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  Joyce's corner    News     Achievements      Calendar    Schedule   Lessons     Links     Partnership desk


Upcoming Events:   

 Wednesday daytime, Feb 21, 2018, ACBL-wide Big Heart Game.  Extra RED points awarded

  COBA Sectional Tournament – Friday, April 6 thru Sunday, April 8, 2018,   @ the Haimerl Center

  Saturday, April 28, 2018: COBA Annual Unit Game(s) & Awards Banquet


Read Midwest Monitor  2017 4Q

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     ACBL players competing in the above race annually, compete for the most pigmented masterpoints (those won in tournaments) in each membership category. Be sure to join us at this year’s Awards Game(s) and Dinner on Saturday, April 28, 2018.  Awards are presented at our annual Life Master Awards Banquet.  Our Unit 122 leaders are honored for tournament points earned from 1/1/17 to 12/31/17. A summary of the Mini-McKenney awards is as follows:


  Karen Clemency ranks first in the 0-5 Mini-McKenney in our Unit and 5th in the North American Race, with 99.97 tournament points, followed by Diane Halloran,Tony Ahern & Leslie Laufman. Other Unit winners are:

  5-20   Steve Bishel - first

  20-50  John Bishel  - first

  50-100  Tom Bishel - first - Ron Rybak -second    

  100-200  Phil Gathfirst

  200-300 Joe Wernetfirst,Janet Cordova-2nd,Jo Anne Paynter-3rd

  300 – 500 Dan Loveland1st,Andrew Moulton-2nd,Frank Paynter, 3rd

  1000-1500 Alex Khrakovsky 1st,  Jane Witherspoon,2nd

2500-3500 Mary J Gladfelter,Mike Gladfelter 1st- 2nd, Sam Hinkle, 3rd

 3500-5000  Larry Jones 1st, Doug Millsap -2nd  , Suman Agarwal-third

  5000 - 7500  Charles Kopp - first,  Siraj Haji second

  7500 -  10,000  Cheryl Schneider -first, George St Pierre - second  >10,000  Jim Bachelder-first, Doug Simson-2nd,  Anita Torrence- 3rd

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Congratulations!   

 Earning points in a Thursday evening Franklin Club game, helped

 Ron Scott  achieve Life Master status, playing with his life partner, Karen.  Equally talented, Lou Rakocy, attained his Life Master designation last month, at the Bridge Center. Our Best Wishes and hopes for many Happy Bridge Games, in the years to come.


         Each year our players vie for the most masterpoints won in the ACBL’s Ace of Clubs Awards (points won at bridge clubs) and Mini-McKenney  Awards (points won at COBA Sectional Tournaments. Awards are presented at our annual Life Master Awards Banquet. Whether you are a novice player with few points or an accomplished player with thousands of master points, you are competing in these races, as an ACBL member. The leaders of the unit 122, with points earned from 1/1/17 to 12/31/17, are as follows:





Some of the highlights  of the players from our club  are posted below:


  Karen Clemency  ranks first in the 0-5 Ace of Clubs Unit Race, with

  75.74 master points earned last year. Diane Halloran & Tony Ahern are

  2nd and 3rd.

  Ann Hoaglin ranks first in the 5-20 Masterpoint Race with

  12.85 points, followed by Tom Hoaglin & Ingrid Biery.

  Ann Redner  placed second in the 20-50 Masterpoint Unit Race

  with 24.44 points, while John Bishel & Sherry Seress are 5th & 6th.

  Ron Rybak ranks first in our Unit’s 50-100 Masterpoint Race with

  64.84 points. Tom Bishel and Kathy Fellows rank 2nd and 4th.

  Phil Gath is first contender in the 100-200 masterpoint Race with 55.20

  points; Bob Davis and Dominic Nickoloff win 2nd & 3rd positions.

  Joe Wernet  ranks first in the Ace of Clubs Race, 200-300 MPs,

  winning 117.44 points. Jo Anne Paynter and Janet Cordova are 2nd &

  4th respectively.

