Unit 147, Washington Bridge League
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Summer 2024 beginner bridge classes

Spread the word and share the game you love with your family and friends

Do you know anyone who is interested in learning to play bridge? The Washington Bridge League Educational Foundation is sponsoring a series of bridge lessons this summer for new bridge players. The program is designed for people who have never played bridge before or who have played in the past and would like to return to the game now. Classes will be taught by Bob Schwab and Anne Derbes, experienced bridge teachers and tournament players, and will be held on Saturdays, June 22 through August 10 (no class on July 6th), from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at St. James Episcopal Church in Potomac, MD. The fee for this series of classes is $100, and all proceeds will support the educational activities of the WBL Educational Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

For a flyer with more information, click here.

Last updated : Jun 25, 2024 21:11 EDT
Message from WBL President Hadi Abushakra

December 21, 2023

This will be one of my last messages before my term as WBL President comes to an end next May, so I am dedicating it to asking you to help us increase attendance at our unit game and Sectionals.

As we turn the page on 2023, the unit game continues to lose money. August 2023 was the first full month of return to weekly play. We were hoping that attendance would increase but it has been erratic. To break even, we need upward of 13 tables but seldom exceed that number. The same is true of the Sectionals we’ve held. None of them was profitable.

The WBL Board of Directors has taken a number of cost-cutting measures. Chief among them is the reduction of the space we lease at the Ohr Kodesh Synagogue (which resulted in a 50% reduction in our rent) and the suspension of bridge lessons due to lack of sufficient demand. At Sectionals, we have discontinued serving lunch on Fridays and Saturdays, and have requested free play holders not to cash them in.

In short, we have made every effort to reduce expenses, but continue to lose about $1,000 a month and have about $57,000 left in reserve. Needless to say, this is not a sustainable path. We will continue to hold weekly unit games until the end of June 2024 with the hope that attendance will grow. If not, difficult decisions will have to be made.

Last but not least, WBL Directors will be calling Unit 147 members in the coming weeks inviting lapsed ACBL members back and inquiring why they no longer play in-person bridge. Please give us a few minutes of your time when we call.

Hadi Abushakra, President, Washington Bridge League

Last updated : May 2, 2024 14:14 EDT

Sad news: Popular local ACBL Director Terry Lavender has passed away. Click here for a remembrance written by her son, Jeff Roman. Many players from this area and around the country left touching tributes to Terry on this post on bridgewinners.com.

Last updated : Apr 17, 2024 16:39 EDT
2022 new life masters

Congratulations to WBL players who attained the rank of Life Master in 2022: H. Wesley Ashendorf, Robert Bogin, Jessie Brinkley, Christopher Donnelly, Robert Ives, Kathy Kopnisky, Anne Shields, Yong Ok Son, and Krishna Tadepalli!

Last updated : Jan 30, 2024 18:17 EST
Sad news

Kathy Hilbers passed away in April of 2023. Read her obituary here

Al Duncker passed away on August 14, 2023. Read his obituary here.

Last updated : Sep 25, 2023 21:36 EDT

The WBL annual meeting for 2023 will be held on August 5th at 2:30 pm (between sessions of the WBL Summer Sectional) at the Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center. The agenda is:

  • Approval of 2022 minutes (available here)
  • President’s report
  • Treasurer’s report (see 2022 Profit & Loss statement)
  • Elections
  • Recognition of Ace of Clubs and Mini-McKenney winners
  • Recognition of 2022 new life masters

The slate of candidates for the WBL Board election is:

  • President—Hadi Abushakra
  • Vice President—Ron Zucker
  • Secretary—Bob Bell
  • Treasurer—Bob Ives
  • Member—Alex Stille
  • Member—Clyde Kruskal
  • Member—Lloyd Rawley
Last updated : Aug 8, 2023 10:02 EDT
Congratulations to 2021 Life Masters!

Congratulations to WBL players who attained the rank of Life Master in 2021:  Barbara Gifford, James Heneghan, Temma Kanowith, Bernard Klein, Harriet Lewit, Hongtao Ma, and Sharona Sapoznikow.

