Man holding cards Vanderbilt Bridge Archives

Vanderbilt Bridge New Player Information Game Schedule Directions Calendar Results Latest News Pictures Officers Links More Information

Archived Articles

From Your Unit President - Art Lowen
2003 Milestones
From Your Club President - Tony Greene
A Lesson From Mike Lawrence - Mike Lawrence
2003 Hept Cats
VBEA Officers and Committee Chairs
Unit 179 Officers and Board Members

A Sentimental Journey - Tom Sanders
Ina's 99th Birthday Party
Bridge Classes at VBEA
Caddies Become Players
Lessons With Mike Lawrence at the Club

Dr. Dixon Appointed to Goodwill Committee

From Your Unit President

My Wish List

I wish every tournament we hold would be as great as our last one. Thanks to Tim Butterbaugh and Jay Hitt for a superb job.

I wish more of our own members would attend our tournaments. They are fun, they make us all better players, and we cannot continue holding them without better attendance from our members.

I wish every club game we have would be as much fun as our monthly Saturday night games. Thanks to Doug and Melanie Hirt for all they do to make that happen.

I wish I were nicer to my partners as well as my opponents at the table. I’m going to work to improve on this. Maybe all of us could work on this.

I wish all of us would recruit one new player to either learn the game or to become a duplicate player.

I wish all our games could be as well-attended as the Monday and Thursday afternoon games run by Althea Duncan. And I wish Althea would join our club.

I wish we could all know how blessed we are to have Bobby Erwin as Treasurer (for life!!!).

I wish more of us were willing to get involved. I wish everyone could see how this is happening in other clubs in other towns.

Sometimes, I wish that bridge had not advanced so much over the years since I learned to play. I'm sure it's harder now to learn to play well, which is why I also wish that our more experienced players would seek out some of the newer players (and vice-versa) and play with them from time to time.

I wish we would all try to play in the games and tournaments hosted by our ABA friends. And I wish they would play more often in ours.

I wish it had not taken so long for Gardner Dixon to get appointed to the national Goodwill Committee of the ACBL. No one deserved this more than Gardner. If you haven’t already done so (and even if you have), I wish you would thank Gardner for everything he does to help our club, our unit, and our game.

I wish we hadn’t lost so many good bridge friends to death. I miss them all.

I wish everyone reading this would take just a moment to reflect upon all the fun you have had and all the good things that have come to you from learning and playing duplicate bridge, and just think about how you might give something back to the game.

I wish you all the best of everything.

Art Lowen, President
Unit 179

2003 Milestones

Chuck Said, Grand Life Master, has amassed 25,000 MP. He is only the 20th player in ACBL history to achieve this level. Chuck is 15th on the list of all-time master point winners, which includes four North American championships and more than 430 regional titles.

New Life Masters

Elizabeth Marshall
Don Atkinson
Pieter Hoonderd
Rebecca McCall

Gold Life Masters (2500 MPs)

Barbara Zander

Silver Life Masters (1000 MPs)

Liz Ivey (Clarksville)
Melanie & Doug Hirt


In Memoriam

Ruth Christian
Flo Allison
Connie Jackson
Joe Haynes

From Your Club President

A few months ago I was approached about becoming President of the Bridge Club. My initial response was, "Are you out of your mind? All I want to do is play bridge and let everyone else do whatever it is they do to make this place function!" However, I quickly realized that I owe a lot to this game and this club, and perhaps it is time for me to give something back. I am grateful for the opportunity to do that. So far there have been tremendous successes and heartbreaking losses in our community and there are major challenges facing us ahead.

Our sectional tournament was a huge success, raising money for Hospice Alive and a truly fun atmosphere. A special thanks to Tim Butterbaugh and Jay Hitt is in order. The 299’er tournament was also a hit and a special thanks goes to Charlotte Prow for her efforts.

Our web site, created by Rees Mitchell is stellar and a valuable tool for us, as evidenced by those of you reading this edition of the Alert on-line. The club itself is developing a new look thanks to Melanie Hirt's efforts to make it a more attractive facility. Needless to say there are others who have contributed and continue to do so in relative anonymity who do not get the recognition they deserve.

One of the most gratifying aspects of being a part of this community is the support shown for each other at times of loss. We compete hard at the table but come together in our times of need. I have been immeasurable helped by all of you and found comfort and a sense of belonging.

Looking ahead, the two main priorities are developing new players and addressing the long term issues regarding the building.

