Unit 361 News
posted: Jul 26, 2015

Newly appointed to the ACBL Goodwill Committee:

  • Cal Newlin
  • Shelbie Bastiaans

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Denver Area Bridge, Unit 361 of the ACBL



Welcome to the Denver Unit web site!

Message from Joan Kushner:Joan Kushner

I hope everyone is enjoying the dog days of summer.  One of my goals, as president, is to engage even more of you to get online and learn what’s going on in our Unit. I am going to start, this month, by letting everyone know, in a more timely fashion the ‘news’ of our members. Please read the article on our local hero, Don Heitler, who this year became a Platinum Life Master. Although he achieved this ranking a few months ago, I don’t want to wait until the annual Table Talk to share his story.

If you missed the Sectional, you might not be aware that Marilyn Eber and Jan Janitschke were this year’s winners of the Lou Neff Trophy for having won the most points during the Regional in May. Congratulations!

The Board will be voting this month for the Board of Governor’s Election. Jim Calhoun is one of the nominees.

Our own Unit 361 Nominating Committee, headed by Margaret Devere, is in the final stage of assembling new candidates for the upcoming election this November 10, 2015. Look for photos and bios of the candidates both here, online, and in the forthcoming, abbreviated edition of Table Talk, 2015.


Opening on the District 17 Board

There is an opening on the District 17 board. Flo Newlin, who has served as a representative from the Denver unit for the last three years, is resigning for personal reasons. Flo served as election secretary, Goodwill Committee administrator, and charity event coordinator, and did an outstanding job for us and for the district. Thanks, Flo, and best wishes.

Flo's resignation takes effect at the end of 2015, and there is one year left in her term. Anybody who is a member in good standing of the Denver unit is eligible to run. Self-nominations are acceptable. The board will elect a new representative at the December 11 meeting.

So ...

If you are interested in running, contact Bonnie Smith, unit secretary, with an official statement of your interest. Deadline for nominations is November 31, 2015.

And, if you can, attend the November board meeting (Monday, November 9, 4:30 pm) and talk with the board about your interests and why you'd like to represent the Denver unit. Be sure to let Joan Kushner know that you will attend, so she can put you on the agenda.

For more information on D17 board activities and requirements, see the bylaws on the D17 website.


Table Talk 2015

By now, you should have received Table Talk in the mail. This issue is the first of the new policy: the mailed Table Talk is an abbreviated version that is considerably less expensive to print and post. The full version of Table Talk is here on the website, available for downloading and printing at your convenience.

And did you know that past issues of Table Talk are always available here:

Home>Membership>Table Talk


Changes to Sectional Tournaments

In order to keep our tournaments solvent and interesting, the board has made two changes:

  • Entry fees are increasing from $10/event to $11/event as of January 1, 2016.
  • The Thursday evening game in January will be Mixed Pairs. Find your favorite POTOS (Partner Of The Opposite Sex) and come out and play!


Front Range Challenge

If you're playing for Denver in this year's Front Range Challenge, here's the scoop:

  • Date: Saturday, October 17
  • Time: 10:00 am
  • Format: Two Swiss team matches
  • Lunch: Croissant sandwiches
  • Cost: $64 per team
  • Location: Colorado Springs Bridge Club, 901 N. 17th Street

Go south on I-25 to the Uintah exit, go west about 1 mile, turn north on 17th.

Good luck!


Denver Unit Board – Election and Candidates

At the November 2015 sectional, five people will be elected for a two-year term on the unit board, starting January 2016.

The nominating committee has selected the following candidates, listed in alphabetical order.



 Jeanne Achziger

Hello fellow bridge players. I am Jeanne Achziger and I have been on our Unit's Bridge Board for the past two years serving in the capacity of Hospitality Chairperson.

I have learned a lot in that time about the intricacies of organizing and managing a bridge tournament. It is an immense responsibility to put on Regionals and Sectionals and it definitely requires a team of people who put forth a lot of dedication and effort that make the tournaments the success that they have been and continue to be in Denver.

I have very much enjoyed this role and would like to continue helping with tournaments through the next couple of years.


Jim Calhoun

My passion is getting bridge to school students. I have taught in the Elementary, Junior High, and High School. I am working to conduct a 2016 Summer Bridge Camp for school students of all levels in the Denver Unit area. I would consider it both an honor and a pleasure to represent you on the Denver Unit 361Board for 2 more years.


Rick Gardner

I have been playing and enjoying the outstanding game of duplicate bridge since 1996 and have served previously as a board member and board president for the Ogden UT unit. I enjoy working with others to forward the game of bridge and look forward to participating and working with the current and incoming board members to continue the fine traditions Denver and Colorado duplicate bridge has to offer.