Last updated : May 9, 2023 21:29 EDT
Congratulations to Dick Wegman, WBL's Newest Grand Life Master

Dick Wegman won the North American Pairs at the NABC Spring Nationals in St. Louis, and recently achieved the 10,000 MP milestone to become an ACBL Grand Life Master. He has also won numerous regional and sectional team and pair events.  Dick first played tournament bridge as a college student at Brown University, and has been playing since then except for a twenty year hiatus to pursue career and family activities.  He is a past president of the WBL and of ACBL District Six, and is the current President of the WBL Educational Foundation.  Dick and his wife Alice teach bridge workshops for tournament bridge players each fall;  over the past 10 years, more than 200 players, mostly from the WBL, have taken their workshops on strategic bidding, declarer play and defense.

Apart from bridge, Dick had a long career as a lawyer in Washington, which included serving as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and in private law practice specializing in energy and environmental law.  Dick’s wife Alice is also a lawyer and a Sapphire Life Master.


Last updated : Feb 22, 2023 12:19 EST
Message from the WBL President

April 5, 2022

We are delighted to announce that the Washington Bridge League (WBL) will be opening for face-to-face play every other week at the Ohr Kodesh Congregation (OKC) starting Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Initially, the WBL in-person game will be held every other week, alternating with the Northern Virginia Bridge Association until the end of July 2022. Every Thursday evening, one unit will host the in-person game and the other unit will host an online game, and members of both units are welcome to play in either game.

We hope to resume weekly in-person unit games at OKC beginning August 2022.

It has been a long couple of years, but WBL remains financially healthy and ready to resume normal operations. By normal operations, I mean holding Thursday unit games, holding Sectionals, and continuing to offer educational programs to those seeking to learn the game of bridge and enhance the skills of those who already play it.

Those who wish to play in-person at OKC must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, including a booster, or have a documented medical exemption from vaccination. Documentary evidence of vaccination or medical exemption is required to enter the OKC building. To facilitate the entry process, OKC is issuing an OKC VaxPass to individuals who submit proof of vaccination or medical exemption. 

To prepare for our first in-person game at OKC, please, if you have not done so already, fill out the form attached to the email sent to you by WBL on March 20, 2022, and submit it electronically to OKC. OKC will send your VaxPass by USPS soon thereafter. VaxPass holders will be able to access OKC in the future by showing their VaxPass.

Players may enter OKC by providing proof of vaccination instead of the VaxPass, but this may delay the start of the game. So please help us start the game on time by obtaining your VaxPass in advance of game day. Players with a documented medical exemption from vaccination must obtain the OKC VaxPass in advance of game day in order to play.

We are looking forward to seeing you in the coming weeks.

Last updated : Aug 17, 2022 17:08 EDT
10/4/2021 President's message


I am Hadi Abushakra, your new WBL president. I have taken over from Linda Marshall who stepped down after more than three years of distinguished service. Linda’s dedication, diligence and first rate work ethics are unrivaled. She will be a tough act to follow, and WBL owes her a debt of gratitude.

I do not think that any one of us could have ever imagined that, in the 21st century, we would face a pandemic that affects virtually the entire world population and is still raging after 18 months. But bridge has showed resilience, with online bridge stepping in as a worthy substitute for in-person bridge, albeit on a temporary basis.

The pandemic’s adverse impact on the in-person game cannot be overstated. Bridge finds itself at a critical juncture now, as many unknowns surround its future. When will in-person bridge come back? Under what conditions will it be back? How many players will it attract? How to tap the online only crowd? How feasible is it to combine online bridge with in-person bridge? These and many other questions need to be answered before a robust road map can emerge. Through it all, WBL will continue to do its part in thinking, advising and helping shape future plans for the game, and will continue to convey the latest developments to members.

There are currently no plans to restart the unit game at Ohr Kodesh, but other in-person games are being held on Mondays at 7:00 pm at the Rockville Senior Center, and on Tuesdays and Fridays at 7:00 pm at Leisure World. For details on these games, go to http://www.rockvilledbc.com. The WBL website will keep you updated on the latest ACBL requirements for safely holding sanctioned tournaments, on club games as they open, on unit knockout and round robin competitions, and on District Six Sectionals and Regionals, so do check the website on a regular basis.
In the meantime, please stay safe and I hope to see you around the bridge tables before too long.
Last updated : Apr 5, 2022 09:38 EDT
Congratulations to 2020 New Life Masters

Congratulations to WBL players who attained the rank of Life Master in 2020:  David Abraham, Stanley Barg, Neil Cowie, Tina Chisena, David Dong, Kun He, Scott Lutrey, Karen Sandler, Alex Stille, Andrea Volin, Frank Wade, and Mary Ann Wade.

