Day was a next step, which I read about in the newspapers, and signed up. We had an introduction class, every table got a mentor and soon we played the first hands. However, this game was different than the one I played with my golf ladies.
At the end of 2016, I was ready to sign up at our senior center for the beginner class with Nila Hobbs. As soon as I marched into that class, I saw Jean, a very familiar face. I play golf with her, we see each other at the gym and we even have the same dentist. Now, here we are together, learning to play this game called bridge.
For more information on District 17 activities go to d17acbl.org