This is the greatest game on earth and we have a responsibility to those who preceded us and those who follow to insure the survival of the game. Thanks,

Tony Greene
President VBEA

A Lesson From Mike Lawrence


This is a hand from the Play Too Fast series that I ran in the ACBL Bulletin a few years ago. This series featured about ten hands on which declarer made an error at trick one.

It is not exactly basic but the theme is a good one.



When you play a hand, you need to plan not only the current trick, but the succeeding tricks as well. In this series, you will be shown a hand and how it was played. At the end, you will be asked to determine where the play went wrong and what should have been done about it.

North had the kind of bidding problem that we all dream about. East opened a weak two spade bid, and when that bid came around to North, he found himself with a lot to think about. How would you handle the North hand with its twenty-four high card points? Actually, calling this a twenty-four high card point hand does it an injustice. It has controls, excellent quality points, and a solid suit. North ‘solved’ the problem by starting with a takeout double, reserving his decision until later. This worked well because South had enough to jump to four hearts. North still was not out of the woods but solved the problem in typical fashion. He used Blackwood, found that South had one key card, and selected seven diamonds as the final contract. This auction had the effect of getting East to lead out of turn, but he was stopped before any damage was done. West, when informed that it was his lead, showed that he had heard East’s spade bid and led the eight of spades.

N-S Vul
S A 7 6
H A 5
D A K Q J 10 7
  [W - E]  
Lead: C 8 S K J 2
H K J 9 6 2
D 6 3
C 10 9 2

N-S Vulnerable



4 NT
2 S
All Pass
4 H

Declarer played the hand rapidly and efficiently. He played low at trick one and took East’s queen with the king. West had four diamonds so it took four rounds to get them all. Turning to hearts, South played off the ace and king and ruffed a heart in dummy. If they divided or if the queen came down, seven diamonds would make, but not today. West had four hearts to the queen-ten, meaning South could not set up an extra trick there. This left South with the club finesse. He came to his hand with the jack of spades and tried finessing the queen of clubs. East produced the king and that was that.

What went wrong? Was the contract too aggressive or should it have been made? Looking at the two hands, especially given that East opened two spades, bidding seven diamonds is reasonable. It makes if something good happens in hearts or if the club finesse works.

The real error was in the play. On the lie of the cards, seven diamonds was cold. The fault? The fault, as so often is the case, was the play to trick one.

Question. After East opens two spades and West leads the eight, what are the chances that East has the queen of spades?


I can’t imagine East not having the queen of spades. This is as close to 100% as anything I have ever seen at the bridge table. It is not necessary for you to play low from dummy at trick one. There is no need to ‘take’ the free finesse and there is a good reason not to. As long as you are willing to credit East with the queen of spades, you can make seven diamonds via the following.

Here is the complete hand:

N-S Vul
S A 7 6
H A 5
D A K Q J 10 7
S 8
H Q 10 8 7
D 8 5 4 2
C 8 6 5 4
[W - E] S Q 10 9 5 4 3
H 4 3
D 9
C K J 7 3
Lead: C 8 S K J 2
H K J 9 6 2
D 6 3
C 10 9 2

Except for the fact that East has a light weak two bid, the cards are more or less as you would expect.

One last question in closing. Would you have opened the East hand with two spades in first seat, not vulnerable against vulnerable?

I hope so. This is a continuing theme that is proved over and over on a daily basis. Quiet opponents are overcome more easily than busy opponents.

Don’t be quiet. Don’t be passive. Be heard, over and over and over. Eventually, you will find the proper level of being expressive. Keep trying until you find it. In your search, you should note the level that works for your opponents against you. In time you will achieve that most rewarding accolade. “Oh. I am so glad that we are skipping over your table.”

2003 Hept Cats

Names Score Date
Raymond Harris & Lee Pennington 70.84 1/28
Lucy & Everette Carroll 70.00 1/28
Phyllis Reichman & Ene Shields 74.65 2/4
Frances Scales & Joe Bassham 71.70 2/27
Rich Roiseman & Dot Blue 73.33 2/27
Rich Roiseman & Art Lowen 74.40 3/10
Wynell Edwards & Betty Jennings 72.70 3/13
Barbara Lampe & Shirley Schaffer 70.92 3/14
Barbara Zander & Tony Greene 71.76 3/21
Raj Kumar & Art Lowen 73.08 3/27
Peter Chen & Gardner Dixon 70.04 3/28
Jill Jenkins & Tony Greene 72.92 4/15
Lee Wilkins & Marge Eldred 70.76 6/14
Judy Hackett & Sally Dickenson 72.22 6/27
Susan Kreal & Tommy Latham 70.37 7/18
Raj Kumar & Jerry Bull 71.13 7/31
Sally Dickenson & Judy Hackett 80.49 8/1