  Andrew Moulton ranks in the 300-500 Club MP Race with105.57 points

   won.  Dan Loveland is 2nd, with Frank Paynter, placing fourth.

  Larry Kennedy (Mansfield) leads the 500-1000 MP Race in our Unit with

  81.74 points, while Tim Kohl follows close behind, winning 81.20 points.

  Jane Witherspoon is first, leading the 1000-2500 Unit Race earning

  140.35 club master points in 2017. Bob Jiobu and John Beach rank 2nd

  and 3rd in the Race.   

  Marty Seltzer leads the 1500 to 2500 MP Race with 95.59 pts, followed

   by Mae Hill with 90.54 points won.

  Sam Hinkle is first in the 2500-3500 MP Race with 273.80 MPs. Judy

  Zimmerman and Norma Nickoloff are 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

  Gary Shade is first in the 3500-6,000 MP Race winning 287.89.

  Charlie Kopp is first In the 5000-7500 bracket with 128.11 pts.

  George St Pierre leads the 7500-10,000, winning 193.22 MPs.

  Jim Bachelder won the >10,000 MP Race with 239 points.





    When responding to Keycard with a void, do not count the void as an ace.  With 1 or 3 aces, jump to the six level of the void suit. If the void suit is higher ranking than the trump suit, jump to the six level of the trump suit. With 2 aces and a void, respond 5NT. Disregard the void if you do not have an ace. 


   It is important to count declarer's tricks as the play progresses.  If you can see that declarer has enough tricks in three suits to make the contract, shift to the 4th suit. Some chance is better than no chance. 

Don’t forget when dummy tables, add declarer's likely point count to dummy's known count. Now add that total to your point count and subtract from 40 to determine how many points partner has.  It helps!


When dummy has shown a long side suit plus trump support, lead a trump. If you have the side suit well bottled up – even if partner has bid.

Facts About 4th Suit Forcing to Game

§  4th suit forcing is not used after a 2/1 response. It is used when one player has bid one of a sit and his partner responds a the one level.

§  4th suit forcing is not used when your opponents intervene in the bidding. Instead, use a cuebid as a forcing bid.

Responses to 4th Suit Forcing

   In order of importance:

§  Bid partner’s major suit if you hold three of them.

§  Bid Notrump at the lowest level if you do not have three of the major, but you do have a stopper in the 4th suit, and otherwise

§  Bid naturally – that is, if you hold four cards in the 4th suit, with a stopper, raise the suit.

§  Occasionally, you won’t have any of the above. Make a descriptive bid, often a return to your original suit.


The Logic of 4th Suit Forcing to Game….an alertable bid!

By  Jim Bachelder


     Recently, I have encountered players, playing 2/1 Game Force, who have not alerted the bid of the 4th suit. When I inquired as to why no alert was proffered, the reasons were that they were ALREADY in a forcing auction and frequently state the following:

(A) “Wouldn't that be redundant? (we’re in a game force),” or

(B) “It’s most likely natural.”


Your hand:     S   K9                                    Partner           You

                         H   432                                       1S                2C

                         D   J65                                        2D                  ?

                         Cl   AKQ76


Your possible rebids:          1.  2S =  3 spades

                                                2.  2NT= guarantees a heart stopper

                                                3.  3C = 6+ clubs

                                                4.  3D  = 4 or more diamonds


The correct bid:  2H, 4th suit forcing to game. Clearly, it has nothing to do with hearts.


Your hand:    S   432                                   Partner           You

                         H   K9                                         1H                2C

                         D   KJ6                                       2D                  ?

