Pair Fare

News from Northwestern Illinois Unit 239

Editor: Linda Jacobson, Bartlett IL

Please put our Early Spring Silver Sectional tournament on your bucket list!  March 23-25 at Jamesonís Restaurant, Sun City, Huntley IL.

There are some national honors to celebrate with people in Unit 239.

Neil Whittle (Carol Stream) was appointed to a lifetime membership in the Aileen Osofsky ACBL Goodwill National Goodwill Committee.

Neil was recognized because he practices goodwill and kindness ethics in Unit 239 and in the clubs he visits. The Goodwill Creed Ė ďAlways disclose, never abuse, donít intimidate, and practice active ethicsĒ- is the message he exemplifies. He is friendly, caring, and forgiving as he enjoys the game he loves.

In reflecting on this award, Neil wanted to remember the fine example shown by Karl Dencker (Lake in the Hills) who is a past Unit 239 president and one of the National Goodwill Member a few years ago.

Van Stone (Geneva) placed first in the nation for 2017 Ace of Clubs (5-20 points) earning 112.49 points at club games.

Unit 239 welcomes new members: William Ordway (Rockford,) Pierre Pollin (Huntley,) and Thomas Rehwald (Huntley)

Congratulations to the many members who have achieved new ACBL levels:                       

Junior Master: Alan Cooper (Rochelle,) Kathy Cooper (Rochelle,) Lela Lowe (Geneva,) Christene Willis (Rochelle,) and Terry Hidges (Cherry Valley)

Club Master: Kyle Larson (Belvidere,) Kristan Laver (Rockford,) Steve Lowe (Geneva,) and Michael Chakoian (Crystal Lake)

Sectional Master: Amy Goldberg (Belvidere) and Beverly Gilroy (Rockford)

Advanced NABC Master:  Matt Sinkovits (Plano)

Life Master: Maria Solvie (Elgin)

Bronze Life Master: Dorothy Berg (Bartlett)

Silver Life Master: Platt Hill (St. Charles) and Susan Tunelius (Huntley)

Ruby Life Master: Wynn Cook (Aurora)

Maria Solvie is a Life Master. She talks about her love of bridge.

I always wanted to play bridge, but my husband did not want us to play. After he died, I went on line and started to learn. I played with people on line who played different conventions so I bought a book to learn about the conventions. My first one was Stayman. Next I played bridge with the ladies after golf at Bartlett Hills. One day in 2011, I played golf at Wing Park in Elgin and I met Donelle Brosseau who invited me to my first duplicate experience at Rolandís Elgin game. Thatís when I joined ACBL. I did not care about points, I just wanted to play bridge.

Sherry Wynn was super nice to me when I was a new player. She explained the bidding box and helped me learn from my mistakes. It was at Rolandís game that I met Doris who went with me to Crystal Lake for my first tournament experience. It was exciting to play against these very good players so I kept going to tournaments.

On the way to Life Master, I had many good partners helping me to get the 50 gold points. One memorable tournament success was when I played in the Chicago National Tournament. Linda Saville and I only played one day in the gold rush and beat 76 tables; we received 17.5 gold points! I played with Suzanne Powers at the Champaign Regional and we won two days in a row. Winn Cook was my partner in Kansas City and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. John Pree played in Crystal Lake. Ivan played in Crystal Lake and Lake Geneva.

Thanks to all my partners! Especially I thank my partner Peter Venning for helping me get my points and being great partner who taught me a lot about bridge. I enjoy very much playing bridge and all these wonderful people that I meet.

My goal is to get in many more levels as I can.

Platt Hill is a Silver Life Master and wrote about his experiences.

I was taught to play by my grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle when I was 14. I played casually with them and friends until college when I was introduced to duplicate. I played in Newark, Ohio, against Jeff Meckstroth when he was a teenager. In the early 70's, I began to play serious bridge at the University of Chicago with the international students. On a lark we went to a regional at the Palmer House (most of our team were not even ACBL members) and we won 6 out of 8, including a first round win over nationally ranked players. I still remember the acrimony at their table after the match.

I began to play in the Fox Valley area from 1974 to 1978 and was introduced to some wonderful partners. I have great memories of those times, and many of those players are still playing. I became a Life Master in 1978 (I think) and stopped playing due to family and business commitments.

In 2015 I received an invitation for a 'Free Game' from unit 239 and went to the Monday night game at the Baker Center which I remembered as being 12-14 tables. That night there were not enough players to have a game! I learned that most of the games were being held in the middle of the day. Karl and Nick set me up with some terrific partners from there, and those partners having been covering my mistakes ever since.

The biggest help to becoming silver-life master without a doubt, has been the patience of my partners as bidding had changed significantly in the 35 years I was sidelined. I still remember Julia Kelly having to deal with me forgetting Bergen raises three times in one session. 

There are two bridge stories I would like to share:
   1)  Winning the Crystal Lake Regional Pairs 1st overall with Diane Clark was the highlight of my career.
   2)  Once when I was partnered by a well-known local player for the first time, he passed my cue bid on the last board of the evening. He laid down the dummy and left the table. While considering how to play the 3-2 fit, I remember thinking, "What a unique and subtle way to tell me that he never wanted to partner me again." Good news, we still won and have plenty of laughs about it.

My advice to burgeoning bridge players is: 1) Have Fun! 2) Consider how well you play when you are upset. 3) Worry more about your mistakes than partners as you are going to make mistakes. 4) Play each hand on its own; don't let the previous result affect your decision making on the current hand. 5) Compliment your partner. 6) Compliment the opponents. 7) Bridge is a difficult game with a lifetime of learning and challenges.

Wynn Cook is a Ruby Life Master and has introduced bridge to many players!

Wynnís parents played party bridge and kept a Culbertson book on their coffee table. Wynn read that book which sparked her continuing interest in bridge. She went to high school in Belmont, Massachusetts, where she played bridge with her friends; her eighteenth birthday was a 3-table bridge game hosted by her mother. She organized her college work to allow time for bridge in the smoking room.

Later, Wynn took bridge lessons when she lived in Cleveland and her three children were young. When she got to Chicago, she completed her Masterís and became a school social worker. She employed bridge to help her students learn life skills as well as the game she loved. Wynn started teaching bridge to third-grade students!

She coached teams for ten years in Glen Ellyn and five years in Arlington Heights. These teams included students with problems who were helped through the team/bridge experience. Students learned how to deal with new people and new situations. Wynn taught beginning bridge at the College of DuPage. Wynn feels that this mentoring of bridge is her biggest contribution to the game.

Wynnís three children brought her six grandchildren and five and a half great grandchildren. She shared that one grandson is interested in playing bridge. I hope he gets to play duplicate with her. Wynn started playing duplicate two or three times a week in 1990. Her tournament partner for many years is Bonnie Galanti. When Wynn and Bonnie played together at Chicago Nationals, they befriended some ladies from Bermuda. Wynn and Bonnie are going to the 2018 Bermuda Regional and hope to again meet up with these same ladies.