Nancy Rassbach

For many years I have been the recipient of the hard work of many people in the bridge community.  When I retired last year, I felt that it was my turn to "give back" some of what bridge has given to me.  I hope to help find ways to get young people in our community to give bridge a try, so that our beloved pastime doesn't become one of those things that people see only in old movies, like pay phones.


Tom West

I began playing bridge at age 12 to sit in when my parents played against my aunt and uncle. They had a running score in the millions. I have been playing some ever since but very little while my children were at home. Played at the student union on my first day at college and my first duplicate at the end of the school year. Moved to Norwalk, CT where I played some and became a certified director.

After working as a food technologist and technical director for a food ingredient company, Loie and I retired to western Michigan. Western Michigan is a bit of a bridge desert and nasty in the winter.  Finally moving to the Denver area (Parker) in 2013, I was delighted to find a large bridge community which accepted Loie back and me as well.

Now I look forward to giving back to the game. I’m particularly interested in youth bridge and partnership matters.


See the unit bylaws for details on the nomination and election procedures.


 Winners of the Lou Neff Trophy 2015

The Lou Neff trophy is given each year to the player who wins the most points at the Denver regional.

The 2015 trophy goes to:

  • Marilyn Eber
  • Jan Janitschke

Marilyn and Jan played as partners throughout the tournament, and together won 119 masterpoints.



Winners of the Frank Thorwold Trophy 2015

The Frank Thorwold trophy is given each year to the I/N player who wins the most points at the Denver regional.

The 2015 trophy goes to:

  • Shirley Merritt
  • Shirley Moschetti

Shirley and Shirley played as partners, and together won 4.73 points.



Unit 361's Newest Platinum Life Master: Don Heitler

Don Heitler was born and raised in Denver. He and his twin brother Dean were the oldest of 5 siblings. He is no stranger to competition, with many golf and tennis trophies on his shelf.  He graduated from Amherst College, received an MBA from Columbia and became a CPA.  Bridge was just another intellectual challenge for him and he treated the game as a college course, reading and studying everything he could find. He enjoys solving bridge problems and will eagerly try new conventions that help in this process. 

Don and his wife, Anita, lived in New York when they were first married. They played social bridge against many very fine players including Anita’s parents who were both life masters.  They also competed in many tournaments. Don's favorite story is that they survived the first two cuts of a regional event. The reward was to play in the final where every opponent had written a book. Of course they lost the event, but his attitude then and now is that you always learn from playing against the best players. 

Don now has over 10,000 master points. He has won many sectional and regional events, always giving credit to his partners and teammates who have contributed to his success. He competes to win, but will always help and encourage newer players to improve. Don also has donated many hours to serving on the unit board and is treasurer of the 2015 fall national to be held in Denver. 


Special Game Coming in November Sectional

Play with a Life Master PLUS Regionally Rated Silver Points

If you are not a life master, register in advance and the Denver unit will pair you up with a life master to play in the Friday evening game at the November 2015 sectional (7:00 pm November 13).

If you're in the mentor program, mentors and mentees can use this as their final game!

And if neither of these applies to you, you can still play :) This is a "special game" in two more ways:

  • It's a charity game. The Denver unit will contribute $1 per player to the ACBL Education Fund (no cost to you).
  • It pays regionally rated silver points.

Come on out Friday night, and have some fun, or if you're already playing during the day, stay around, miss the traffic, and have some more fun.

Here's a link to the flyer for more information.


Fall NABC 2015 Info

The Fall NABC 2015 is coming to Denver!

As always, the ACBL website ( has a lot of information to support the NABC. However, there is local information that won't be available on ACBL's website, so we have set up a page on this website (Unit 361) to provide whatever extra information we can.

It's here: Tournaments>Fall NABC 2015.

Right now, this page has information on:

  • Transportation and parking
  • Volunteering

We'll add information as we get it, so be sure to keep checking.


More Fun Hands

Check out the latest set of interesting hands, submitted by Don Heitler. Click here ...


Use Power Ratings to Prep for the NABC

Chris Champion from Colorado Springs developed the Power Ratings system, and maintains it with input from hundreds of clubs and units around the country. Chris recently sent us this insider tip ....

The secret to forming a winning KO team is finding good teammates that have low Masterpoint totals. When you look at the “Most Underrated Players” list you will find these players. MPs will tell you what bracket you will play in. PR will tell you how strong your team will be. UR is a summary of these. UR is the difference between the player’s Power Rating and the Power Rating of the average player with this player’s number of Masterpoints.

The “Most Underrated Pairs” list is another good source of potential teammates. The MP column shows the Masterpoints of both partners combined.

To find these lists, go to Click on Other Units in the upper right of the Power Ratings website, then select your unit.


Pix from the July Sectional