VBEA Officers and Committee Chairs

Tony Greene, President
Rees Mitchell, Vice President
Bobby Erwin, Treasurer
Bob Arnold, Assistant Treasurer
Christine Christiansen, Secretary
Doug Hirt, Past President & Outside Building Maintenance
Cherry Starling, Sunshine
David Birnbaum, Special Events
Art Lowen, Unit Representative
Melanie Hirt, Supplies and Inside Building Maintenance
Margie Hogshead, Bulletin Board


Unit 179 Officers and Board Members

Art Lowen, President
Don Atkinson, Vice President
Dot Blue, Secretary/Treasurer
David Birnbaum
Carol Cox
Sally Dickenson
Gardner Dixon
Anne Erwin
Kathryn Hasty
Tommy Latham
Coley McGinnis
Rees Mitchell
Carol Sanders
Reca Williams

A Sentimental Journey

By: Tom Sanders

The 1963 Summer Nationals were to be held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Carol and I went out a couple of days early to visit our friends Pat and Harold Guiver in Long Beach. It was a perfect opportunity to do some site seeing as Carol had never been to California and I had only been once.

Not too far removed from being babes in arms ourselves, the first day we made our obligatory visit to Disneyland. In the evening we recharged batteries with dinner at a lovely bistro with the Guivers and our mutual friends Bea and Kelsey Petterson. With much wine being consumed, the gastronomical experience went on and on until a 1:00 AM closing.

When we retreated to the parking lot we noticed that everyone else had long since gone and there were only two cars left in the lot. The Pettersons got into their car and the rest of us into Guiver’s. Just a moment later both cars began backing up simultaneously, then.....BAM$ up simultaneously, then..BAM$%*CRASH#*% WHAM!!! Y ep, you guessed it, we backed into each other!! If only Max Sennett could have been there with his camera crew, it would have made a perfect scene for the Keystone Kops. It was an appropriate introduction for Hollywood.

The next night at the ACBL Charity Gala we were treated to the music of Les Brown and his Band of Renown. For those of you too old to remember or too young to know, Brown was very famous and cited in the Guinness Book of records for the heading “the longest organized group in the history of popular music”. The band performed for about 60 years and was always the band of choice for Bob Hope when he did his TV specials and his trips abroad to entertain servicemen. In the 1940s heyday of swing, the band scored two hit records - “Sentimental Journey,” with Doris Day as vocalist, and the instrumental “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm.” The former became a theme for soldiers returning home from World War II.

For Les, being a bridge player and an ACBL member, sporting the grand total of about 3 master points, the committee thought it would be accommodating to get him a partner to play in the charity game. Carol was the one chosen. I’m certain because of her good looks, friendly manner, and bridge expertise.

The music was over and game time was approaching. Surrounded by gorgeous lady entertainers that were removing his tux jacket and replacing it with a sports coat, Les cupped his hand over his eyes, like an Indian would from a lookout post, and shouted into the microphone, “Carol Sanders, Carol Sanders, I’ll meet you right over by the steps.” That attention, Carol later admitted, made her feel about 10 feet tall.

It happened to be an unusual night for spade slams running their direction all being played by Brown. On about the 5th hand there was one that he played very carefully and successfully. Carol put him in another 6 a few rounds later with the same result. And a third successful 6 just a while after that. It was probably more slams than he had ever bid and made in his life. But the best was yet to come.

This was the scene: it was hot and noisy in their section in the catacombs of the hotel. Many were finished and others were leaving as they began the bidding of the last hand. After a very deliberate auction, Carol ultimately put him in 7! By now everyone was gone and there was an eerie silence. Les Brown played a couple of cards and then went into the grandfather of all huddles. Carol’s RHO passed her a note which read, “he’s going to make it.” Les thought some more. Beads of perspiration appeared on his brow. Finally he saw the light. The excitement of bidding and making 3 small slams and a grand slam in the same session was just too much.

In his ecstasy he looked up at Carol and asked, “Will you marry me?”

That night, with a 60%+ score, they topped their section and doubled his master point holding.

We followed his career with interest. He always called when he came to Nashville. He was one of the last survivors of the great musicians from the swing band era - a wonderful conductor-clarinetist whose smooth arrangements transcended changes in musical tastes. His bridge was mostly social. I’m sorry to report Les Brown died of cancer on January 4, 2001. He was 88.

