June 9 2024
We're just one week into the twelve week North American Pairs qualifying period - and already 144 Minnesota players have qualified to move on in this competition.  96 Unit 103 players and 48 Unit 178 players are eligible to play in the NAP's post-August competition, which is terrific.  There are some rumblings about a party atmosphere for the NAP players in September (more information on that some time next week), but if you have not already qualified for the NAP there are lots of opportunities yet to come.  Click on the list to the right to view the Minnesota bridge players who have qualified (so far) and the flights for which they have qualified - and keep playing!   

June 8 2024
Keith Thompson [St Paul], our D14 NAP Coordinator, has issued the latest Conditions of Contest for D14's North American Pairs - you can check them out by clicking here.  Changes don't appear to be substantial (including any change of dates), but do include the clarification of a few items.  The bottom line is that you'll still need to qualify at the club level to play in the D14 Finals in October and still need to have the expectation of some fun in doing so.

June 8 2024
They say "past performance is no guarantee of future results", but if you're looking for a North American Pairs game in which to qualify, would you believe playing in Northfield or St Cloud might be your best bet?  NAP tables across Minnesota from last year are displayed above, with the chart on the left (in red) showing the number of NAP tables at each Minnesota bridge club along with the percentage of those club's NAP tables in comparison to Minnesota's total NAP tables.  St Cloud ran 131 NAP tables in 2023, or 18.7% of Minnesota's total NAP tables.  Neither Woodbury or Mankato ran any NAP games in 2023, so their table count (and percentage of MN's tables) is zero.

The middle chart above (in blue) is a look at each club's NAP tables compared to their club's total tables during June-July-August last year.  Northfield ran every game as an NAP qualifier (they're allowed two per month per sanction, and they ran two games a month!).  But the truth is you don't have to travel too far to get qualified in an NAP game - within the Twin Cities Metro area, 20.2% of all the bridge tables during June-July-August last year were in NAP qualifying games.

Check with your local club as to when they are running NAP games this year - the list of Minnesota qualified players continues to grow and can be found by clicking here.  But be sure to find a game or two, get some red points at a sectional rating, and qualify to play in October!

June 6 2024
The left hand photo below features Chris Carroll [Winona] on the left and partner John Rethlefsen [Winona] on the right.  They came in 1st overall in the Rochester 749'er Non-Life Master Tournament this morning.  17 tables over the course of the action saw lots of silver points going out the door for thirty (yes, 30!) newcomer players, and it's great to see these Minnesota players doing well!  The photo on the right features Earlene Wickre [Rochester] and Harlan Wickre [Rochester], who took the afternoon session - congratulations to everyone who had some fun today.

June 4 2024
A STAC week has been added to the tournament schedule, such that Minnesota players will be able to earn some silver points playing against other D14 participating clubs - in the comfort of their own local club game.  It's less than a month away - the STAC games will run July 1 through July 7 - and STAC stands for "Sectional Tournaments At Clubs" (and not "the cards are STACked against you").  Click on the map to the right for a look at participating clubs.  This map will be updated as more clubs join in on the action (no Twin Cities clubs have signed up yet, but there's no question that they will, so again, look for an update - and of course check with your local club).

Click here for the most current list of participating Minnesota clubs.

June 4 2024
  With Rochester's Fall Sectional replaced this year with the Med City Regional in Rochester, an opening for another fall sectional tournament this year has been snapped up by the good folks in Mankato.  This would be the first sectional tournament held in Mankato, with the two-day event held the last weekend of September.  The "Rambling River Fall Sectional" will be on the 28th and 29th (see the schedule to your left).

Add it to your tournament calendar - and we'll hope to see you in Mankato in just a few months!

June 3 2024
Pretty much every Minnesota bridge tournament will have a game for less experienced players - so Non-Life Masters and newcomers to the game can "swim with their own fish" (as it were).  But there are some opportunities for tournament play that are only for less experienced players.  These are some tournaments coming up over the next few months at Rochester, St Paul, and St Cloud that are strictly for Intermediate/Newcomer players.  Check out the flyers to the right for more information on these bridge tournaments this summer that are JUST for you. 

June 3 2024
  That's Theresa Kornwolf [Elk River] on the left - all smiles upon earning her first gold points at the Gopher Regional tournament last month.  Do you remember where you were when you got your first gold points?  Chances are you might - and even if you don't, you probably had the same smile then that Theresa is showing here.  Congratulations, Theresa, and keep it up!

