September 2014 District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

It’s not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game even starts.
– Addison “Mort” Walker (1923 -   )

We had a party and most everybody came! The July, 2014 Summer NABC in Las Vegas has ended, the tables folded up and thousands of bidding boxes closed and trucked away to live for another day, another national. It was a great experience for Western Conference President Bonnie Bagley (chairman) and myself (co-chair) as we managed the country’s largest tournament for the second time.This one with 16,616 tables.
The dazzling nightly Las Vegas-style entertainment, sumptuous hospitality and fabulous prizes were superb – every day, every night.

One thing we do best is bring in outstanding volunteer chairmen from throughout the conference to help us manage the huge crowds. This time it was the ever-popular Maritha Pottenger chairing the I/N room with an awesome array of gifts and teaching tools including her terrific new book: My Life as a Bridge Detective.
Marc Matz, Maritha’s partner, was on hand daily to assist.

On the Partnership Desk, I enticed locals Jim and Shay Andrews to bring their years of expertise and excellence to pair up the players and teams. They enlisted some other San Diegans to assist. All the above are from District 22 – like I said, we recruit well.

Bonnie brought in Wendy Turk, Toshi Yingst and Chris Champion from her home town Colorado Springs to man the very busy Registration Desk. With the size of this mega-tournament we registered more than 6000 players giving away more than 5000 embroidered polos and hundreds of Las Vegas Flare T-shirts. Western Conference people were generous in assisting: District Director Stu Goodgold (D21) and his fiancé Ruth were spotted handing out registration gifts to the masses, as was District Director (D2) Paul Janicki’s wife Joo-Hee, and District 22 President David Lodge’s wife Nance.

Las Vegas volunteers, recruited by new ACBL Goodwill Committee member Barbara Vasilevsky, efficiently ran the Prize Desk and Information Window under the chairmanship of Barbara Dunkley, who is co-chair of the Orange County Regional. LV’s Justine Hancock was, as always, essential and everywhere.
Many, many conference members and visitors chipping in to help. I could name a flurry of them, but I would forget a few so I think I’ll take the safe way out and stop while I’m ahead (isn’t that the way you should do it in Vegas?) – Thank you all!

Youth NABC – Something Special!

Special recognition goes to Palm Springs Unit’s dynamic Nancy Erickson. Concurrent with this LV National, Nancy, along with the league’s popular Patty Tucker and Brian Delfs, chaired a very successful 3-day Youth NABC for upcoming stars age 19 and under. Everything this energetic trio did was marvelous and professional. Nancy and husband Ron, along with her partnership chair Ilene Grabel and a host of Palm Springs volunteers, put on quite a show for the 120 youngsters who came from across the country, and across the world to play. Even Nancy’s 8-year-old granddaughter Madison played and assisted with the registration. It was a sight to behold and all the kids loved it.
Yes, some came from foreign lands, but all with a common language – bridge.

District 22 Players Shine!

If I had one, I’d tip my hat to Warren Cederborg of Visalia, former D22 President and current board member from Area I. Warren and wife Suzi are always up around the top of the overall lists in games they compete in, but this time, with Suzi a little under the weather, Warren teamed up with four guys from the midwest and won the Truscott Senior Swiss Teams – Warren’s first national championship, and a major step on his soon-to-be Grand Life Master status. Warren was also the district’s top masterpoint winner at the national with 107 total for the tournament. Well done, friend.

Other winners: Mark Bartusek, Santa Barbara, with D23’s John Jones won the 10K NABC Pairs, and Ron Kaye, San Diego, & Joe Houde, Vista, won the Bruce 5K Life Master Pairs. Outstanding wins for us in both events!

Honorable mention: Ross Grabel of Palm Desert and Peter Weichsel, Carlsbad, had a 5/8 finish in the Spingold KO Teams while knocking off the powerful No. 2 seed Nick Nickell team. Ross won 101 points total followed by Bartusek with 92, Weichsel with 80, Houde-Kay with 75 each and Phil Hiestand won 73. Marjorie Michelin with 72, Billy Cohen 72, plus Bo Liu with 68 round out the top ten D22 MP winners. Almost 600 D22 players won some points in Las Vegas. The ACBL website has installed a new feature which enables you to view all NABC masterpoint winners by district, unit, state and country. Check it out: go to, click on Tournaments; click on NABC (July); click on Winners (at the bottom). Voila!  
Some other high overall finishers in Las Vegas were Phil Heistand and Shoichi Yoshihiro third in the NABC Fast Pairs, and Steve Bruno & Ray Loftis fifth in the 10K NABC Pairs. In two- or four- session regional events Stephen Goldstein, Jim Darvey, Marjorie Michelin and Ellis Feigenbaum won a Knockout Teams, and John Lagodimos & Kathie Angione were on a winning Swiss Teams.
For any/all I missed, my sincere apologies. Many events – many “Well dones.”

Peace, my friends.