Highlights


LONGEST-DAY AUCTION  

.BID!     BID!    BID!    BID!.

Your chance to bid on a game with an expert player in our Unit  -- and donate to a worthy cause -- right here in your local club!
    BID early!  BID often! 
  (BID for more than one!)

 



MENTORING SESSIONS

SLO: Saturday, July 13th (Online sign-up here.)

 

EXTRA POINTS

Many games this month are special events and award extra points.  These events are all shown in the Schedule on the website's home page!

Calendar
June 23, 2024
Open
Blacklake 1:00
(Sign Up)
June 24, 2024
Open
SLO 12:30
(Sign Up)
June 24, 2024
Open
PASO 12:30
June 26, 2024
199er
AG 1:00
(Sign Up)
Release 2.19q
District 22 Connection

Our Unit 540 is a part of the ACBL's District 22, and the District 22 website publishes a monthly newsletter, the D22Connection, of current events in our area.  Rosemary Heath writes a column each month with news of activities in our Unit.  Here are the most recent columns she has published in the D22Connection.

May 2024

The Connection          May 2024

Our Unit holds games in three locations, Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo and North County (Paso Robles area).  All our clubs are doing great, but here’s a shout out to Paso.  There is a loyal, consistent and talented group out there, thanks to the efforts of manager/director Fred Strong.

If you want to check it out, catch a game on a Monday or Thursday. You are likely to compete against some very good players such as Anita Williamson, Michael Hughes, Floyd Redman, Betty Hsu, Jim Solomon, Nancy Oliveira, Fred Strong and many others.  Fred makes sure to offer the maximum points allowed by ACBL and folks are having a great time and scoring lots of points in North County.

Exciting news to report from Arroyo Grande. The Wednesday 199er game is consistently drawing 13(!) tables.  What a wonderful success for AG and for Tom Snow who draws this kind of attendance with his popular lessons.  And thanks to Jim Borland who does a terrific job directing that game. The Thursday Open game is now scoring 9+ tables!  It’s fair to say that AG is back thanks to Deb Cameron who makes sure there is a warm and welcoming environment, including wonderful snacks.  Thanks also goes to Bob Cameron who is a model director, and who quietly and efficiently runs a stellar game each week.

Speaking of comebacks, the San Luis club has been running 10 ½ to 11 tables each Friday. Our team game on Monday, April 8 drew 12 tables!  Curious about who won the team match?  It was the team of Jim Merzon, Lee De Simone, Floyd Redman, and Betty Hsu.  Coming in a close second was the team of Gary Yant, Deb Cameron, and Al & Gail Lapins.  Lots of fun and camaraderie that day.  In SLO we are looking forward to the George Sheffield ProAm Game which takes place May 17.  More on that next month…

See you at the tables in North County, Arroyo Grande, and SLO!

April 2024

The Connection          April 2024

We are excited to report that we hosted a successful, super fun, and momentous Central Coast Sectional in March.   We had the best time with director Lynn Yokel running the show.  The food was outstanding, including a fabulous tri-tip barbecue on Sunday impressively cooked for 80 players by bridge guru Tom Snow.  Primo-baker Jan Zinner contributed several types of breakfast pastries, Pat Delamontanya offered her luscious fudge, and many others brought salads, desserts and other treats.  Thanks to Fred Strong for donating a case of fine wines for our raffle, and to Howard Gee for wine contributions as well. 

In our 199er group, Ronald Miller & Erick Sturcke came in first on Friday morning, and Cheryl Service & Philip O’Carroll on Friday afternoon.  Saturday morning, that honor went to Lee Engdahl & John Hjalmarson.  They each received a trophy and bragging rights as well.

In the Open Section, Deb Cameron and Jim Merzon took first place overall on Friday, and Deb & Gary Yant won the overall on Saturday.  Amazing work, Deb! Our Santa Barbara neighbors won the Swiss Team game on Sunday, with Rick Panter, Mark Bartusek, William Beall & Jack Yeasley.  Rematch next year?

Two incredible milestones worth noting were reached during the Sectional.  Gail Lapins passed the 5,000 Masterpoint level becoming a Diamond Life MasterJim Merzon reached the lofty heights of 7,500 Masterpoints, achieving the rank of Emerald Life Master.  Congratulations to these two outstanding players and individuals.  What an accomplishment!

It was the overall participation and goodwill by our members that made this tourney so enjoyable, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year.  Mark your calendars for March 7 – 9 to sample more Central Coast hospitality.