Last updated : Jan 4, 2022 12:25 EST
Sad News

Beth Palmer passed away on October 2, 2019, after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer.  Her obituary can be found here.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Komen Foundation at Susan G. Komen, 5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 526, Dallas TX 75244. Please specify that the gift is for breast cancer research. A memorial service will be held on November 2, 2019 at 2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Drive, Rockville, MD 20850.

She was the Chief Administrative Judge of the Baltimore Hearings Unit for the EEOC.

Rankings as of January 2019:

ACBL Grand Life Master with 18,812 MPs

World Grand Master with 1892 Women’s MPs and 40.25 placing points. 

Major ACBL Events:

Won Machlin Women’s Swiss Teams 2012, 2007, 1996, 1995 and 1987; Wagar Women’s KO 2013, 2010, 2008, 2005, 2003, 2002, 1999 and 1985; Marsha May Sternberg Women’s BAM Teams 2016, 2014, 2008, 2006, 2005, 1995 and 1992. 

Placed 2nd Machlin Women’s Swiss Teams 2013 and 2008; Marsha May Sternberg Women’s BAM Teams 2001 and 1991; Wagar Women’s KO 1994, 

1992 and 1986.                                             

Major WBF Events:

Won Venice Cup 1989 and 1987. McConnell Cup 2002. World Series Championship Women’s Pairs 2010; World Mind Games Women’s Pairs 2011; World Mind Games Women’s Teams 2011; World National Women’s Teams 2016. 

Placed 2nd  Venice Cup 2009 and 2015; World Series Championship Women’s Pairs 1982. 

Placed 3rd Venice Cup 1997; World Series Championship Women’s Pairs 1994.

Other ACBL/WBF Events: 

Won World Mixed Teams 2018

Won Roth Open Swiss 2017, Freeman Mixed BAM Teams 2006, 2004, 1993, 1992 and 1982; Rockwell Mixed Pairs 1985; Smith LM Women’s Pairs 1985 and 1983. 

Placed 2nd GNT Championship Flight 2011; Freeman Mixed BAM 1981, 2014; Smith LM Women’s Pairs 1989.

Other Accomplishments:

Non-playing captain of the 2018 gold medal McConnell Cup Team. Palmer has served in many volunteer positions locally, nationally and internationally. Member of the Women’s International Team Trial Committee for 25 years; Chair of the Committee for 15 years and, in that capacity, served on other USBF committees, including the seeding committee and Sport Accord nominating committee. Member of the Credentials Committee for all international teams for many years. Member of the ACBL Ethical Oversight Committee 2010-2014. Member of the Washington Bridge League Board of Directors for 10 years. Chair of the Washington Bridge League Conduct and Ethics Committee for 15 years. One of two U.S. players on the WBF High Level Players Committee, 2010-2013. Member of the USBF Board of Directors

Last updated : Jan 4, 2022 12:08 EST
Sad news--Edith McMullin

Edith McMullin, long-time local bridge educator and director, and author of the Easybridge! series of books, passed away on October 13, 2020. Read more about Edith here and here.  Edith was a long-time contributor to Children’s international, and her family has requested that donations in her memory be made to that charity.  Donations may be mailed to Children International, In Memory of Edith McMullin, PO Box 219055, Kansas City, MO 64121 or online at www.children.org.

Last updated : Oct 4, 2021 22:22 EDT
University of Maryland Bridge Update December 2018

Hakan Berk, president of the University of Maryland Bridge Club, recently sent in this update on University of Maryland bridge. 


1. UMD Bridge Team Competed in Collegiate NABC in August 

The UMD Bridge Team qualified to compete in Atlanta during the last school year.  Six members won a fully paid flight and hotel with $200 stipend each.  The Terps were very close to making the top 8 and the quarterfinals, but alas they were knocked out. Overall the experience for the team was very positive.   Here are responses from team members providing feedback about their experiences.  


2. UMD Adding Sunday Practice 

After coming back from Atlanta, the team was motivated to try to be a top-four team in 2019; just attending the tournament was no longer enough. Therefore they started a Sunday bridge club practice (3-5pm) for members looking to up their game to the next level in addition to the weekly meetings. These were really productive, as it gave a lot more time to go into necessary bidding conventions such as New Minor Forcing, 4th Suit Forcing, Smolen, Lebensohl, etc.  A core group attends these meetings and wants to compete again in the Collegiate competition in the spring semester. 


