Keeping You Informed

Monday, April 23, 2012  

With many thanks to Bill Landrum for his hard work we now have a photo albums page for SOMBA events and special events at our clubs.  To access a photo album, just click on the [Photo Albums] menu button at the top of the page or click on the photo in the Update box.  And don’t forget to check the Keeping You Informed posting of Sunday, April 22nd for more SOMBA news including important information regarding the Wolverine Regional.  

Al Tushman (

Sunday, April 22, 2012

.  In just two weeks SOMBA will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the Wolverine Regional which will take place from Monday, May 7th through Saturday, May 12th at the Costick Activity Center in Farmington Hills.  For many decades SOMBA has taken its role in the local bridge community very seriously.  SOMBA sponsors four bridge tournaments every year, publishes a newsletter, The SOMBA Echo, maintains the Southern Michigan Bridge Association website, participates in the publication of a directory of local bridge players, and encourages its members to be active in the bridge community.  SOMBA also works in many ways with clubs in our area such as offering bidding boxes and paying the extra fees for North American Pair games. SOMBA works to enhance the bridge experience of all players in tournaments and in club games.

In honor of its special anniversary, this year’s Wolverine Regional will be bigger and better than ever.  The play area will be festively decorated, there will be a daily bulletin, lots of photographs, registration gifts, and a raffle drawing on Saturday offering a first prize of $500.00 and a second prize of $250.00. Every entry buys a place at the bridge table and a raffle ticket.  The more entries, the more raffle tickets you will accrue for the big drawing.  There will be other daily prizes during the week such as $25.00 local restaurant gift certificates.

If you play on Bridge Base Online, make sure to look for SOMBA’s advertisement for the Wolverine Regional. Many thanks to Bill Landrum for looking after the advertisement.

This year’s Wolverine Regional schedule is packed with events, including four bracketed Knockout Team events.  The schedule this year is different from prior years and players should make sure they check the schedule before arriving.  For convenience, players who haven’t picked up a schedule at their club or downloaded it from the District 12 website or the BBO site can check the schedule by clicking here.  Players should note that the first event starts at 9:00 a.m. on Monday and that there is also a 9:00 a.m. event on Tuesday.  The last event, the all day Stratified Swiss Teams, will take place on the final day of the event, Saturday.  In addition, although it isn’t clear on the flyer, there is indeed a novice Swiss Team event on Saturday.

Players should also note that all stratifications, for team events and for pair events, will be based on team and pair averages rather than on the masterpoints of the player with the most masterpoints.

The 2011 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs races have concluded as has the SOMBA tournament trophy races.  The final standings for the SOMBA Mini-McKenney races can be found by clicking here.  The final standings for the SOMBA Ace of Clubs races can be found by clicking here.  Here are the winners in each category:

Masterpoint Category Mini-McKenney Ace of Clubs
0 - 5 L. Nicholas Treinen Zoe Alpern
5 – 20 Janis James-Rubin Janis James-Rubin
20 – 50 Fred Goodell Fred Goodell
50 – 100 Larry Lewis Larry Lewis
100 – 200 Charles Schiff Charles Schiff
200 – 300 Anthony Savant Anthony Savant
300 – 500 Jonathan Fleischmann Satish Shah
500 – 1,000 Victoria Vallone Nancy Finkel
1,000 – 2,500 Robert Raf Robert Raf
2,500 – 5,000 Debra Eaves Debra Eaves
5,000 – 7,500 Jack Shartsis Jack Shartsis
7,500 – 10,000 Michael Crane Henry Shevitz
10,000+ Beverly Gardner Beverly Gardner

SOMBA also has  tournament trophy races where the masterpoints won by a player in each of the four annual SOMBA tournaments are totaled.  The winners in the 2011 races are:

Masterpoint Category Tournament Trophy Race Winner
0 – 5 Zoe Alpern
5 – 20 Rosemary Sharland
20 – 50 Arlene Geisler
50 – 100 Larry Lewis
100 – 200 Charles Schiff
200 – 500 Neal Strand
500 – 1,500 Ross Weinstein
1,500 – 3,000 Kiran Gulati
3,000+ Robert Cappelli

Soon we will have a new photo albums page.  At that time you will be able to check it out by clicking on either the [Photo Albums] menu button at the top of the page or on the photograph in the Update Box.  At first we will have two albums on the page, SOMBA’s 2011 Spooktacular and the visit by Bob Hamman to The Bridge Connection last June.  New albums will be added from time to time.  Look for the 50th anniversary Wolverine Tournament photo album shortly after the tournament ends.

