The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

RIP Al Lochli

Yesterday I found out that “Big Al” Lochli died on Monday. He wasn’t terribly old or in apparent poor health; he played a day or two in the sectional Friday, so this is a surprise and shock. I hadn’t played much with him recently, but he was a fixture of the San Antonio Bridge scene for years, being the owner (until a few years ago) of the Turtle Creek club, and winning the District 16 Jacoby Award (for work to promote Bridge, mentor new players, and other services).

In many ways, Al was a stereotypical grognard, except that he played bridge instead of wargames. (And that includes the relative lack of social graces … at a gaming convention you wouldn’t bat an eye but he raised hackles at the bridge club with blunt talk from time to time. However, he was insanely protective of new players. I heard several echoes of this sentiment last night). I’ll miss him.

Al is the 2nd semi-irregular bridge partner I’ve lost since moving back to San Antonio (the other was Darlene Riely). At some point it will be too depressing to go back to the bridge club as the empty chairs before game time become burdened with memories.

I told my favorite story in Judy’s blog, but I’ll copy it here.  (The reference is to the Italian Blue club that Al and Robert played that “nobody else understood”).

I played a few games with Al when I moved back to San Antonio, he loaned me the [Blue Club] system notes and I found a copy of the Terence Reese book [describing the system]. So we played Blue Club (maybe 5 or 10 times). One day (a year later) he and Robert had an auction with a bunch of alerts. Since I knew the system, before the lead I just asked Al “Same as we play?” and he said “No” and then turned to Robert.

“Even he’s read the book! Why can’t you read it?!” and then proceeded to explain their auction.


Written by taogaming

September 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Misc

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  1. Long ago, a partner and I learned Precision, but weren’t able to play regularly enough to keep it in good shape, so we reverted back to a more natural system. One time in a tournament, the opposing pair were playing Precision. As soon as an alertable bid was made, the bidder’s partner said alert and started to explain. We had to say, “you’re not supposed to explain unless we ask!” They had a horrible time; I think the requests from most of their opponents to explain their bids was what enabled them to play the system at all.

    Eric Brosius

    September 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    • I should be clear … Al was berating his partner for not knowing the “standard” Blue Club, but they both understood the system as they had agreed to play it (mostly).


      September 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm

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