Ina's 99th Birthday

At the August 4th Monday afternoon game at VBEA, 16 tables of wellwishers celebrated Ina Goldman’s 99th birthday! Ina said, “This is the first day of my 100th year.” Ina was truly Queen for a Day and looked like royalty in a lavender outfit highlighted with a big white orchid. She was showered with gifts and cards and a standing ovation from her friends and admirers. The buffet table was groaning with sandwiches, dips & chips, and other delectables and was centered with a beautiful and delicious birthday cake. Ina was very appreciative to everyone for their generosity and loyalty through the years.

Bridge Classes at VBEA

Pat Taylor has an ongoing class on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9:15-11:15AM. The classes are geared toward beginning and intermediate players and include bidding, play-of-the-hand, defense, and basic conventions. Cost: $40. for 8 classes. For further information, call Pat at 383-3790.

The Basic Introduction to Bridge course will be taught by David Birnbaum beginning Sunday, September 21, 5-7 PM. David will also teach Play-of-the-hand beginning Thursday, September 25, 5-7 PM. 10 people minimum. Cost: $60 ($50 course + $10 book). Introduction to Duplicate Conventions will be taught by Pat Taylor beginning Tuesday, September 23, 9-11 AM, and on Saturday, September 27, 9-11 AM. For further information, call Doug Hirt at 356-4136.

Caddies Become Players

You may recognize the young men in the photograph above. They have been your tournament caddies for the past few years. Gregory Goodman, 15, on the left, and Nathan Rogers, 15, on the right, took lessons from David Birnbaum this past spring, and recently, they tried their newly learned skills in a Monday night novice game, directed by Mary Ann Waldon. Playing with grandparents, Lucy and Wendell Goodman, the cousins did rather well for their first attempt and had a great time. Gregory is a sophomore at Nashville Christian School, and Nathan is a sophomore at Pioneer Christian School. Congratulations and continued success to them both!

Lessons with Mike Lawrence

Vanderbilt Bridge Center
115 28th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 321-5356

Saturday, September 6th and 13th
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

$25.00 per lesson
$50.00 for 2 lessons
($30.00 each after August 27th)

Who is Mike Lawrence?

In the world of contract bridge, no one comes close to matching Mike's combined record as author, player and teacher.

Player: Mike is the winner of 3 world championships and is runner up to 3world championships. He has earned more than 20,000 master points, playing in tournaments all over the world.

Author: Mike has written more than 20 bridge books and produced numerous software bridge products. He has won Book of the Year awards for many of his titles.

Teacher: More than any other bridge author, Mike Lawrence is know for his ability to share his experiences with his students. His clear and fun style of teaching is truly a gift not to be missed.

Mike Lawrence is graciously donating all proceeds from this Lesson Series to the Vanderbilt Bridge Club Building Fund. VBEA is deeply grateful.

Registration: Please send a check made payable to VBEA to:
  Hope Hallum
195 Sturbridge Drive

Franklin, TN 37064.

You can learn more about Mike Lawrence by visiting his web page.

Dr. Gardner Dixon Appointed to Goodwill Committee

The ACBL Goodwill Committee is a standing committee of members selected for their demonstration by personal example, that the strictest code of ethics and the highest standards of agreeable social conduct can be combined with effective competitive play. These are the players that make the game more enjoyable for others by their friendliness, courtesy, and high level of ethical conduct.

Annually, each district director may appoint up to two members to the Goodwill Committee. In addition, a district director may make up to two additional annual appointments to fill vacancies created by deaths of prior appointees. Appointees are lifetime members of the committee.

The Nashville bridge community and Vanderbilt Bridge Club are proud to recognize Dr. Gardner Dixon. Gardner is a busy, practicing physician. He has served for many years on the boards of his local ACBL club, unit, and the local and national organizations of the American Bridge Association (ABA). He is primarily responsible for the crossover participation between members of the local ABA and ACBL affiliated clubs, and is truly loved by members of both organizations. He is a tireless worker, always willing to volunteer to help, such as rushing to the club at any time to help solve a computer glitch so that a game can be scored before the players go home. Dr. Dixon is a highly accomplished player, but he often seeks out newer players that show a keen interest in the game and an eagerness to learn.

Other Nashville players who have been appointed to this prestigious committee include:

1960 Carol Sanders
1969 Betty Thompson
1983 Gilbert Browning
1989 John Herrmann
1989 Nancy Massey
1990 Ina Goldman
1993 Pat Williams
1994 Dot Blue
1996 Anne Erwin
2000 Elaine Said
2003 Gardner Dixon