Welcome to the Novice Corner

novicecornerI am the newest Unit 163 board member and by far the least experienced. I have been playing duplicate bridge now for 4 years and am still trying to figure out what Splinter bids are so this should qualify me as a fellow novice player. I accepted the board position not because I knew what I was in for but rather to champion the cause of those who feel intimidated by the game, the seasoned players, the myriad rules and regulations and the sudden realization that something monumental has gotten hold of you but it’s not as easy to master as baking a cake or laying a brick.

So the first order of business is to tell you that I’m here for you. If you feel frustrated (and you will often) or discouraged (ditto), you can email me or phone me and I will do what I can to lessen your anxieties. The board members of Unit 163 are making a concerted effort to encourage novice players to become more comfortable at club games and also to participate in sectional and regional tournaments. There are now more opportunities for you to play with others at your ability level. This frees you from the anxiety of the very competitive environment of open games.

The board is also encouraging social bridge players to move into the duplicate arena and we are providing more opportunities for beginners to take lessons and gradually move through the ACBL point system all the while playing with others at their same level of expertise. Since this is the beginning of a new year and this is the first newsletter to come out, I want to alert you to two opportunities available to challenge yourself. No one told me about these chances to discreetly compete until recently. You need to be playing in a club game regularly and winning master points. Here is a brief description of both.

Ace of Clubs

This contest was created in 1984 to recognize achievement for all ACBL members playing at the
club level. All the points you accumulate at any local club games are kept track of by ACBL. On the 6th of every month the list is updated on the ACBL.org web site. On the front page you will see a purple header and the first item is Masterpt. Races. Pull down the menu and you will see the 3rd item is unit races. Click on that. Choose Unit 163 (Iowa State) and the current rankings will be listed for all 13 categories.
Choose the category by the number of points you started the calendar year with. If you started the year with 32 master pts. then click the 20-50 category. The number of pts. listed beside  your name are the number of pts. you have accumulated so far for the year (these pts. are in addition to what you started with.) Have I lost you yet?

Example: John Doe; Mason City, IA; 58 points.

John started the year with 32 pts. so he is in the 20-50 bracket, but he has accumulated 58 additional pts. so far this year so that when the new calendar year begins he will move up to the next bracket. This non-threatening contest motivates you to watch your improvement and secretly compete against that arrogant so-and-so you get to play with on Wednesday nights. Now I’ve got your attention!


This is another Masterpoints award that works on the same premise as the Ace of Clubs Award. But this contest includes tournament points as well as club points. You can find the results for this award in the same manner as the Ace of Clubs. I hope this information will encourage you to try for a ranking in either of these two venues. And remember, if you need any help or encouragement, contact me at wynseeley@gmail.com or by phone at 319-631-8814.