President’s Message – August 2018

July 29, 2018 sequoia No comments exist

The problem with instant gratification is it takes too long. Therefor we are honoring a request of one of our members and moving our monthly Birthday Celebration and Birthday Cake to the first Friday of the month.

SOCBC’s Social Bridge is continuing to expand. In addition to our Friday Night Social and Duplicate Bridge, beginning in August we are expanding our Thursday Morning Social Bridge to cover the first four Thursday mornings of each month:
Thursday Morning Social Bridge.
The first and third Thursdays are being directed by Jane Dober and the second and fourth Thursdays are being offered by Marti Moss and Frances Krause. Our hope is that the participants will enjoy the mini-lessons and bridge so much that they will want to play every Thursday. Ask your spouse, friends, social players and others to join you at these fun learning experiences.
Please join us if you are interested in playing social bridge in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. If you would like to play social bridge on the first and/or third Thursdays of the month, email Jane at If you would like to play social bridge on the second and/or fourth Thursdays of the month, email either Marti at or Frances at .

Friday Night Social & Duplicate Bridge.
Our Friday Night Social and Duplicate Pot Luck continues to draw rave reviews for the gourmet quality of the food served and the friendly, high energy, yet relaxed atmosphere. On July 27th, we had close to 70 players join in the festivities. The participants include singles, couples, friends, social players, newer players who have taken classes at our center and duplicate players. We are exposing social and new players to bidding boxes, pre-dealt hands and BridgeMates. We look forward to seeing you on the fourth Friday of each month, the next of which falls on August 27th. Please email your reservation to Frances Krause at

Our sound-dampening partition is allowing us to offer more classes, supervised play and Barometer Games. The committee appointed by the Board of Directors has begun evaluating various sound dampening partitions as an alternative to the existing partition.

The winningest NLM player in June was our club partnership matchmaker, Joyce Potter, racking up 12.56 MP. She earned 6 MP in one day, coming in first at lucky table number 1 with her good friend and former teacher, Dae Leckie. That was definitely the start of something good, and they have since become regular partners. Not to be outdone, their husbands Bob Potter and Ron Leckie teamed up at the July Friday night social game and were 1st on the social side while Joyce and Dae tied for 2nd on the duplicate side.
Bill Weisbecker was June’s Rookie of the Month, but the term rookie is clearly a misnomer. Bill dominated in both the 0-20 and 0-100 slots. Like so many of us, he started playing bridge back in college and continued into the 80’s. When his wife gave him the ultimatum of babies or bridge, he made the tough call and dropped out for a few decades. Now with 3 grown children, his wife still working, and retired from a law career, Bill is living the life – bridge twice a week with Francyne Bryant, and golf three days a week. He recently signed up to be part of our Unit, so be sure to stop by and introduce yourself when you see him at the tables.
Congratulations to all the up and comers!

There is one card game that towers above all others as the most intelligent, intricate and psychologically absorbing ever invented. It has a rich history and is played and loved by some of the world’s most famous and influential people.
In 1925 Harold Stirling Vanderbilt invented modern bridge and a national craze was born. In the 1930s bridge was even bigger than baseball. Its devotees would eventually include the Marx Brothers, George Burns, Wilt Chamberlain, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill and General Dwight D. Eisenhower who played to unwind before the Normandy invasion.
Today bridge players number about 25 million in the US alone. Current celebrity addicts include Warren Buffet (online handle is T-Bone), Bill Gates, Sting, a sitting Supreme Court justice and the guys from Radiohead.

The Backwash Squeeze & Other Improbable Feats By Edward McPherson
Published in 2007 by Harper Collins Publishers
This insightful and funny book, steeped in respect for bridge, is an affectionate view of a grand game. Here are a few vignettes for your summer reading pleasure and enjoyment. I hope they put a smile on your face just as they did mine.
Although 21st-century bridge has matured a bit since McPherson wrote about the game, many of his insights remain candidly correct. See if you agree…
Bridge is a game of deep complexity and infinite mystery. Almost all bridge players, from rank beginners to pros, say that part of the addiction is the game’s inspiring—and maddening—refusal to be mastered. Bridge addicts typically regard other games as mere competitive sitting. One high-level player, who like many bridge buffs cut his teeth playing chess, told me, “Bridge is different from chess, where you can read a book and learn the first thirty moves—the queen’s gambit, pawn-to-king-four, whatever—and you get to a certain level. You study, and you recognize the positions. Bridge is a game where you learn by experience, and experience takes many, many years. You might become a good chess player by the age of 12, but you are not going to become a good bridge player.”

Personality Requirements for Play of the Hand
The play of the hand is brisk, cunning, and mentally taxing. For starters, you are expected to count all 52 cards. There are stratagems galore, a host of offenses, defenses, feints, fake outs, and finesses. In his memoir The Bridge Bum, world champion Alan Sontag quotes writer Marshall Smith, who declared a bridge player should possess the:
Conceit of a peacock
Night habits of an owl
Rapacity of a crocodile
Sly, inscrutability of a snake
Memory of an elephant
Boldness of a lion
Endurance of a bulldog
Killer instinct of a wolf
And the author added “bladder of a whale” referring to the amount of coffee consumed by players.

Enjoy the Thinking, the Learning, and the Company
Co-owner of the Manhattan Bridge Club (NYC), Jeff Bayone, waxes poetic and passionate as he directs his fury at what he believes is the fundamental misconception about bridge—that it is just an antiquated pastime for little old ladies. It is a sport neither for the immature nor the infirm of mind. “You want a bridge player to be about 55 with your biological clock wound down so you can sit at the table and enjoy the thinking, the learning, the company. Not that’s it’s a slow game—it takes lightning judgement and quick processing—but you have to want to think and to see all of the cards.”
Bridge and Jailbirds Galore
The second-richest man in the world, investor Warren Buffet, has said, “Bridge is such a sensational game that I wouldn’t mind being in jail if I had three cellmates who were decent players and who were willing to keep the game going 24 hours a day.” In truth, the game has been a jailhouse favorite. During the 1950s, some 250 Alcatraz inmates would gather every weekend for hours of bridge. At night, alone in their cells, many were said to restage the matches from memory. In the 1970’s, there was a weekly game in Leavenworth. One day a year, visitors were allowed to play. It would become the largest men’s pairs event in Kansas. Thus, Buffet’s quip is more telling than it appears. Bridge attracts a dedicated, calculating crowd. It is a game popular with both businessmen and serial killers. In the early 1990s, a Death Row foursome composed of the Freeway Killer, Sunset-Strip Killer, the Scorecard Killer (who murdered two of his victims after a bridge game), and a man named Lawrence “Pliers” Bittaker met daily in Yard Four at San Quentin playing with makeshift cards. The men didn’t talk much. The game fell apart in 1996 with the execution of the Freeway Killer. 

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