Tuesday, 18 December 2012

BLOG 18 December 2012

Congratulations to JBC1 who comfortably won the Interclub Teams. The top three placing were as follows:

JBC1              490
Hillbrow         425
Alliance         399

I express my thanks to the Links and in particular, Peta Feinstein and the Orchards for the hosting of the event. I would also like to thank Mrs Bernstein and Carol for all their assistance in the tournament.

Bernard Scop has tendered his resignation from the SABF Committee. I expressed my regret as I was able to formulate a number of insightful ideas. Bernard believed that communication between the SABF, the Unions and players needed to be improved. This is of vital importance and it was decided at our meeting that before Congress next year the SABF Committee would meet with a representative from each of the Unions.

The GBU have nominated Philip Feinstein to serve on the SABF Committee.

Heidi Atkinson ran a very successful Tournament Director’s Course and furnished a very detailed report back from the Interclub.
I am pleased to report that Heidi will attend the European Bridge League’s Tournament Director Course in January 2013. Heidi has undertaken to organise and run local TD courses in 2013 and will be conducting one prior to the Western Cape’s bridge festival in December.

I am also pleased to report that commencing late in January a SABF initiative will commence with Tim Cope providing lessons online on Sundays on BBO. A roster will be created by Anne in consultation with Tim. Only SABF members will apply for the coaching. Tim will thereafter prepare notes that will be available to SABF members. This promises to be a fantastic opportunity for all SABF members and I would like to thank Tim for his efforts herein.

On a sad note I have been informed of the sad news of two members passing away. Fiona Wade and Aboo Lachporia who will be missed.

Congratulations to Hilary Nick and Jan Chemaly on reaching the status of Grand Master.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012



It’s been six months since the election of the present SABF Committee. I would like to thank my whole committee for their assistance and a special thank you to the Executive, who I am almost in daily contact. They always make themselves available to bounce ideas and I value their input.

1.                  As you are aware, the SABF has invited the Unions to co-sponsor seminars presented by experts. So far only KwaZulu-Natal have utilised the offer and Craig Gower’s seminars were very well received. There have been enquiries from other centres and we urge the Unions to take advantage of this initiative in order to expose their players to the international players.

2.                  Commencing in the new year, there will be online lessons given by Tim Cope on BBO. Anybody will be able to kibbutz four players being given lessons. There will be a roster that you could apply to play and be coached online. Tim will thereafter prepare a body of notes that will be available only to SABF members.

3.                  I am pleased to report that through Carol’s efforts we have, at last, started to make contact with the Society of the Deaf and plan, with the GBU, to teach bridge at the their community centre on Thursday mornings.

The rest of the provinces are nearly a full decade behind the Cape although I have heard very positive reports from what is happening in Pretoria. We are hoping for SASCOC to provide us with the necessary entries into the schools. Experience has shown us that only if you are lucky enough to have a bridge playing teacher or principal can the program retain its impetus. The Minister of Sport has emphasised the importance of school sport and we need to get involved. One can only look enviously at the success that chess has had.

Heidi Atkinson has been selected to attend a course in Germany through which she will hopefully obtain EU accreditation. Heidi will thereafter be conducting Tournament Director workshops throughout the country. I am advised that her workshop on Wednesday at the Orchards was informative and very well run.

The overall aim of the SABF committee is to make the SABF more visible and to provide answers to the old age question “what do I get out of joining the SABF?”

Before Congress next year the SABF Committee will meet with a representative from each of the Unions for further attempts to open up the channels of communication.  We believe that having difficulty in communicating our messages and look for ways to improve the communication.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

BLOG 6 November 2012

On Sunday night, Carol and I went to the SA Sports Awards dinner at the Sandton Convention Centre. They served no whiskey during the entire 2 hours; they must have saved themselves a fortune. We were placed at a table with Caster Semenya and two tables away from the entire Le Clos family when Chad thanked his adopted family (I thought it must be Carol – see earlier blog).

The Interclub teams start in Johannesburg as well as the bi-annual meeting (Roz - will we be serving whiskey?). There is also a second Committee meeting with a long agenda, this promises to be an interesting weekend.