On March 29 we said goodbye to one of our dearest members, Louise Wang.  She passed at the age of 98 still as sharp and charming as always.  The Louise Wang Trophy awarded for many years by our Morro Bay Charity Club - of which she was a founding member - was a coveted honor.  She won it herself a few times.  She will be dearly missed by many.

With charity games all this month, we hope to see lots of players at the tables.  More on table counts next month.

March 2024

The Connection          March 2024

One of our members pointed out to me that I overlooked a HUGE winning record by one of our terrific players, Jan Crossley, in recent regional tournament play.  At the Palm Desert Regional, Jan won a whopping 36.79 gold points and then racked up another 13.73 in Monterey.  Congrats, Jan!  What an accomplishment! We are sure it’s only one of many yet to come.

As I write this, our Unit 540 tourney, the “Central Coast Sectional “is around the corner.  So thank you’s are due to the remarkable team who put it together:  Rose Will was in charge of all food and beverage, Gary Yant had budget and finance, Ron Schwarer did all the setting up and tearing down (which is a lot more difficult than it sounds), Howard Gee single-handedly managed lighting and sound – including buying and hanging professional lights to ensure the best visibility, Deb Cameron enthusiastically took on hospitality, and bless her, Yoli Medina was in charge of partnerships.  Thank you, Bud Zeuschner for being my invaluable advisor and scribe and managing the raffle event.  It has been a wonderful experience working with all of you – not just productive, but sooo much fun!

Our Unit has many iconic players, and we sadly had to say goodbye to two of them recently.  In our hearts are Genevieve Konop who passed away in February at the age of 93, and Dixie Hsu, Diamond Life Master and mentor to many, who passed in November at the age of 96.  Rest in peace beautiful ladies.  You will be missed.

February 2024

The Connection          February 2024

We LOVE our players, and the early part of this year marked significant Birthdays among some veteran players.  We won’t tell which milestones were reached, but SPECIAL Happy Birthday wishes to Gary Yant, Audrey Moore, and Floyd Redman. You all are formidable at the table and really wonderful people as well.

What are you doing March 22 – 24?  Playing in the Central Coast Sectional of course!  We are now taking advanced reservations on our website at slobridge.com, so sign up to guarantee a spot at the tournament. [You will still need to register onsite.]  We are expecting great attendance so make plans now for the Open Section or 199er Section.  I’ve heard rumors that there are 1st place trophies for the winners of all sessions of the 199er games.  We are proud to announce that Lynn Yokel, who was named top ACBL director in 2017, will be coming to direct. And an A-Team is working to make sure everything runs smoothly. Great food, drink and hospitality is the hallmark of our sectional, so come and enjoy with us.

The winter tournament season concluded with lots of success from our teams in Palm Desert and Monterey.  Just ask Jim Merzon about the 24 gold he brought back. He had lots of company in the winner’s circle with Ron Schwarer, Dave Elder, Theresa & David Gillette, Gina Kirk and Janet Crossley all coming in with double-digit gold.

Tom Snow’s new series of beginner lessons -- Wednesdays in Arroyo Grande and Mondays in SLO -- are a hit, with over 20 students learning from our very funny and talented instructor.  They all seem to be having a great time learning our game.  If past experiences serve, the group will grow even larger as the word spreads.

It’s Valentine’s Day month, so send a virtual hug to your favorite partner(s), and maybe one to those overtaxed directors!

See you at the tables.

December 2023

The Connection            December 2023

Our players are back from the Ventura Regional Bridge Tournament with 5 -Star reviews for a well-run tourney from our neighbors to the south. And, of course, with tales of adventures at the tables.

Twenty-nine of our SLO players attended and returned with an impressive 236+ MPs!  Congrats to all, and especially to Charles Vandborg, a beginner who returned with over 9 gold points, and to Marie Pope and Mary Beigel who had their first tournament experience.  Heading up the winners were Jack Phirman, Bill Donovan, John Fields, and John J. Fields who snagged over 17 gold points.  Our almost-nonagenarian, Audrey Moore was playing with recently relocated veteran Carol Raimondo.  Great time catching up with everyone and rubbing elbows with some of the world’s best players.  Say what you will, tournaments can be a lot of fun.

Know someone who want to learn bridge or come back to the game?  Tom Snow is offering lessons in both SLO and Arroyo Grande starting in January.  Ads will run in the New Times, offering beginning classes for $7.  That’s a bargain if you’ve ever attended Tom’s classes.  Classes will be held in AG on Wednesdays from 1 – 4pm, beginning January 3.  Classes in SLO will be Mondays from 9:30 – Noon, beginning January 15.

Annual meetings were held in both SLO and AG in October, including the election of new officers.  Results will be posted on the slobridge.com website this month.