Please check out our various bridge-related articles by clicking on the [Bridge Hands and Articles] menu button at the top of this page. We have just added Bill Landrum’s nice article on a hand he played while representing District 12, along with partner Chris Wiggins, in the North American Pairs event in Memphis.  We are looking for articles to post on the Bridge Hands and Articles page and submissions from our members for review would be appreciated.

Due to unforeseen circumstances concerning  the editor-in-chief, publication of the SOMBA Echo has been delayed.  SOMBA promises to resume publication shortly.

We endeavor to keep our website timely and interesting but we need the help of our readers to accomplish this.  Please submit your suggestions and any timely information you may have by clicking on the [Contact Us] button at the top of the page.

Al Tushman (

Monday, October 31, 2011

One of the highest recognized levels of achievement in the world of bridge is the attainment of the rank of Platinum Life Master, the accumulation of at least 10,000 masterpoints. The rank is attained not just by longevity at the bridge table but by the demonstration of consistent enormous skill while playing. SOMBA member Michael Crane reached this rank at the Wolverine Regional this past May and became only the second SOMBA member, after Beverly Gardner, to become a Platinum Life Master. Michael was playing with his partner, Bob Webber, and teammates, Henry Shevitz and Daniel Suty, when he picked up his 10,000th masterpoint. The quest took roughly 40 years since Michael won his first two red points at a tournament in 1971. Michael learned to play bridge from his roommate, Cono Emanuele, while at college, and has been a serious student of the game ever since.

It was approximately three years ago that Michael became an Emerald Life Master (7,500 masterpoints) while playing at a tournament in Toledo with one of his regular partners, Ed Herstein. And although he doesn’t quite remember exactly when he hit the Diamond level (5,000 masterpoints) he recalls clearly that his reward was that the ACBL made him a voting member for the ACBL Hall of Fame. Since then he has had the opportunity to vote for the entry into the Hall of Fame of many deserving members and against at least one candidate he felt quite undeserving.

In addition to playing, Michael enjoys directing, teaching and serving the SOMBA unit as recorder. He has also served on the SOMBA board. He currently directs four games each week; Tuesday afternoons in Bloomfield Hills and Tuesday evenings in Rochester with his fiancée, Vickie Vallone, and two games in Ann Arbor on Thursdays. He is also regionally certified as a director (along with Beverly Gardner and Willie Winokur) so that he can fill in at local tournaments helping ACBL director Ken Van Cleve when needed. Michael has some strong opinions on the rules and believes directors should have more discretion to invoke equity at the table and try to adjust an irregularity by getting the hand back to normal. This frequently comes up in the area of revokes. Michael points out a case where during the play of a board one side revoked once costing three tricks and the other side revoked once costing no tricks, but the rules said that a revoke from one side cancels the revoke on the other side no matter how many tricks were involved. Michael is also a believer in Zero Tolerance of bad behavior and penalizing slow play, neither of which he feels is strongly enough enforced.

Michael’s work as SOMBA recorder (Bob Crafton is the MBA recorder) involves keeping directors and occasionally the ACBL home office apprised of ongoing rules or ethics violations committed by local players. This job requires him to keep track of recurring problems and sometimes doing some investigating. 

He has cut back considerably on teaching bridge but his advice to new players is that it is best to keep their game simple and no matter what conventions they choose to play, they should learn their system well. They should be comfortable with what they already have learned before taking new steps. For advanced students he advises that they should learn how to recognize a simple squeeze position and know the steps needed to execute the squeeze. 

Michael plays regularly with Vickie Vallone, his significant other, and with Bob Webber. He considers Bob a great player and says he learns something new almost every time he plays with Bob. Although he believes good judgment at the bridge table is far more important than intricate conventions he does prefer weak notrump openings (although falling out of favor with other experts) and a variation of the Jacoby two notrump bid. He prefers to play two over one. Generally, when playing with other partners he is happy to play whatever conventions they prefer. Michael currently plays two times per week in club games and frequently in local and nearby tournaments. He and Vickie plan to travel to Memphis in March for the Spring NABC and he plans to enter two nationally rated pairs events and one nationally rated team event looking for that elusive first place finish which would automatically elevate him from Platinum Life Master to Grand Life Master.

Michael has played against some of the best. He distinctly remembers playing against two great players of the past. In his early days as a player he played against Oswald Jacoby who psyched a bid against him which resulted in Michael and his partner getting a bottom on a board. Michael said to the great one: “Do you know who I am?” Jacoby said “no.” Michael said: “Exactly! How can you psych like that against someone you don’t know? I was already scared to death to play against you.” On another occasion, while playing with Henry Shevitz, they made a Gerber four clubs bid which worked out very badly. Michael said that they should never use that “stupid” convention again. Of course, unknown to them, their opponent was John Gerber himself. Gerber agreed that the convention wasn’t that terrific.