BLOG 31 October 2012

KZN held the Greyville Tournament which had 98 pairs competing. We were fortunate enough to have Craig Gower who gave lectures on Thursday night and Friday afternoon which enthralled the Durban crowd. Craig also had the misfortune of playing with me at Di Adrain’s club on the Friday morning before he went through each and every hand with the members thereafter. The SABF have invited the unions to put forward proposals with respect to seminars held by the top players that will be co-hosted by the SABF and the unions.

Congratulations to Craig Gower and Merle Modlin for winning the Greyville, beating out Tim Cope and Glen Holman. Further congratulations to Roger Wilson and his team for an event that ran very smoothly.

Next week is the Interclub teams being held at the Links as well as the bi-annual meeting.

BLOG – 7 October 2012

On the 28th to the 30th Carol and I competed in the Bedford teams of four. I confessed to having to Google how far Bedford was from Port Elizabeth and was told that the driving distance was 8 ½ days to reach Southern England. Carol drove and we got there a lot quicker.

The 24 teams competing in the Tournament, which when one considers Gauteng for their mini congress managed 18 teams and Durban only 10. This is a fantastic credit to the Tournament. The only time not playing bridge was spent eating and then eating some more and drinking. As with all tournaments in the Eastern Cape as posted by Tim Cope, players are to endure a starvation diet (I had to take my trousers out a further level after the weekend). The Tournament was very well run by Heidi and Carol was an absolute pleasure to play with. She only looked disappointed once when I passed a cue bid raise and made her play in the opponent’s suit in a 3-2 fit (I think she could have played it better). Carol and I received useful information regarding the development of bridge in the Eastern Cape. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Durban Tourism Exhibition

BLOG (18 September 2012)

I was told to up my game on the blog by a colleague who’s sentiment was repeated by Ros Whitburn at the Wild Coast pairs. The event was won by Trish Crosse and Bev Hewitt (their second win at a Red Point Event).
Carol has been in Durban to run the SABF site at the SASCOC and Durban Tourism Exhibition. I enclose photographs of the stand with the Clarence Road School children playing. This idea was Mrs Adrain’s and certainly made our stand, stand out from the rest. We were also positioned next to SASCOC.
I attended some meetings with Carol and some valuable contacts have been made, which we will be following up. (Enclosed are photographs of the stand)
However, if we do not receive any SASCOC sponsorship, the blame can be attributed solely to Carol’s behaviour at the Gala Dinner. While the Press interviewed Chad Le Clos, somebody asked Carol if she was the mother. Carol responded by saying, “yes, I’m Chad’s mother” with which Burt Le Clos bounded over to introduce himself to Carol, as Chad’s father. This had all played out directly in front of the whole Le Clos family.
We have been advised that Zonal qualification dates for the Bermuda Bowl and Venice Cup will now clash with the proposed date for the Nationals. We are looking at alternative dates and hope to be able to revert shortly.
The SABF has invited unions to set up seminars with an expert – which will be co-hosted with the union and SABF. As at date of writing this blog, Natal have taken advantage of the arrangement. I have also had an enquiry from Di Pennington from EP, but as yet nothing from other unions.
The unions are being requested to put forward proposals regarding their development plans and request for sponsorship. Hillary Nick and her team have submitted a proposal in respect of the Jack Cheatham Award sponsored by Murray and Roberts. This is an award that is aimed at promoting sports development projects.
Natal is set to increase its school projects next year and I urge the other unions to give serious thought to development.
The SABF is also looking at applying for Lotto money, but it is vital that we can show as the bridge community that we are giving back to the community as a whole.
Entries have opened for interclub and as space is limited, early entry is advised. Our next SABF meeting is to be held during interclub with the Bi-Annual meeting.
World Bridge have proposed for new Simultaneous Pairs in October, December, March and August to raise funds to help “Youth Bridge”. The dates for the first two are Monday, the 22nd and Wednesday, the 24th of October and the 17th and 19th December 2012 (these dates are still to be confirmed). Clubs are encouraged to participate. Material will be sent by email to the organisers and booklets and hands will be available on the website, www.ecatsbridge.com

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

I have received useful report backs from all the team captains from the teams participating in Lille. Unfortunately, in the open team were drawn in a section with Italy, Sweden, Canada and Russia who all advanced to the quarter finals with Sweden being the eventual winners. As Helen pointed out in her report, that other country’s travelled with coaches, captains and masseurs in attendance.

