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story.lead_photo.caption Photo submitted Robert Gromatka, tournament chairman, presents a check for $396 to Julie Storm, a member of Northwest Arkansas Veterans Council. The money was raised during the three-day Bella Vista NLM Bridge Tournament.

Staff Report

The seventh annual Bella Vista NLM Regional and Sectional Bridge Tournament ended up on a fall-like Arkansas weekend with a record of 276.5 tables played over three full days. That is an 11 percent increase over last year. The play was competitive but nice, with 283 individual players attending.

"It's a phenomenal turnout," said tournament chairman Bob Gromatka. "Our tournament depends on attracting a lot of newer players and if we can grow the ranks of nonlife master players, we are having a good tournament." The tournament is sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) although one does not have to be a league member to play.

Local players who placed highest during the tournament were:

Friday Gold Rush Pairs

• Robert Makela and Jeff Starr, 57.14 percent, seventh overall

• Joe Patton and Rex Butler, 56 percent, first in C

Saturday Gold Rush Pairs

• Barb Francis and Janet Davis, 62.3 percent, first overall

• Robert Makela and Jeff Starr, 60 percent, second overall

• Eric and Jean Olsen, 59 percent, third overall

Saturday Swiss

• Jeff LaCaze, Dale Morrisett, C. Wyatt, Mary Lou Wyatt (Oklahoma City), tie for second and third

Sunday Gold Rush Pairs

• Val Watson and Laura Batey, 59 percent, first overall

Friday Open Pairs (Sectional)

• Judy Bappe and Linda Wallman, 57.34 percent, fifth overall

Sunday Open Pairs (Sectional)

• Len Fettig and Kevin Glasgow, 59.28 percent, fourth overall

• Robert Makela and Judy Bappe, 57.45 percent, fifth overall

The top masterpoint winner was John Jennings of Rogers, with 60.61 points.

There were 75 players counted at the kick-off event -- a bridge workshop hosted by Karen Walker, a columnist for Bridge Bulletin and bridge teacher for over 35 years. The workshop topic was titled "Push Back! Tune Up Your Competitive Bidding" and included preempts, weak two bidding and sacrifices. Gromatka said, "Everybody felt the lessons were relevant, understandable and easy to incorporate into their own game."

A charity component was included for the second year in a row. More than $396 was raised in support of the Bella Vista Veterans Memorial and its Wall of Honor project.

"Play nice!" is the Bella Vista Duplicate Bridge Club's (DBC) motto and the club is said to be the envy of every bridge club in District 15, not only for its membership growth and spirit of volunteerism but as a club where its players feel safe, respected and comfortable, according to Gromatka.

The Bella Vista DBC plays at 12:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at Riordan Hall. Beginner lessons are available and encouraged as the club supports beginner bridge in Northwest Arkansas. Call Kevin Glasgow, club manager at 713-824-5694 for more information.

Diane Warren will teach a beginner bridge class every Thursday, beginning Oct. 4, for six weeks. The class time is 10-11:30 a.m. in the Bridge Room at Riordan Hall. Cost is $60 and includes a book.

Sports on 09/12/2018

Print Headline: Bridge Tournament has record turnout

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