In the bridge world we frequently see only one side of people. But everyone has a life away from the bridge table and there is far more to Michael’s life than bridge. A native of the Detroit metropolitan area, Michael spent his working career with the United States Postal Service. He has been retired ten years now. He and Vickie Vallone have made a life together and Vickie’s family is now his family also. He and Vickie enjoy not only playing bridge together, online and at clubs and tournaments, but also enjoy a rich life away from the bridge table in addition to sharing family functions. Michael is a sports enthusiast and also a lover of trivia. He is also a connoisseur and collector of old movies, especially westerns and horror flicks. If you don’t know who the only person was to kill Roy Rogers in a movie, just ask him. And you won’t find many other people who consider Bela Lugosi their favorite movie actor.

SOMBA is proud of everything Michael does for the local bridge community and warmly congratulates him on his enormous achievement as a bridge player.

SOMBA’s annual Spooktacular Sectional bridge tournament concluded this past Saturday.  Spooktacular, occurring each year near Halloween time, has become one of the preeminent competitions in our area for players not exceeding 299 masterpoints.  As usual, the tournament was festive and full of fall colors, inside as well as outside. Instant photo prints of the winners and other attendees were available as souvenirs.  SOMBA’s hospitality included a free lunch and was a big hit.  Many thanks are due Marilyn Lindow and Kathy Twomey, the co-chairs, for their time, hard work and organizational skills.  Many other volunteers were there to lend helping hands including Marianne Varion, Ginny Poulter, Jane Hall, Jim Reed, Jerry Hasenjager, Scott Miller and Kathy Simpson. Photos from the event have been posted on SOMBA’s Flickr page and can be viewed by pressing the [Pictures] button at the top of this page. This year, in the Friday morning matchpoint game, 50 pairs competed. In the afternoon matchpoint game, 40 pairs competed.  And in the Saturday Swiss Teams event, 24 teams entered the competition. This was a great turnout of 299ers.  The top 12 masterpoint winners were: Larry Lewis, Lakshmi Vora, Tom Shellberg, Nancy Stein, Raj Patil, Sharad Jogal, Wilma Swayze, Rosemary Sharland, Shirley Friedly, Jane Edson, Suzanne McIlhiny, and Bradley Keller. Congratulations to the top winners.

SOMBA’s next major event is its Apple Cider Sectional which will take place at the William Costick Activity Center in Farmington Hills from Thursday, November 10th through Sunday, November, 13th. Pairs events will take place Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday morning.  Swiss Teams events will take place Thursday and Friday evenings, Saturday afternoon, and all day Sunday.  For details regarding the event please click here.

If you are looking for great competition at your level or higher, with lots of masterpoints to be awarded, make sure you consider the ACBL’s next major national event, the Fall North American Bridge Championships which will take place in Seattle, Washington beginning November 24th and concluding December 4th.  Every day there will be a full schedule of events for novices and intermediates, morning, noon and night. Advanced players looking for great pairs and team competitions will also find them at all times.  And, of course, for those looking for the stiffest competition there are the nationally rated events such as the Nail Life Master Open Pairs, the Smith Life Master Women’s Pairs, the Senior Knockout Teams, the Open BAM Teams, the Women’s BAM Teams, the Blue Ribbon Pairs, the Senior Mixed Pairs, the North American Swiss Teams, the Super Senior Pairs, and the biggest of them all, the Reisinger BAM Teams. Everyone should experience at least one National, if not more, and this one also offers the opportunity to visit Seattle, a terrific city for a holiday. For more information regarding the Fall NABC please click here.

And if you are looking to win lots of points locally, especially silver points, be sure to play frequently at your favorite local club during the week beginning December 5th.  STAC games will take place Monday through Sunday.  Under ACBL rules, Sectional Tournaments at Clubs (STACs) provide bridge players with the opportunity to win silver points at their local clubs. Check with your favorite club for the dates and times of its STAC games for the week.  STAC games tend to be well attended so be sure to contact your club and make a reservation.  This is an enormous help to club directors and reservations are always appreciated by them whether for a STAC event or a regular event.

The next edition of The SOMBA Echo should reach your mailbox within the next few weeks.

As always, if you have anything of interest to our other SOMBA members to report, please let me know so that I can post it here.

Al Tushman (

Sunday, June 5, 2011

 The SOMBA Wolverine Regional at the Costick Center in Farmington Hills had another very successful run during the week of May 9th.  Many thanks are do all of the volunteers who contributed to its success. 