I have been advised that the individual system cards to be utilised against the opposition prepared by Tim Cope proved to be invaluable. Both the ladies and the seniors teams benefitted tremendously from the coaching.

In mid-August SASCOC flew me up to attend the SASCOC AGM and I was astounded at the figures that SASCOC is pouring into other sports. It is essential that we meet all SASCOC’s requirements in order that participants in our teams can be properly funded rather than effectively having to fund the trips themselves.

The World Bridge Federation have just published their calendar with Zonal qualifying now clashing with our Congress causing us to reschedule the SABF calendar. As, no doubt you are aware, next year’s Congress will be held in Johannesburg and further details as to the date and venue will hopefully follow shortly.

Congratulations must also be given to Western Province for winning the Medwin and Gauteng for winning the Berkowitz. It is unfortunate that we only had four unions represented in both the Medwin and the Berkowitz. These are two of the most prestigious tournaments played and it is disappointing that the event is not garnering the requisite support from the other unions. A special thanks to Martha Pistorius who ensured that Northern Gauteng were the most hospitable hosts. The tournament was controlled by Sid Ismail who also represented the SABF at the Paralympics Gala.

I want to congratulate Desiree Pieters and Susanne Weide for winning the Jan Prins Tournament on 9 August 2012.

I have just returned from a very successfully run Port Elizabeth Mini Congress. The pairs event was won by Desmond Duckett and Di Pennington and the teams by Hennie Fick, Kevin Smith, Chris Bosenberg and Claire Whitburn. The teams event consisted of 20 teams and as with my visit to East London I am impressed with the enthusiasm of the teams. In Natal, there seems to be a reluctance to enter teams event whereas the pairs events are generally well supported.

Congratulations to Ian and Gabriella Hunter who were victorious at the Hunters Rest Tournament.

Perhaps, with results such as the one below, which took place during the Medwin that contributed to the lack of enthusiasm for teams:

West                           North                          East                            South
1 Club                        Pass                           1 Spade                     2 NT
Pass                           3 NT                            Double          
Pass                           Pass                           Pass

I am advised that there was much thought before North bid 3 NT and much thought when South elected to leave the double in. The end result was, a not so pretty, 2300 (2 NT played for 5-5). This should have made for an interesting scoring with partners.

As you all know, we lost a true bridge legend in Petra Mansell last month. I only played in one teams event with her. Teams of eight, where I was paired with Denise Nordengen. Playing as the fourth pair and having one opponent who bid twice on two points to land in an unbeatable 3 NT did not receive much sympathy from Petra when the scores were called out. Towards the end of the afternoon, neither Denise nor I wanted to venture near the scoring table.

I want to thank Di Adrain and Roger Wilson for their very personal and touching obituaries of Petra who will be missed by all.

SABF’s next major event is the Interclub Teams which is being held at the Orchards. Teams are limited and I would urge the club secretaries to ensure early entry into the tournament.


Thursday, 30 August 2012


I am aware that Petra Mansell passed away on 15 August 2012 and I have asked Roger Wilson and Di Adrain to share some thoughts about the bridge legend:


It was with great sadness that we received the news of Petra Mansell’s death last night.Kwa Zulu Natal Bridge Union players along with all players across the country will mourn her passing.
Petra was born in Hamburg Germany and at the age of 8 she was introduced to Bridge as her parents” fill in fourth”, they were competitive and by all accounts she could hold her own even at that tender age.
In 1936 the Bachman family immigrated to Durban. In spite of the fact that she could not speak English she matriculated a year later with 6 distinctions.
Petra’s Bridge accomplishments were many. Winner of Club, Provincial and National Championships she reached the highest level with partner Alma Schneider representing her Country in the 1960’s and 1970’s at 3 World Olympiads, South Africa winning  Silver medals on two occasions. After isolation was over in 1994 she played International  bridge with partner Merle Modlin, participating in the Venice Cup and the Olympiads, retiring from representative bridge in 2008. This partnership was very successful and their absence from the South African Women’s team will be felt for years to come.
I became involved with Petra in the 70’s when she asked me if I would join her in establishing the Wild Coast Bridge Tournament at the Wild Coast Sun which was held annually. It had a small beginning but with Petra’s enthusiasm and energy we were soon able to build up the entries to 150 pairs with a waiting list! This experience was a learning curve for me, in those days we scored by hand and sometimes stayed up all night until the scores balanced. Working with Petra you had to be on your toes at all times, my instructions were “customer’s first, get on with it, what are you waiting for”, this included the hotel staff and the management as well. I learnt fast. In the early days we were wined and dined by the management and on one occasion we were hosted by the MD from Johannesburg. The next morning he came to me and said” I was fascinated last night, Petra Mansell is a guinea a minute”.
Margie and I have been extremely privileged to have played bridge with Petra at home and overseas. We have enjoyed her companionship, her loyalty and her sound advice however we were not immune to a lecture when things did not go too well!  During our first appearance at the Venice Cup we were amazed that so many international players were in awe of Petra, her reputation had preceded her and they were anxious to meet her. During the team matches it was always comforting to have Petra in the other room, one could always rely on interesting results coming through.
Petra received many accolades, she deserved them all. Life in the bridge world will be the poorer without her, she has been such a colourful character who has influenced so many players particularly here in KZN.
Our friendship with Petra has been important to us and we will miss her greatly.

- Di Adrain

Petra Mansell was the most extraordinary woman I had the good fortune to know.  I was extremely privileged to be her bridge partner for the last several years and, more importantly, her friend.
Petra was a bridge legend – certainly the best woman player this country has ever known. At the table she was charming to her opponents, never offering advice unless asked.  It was indeed challenging to be her partner and I was always being told in no uncertain terms that I should have bid or played differently. She once remarked “You’ll never be a bridge player – you’re too lazy” which is probably true.  Nevertheless playing with her has improved my bridge immensely and I am extremely grateful that she gave her time to play with me.
It was fitting that we won the last tournament that we played in, the KZN Mini Congress Pairs, and on the way home she remarked, with a degree of self-satisfaction, “I’ve still got it”.  She considered it a blessing that her mind was still as sharp as a razor until the day she died – “I don’t mind the pain as long as I’ve got my marbles”.
Petra was also extremely generous. We used to have wonderful bridge weekends at Val Stephenson’s cottage on the South Coast. Petra always insisted on playing for money and had small side bets with her opposition. Whenever she won, which you can imagine was most of the time, she would donate her winnings to Val’s housekeeper.
A group of us used to go to the casino almost every Sunday with Petra insisting on paying for dinner most of the time as it had become a “tradition”.  Contrary to expectations, Petra was not a particularly good blackjack player. Successful gambling is about patience and to describe Petra as impatient is an understatement.  She used to blame the dealer for bad cards and, when trying to explain that the dealer had no control over the cards, Petra responded “they always seem so pleased to take my money!”
Petra was devoted to her family and I was fortunate to be included in many family functions. Petra’s grandchildren doted on her and it was wonderful to witness the close relationship between them.
She was short and even abrupt on the phone and never ended a call with goodbye – it was always “love you” following which she would terminate the call immediately.
Petra will always be with me at the bridge table, so for me this isn’t goodbye but “love you”. 

- Roger Wilson

BLOG (7 August 2012)