Table counts are again ramping up, with an additional weekly table in both SLO and AG this last month.  Great to see such a positive trend.

Thankful for BRIDGE and all the camaraderie and challenges it brings.  Wishing you and yours a warm and meaningful Thanksgiving.

See you at the tables!

November 2023

The Connection          November 2023

Big news from the Central Coast.  Our sectional is on!  Get out your 2023 calendar and circle February 24 – 26.  At our sectional you can expect the same warm hospitality as in the past, including “scrumptious home-made dishes”, says our uber-talented and enthusiastic tourney chair, Gina Kirk. The sectional will be at the Arroyo Grande Community Center.

The mentoring program launched by the Board is gaining traction.  Starting on October 8, and prior to each unit game at the SLO Senior Center, there is a one-hour mentoring session with an experienced player working with beginners and intermediates to improve their game.  It is one component of our mentoring program, designed to encourage and advance our players. Thanks Gary, and thanks to all the mentors who have stepped up to make the program a success.

We are really pleased to report that the player numbers have increased again at the SLO club, and also at Five Cities and North County.  It’s a blend of former players returning, and new members joining.  And as a reminder, the 4th Sunday of each month, a game is held at the Blacklake Club in Nipomo.  That is a relaxed, friendly game with treats and sometimes (always) adult beverages.  Join the fun!

Finally, it seems that Gail and Al Lapins, always formidable foes in our bridge world, dominated at the tables in August, with 11 first places, 2 second places, and 1 fourth place.  Is there now a target on their backs?  Stay tuned!

October 2023

The Connection        October 2023

Beginning and intermediate bridge players are vital to the future of bridge, and we have a fabulous group of 199ers here in our Unit.  In our Five Cities Club (Arroyo Grande) each Wednesday, Tom Snow offers a free lesson and then directs the 199er game.  His instructional slides are peppered with jokes and riddles which makes the learning experience a joy.  These players are learning a lot and advancing at a remarkable pace.

In the 199er games, John Hjalmarson & Lee Engdahl came in first twice last month, and one of those was a 75.93 game! Argene Tisdale came in first twice – once with a 76.53% game – with two different partners; Kathleen Amenta also topped the field twice.  Other first place players were Charles Vandborg, Cheryl Service, Jeanne Marlow, Brad Prior, William Charlwood, Ron Sheldon, Eric Sturcke, Ron Miller, Lilia Shabtay, Norma Stewart, Laurie King, Diana Kaiser, Marge & Paul Shadowen, and Herb & Lorraine Pregozen.  Congratulations to all!

ACBL has now posted our Sectional Tournament flyer on their website, or you can view it on our own website at www.slobridge.com. Mark your calendars because it’s going to be lots of fun! March 22-24, 2024. 

October is Annual Meeting month, and new slates of officers will be elected for our Clubs and our Unit to serve a one-, or two-year sentence. Oh, I meant term!  I’ll report on the results in the next article.  Thanks to all those who volunteer their valuable time to keep our Unit and Clubs running and thriving.  We are a volunteer organization and, other than our paid directors, we operate on the generosity and talent of our members. It is a gift that keeps giving.  If you are one of our players and would like to contribute, contact one of the board members and offer your services.  We can always use the help.

That’s it from SLO.  Have a great month and good luck at the tables.

August 2023

First, we’d like to announce our 2024 ACBL Sectional Tournament!  It will be held Friday to Sunday, March 22 – 24th, 2024, at the Community Center (& Woman’s Club) in Arroyo Grande.  This may seem early to be planning for next year, but the Unit Board and tournament committee are very excited, and we want our members to be excited too.   And we hope our friends from other Units start thinking ahead to spending some days in glorious San Luis Obispo County next spring.

The numbers are in from our Alzheimer’s campaign, and thanks to the extraordinary efforts of former prez, Bud Zeushchner, and the incredible generosity of our members, we were able to raise over $7,500.  Members enjoyed the live raffling-off of our most senior players, as well as the raffle drawings all week for prizes.

New on the education front:  
 -Tom Snow is now offering a mentoring session at 10:30 am prior to the first monthly Monday game in Arroyo Grande.  Beginning/intermediate players are joined by advanced/expert players for a lively, fun and productive 90 minutes.  
- The mentoring program has been a real hit in the SLO Unit game, and it continues on the 2nd Saturday of the month.   
- For intermediate+/advanced players, Jim Merzon is giving free lessons on Mondays at 11 am, prior to the game in SLO.
To sign up for any of these, go to our website at slobridge.com for more information.