 The top ten masterpoint winners in the tournament were: 

   1    98.37  James Melville,  Springfield IL
   2    98.37  Jacob Morgan,  Madison WI
   3    65.10  William Arlinghaus,  Ann Arbor MI
   4    61.39  Richard Temkin,  Farmington MI
   5    59.63  Robert Brent,  Bloomfield MI
   6    58.69  Martin Hirschman,  Southfield MI
   7    56.40  Lynne Schaeffer, W Bloomfield MI
   8    55.14  Donald Rumelhart, Ann Arbor MI
   9    54.91  Hans Jacobs, Downsview ON
  10   50.24  Larry Mori, Clearwater FL

Top fifteen SOMBA Masterpoint Winners were: 

 1)    37.74  Michael Crane, Macomb MI
 2)    36.58  Henry Shevitz, Bloomfield Hls MI
 3)    35.59  Debra Eaves, Northville MI
 4)    27.46  Charles Schiff, Birmingham MI
5/6   27.33  Ross Weinstein, Oakland MI
        27.33  Thomas Hunt, Rochester Hills MI
7/8   26.53  Subhash Gulati, Bloomfield MI
        26.53  Jerome Hasenjager,Troy MI 
9)     26.15  Carolyn Simmer,W.Bloomfield, MI
10)   25.71  Kiran Gulati,  Bloomfield MI
11)   25.21  Beverly Gardner,Farmington Hls,MI
12)   24.19  Bonnie Weinstein,Farmington MI
13)   23.60  Harry McKinney,Troy, MI
14)   23.60  Robert Cappelli,Bloomfield,MI 
15)   22.83  Sook Wilkinson, Bloomfield, MI

Congratulations are also in order for Patty and Allan Becker who picked up their 2000th masterpoints during the tournament and are now “A” players.

One of the new innovations at the Regional was the use of a roving photographer who took numerous photos of the players.  A big thank you is due to Kelly Fiedler (Vickie Vallone’s daughter) of Kel’s Remembrance Photography for doing all of the photography.

With the innovation of photos from the tournament we have added a new menu button at the top of this page.  The new menu button, [Pictures], can be pressed and you will be transported to SOMBA’s group picture page on Flickr.  If you are already a Flickr member you can simply log in.  If you are not yet a Flickr member you can log in with your Yahoo or Facebook or Google log in and sign up for Flickr.  Or if you do not have any of those log ins, you can register for a new log in.  Membership is free.  After you have logged in you will have access to all of SOMBA’s photos from the tournament, posted there by Kelly.  Feel free to browse the photos.  If you want to see them in a slideshow presentation, just click on any of the photos and you will see an “Action” menu above the photo.  Click “View Slideshow” from that menu.  We would like your feedback on SOMBA’s new pictures feature.  There is a place on SOMBA’s Flickr site for feedback.  Please let us know what you think.  You can also click the [Contact Us] button at the top of this page.

The 40th World Team Championships sponsored by the World Bridge Federation will take place in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, from October 15th through October 29th.The Championships consist of the Bermuda Bowl (the open event), the Venice Cup (for women's teams) and the Senior Bowl.  The United States Bridge Federation is holding the United States Teams Trials for the U.S. representatives to the Venice Cup and the Senior Bowl here in Detroit from June 6th through June 11th.The competition will take place at the Marriott Renaissance Center.U.S.A.1 and U.S.A.2 will be selected in each of the two Trials events.  The Trials for the Bermuda Bowl representatives have already taken place and the two teams representing the United States have been selected.

Several local players appear on team rosters for the events.  Eight teams have registered for the Venice Cup Trials. Brenda Bryant will be competing on the Renee Mancuso Team. Beverly Gardner and Suzy Burger will be competing on the Linda Lewis Team.

Twelve teams have filed entries for the Senior Team Trials. Three of those teams feature local players. Chuck Burger and Howard Perlman will be playing on the Michael Levine Team. Allan Falk will be playing on the Glen Eisenstein Team. And the Robert Cappelli Team will be playing with Bob Cappelli, Bob Katz, and Joseph Chiesa.  This should be a terrific competition.We wish good luck to all of our local players and we hope all of our visitors enjoy their stay in Detroit.  If you have the opportunity, please try to get to the Renaissance Center to view the competition.  You can check out the teams by clicking on the USBF websites for the events.  You can check out the Venice Cup competition by clicking here.  You can check out the Senior Bowl competition by clicking here.  Each web site has a menu item for checking out the daily tournament bulletins. 

You should have received the May 2011 issue of the SOMBA Echo by now.  You will find many interesting articles in this issue.  Please make sure to check it out.  You can also read this issue and back issues of the Echo by clicking on the [Echo] button at the top of this page to see them in .pdf format.

New ACBL President, Craig Robinson, is on the road to visit and play at 100 bridge clubs around the country.  Our area was honored to have him play at the Thursday Evening Bridge Club located at the Ann Arbor City Club on Thursday, May 26th.  Our unit president, Posh Gulati, and I went to Ann Arbor to meet and greet the ACBL president that evening.  Mike Crane directed the game.