Good luck to all the teams competing in Lille. Tim Cope has prepared convention cards to be utilised against opposing teams. For those wishing to follow, the results link is  http://www.worldbridge.org/tourn/Lille.12/microSite/Results.htm . Roz Bernstein will be attending the World Bridge Association meeting and we await her report. I would like to thank Larry Chemaly for organising shirts on an Investec sponsorship. Unfortunately our team received no assistance from SASCOC but the SABF will be engaging an agent to apply for funding in the new year from the Lotto to assist development and the National teams. Carol has also been invited to the Paralympics Gala Dinner (I get to go to the SASCOC AGM the day before). 
Heidi Atkinson was invited to attend as an observer. Heidi has agreed to conduct a Tournament Directors seminar the day before the Interclub on 7 November 2012 at the Orchards. Further debits will be provided, but we urge, where possible, Clubs to take advantage of this course.
The inter-provincial in unfortunately clashing with the World Mind Games but it is disappointing to note that only four unions are represented in both the Medwin and the Berkowitz competitions.
Di Pennington has prepared the Red Point calendar for next year and the draft calendar will be posted on the web shortly. As soon as the World Bridge calendar is published, we will finalise our calendar to ensure that no important events clash.
The next SABF meeting will be held in November, coinciding with the Interclub teams. One issue that needs to be clarified pertaining to my last blog pertains to clubs utilising their discretion regarding “swallows” from overseas. If clubs could hold this issue in abeyance as it was never intended to grant a wide unfettered discretion to who can belong to the SABF. This issue will be finalised in November and I apologise for any inconvenience caused therein.
I also urge clubs to keep an eye on the promotion list published by Ann Sturrock each month. Cards will be printed and delivered to members obtaining new status. These promotions should be announced at club evenings. 

Friday, 13 July 2012

“Bridge has all the excitement of war and only 10% of the risk.”
The author of this quote has obviously never played bridge with Denise Nordengen as the 10% would have been dramatically increased.
I must also congratulate Paul Mestern who has reached the stages of a Grand Master. His name was inexplicably left off my last blog.
Communication has been sent to all the Unions that all members playing more than three times at affiliated clubs are required to be affiliated. The Committee specifically considered the issue of “swallows” from overseas and would expect the Clubs to show some discretion.
That being said, it is necessary for the SABF to be seen to be putting back into the Clubs so they can clearly see the benefit. The Unions have been invited to put forward proposals with respect to seminars given by the top players. We also intend to provide tournament directing seminars. Heidi Atkinson has been invited to attend the World Mind Games as an observer and I am sure, we will be able to benefit from the knowledge she acquires.
The teams representing South Africa in the Mind Olympics are as follows:
Open Team
Alon Apteker and Craig Gower
Neville Eber and Chris Bosenberg
Robert Stephens and Larry Chemaly (Captain)

Captain: Helen Kruger
Charmaine Lipschitz and Rene Kenne  
Marina Breytenbach and Ros Factor
Maureen Narunsky and Joy Swiel   

Captain: Roz Bernstein
Gordon and Kathy Driver
Val Bloom and Tas Nastoridis
Nellonia Vorster and Jackie Dorfan

We wish the teams the best of luck!
On Wednesday, 18th July, Carol Grunder and Sam Samjee will be representing South African Bridge at SASCOC’s gala dinner.
Congratulations to Craig Gower and Alon Apteker for winning the Sun City Tournament. Further congratulations to Lex and his team for a well run and enjoyable event (except the machines!).
In considering to take the position as president, Di Adrain assured me that I would be able to issue decrees such “no more egg sandwiches”. Catering time can be put to far better use.

Monday, 9 July 2012

News & Congress Proposal

On 16 June 2012 the SABF held its first Committee Meeting.
With respect to Congress, it was agreed that the following changes would be implemented:
1.  Play will begin at the published time with a warning followed by penalties for repeat latecomers
2.  Results will be made available after each session separate from the bulletin
3.  Results will be posted on the Internet as soon as possible after play ends
4.  Results will be projected on a screen in the venue as soon as possible after play ends in a session
5.  Butler scores (Datums) will be added to the scoring of the Teams Event
6.  Screens will be introduced for the Final of the Championship Pairs
7.  Barometer Scoring in the Pairs Finals of each section will be discontinued
8.  The Appeals Committee will consist of a Chair plus at least two Vice Chairs and a number of experienced senior players; an appropriate separate venue will be identified for the Appeals Committee to meet; a player with limited bridge knowledge should not be disadvantaged in any appeal and should be suitably assisted and advised in submitting an appeal; no member of the Committee considering a particular appeal may have a direct or indirect interest/stake in the outcome of the appeal.

After having receiving a detailed format from Tim Cope regarding the change in the Congress format and inviting comment from various players, the following proposal has been put forward pertaining to future Congresses. We welcomed people’s comments with respect to the proposed changes.