We are having a team game in August, and by the time this is published, the fun will be over, but our players just love teaming up and hopefully there will be more of these soon.  There are STaCs games this month from August 21 – 26, and we look forward to earning lots of
SILVER in this mega-tournament.

Numbers are great at all the clubs with SLO averaging 9 – 10 tables on Mondays and Fridays; AG averaging about 11 tables at the 199 game on Wednesday, and 8 – 9 tables at the open game on Thursdays.  Paso Robles is hosting about 4.5 tables at each game, and Blacklake is drawing in about 6.5 tables on the last Sunday of the month.  It’s really great to see our regular players coming back to the tables and to see the many new faces as well.

See you at the tables!

 

July 2023

The Connection          July 2023

The 540 Bridge Clubs just wrapped up one of our all-time busiest months.  It started with a “Welcome Back to Bridge” week, during which we offered free games to all players returning after an extended leave. Snacks and meals were included at all the clubs.  Gary Yant and Gail Lapins made a remarkable effort to contact dozens of members who we had not seen for a while.  Kudos to them and all the others who helped bring our clubs back to our members.

At the Unit Game on June 10, we kicked off our Alzheimer’s fundraising campaign, auctioning off some of our top players as partners for a future game.  Deb Cameron, Jim Merzon, Al Lapins, Gail Lapins, Floyd Redman and Gary Yant all put their heads on the block for a great cause!  For the next two weeks, raffle tickets were sold at all the games for numerous valuable prizes.  And a silent auction started at the beginning of the ALZ longest day week, where members could bid on dinners, wine, etc.  Donations were accepted in person and on our website.  An incredible effort by our clubs and a special shout out to Bud Zeuschner who planned and orchestrated the event.  We’ll report the results in our next article.

Tom Snow continues to give lessons in SLO on Mondays, and beginner/intermediate lessons in Arroyo Grande on Wednesdays. (Go to the slobridge.com website for more information.)  His slides are fabulous and through his generosity, may soon be available to players within our Unit and beyond.  Stay tuned.

District 22 received a new member this Spring – Jim Merzon!  Jim has been playing in SLO for many years but refused to change his affiliation with District 21.  Welcome, Jim and as we see it, you just took a step up from 21 to 22, and we love having you here!!

On a final note, Clint Ryle and Lynn Bird were partners in our Arroyo Grande club (Five Cities) for decades.  Clint passed away in late February and Lynn in March.  Paradise just got two good players and two great friends.

See you at the tables.

June 2023

The sun was shining in SLO April 21 when we had 13 ½ tables for our Pro/Am game!  Our top players were blind-matched with novices and intermediates for a shot at the George Sheffield Memorial trophy.  Thanks to all who came out to support this annual event, and to Gail and Gary for putting it all together.  Congrats to the winners, Bob Higgins with pro Gail Lapins won N/S and the overall, and Stacey Stack with Al Lapins won E/W.  Everyone seemed to have a great time.

As part of a plan to serve our members and grow our clubs, the board is working hard to update our logo, email process and website.  Our mailing lists have been consolidated into a new unit list thanks to the cooperation from all our clubs and the patient and diligent work of Dick Coulter.  Monthly club schedules and educational opportunities and reminders will be sent out on a regular basis. 

We have a new look too!  Members may have noticed it in their emails.  Soon that look will be on our website. Dick is our new website guru, working with BridgeWebs.com to manage our information. Many thanks to him for taking on this time-consuming, challenging, but important work.  For many years, Jim Borland managed the unit mailing list and he built the original website himself. With a sigh of relief he is happily passing it on.  Thank you, Jim.  You did a remarkable job for us.

If you ask Bud Zeuschner to do a job, stand back because he is going to DO THE JOB.  As chair of our Longest Day fundraising campaign, he put together a multi-faceted plan.  It includes raffling off games with our expert players on the actual longest day, June 21.  There are also raffles for wine and other items, a matching funds commitment, a special dinner, a presentation by our local Alzheimers chapter, and on-line donation link.  June is going to be all about raising funds for this worthy cause that is very dear to many of us.  If you haven’t already donated, do it now.

One last note:  Our table counts are growing.  We had 13 ½ tables in Arroyo Grande for the 199 game on April 26.  The Blacklake game had 6 ½. Paso Robles is holding at 4, and SLO is consistently getting 9 – 10.  Looks like we are almost back, folks.

See you at the tables.