3. Bridge Course at UMD 

Through a long process, Hakan was able to get a math course approved through a program called STIC (Student Instructed Courses). It is a 1-credit course that meets once a week that will cover probability and bridge, and how the two are intertwined.  February update:  The class is now completely full, with 20 students (a number of whom are learning bridge for the first time)!  Hakan looks forward to a fun semester teaching this class.


4. Next Steps 

As next semester is Hakan's final semester at the University of Maryland, the next steps are to help qualify the team for the next Collegiates and to find a successor who will be running the club next year. While the club may not be as geared towards teaching, just having a place for students to practice and play bridge will be optimal. 


Last updated : Feb 20, 2020 14:17 EST
Congratulations New Life Masters!

Congratulations to Stephan Billstein, Lloyd Bowling, Ivy Broder, Terry Coates, Daniel Friedman, Gale Greenbaum, Jacqueline Leifer, Steven Leifer, Shaye Hester, John Horner, Joanne Massey Howes, Robert Kerr, Bob Lawrence, Gerald Lerner, Linda Meade, James Metzger, Judith Perrier, Sarath Silva, Brian Sutton, Barry Tash, and Barbara Teng.  All of these players became life masters during 2018.  A few of them have shared their stories of their journeys to life master status.  If you are a 2018 new life master and would like to have your bridge story added to this item, please email it to Ldajmarshall@msn.com.

Steve and Jacki Leifer met 44 years ago while playing social bridge in law school at Cornell.  Steve asked Jacki up to his dorm room to see his bridge books, she amazingly fell for that line, and yada yada yada, 3 years later they were married.  They played social bridge for a couple of years, but then experienced a bridge hiatus for a couple of decades while raising their two sons, Brad and Daniel, and focusing on their legal careers.  When they reconnected with the game, they realized that basic Charlie Goren bridge was a thing of the ancient past, so they took a few lessons and eventually summoned up the nerve to try duplicate.  Jacki is still practicing with the firm of Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell in downtown DC.  She represents community health centers all over the country, serves as General Counsel to the National Association of Community Health Centers, and teaches at George Washington University.  Steve is blissfully unemployed, having recently retired from the firm of Baker Botts, where in his most recent position he served as Chair of the Environmental Department.  Steve and Jacki live in Potomac, MD and generally play on weekends at the Rockville Duplicate Bridge Club.  They also play at several North Carolina clubs when they visit their home in Holden Beach.


Bob Lawrence discovered bridge during his last year in college.  He learned the then popular bidding conventions, 4-card majors with frequent psychs (his favorite bid) and then Kaplan-Scheinwold (K-S was more disciplined but less exciting).  After college, he played for a few years learning new conventions like the Goren's version of Precision and a bit about card playing technique.  He even won the Montgomery County recreation department pairs bridge tournament.  But the need to earn a living and raise a family caused him to part ways with duplicate bridge and he dropped out of the bridge scene and out of the ACBL.

Forty or so years later, Bob again discovered duplicate bridge, with all of the changes during the last 40 years.  Mark Lavine of the Rockville Duplicate Bridge Club kindly arranged a number of partners for Bob, and ultimately he found two:  Rick, who helps Bob with declarer play and defense, and Barbara who schools Bob in bidding.  Bob rejoined the ACBL and set off with two other non life masters all trying to improve.  Within 2 years Rick became a life master and Barbara soon thereafter.

When Bob rejoined the ACBL, the ACBL didn't have a record of his prior masterpoints.  In cleaning out the basement, however, Bob found an old postcard from ACBL showing his 75 masterpoints from the '70's and was able tohave them reinstated.  Last March Bob read the CEO Corner column of the ACBL Bulletin and learned that at the 2017 fall meeting, the ACBL Board decided to allow members who had joined prior to 2010 but whose membership had lapsed at some point to return to the old 300 point limit for life master.  Due to this change more than 11,000 active members of ACBL benefited and 476 active members instantly became Life Masters.  ACBL had somehow not applied that rule to Bob, though.  But Bob had kept that postcard from the basement, and was able to show that he was a member before 2010.  Bob became Instant Life Master #477!  Bob, Rick, and Barbara are still enjoying the game and trying to improve.