Requirements that there are 4 qualifying groups

Day 1             Teams Qualifying                                          32 boards
Day 2             Teams Qualifying                                          64 boards
Day 3             Teams Qualifying                                          64 boards
Day 4             Championship QF                                        48 boards match
                        Championship SF                                         24 board match (1st ½ of SF)
                        Losing SF                                                      24 board match
All other sections
                        QF                                                                   30 board match
                        SF and losing SF                                          30 board match
                        Mixed pairs                                                    (evening)
Day 5             Morning
                        Championship SF                                         24 boards (2nd ½ of SF)
                        Championship 5v6, 7v8                               30 boards
                        All other section playoffs
                        1v2, 3v4, 5v6, 7v8                                         30 boards
Teams Final                                                   30 boards
                        First Session – Pairs qualifying                  27 boards
Day 6             Morning
                        Teams final                                                    60 boards
Second session – pairs qualifying              27 boards
Third session – pairs qualifying                   27 boards

                        Pairs in teams final drop in with
predetermined percentage

Day 7             Two sessions pairs final                               60 boards
Day 8             One session pairs final                                 28 boards                             

It was also agreed that a new category of Gold Life Masters would be added to the Master Point rank for players with more than 900 but less than 1200 red points.

Following Congress, the following players have reached Grand Master status:
Alon Apteker
Michael Bernstein
Brenda Foster
Imtiaz Kaprey

On the weekend of 23, 24 and 25 June we competed in the East London Mini Congress which was exceptionally well-run and well catered. I congratulate Peter Connell and his Committee. Congratulations also to Glynis Dornan and Esther Goosen who won the Pairs event.

Finally, in Natal we had our Mini Congress this past weekend where the Grunder team won the Teams and Roger Wilson and Petra Mansell won the Pairs.

Next is the Sun City Event, where I hope that the machines are kinder to me than last year!


Wednesday, 23 May 2012


I initially schooled in Johannesburg but matriculated at DHS. I completed my BA LLB at the University of Natal. I practised as an attorney for 7 years before completing pupillage and have now practised as an advocate for 10 years.  

My folks played bridge and I would often watch hands. At Greenside High, we played klaberjass at every possible opportunity and four of us played very rudimentary bridge. I hadn’t played bridge since leaving school when a friend who was needing a fourth in a social asked me to play. I was completely hooked. Each Wednesday morning I would wander into Adrian Collingwood’s office (who also practices at the Durban Bar) and question him with difficulties that I had had at the table. I continued playing social bridge for approximately six months until the one member of the school advised that he would be overseas for six months. Collingwood then suggested that I go for lessons with Jan Chemaly in order to start playing at the Club. Jan introduced bidding boxes and stopped practice of opening (a tiny club). After two courses with Jan I plucked up the courage to go to her Club where I was paired with a partner and finished second in the D section. I was immediately converted to Duplicate and began playing as often as I could.

After one weekend having played Friday night, Saturday morning, afternoon and evening as well as Sunday afternoon I required physiotherapy for my back (my first bridge injury).

I initially played with Ann Miller and when she was not able to play for a time I was lucky enough to pair up with Val Pearce and Val Stephenson who is my regular tournament partner. The first Nationals I competed in was at Durban two years ago, where I delayed having my appendix out in an effort to at least complete the qualifying and the pairs (not a great success – the appendix ruptured).

Fiona Smith convinced me to stand on the KZNBU Committee, and I served for two years under Roger Wilson before taking the chair.

I have been fortunate to play with most of Natal’s top players including Denise Nordengen who has forbidden me from ever leading a diamond, even with the ace, king and queen of diamonds, I have to find another lead.

I was very impressed with the development programme headed by Western Cape and will be contacting Kitty Cruise to obtain further details.

During my presidency I intend to push development specifically in the schools and hopefully the universities (I am thankful that I didn’t discover bridge at university). I contacted the Society of the Deaf and forged some sort of partnership in teaching.

I am often asked by friends why I have become so obsessed with bridge and explain that it is the rush of excitement each time you open up the hand. It is this excitement I hope we can pass on to the youth.

I look forward to working with my committee and hope we can promote bridge throughout the country.

M. A. Y. F. W