May 2023

The Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs awards presentation is always a big event for the central coast clubs and this year was especially so. The unit hosted a celebratory lunch, complete with decorations, banners and a big turnout, all carefully planned by Gail Lapins.  Congrats to all the winners, and if you were not present, please check out our website at slobridge.com for more details. It was nice to hear that several of our players placed at high levels in the district in the Ace of Clubs and Mini-McKenney races, including 0-5 Ron Mullens (19th), 5-20 Eric Sturcke (18th), 300-500 Jonel Muller (11th), 2500-3500 Al Lapins (8th in Ace of Clubs & 9th in Mini-McKenney), and 3500-5000 Gail Lapins (7th Ace of Clubs & 10th Mini-McKenney).  Very impressive!

Our clubs are continuing to thrive with an average of 9 tables at the San Luis Obispo club, 8-9 tables in Arroyo Grande, 4-5 tables in Paso Robles and 5-6 tables in Nipomo.  We are welcoming many new players and appreciate the efforts that Tom Snow is making by teaching in Arroyo Grande on Wednesdays and San Luis Obispo on Mondays.  That certainly is a draw, as is the monthly mentoring session that continue the second Saturday of the month prior to the Unit Game.

In other news, the Unit board led by our fearless leader, Linda Seifert, is working on several projects including approving our updated code of conduct – thank you Jack Luxton; improving our communications, including the website and email formats; ramping up for the Longest Day; and education/membership.

As I write this, I know that many of our players here in the Central Coast are packing their bags for the big San Diego Regional, where we will hopefully get to reconnect with friends in the district and maybe make some new ones.  And, oh yes, bring home LOTS of points. Next month we’ll report all about it!

See you at the tables.

April 2023

The Mini-McKinney and Ace of Clubs awards presentation is always a big event for the central coast clubs, and this year was especially so. The unit hosted a celebratory lunch, complete with decorations, banners and a big turnout, all carefully planned by Gail Lapins. Congrats to all the winners, and if you were not present, please check out our website at SLObridge.com for more details. It was nice to hear that several of our players placed at high levels in the district in the Ace of Clubs and Mini-McKinney races, including 0-5 Ron Mullens (19th), 5-20 Eric Sturcke (18th), 300-500 Jonel Muller (11th), 2500-3500 Al Lapins (8th in Ace of Clubs & 9th in Mini-Mickinney), and 3500-5000 Gail Lapins (7th Ace of Clubs & 10th Mini-McKinney). Very impressive!

Our clubs are continuing to thrive with an average of 9 tables at the San Luis Obispo club, 8-9 tables in Arroyo Grande, 4-5 tables in Paso Robles and 5-6 tables in Nipomo. We are welcoming many new players and appreciate the efforts that Tom Snow is making by teaching in Arroyo Grande on Wednesdays and San Luis Obispo on Mondays. That certainly is a draw, as is the monthly mentoring session that continues on the second Saturday of the month prior to the unit game.

In other news, the unit board led by our fearless leader Linda Seifert, is working on several projects including approving our updated code of conduct (thank you Jack Luxton), improving our communications, including the website and email formats, ramping up for the Longest Day, and education/membership.

As I write this, I know that many of our players here in the central coast are packing their bags for the big San Diego Regional, where we will hopefully get to reconnect with friends in the district and maybe make some new ones. And, oh yes, bring home LOTS of points. Next month we’ll report all about it!

March 2023

Blizzard and gale warnings! Flooding! Road closures! Nothing stopped the Unit 540 sectional from being a success. Yes, we lost several tables to the weather warnings, but still averaged almost 20 tables each session, with many attending from Santa Barbara, Visalia, and other satellite clubs. Financially we were able to beat projections despite the weather. But the best part was the wonderful camaraderie apparent throughout the weekend. It was just like the “before times”.

Gina Kirk, the tourney director, did a fine job rallying the team. Thanks so much to Rose Will who organized an amazing display of culinary hospitality over three days, and to Ron Schwarer and Dave Elder who delivered tables, chairs, and a ton of equipment and set it all up. Then did the reverse on Sunday afternoon. Jack Luxton pitched in as he always does. Deb Cameron – what a star! Her tireless (well maybe tiring) work as partnership chair made a huge difference. Our president, Linda Seifert hosted with class and warmth, but she was also in the kitchen cleaning up when it was all over. Joining her was new board member Nancy Oliveira. Many others pitched in as well, so apologies to those I’ve not mentioned. A fine team effort all around.

Happily (I’m bragging here) we saw some unexpected game results. In a tough competitive field, Jack Luxton and John Fields, Sr. scored at the top on Friday. On Saturday, Rose Will and Linda Seifert did the same. Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to those who literally weathered the storm to join us in the beautiful Central Coast on a not-so-beautiful weekend. We guarantee better weather next year!

On March 11 we will honor our Mini-Mckinney and Ace of Clubs winners with a luncheon and game. More on that next month.

See you at the tables.