                         Cl   AQJ76


Your possible rebids:          1.  2NT= guarantees a spade stopper

                                                     (if your KJ6 of diamonds had been spades,

                                                      you would rebid 2NT with alacrity)

                                                2.  3C = 6+ clubs

                                                3.  3D  = 4 or more diamonds

                                                4.  2S  =  4th suit forcing, artificial, forcing, and alertable


Reasons for initiating the 4th suit response:

            1.  You may not know which game to bid

            2.  You have a notrump oriented hand but NO stopper in the unbid suit (or in opponent’s suit). Don’t make the mistake of bidding notrump with no stopper or you may regret it

            3.  You wish to keep the bidding low because you have potential slam interest


Slow Losers vs Fast Losers

 By Joyce Penn

   How many tricks do you expect to win if one suit that you hold is AKx, opposite three small cards in the dummy?  How many tricks to you expect to win if a suit that you hold is KQJ, opposite three small cards in the dummy (xxx)?

   In both cases, declarer can expect to win two tricks and lose one. This is where the similarity ends. In the first holding, declarer has a third round loser (slow) which gives declarer time to use another suit to discard that one loser.

   In the second holding, declarer has a first round (fast) loser. Declarer would need three discards from another suit to avoid that loser. Declarer cannot afford to lose any tricks in the process, since the loser in the second holding can immediately be grabbed by the defense. It is useful, when declaring, to notice if your losers are fast or slow. When planning the play of a hand, slow losers can be used to your advantage: search other side suits for ways to discard those losers.

   A “mirror” distribution refers to the holding where both declarer and dummy have the same length in all four suits. No matter how many high card points are held, declarer may have limited trick taking ability since no suit can provide discards for slow losers.


A Guide to The Limited Games at the Bridge Center


   Each Monday and Friday morning, we hold a limited pairs section beside our Open Pairs section, at 11:30 am. Masterpoints awarded are 80% of those in the open game and allow you to compete against other limited pairs. The maximum award is 1.20 masterpoints for a limited game. On Monday, you, or your partner, may not have more than 750 MPs and on Friday, players with up to 1,000 MPs may play in this section.

   Each Tuesday and Thursday morning, we hold a handicap open pairs game, in which players with limited masterpoints are given a board handicap, based on their existing masterpoints. Handicap categories begin with the 0-5 masterpoint players, progressing through 5-20 MPs, 20-50 MPs and all the way to 2,000 MPs, at which point, no handicap is given. Masterpoint awards are “split” for these games. There are two categories of winners, raw and handicap. First place in the handicap field is 50 percent of what it would normally be, but players who place in both fields, receive a combination of scores. No negative handicaps are permitted.

    Circle your difficult hands each Tuesday and join Joyce, at 3:15 pm, for a discussion of the bidding, play and/or defense, of those tough boards. If a convention is involved, in the bidding, Joyce will review it and consider alternative treatments. She discusses leads and declarer play, to help you improve, from week to week. Each Thursday morning, at 10:15, join Cheryl for regular instruction and hand analysis. Bring your problem hands to discuss and learn Cheryl’s solutions as she discusses each hand, and topic. There is no charge for these sessions.



Passive Defense = “safe.” Leading from three low cards or the top of a sequence. This type of defense is usually indicated unless you see a runnable side-suit in dummy and suspect declarer can throw his losers away.

Aggressive Defense = “attacking.” It is designed to capture tricks quickly, such as leading away from a king or laying down an unsupported ace. Suppose you decide to attack a suit holding K J 2. Which card should you lead? Lead the 2, hoping your partner has the Ace and can come back through declarer, trapping his Q with your K and J. Try to be passive, unless the evidence indicates that declarer can dispose of losers, unless you do become active.


1. The common phrase, “Eight Ever-Nine Never,” refers only to the missing Queen of trump. Therefore, if you are declaring a hand with 8 trumps between you and the dummy, it is probably correct to finesse for the Queen (“ever”). If you are declaring a hand with 9 trumps between you and the dummy, it is probably correct to NOT finesse for the Queen (“never”). That is, with no extraneous information from the bidding, play the Ace of trump, followed by the King of trump, hoping that the Queen falls. 2. An opening lead of a singleton is seldom correct – especially if your partner has never bid. Why? He’s not getting in to give you the ruff you want so badly!