NEBridge - DD Inbox for October 2017

At the beginning of every month District 25's Director, Mark Aquino, sends out congratulatory emails 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 October of 2017.

Edward Newcombe

I played bridge many years ago. Then, after decades away, I played on a cruise, and was reminded how much I enjoy the game. As I gradually retire, I have more leisure time, so I have started playing again. I joined ACBL ( the monthly Bulletin alone is worth the dues! ), and I am working on improving my rusty playing skills, and, even more, bringing my outdated bidding ideas up to the present.

Recently, I was visiting family in DelRay Beach, FL, and I easily found a nearby ACBL club game. The director matched me with a local regular, and we did well together. The ability to plug into a cordial and familiar social situation on short notice anywhere in the world is one of the great virtues of Bridge.

I would like to add that Jim Culhane of Marlborough, MA, teaches bridge classes for beginners, and he also runs “Beginners Bridge Games” at 6:15pm on Monday evenings and at 1pm on Thursday afternoons, both at the Hudson Senior Center. These sessions are relaxed and well-attended; they include lessons for starting players, discussions of hands played, and introduction to the modern aspects of the game – bidding boxes, scoring tablets, etc. If you know people who you think would enjoy playing organized bridge, but who might be uncomfortable diving right into duplicate, you can recommend that they try this fun approach to the game.

Edward Newcombe
Auburn, MA

Vivan Wu

Thank you for reaching out. I am very happy to reach Gold Life Master. I watched my older brothers and my aunt play bridge when I was young. My aunt used to invite CC Wei and Katherine Wei over to play social bridge for money. In high school my best friend and I played duplicate at the Manhasset Bridge Club once a week. One summer I read twelve bridge books! I played a little at MIT when I was in college. I had all of 20 MPs, but was very proud to get master status. Then I gave up bridge for decades while raising children, and picked it up again when they went to college. Having had a good basic knowledge of bridge when one's young is crucial to picking it up when one has more time.

I still work full time, and rarely travel to tournaments. I perform twice a year as a duo pianist, play tennis, take care of two sets of parents.

I love the game of bridge, and I hope when I retire to be able to spend more time helping to grow the game, and recruit more players. We need to continue to engage young people, to get them to learn the game while they are young. They will then be able to pick it up later.

This is what the ACBL can do for me: Living in Greenwich has been difficult for playing in the NAP and GNT, because I would prefer to play at the closest location, which for me is in District 3. I wish the ACBL would consider letting people who live closer to another district, to play there instead. Once you choose a location, you cannot switch back and forth- that I can live with.

Vivian Wu
Cos Cob, CT

Butch Norman

While the acknowledgment of attaining Club Master Status is welcomed, I stand – or sit at the table – in awe of the achievements of those members with 1000, 2000, 5000 MPs (or more!) with whom I've had the honor and pleasure to play. Rankings are one of the cool things about the ACBL. Clearly defined goals that are meaningful, doable and measurable present both a challenge and a roadmap for aspiring players.

I'd be remiss to not mention the road that I've traveled so far. From my initial set of lessons with Bob Garfinkle (Warwick Bridge Club) to guided play – and more lessons – with Bart Buffington (Bridge Place of RI), I've enjoyed a relatively smooth transition from the safety of the nurturing nest to the world of duplicate competition. To that end, I'd like to see the Unit and District provide more opportunities for fledgling players to ease into the pool rather than dive head first into the deep end! Perhaps higher level guided play or games reserved for 0 - 5 or 0 -10 MP newcomers would help attract – and retain – new players.

Butch Norman
Providence, RI

Alok Mathur

I would like to play a little more than I do at present (where I fill in for people whose regular partner cannot play for some reason. I need a partner who could play with me one day a week on a regular basis. I live in Westport, CT and would prefer to play on a weekday afternoon.

I am looking for a partner with a good temperament and who is a good sport (competitive, but not overly so). My preference would be a player with good card sense (declarer and defensive play), but I am flexible on the bidding conventions we use.

I have already discussed this with Robin Sanders who runs the club in Westport and she is looking, but has not found one yet. I am open to traveling to Stamford or other nearby city (within 20-30 minutes commute).

Alok Mathur
Westport, CT

My story isn't terribly inspiring. Basically I've been playing in a sanctioned game for about ten years and never bothered officially joining the ACBL. When I started teaching, my partner (the accredited teacher) finally convinced me this was ridiculous. Also I had recently gotten some silver points that I thought should be officially recorded and I thought it might be nice to finally make it to a tournament and not cause havoc by not being a member. The largest challenge in achieving 20 points was figuring out how to get our computer to spit out the local member report, which took some doing. Since I had no way of keeping track of it myself, I was surprised to see that I have almost 100 points! Now it's back to 20 for official purposes, but since I got to keep all of my red and silver I'm fine with that. I'll slowly work my way back up and get to follow along with the progress this time.

Liz Hildebrandt
Easthampton, MA