There is some interesting news from one of our local bridge clubs.  The Bridge Connection is under new ownership/management.  After 20 years of dedication to the betterment of bridge in Southeast Michigan, Linda and Art Golumbia have sold the Bridge Connection. The new owners/managers, effective June 1st, are Mike McDonald and Grant Peterson. At least initially they will be keeping the games, food, and directors as is. They will be enhancing a few things including the club's website. In addition, they have purchased a dealing machine which will facilitate the use of pre-dealt boards and hand records. Farewell to Linda and Art, and welcome Mike and Grant. 

Al Tushman (

Friday, May 6, 2011 

The SOMBA unit celebrates the elevation to Platinum Life Master of Beverly Gardner.  Beverly  won her 10,000th masterpoint while playing with Rick Kaye in a STAC game at a local club this past December.  She is the first SOMBA member to attain this status.  Beverly is well-known in our community as a friend, a player, and as a director and teacher.

Beverly’s bridge career started in the 1970s when she moved to Detroit to take a job as a systems analyst with Burroughs Corporation.  In order to start a social life in a city where she didn’t have many connections she started to play club bridge on a regular basis.  There she made many wonderful friends including the man who not only became her regular bridge partner but her life partner as well, Tom Gardner.  They were together for 35 years before Tom passed away several years ago.  Together she and Tom played regularly in local club games and in major tournaments and she started accumulating masterpoints rapidly.  She became a life master in 1976, a diamond life master in 1994, and an emerald life master in 2007.  In the process she also accumulated dozens of blue ribbon and silver ribbon invitations.

Beverly, until recently, ran several club games.  She recently gave them up except for the game she runs Wednesday evenings at the Bridge Connection.  She takes great pride in starting from scratch an intermediate game for players with less than 1500 masterpoints which meets on Tuesday mornings at the church on Lone Pine and Woodward in Bloomfield Hills and building it up to a 36-table game.  Together with Tom, she helped to spearhead the movement to bring the Spring NABCs back to Detroit in 2008.  After accomplishing that, Beverly and Gail Hanson and others, devoted much time and energy to building excitement in the beginner, novice and intermediate bridge player community for playing in the Spring games, helping to make the event a success.

Beverly has contributed greatly to the game she loves by serving for many years on the SOMBA board.  She has held many positions including Vice President, Education Liaison Chair, Directory Supervisor, and Trophy Races Chair.  Along the way Beverly found time to become an ACBL certified master teacher and a member of the American Bridge Teachers Association.  Although now retired as of 2003 from software development, Beverly still keeps busy in the bridge world by playing, teaching and running the Wednesday evening club game. 

We applaud Beverly Gardner on attaining her new status, take pride in her accomplishments and thank her for her many contributions to our bridge community.

This past Monday, our bridge playing community lost one of its best.  Rick Kaye, one of the top notch players around, and a terrific human being in addition, lost his battle with cancer.  He was playing champion-style bridge to the very end of his life.  In February of this year Rick played the full week at the Bradenton Regional in Florida and won 88.71 masterpoints, finishing in 10th place for overall masterpoints won in the tournament.  Rick will be long remembered not only for his card playing ability but for his sense of humor, his willingness to congratulate you on a good play at the table and his low key advice on how not to repeat a bad play.  If he was ever harsh with anyone at the table it was with himself.  He was a real mensch.

Rick was an actuary and was a retired partner from Price Waterhouse.  He continued to do actuarial consulting after his retirement.  His ability to recall statistics, dates, and obscure facts was legendary.  He was a terrific sports enthusiast.  The University of Michigan sports teams and the professional sports teams in Detroit had no greater booster.  Rick himself was an excellent tennis player in his younger days.  He was a terrific family man making sure that he frequently visited all of his out-of-town children and their families throughout the year. 

Although Rick played bridge from time to time, it wasn’t until ten years ago when Brenda Jaffe invited him to a club game at the Bridge Connection that he really threw himself into the game.  He accumulated just short of 10,000 masterpoints during those ten years.  For the last several years he was a top finisher in the Barry Crane 500, a list of the top 500 masterpoint scorers for the year.  Rick took great pride in his team’s victory in the Keohane North American Swiss Teams championship event at the San Francisco Fall Nationals in 2007.  Rick will be missed.

