2015 ABTA awards
This afternoon, bridge teacher Jeff Schuett, from Riverwoods, IL, was presented with the 2015 Teacher of the Year award. Here’s a photo of Jeff with me and the trophy I got to present to him. Congratulations, Jeff!
Tonight, after running into Jeff Meckstroth in the elevator (very exciting!) I made my way to the banquet dinner, which was followed by the presentation of the ABTA book awards. I was delighted when Julian Laderman received a special certificate and mention from the panel for his book, Bumblepuppy Days. He was pretty delighted too!
It’s a wonderful book about the history and development of the game, from about 1800 to 1950. Julian makes it an engaging read, even for the non-history fan. An essential item for any bridge player’s library!
Then a second nice surprise as the ABTA announced the winner of this year’s Intermediate Book of the Year… David Bird’s Winning Duplicate Tactics! This is another excellent book for club players who want to improve their skills playing duplicate. David addresses issues specific to this highly-competitive form of bridge, all presented in his usual witty prose. Since he lives in England, I got to accept the award on his behalf.
A third book from Master Point Press was nominated this year but lost out to Larry Cohen’s newest book, Larry Teaches Opening Leads, which was chosen for the beginner/novice award. Our book is the new quizbook by Barbara Seagram and David Bird, Bidding at Bridge. I have to give it an honourable mention here because it is my favourite of the three quiz books. So many bidding topics are covered and not only do you get many quiz hands, but a mini lesson for each topic as well. I think this book helped my bidding a great deal. It really helps to practice something when you’ve just read about it! And there are certainly many practice hands in here. Two of Barbara and David’s other books in this format have been past ABTA winners, so we can’t win them all, but this one is definitely my favourite.
All this excitement was followed by an excellent panel of experts, who were hilarious and surprisingly in agreement on many of the bidding issues posed to them. One thing that stuck: Jerry Helms’ definition of the “North Carolina game-try”: you bid game and then try to make it. They wrapped up with a question about everyone’s most embarrassing moment at the bridge table. I hope video was taken because it’s a you-had-to-be-there sort of thing.
The night was topped off by my finally meeting the tournament bookseller, Jeremy Lewis, who I have been talking to on the phone for years (when he orders books from us), and today was our first meeting. We totally hit it off! Funny, you instantly get a feel for people who are booksellers. Jeremy shares the same passion for books (bridge books!) and is quite the salesman too. If you’re at a National event or even a regional tournament, you’ll probably meet him someday. And he’ll sell you not one but two books!
As I was heading up to my room, I noticed all the bridge happening down in the basement. The NABC has finally begun! It’s a new energy here in the hotel. A great energy. All because of a game.
More tomorrow as I try my luck selling books!