NEBridge - DD Inbox for May 2017

At the beginning of every month District 25's Director, Mark Aquino, sends out congratulatory e-mails to New England bridge players who have advanced in rank during the previous month. Some of them respond, and Mark selects a few of the most interesting ones to be posted on Below are a few memorable ones from players who achieved a new rank in March and April of 2017.

Marianne Bechet and Sabrina Miles

What a lovely surprise. I thought that I still had to get 100 more colored points. My story is that I have had great partners, starting with Annie Majarian when we won 13 red points at Temple Emmanuel, then Barbara Leventhal who took me under her wing for 5 years and taught me not to underlead my aces and how to behave nicely at the table. Then I was struck by lightning with our marvelous Sabrina Miles, we began at the Warwick Regional in the Fall of 14, the Nationals in Providence, and then she brought me to Buffalo sectionals in January with blizzards to Saratoga where I earned Life Master and then to Chicago and on to Kansas City where we enjoyed great bridge and even better dinners. We play our weekly game at Westwood with the delightful Tim Hill and a great group of players, including Mark Aquino and the lovely Selen Hotamisligil.

Marianne Bechet
Chestnut Hill, MA

Thank you for the opportunity to give credit and thanks to my mentor, Gary Miyashiro. Most of my silver points were earned at club games with Gary as my partner. I was lucky to find someone who was brave and tolerant enough to take this newcomer to competitive bridge under his wing.

Beth Schweitzer
Newtown, CT

Paul Kelly on a boat in Italy

Perhaps the title of this reply should be 16 Years a Sectional Master!

My bridge playing had been desultory since I started playing in 1989 until I retired in February 2015. I competed at most once a week, rarely in tournaments, because I married a long time agoLinda, a woman who does not drive and who is a delight to be with. A weekly game was what I could spare. As a result, pigmented points did not often come my way.

After my retirement, I started playing almost every weekday in club games in Newton and Westwood, and I began to pick up silver points at STaC contests. I still don’t play on weekends, devoted to Linda; but I did play at the Sectional game on weekdays at the Cape, and success there is how I sprang to my new status. Perhaps when Linda retires I will play in Sectionals on weekends and devote some weekdays to her company.

Bridge for me is a constant source of delight and curiosity. I love the spare language of the game, the constrained bidding and defensive communication, and I love the almost always cheerful companionship of my partners and opponents. It may take me another sixteen years to arrive at the next level, but I won’t regret it for a minute.

Paul Kelly
Roslindale, MA

David Blackburn and Linda Green

Nothing remarkable about my story. I learned to play bridge in college 100 years ago, and played quite a bit there and for a number of years after college. I was a good player then relative to the competition in social club bridge games and occasional duplicate games with my mother. Then I didn't play much for 30 years or so, playing only occasionally with an Amherst classmate who was a player of national prominence and a couple of other people. I started playing seriously about 11 years ago. I had joined the ACBL in 1980 and had earned a few master points over the next number of years. I had a moment of self-delusion shortly after I took up the game seriously when Dean Montgomery and I won an open pairs game in Danbury, for which we got 25 master points. I've come close to that number a couple of times since but haven't rung the bell with a higher number.

Bridge has become an important part of my life, particularly since I've been totally retired from my business career for several years; I play several times a week, play in all local sectional tournaments, several regional tournaments, national tournaments when I can drive to them (Boston, Providence, Phila., and DC). I've been plodding along since 2007, getting 200+ points each year. I'm unhappy with myself that I haven't increased that number. However, as is obvious, as one's number of points increases, the competition becomes tougher.

I've very much enjoyed Mark Aquino's informative letters. I've missed the regional tournament in Sturbridge (I understand the reason for discontinuing it), and I would like to have a regional in CT to replace it.

Somewhere in space they have a picture of me; it was used when Linda Green and I won an open pairs event in Danbury a couple of years ago. I wouldn't expect any announcement about my becoming a Gold Life Master, but feel free to use anything you wish to from this email.

David Blackburn
Fairfield, CT