SOMBA members can look forward to three convenient upcoming tournaments. Of course the SOMBA Wolverine Regional is right around the corner.  It will start this Monday and run through next Sunday afternoon.  Line up your partners and your teams and help make your unit’s own regional tournament a success.  And not too far away, just a two hour drive, is the Bay City Regional which will take place June 13th through June 18th, Monday through Saturday.  You can reserve a room on site at a special rate at the playing venue, the Double Tree Riverfront Hotel and Conference Center .  For more information on this tournament you can click here.  Just a four hour drive from Detroit you can compete in the Summer Nationals in Toronto.  The Summer NABCs will run from July 21st through July 31st.  You can compete in pairs games, Swiss team events and knockout events.  And if you are feeling super competitive you can compete in nationally rated events such as the Von Zedwitz Life Master Pairs, the Spingold Knockout Teams, the Wagar Women’s Knockout Teams, the Truscott Senior Swiss Teams, and the Wernher Open Pairs.  The Grand National Teams finals will also be taking place.  The Spring, Summer, and Fall Nationals are always exciting events to attend.  For more information on the event and hotel accommodations you can click here.

The new SOMBA Board Members Roster with phone numbers and email addresses has been posted and you can check it out by clicking on the [Board Members] button at the top of this page.  In addition, our president, Posh Gulati, has announced that Nancy Stein and Betty Anderson have been appointed SOMBA communications directors.

Al Tushman (

Saturday, March 5, 2011

SOMBA completed another very successful Valentine’s Day Sectional at the Costick Center. The weather was a bit chilly but was otherwise cooperative. Adding to the attraction this year was the format which included 5-round Swiss Team events on three days in addition to the usual all day Sunday Swiss Team event. Another new attraction was the convenience of an excellent lunch service between events on Saturday which included fresh croissant sandwiches. This may, hopefully, become a permanent feature if enough people make a special request to the tournament management committee. The top masterpoint winners of the Sectional were Bert Newman, Robert Cappelli, Robert Katz, Mary Smith, and Kurt Dasher. The top SOMBA point-winner was Robert Cappelli.

The results of the 2010 SOMBA Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs races are official. Winners of the Mini-McKenney awards are: Naresh Kapila (0-5), Bradley Keller (5-20), Gerald Wigod (20-50), Charles Schiff (50-100), Satish Shah (100-200), Bonnie Weinstein (200-300), Steven Fine (300-500), Ross Weinstein (500-1000), Charles Federman (1000-2500), Debra Eves (2500-5000), Jack Shartsis (5000-7500), and Beverly Gardner (7500-10,000). Winners of the Ace of Clubs awards are: Naresh Kapila ((0-5), Larry Lewis (5-20), Gerald Wigod (20-50), Charles Schiff (50-100), Satish Shah (100-200), Kathy Simpson (200-300), Michael McDonald (300-500), Ross Weinstein (500-1000), Charles Federman (1000-2500), Debra Eaves (2500-5000), Jack Shartsis (5000-7500), and Henry Shevitz (7500-10,000). Congratulations to all of our Unit 203 winners.

Winners of SOMBA's own Trophy Race for 2010 will be announced soon.

SOMBA’s Echo newsletter is expected out around mid to late April.

SOMBA’s next big event is the Wolverine Regional which will take place at the Costick Center in Farmington Hills beginning on Monday evening , May 9th at 7 PM and ending on Sunday afternoon, May 15th. Four sessions of Knockouts are planned, including a three-session Knockout all day Saturday. Check out the brochure here. Contact Marianne Varion, Mary Bennett, Marilyn Lindow, or Posh Gulati for partnership assistance or any other question or suggestion concerning the regional.

And don’t forget to put your team together for the District 12 Grand National Teams. The winners will represent our district at the Grand National Teams event during the Summer Nationals in Toronto. Information regarding the District 12 event can be found here.

Al Tushman (

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Southeast Michigan was well represented in Orlando when the ACBL held its Fall Nationals (NABC). It’s always great when attending these events to see and renew acquaintances with other players from around the country and even around the globe. And it is wonderful to see so many of our local players doing the same. Many of our locals did especially well. The top dozen masterpoint winners from our area were Bert Newman, Kathy Newman, Allan Falk, Brenda Bryant, W. Oates, P. Oates, Sally Lusk, Jon Lusk, Donald Rumelhart, Lynda Thal, Bonnie Weinstein , and Gail Hanson. Congratulations to them and congratulations to all of our other masterpoint winners. Your next chance to participate in and be a part of a North American Bridge Championship will be at the Spring Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky in March. And the best part is that you don’t have to be a champion to play. For more information check the link here.

SOMBA’s own Valentine Sectional is around the corner, February 10th through 13th. Thursday and Friday evening and Saturday afternoon will feature a five round, five boards each, Swiss Team competition. Sunday will feature the usual full day Swiss Team event. For more information on the SOMBA Valentine Sectional check the link here.