June 3 2024
Not everyone who manages a bridge club also manages to put together a monthly newsletter - but a couple of them in Minnesota take the time to do so.  Here is a look at the latest club news along with what is happening at the Bridge Center of St Paul and down in Rochester for the upcoming month (click on a newsletter below to enlarge it and open in a new window):

June 2 2024
  Here's a special thanks to D14 NAP Coordinator Keith Thompson [St Paul] who has just issued the D14 Conditions of Contest for the North American Pairs competition.  Click on the image to the left to open up the Conditons of Contest in a new window (for perusing or printing) - and schedule a partner or two in your local club's NAP games this summer!

If you have played in a Minnesota NAP club game and are wondering if you've qualified to play in the D14 Finals online this October - click here to get the list of players currently eligible to go on in the competition.

June 2 2024
There is no question that face-to-face tables in Minnesota bridge clubs and tournaments are rebounding nicely from year-to-year since the big re-opening in 2021.  However there is still some work to be done.  Looking at face-to-face tables in Minnesota clubs during the 2023 calendar year, and comparing them to the pre-COVID year of 2019, shows just 57.9% of those 2019 tables were in play last year.  (The national average of post-COVID to pre-COVID attendance is right around 56%, so clearly this is not something that is unique to Minnesota.)  
The biggest "hurt" over the past several years may well be the closing of the Twin City Bridge Center (some of whose 4,701 tables in 2019 have been picked up by the Plymouth and Metro Bridge clubs, but not all).  Every Minnesota club continues to be affected by the pandemic, and you can see why the ACBL (and your local Minnesota units) are making a concerted effort to get back bridge players who still are not playing regularly at the club.  (And if you know someone who hasn't played in a while, invite them to a game!)

June 1 2024
June - already!?  Yes, although summer is still officially a few weeks off, June, with its warmer weather and brighter evenings has arrived on the Minnesota bridge scene.  It's also the month of red and purple at your local bridge club.

The red is the red-pigmented points you'll earn at your local club when they have a North American Pairs game (see the club calendars below).  Usually, red-pigmented masterpoints are available only at Regional tournaments.  But when your club holds an NAP game, not only will you get some red points - but you're also supporting your D14 Grass Roots Fund program that helps to send NAP players to next year's NABC.  The purple is the color of the Alzheimer's Association "The Longest Day" Fundraiser this month.  Check with your local club when you can play to make a donation to this very worthy cause - or you can make a donation on behalf of the Minnesota bridge scene by clicking here.  The donation is tax-deductible, and most of us are very well versed in the difficulties that Alzheimer's patients and caregivers go through when battling this terrible disease.

Whether you are supporting D14's North American Pairs fund (which helps send NAP winners to next spring's NABC) or supporting the Alzheimer's Association (the worthiest of bridge causes!), getting some red (or purple) this month is for a great cause - so be sure to get out there and play.

May 30 2024
Connie Nelson [Avon] has unselfishly volunteered her time and effort to helm the PR Chair for the Gopher the past couple of years (and done such a terrific job!) - but now she's ready to turn over the reins to another individual for 2025.  Gopher Chair Patti Stuhlman [Minneapolis] is on the hunt for someone willing to be in charge of next year's PR for the Gopher. . .so if you know of someone who might be interested (including if that someone might be you) have them contact Patti (or Connie, for that matter) and get some details of what responsibilities go along with the position.  Tournaments of any size need volunteers to make them happen - and if you love bridge, please consider giving back a bit of your time.

May 29 2024
The Minnesota Education Fund (for more information on the Education Fund, click here) accepts donations which are tax-deductible.  Those donations are then turned around as grants to worthy causes to further participation and education in our local bridge community.  In other words, they do terrific work.

Now Unit 178 has asked the Education Fund to pay for the first year's ACBL dues for new bridge students who complete a bridge class.  It's a nice perk to encourage students to keep playing (and to play in our local clubs).  Unit 103 will make a similar request, so that participants in bridge classes Minnesota-wide will have a jump start on their ACBL memberships.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Minnesota Education Fund - their work benefits all of us.  (Donation information here.)

May 29 2024
At the Unit 103 Board meeting last week at the Gopher Regional, they have decided to try and encourage clubs to run more Flight "C" games for the North American Pairs and Grand National Teams by reimbursing local clubs the table fees for those games.  It's an effort to increase Non-Life Master player participation in the NAP program.

Here is how it would work: The Unit would play for the table fees for any Unit 103 club that runs a stand-alone Flight "C" game (either NAP or GNT) up to the first 30 tables (in either competition).  This way, local bridge clubs can run the game for free - and more Flight "C" players will be in the competition!

Watch for your local club to run one (or two) of these games, and if you don't seem them on the schedule have your club manager contact a Unit 103 Board member for more information.  Flight "C" players are the future of bridge - and we want to encourage those players as much as possible.