When Linda Meade relocated from NY to NC for graduate school, the transition was traumatic.  To native Carolinians, it was like an alien had invaded.  Her thoughts about the local inhabitants were even less charitable.  The only place she seemed to fit in was at a café where people gathered to play bridge. The amount of beer consumed did not help the level of play, but it was fun and Linda made friends.

Linda met her future husband for the first time at a duplicate game.  Linda and her partner bid Blackwood incorrectly. The opponents misdefended the hand as a consequence, Linda and her partner got a top, and Linda's future husband was livid about the outcome. Two years later they met again, Linda forgot the unpleasantness of their first meeting, and they started dating. As the relationship progressed, their home life was happier if they played with other partners.


Bridge took precedence over scholastic responsibilities and probably delayed Linda's graduate degree by a year.  Working and raising three children interfered with Linda's bridge life, and Linda didn’t play for about 35 years. Linda started playing in the novice game at Ohr Kodesh about 3 years ago and really appreciated the support Brian and Lois provided during that period. Barb Doran fixed Linda up with a partner for the local NAP finals and despite the fact that we had fewer than 50 points between us, we came in first in the under 500 flight.  Oddly enough, our win involved another Blackwood misunderstanding (Linda's partner mistook her 6NT signoff as asking for queens, but fortunately 7NT made for a top).  The District sent them to Reno, where they didn't qualify for the second day.


Now semi-retired, Linda plays way too much bridge and has many wonderful partners, most of whom have taken lessons and are very patient with Linda's lack of knowledge of formal bidding “rules.” Linda still doesn't play with her husband. 


Judith Perrier is excited to have achieved the rank of life master, and has identified several key aspectsof her bridge practice that stand out as being valuable to her developing bridge path. First, she benefitted from selecting a supportive mentor who played with her in club games and tournaments and suggested conventions that improved partnership communication. In particular, she have been fortunate to establish a partnership with Aaron Navarro who provided helpful post-mortem analyses of challenging hands and inspired her to push forward when the chips were down.  Second, she observed that her performance at the bridge table improved from reading good bridge materials, such as books by Dorothy Hayden Truscott and Eddie Kantor as well as the ACBL Bulletin.  Third, she selects and retains considerate partners who are supportive and practice good bridge etiquette.  A good poker face is a high priority.  In balancing out the ecstasy of winning a game, she has also worked hard to learn from her mistakes and focus on the lure of the next game.  Finally, as she continues to work her way to the next milestone of bronze life master, I find I benefit from a restful night’s sleep as well as a good herbal memory formula. 

Gerald Lerner started playing bridge in 1959 while in high school and started a bridge club there.  Gerald played in his first sectional at 16 and continued through college.  He then had a 45 year diversion for his career as a systems engineer, and raising three kids, virtually no “live” bridge until the 2016 Washington DC Nationals where he won a two-session event and got his first colored points since college.  He still plays online, and in a recent sectional with friends from my high school bridge.

Ivy Broder learned bridge by watching her parents’ social games and reading Sheinwold’s “52 Weeks to Winning Bridge.”  As an early teen, Ivy played a few duplicate games with her Dad at the Summit Hotel in Manhattan and once at a tournament in Asbury Park, NJ. She was thrilled whenever they didn’t end up in last place. She tried the Bridge Club at Bronx HS of Science, but didn't stick with it because, as the only girl, she wasn't well-received. After a 45 year hiatus, in 2009, Ivy began playing twice a week for 4 months a year in Anguilla, where she started spending winters. Anguilla is a tiny island in the Caribbean with a rich bridge tradition. After her team won first place in an eastern Caribbean tournament in 2016, she decided to give bridge a try back in DC. Ivy was incredibly lucky to find some very experienced players who were willing to partner with a “newbie” with only 20+ MP.  Within a year, she developed partnerships with other NLMs and began attending tournaments. The summer of 2018 was an especially good bridge season: Ivy and Linda Meade were first in one of the Gold Rush pair events in Reston, and Ivy and Bill Lowry were first in two team events in Atlanta (a 2-day KO and a Swiss event).  Ivy also won lots of gold and red points with Bob O’Connor, Julie Marquette and Dave Espo in area regionals.  Ivy highly recommends Anguilla for anyone thinking about a Carribean vacation with both beautiful beaches and ACBL-sanctioned bridge games.



Last updated : Feb 20, 2020 14:17 EST