And while we are on the subject of tournaments, the biggest regional tournament in the United States is coming up shortly. If you want to attend you should be thinking about a room reservation now. That tournament is the Smoky Mountain Gatlinburg Regional held annually in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, this year from April 11th through April 17th. For the last several years they have had at least 10,000 tables in play over the seven day event. This is the only place in the world you will ever see a Knockout event with 34 brackets and a full 16 teams in each bracket. It’s really a sight to behold. Every bridge player should play in Gatlinburg at least once. It’s an experience you won’t forget. For more information on the Gatlinburg Regional check the link here.

Our Partnership Agreements page is up and running. Please check it out now by clicking on the Partnership Agreements button at the top of this page. We will be continually posting new suggestions for conventions and systems. We are initiating the page with a convention for handling two-suited overcalls. We will be interested in feedback from you relative to the page and each new item that’s posted on the page. Please feel free to print and use the conventions we post. Let us know how they work for your partnerships.

We have also added three new links to our Bridge Links page. Please check them out by clicking on the Bridge Links button at the top of this page. I think you will enjoy the sites we have posted. If you have some favorite bridge links that you would like to see on our Bridge Links page, please let us know.

Al Tushman (

Saturday, November 28th

SOMBA welcomes its new board.  Congratulations to new board members Kathy Twomey, Marilyn Lindow, Satish Shah, Jerome Hasenjager, and Jim Phillips.  And a hearty welcome back to returning board members Marianne Varion, Mary Bennett, and Posh Gulati.  Our Unit couldn’t function without the dedicated service of our board members and other unheralded volunteers.  Thank you to all of them.

The Fall Nationals are upon us.  I hope to see many of you in Orlando.  I’ll report back at the conclusion of the event.  If you are attending, it would be great to hear from you so I can report on some of your war stories in the next edition of Keeping You Informed.  If I don’t see you there in person, just drop me an email.

Al Tushman (

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our SOMBA Unit recently held its annual Spooktacular sectional event for 0-299er players.  And once again it was a resounding success.  Not only were there great bridge sessions for two days but there was a great Halloween party to go along with it.  The party was colorful and the food, including pizza, pasta, salad and desserts was excellent.  The bridge was equal to the ambiance.  A great time was had by all.  Many thanks to tournament chairs Gail Hanson and Marilyn Lindow, partnership chairs Mary Bennett and Marianne Varion, and hospitality chairs Ginny Poulter and Kathy Twomey.  And special thanks to Fred Van Campenhout and Jim Phillips for looking after the setup and making sure things ran smoothly, Scott Miller for looking after the pizza, Raj Patil for the tables and microphone, Jane Hall for the photography, and  Connie Dugger for the flyers and emailings.  And of course to the many individuals who competed in the two days of events.

The SOMBA Apple Cider Sectional is around the corner.  It will be held Thursday, November 11th through Sunday, November 14th at the Costick Activity Center in Farmington Hills .  The results of the recent board elections will be announced at the Swiss Teams event on Sunday.

There’s always an extra special tournament on the horizon.  This one is the Fall NABC which this year will be held in  Orlando,  Florida from November 25th through December 5th.  The tournament features numerous national level competitions.  The big team events are the Reisinger BAM Teams and the Keohane North American Swiss Teams.  There are plenty of other team and pair events to suit all levels of play.  Even though this is a national event, players from all over the world are attracted to the Spring, Summer and Fall Nationals.  It isn’t too late to make plans to attend.

Al Tushman (

Monday, September 27, 2010

The local bridge world recently lost two well-known players.

Tom Keenan, past president of the SOMBA unit of the ACBL, passed away at the age of 82 on September 14th. At the time of his death Tom was also serving as SOMBA treasurer. He will always be remembered for being a fine player and a true gentleman at the bridge table. Tom was devoted to SOMBA and spent many hours as a dedicated member of the corps of volunteers which make SOMBA a wonderful organization. He will be missed. His obituary and other information can be found here

Phil Leon, a past president of the MBA unit of the ACBL passed away at the age of 83 on September 22nd. Phil had also served as a vice-chair of the ACBL appeals committee for more than 20 years. He was the winner of more than 100 regional bridge titles and was, at the time of his death, the number 100 life-time masterpoint leader in the ACBL, having accumulated more than 18,000 masterpoints. His obituary and other information can be found here

There are two local bridge events you may want to mark on your schedule. If you are a newcomer or intermediate player with less than 300 masterpoints, consider playing in the SOMBA SPOOKTACULAR Bridge Tournament for I/N Players which will take place at the Birmingham Unitarian Church in Bloomfield Hills on October 29th and 30th. There will be wonderful decorations and hospitality. See the Updates section above for the link to the Spooktacular flyer. In addition, the second annual fundraiser for the Bridge Today and Tomorrow group will take place at the Bridge Connection in Southfield on November 7th. The fundraiser is a Swiss Team event. Bridge Today and Tomorrow is a not-for-profit organization developed by bridge players for the purpose of introducing middle school and high school students to the game of bridge.

This week we provide the first content for two of our three new website sections, Kudos and Bridge Links. Content for our Partnership Agreements section will appear with our next posting. Please check the Kudos page where we congratulate local players, Mark Leonard and Morrie Kleinplatz and their team on winning the mini-Spingold (under 5000 masterpoints) event at the summer nationals in New Orleans. Please check the Bridge Links page where we present our first ten links to interesting websites of interest to bridge players. And next time around please check our Partnership Agreements page to check out our first installment, a method for handling a two-suited overcall by an opponent. 

Your feedback in making this website informative, interesting and helpful is always appreciated. Please let me hear from you.

Al Tushman (

Monday, September 13, 2010

My thanks to our president, Posh Gulati, for appointing me website content coordinator and for asking me to write the “Keeping You Informed” column.  I hope you will enjoy our new look, which is a work in process. If you keep tuned to this website you should see new material posted on a regular basis, hopefully at least weekly. You should also see regular updates in this column. 

At the top of this page you will see three new buttons, [Kudos], [Bridge Links] and [Partnership Agreements] which, starting next week, will take you to new areas of this site.  The Kudos page will regularly feature local players whose local, national and international bridge exploits are deserving of recognition by all of our local players.  We will also feature local players who are deserving of recognition for their good deeds outside of the world of bridge.  I hope that our readers will share their suggested candidates with me by email.

The Bridge Links page will develop into a source for connecting our readers with the most interesting bridge sites on the Internet.  Each item on the Bridge Link page will include a brief description of what can be found at the linked site.  We hope to introduce you to some new sites you may not have known existed.

The Partnership Agreement page will feature various bidding conventions that can be incorporated by players into their partnership agreements.  Each convention will be in PDF format for easy downloading.  Eventually, numerous conventions will be on the page from which players can select those which best fit their playing style and capacity for complexity.  We will start off next week with How We Handle Two-Suited Overcalls by an Opponent.   Suggestions for this area of the site would also be appreciated.

Nominations for the SOMBA board have been finalized and ballots will be sent to all SOMBA members early in October.  Please be sure to vote.  If you can’t return your ballot at least one week before the Apple Cider Sectional (November 11th through November 14th), you can vote in person at the Sectional.  The new board will be announced during the Swiss Team event on Sunday.

The next issue of  The SOMBA Echo is in the works.  Look for your copy around October 10th.

SOMBA president, Posh Gulati, has announced the appointment of Jerry Hasenjager, a certified public accountant, as assistant treasurer of the unit.  He will assist unit treasurer, Tom Keenan, at Tom’s request.

Vickie Vallone and Michael Crane have become very busy people on Tuesdays.  They run a Tuesday evening game which has now returned to the Elks location in Rochester at 7:00 in the evening.  They have also taken over the Tuesday game at the Unitarian Church in Bloomfield Hills which starts at 11:00 in the morning. That game is limited to players with no more than 1500 masterpoints.  Vickie and Mike also run games in Ann Arbor.

In addition to all of the usual tournaments, two bridge events of special interest will be occurring soon.  The first is the District 12 North American Pairs Finals which will be held in Lansing on September 26th.  If you have qualified at a local club, you will want to consider playing in this event. Information about the Finals can be found online at and the entry form for the event can be found online at .  Winners in Flight A, Flight B and Flight C will earn the right to represent District 12 in the North American Pairs inter-district competition at the North American Bridge Championships in Louisville next March. 

The other event of special interest is the 2010 World Bridge Series taking place in Philadelphia in October.  The World Bridge Series Championships is the world’s largest bridge competition and is held every four years. This is the first appearance of the event in the United States since 1994.  Up to 100 nations are expected to participate, represented by thousands of the world’s best players competing for world titles in many categories. Accompanying the world event is a 16-day ACBL regional event taking place at the same time.  Philadelphia should be an exciting place for bridge aficionados from October 1st through October 16th.  For information about the world games you can go to  For information about the Philadelphia Regional Tournament you can go to

Staying informed will be easy if you check this website often.  Another way to stay informed about bridge in the area is by joining Facebook and joining the Facebook group, “Southeast Michigan Bridge Players.” Just go to Facebook and type “Southeast Michigan Bridge Players” in the search box at the top of the page. When you get to the group’s page just click where indicated to join. As of this writing there are 53 players in the group.

I really want to hear your suggestions and comments about this site and how we can make it better.  You can email me at or click on the [Contact Us] button at the top of the page to reach Posh, Bill Landrum (our website technical coordinator), and me.

Al Tushman (