You are at the web site of Unit 203 of the American Contract Bridge League, the Southern Michigan Bridge Association (SOMBA). Welcome. SOMBA supervises and works to promote bridge in southeastern Michigan.  SOMBA hosts several tournaments each year, including the Valentine Sectional in February, the Wolverine Regional in May, the Apple Cider Sectional in November and the Spooktakular 0-199er Sectional in October.  The unit also produces The SOMBA Echo, a newsletter keeping its members informed of current events and milestones in the area along with articles on bridge bidding and play. SOMBA, in conjunction with The Michigan Bridge Association (Unit 137) also produces a Bridge Directory listing the members of each unit and the active bridge clubs in the area.


Part of SOMBA crew, Learn Bridge in a Day, June, 2013
SOMBA Spooktacular
October 25-26
Birmingham Unitarian

Click here for flyer
Apple Cider Sectional

November 7-10
Wm. Costick Center
Farmington Hills

Click here for flyer
Fall 2013 North American
Bridge Championshipsl

November 28 -
December 8
Phoenix, AZ

Click here for website
Fall STAC Games
November 11-17
Earn silver points at
your favorite club

Keeping You Informed
Monday, October 21, 2013

Breaking News--November 16, 2013

Very Sad News--With a very heavy heart I report that our esteemed and long standing director, George Stankowich, passed away last night at St. Joseph Hospital.  His unique and intense style of providing services as a bridge director will be remembered for a very long time.  He was our friend and our entire board and bridge community sincerely mourn his loss.

To Shirley and their family, we extend our heartfelt condolences.  George, you will be really really missed (since no one can ever replace you)!  May you rest in peace.--Posh

Dennis Carman New National ACBL Director

Dennis Carman, our District 12 President, won the runoff election for the national office of ACBL Director, defeating Bill Arlinghaus (incumbent).  We send our sincere congratulations to Dennis and wish him well in his future endeavors. 

Mike Graham Remembered

Mike Graham, a Diamond Life Master and a highly competitive bridge player from Ann Arbor area, passed away recently.  He worked for many years as a computer programmer at the University of Michigan.  He loved spending time with his family and enjoyed watching movies and sports.

I know of no other person as kind and as gentle in our bridge community.  It was a privilege to know you, Mike, and you will be missed by all of us who knew you.

Apple Cider Sectional, November 7th through 10th

SOMBA’s annual fall Apple Cider Sectional will take place from Thursday, November 7th through Sunday, November 10th.  The event will take place at the William Costick Activity Center in Farmington Hills.  In addition to the usual pairs events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there will be Swiss Team events every day.  You should note that on Thursday and Friday there will be three games each day with starting times of 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  In order to accommodate the extra session there will only be a short break between the 10:30 and 2:30 sessions.  Players should feel free to brown bag their lunches or buy a sandwich combo for a token price of $3.00.  The Saturday schedule includes a brand new seven round seven board play-through Swiss beginning at 10:30 a.m. with a sandwich break provided and the $3.00 cost included in the entry fee.

The Sunday Swiss Team event will be a seven round seven board all day play-through starting at 10:30 a.m.  The event will be preceded by a lecture by SOMBA expert Michael Crane.  Make sure you arrive early to grab some coffee and a snack and to listen to more words of wisdom from Michael. There will be a light lunch served after the fourth round.  You can view all of the details of the four-day event in the flyer for the Apple Cider Sectional by clicking here.


A- 3000+ B- 750-3000 C- 0-750 (For all events except 0-299ers).

For other conditions of contest check our flyer or call our Tournament Chairs.

Sectional Tournament at Clubs (STAC), November 11th through 17th

Each year there are two opportunities to earn silver masterpoints at your favorite clubs, the fall STAC and the spring STAC.  This year the fall STAC will take place during the seven day period beginning November 11th. Although you will be competing for silver points at your favorite place to play, you will actually be competing against players at all of our local clubs playing at the same time and playing the same boards.  This is a great opportunity to earn more points than you may be used to at your club and they will be silver masterpoints at that.  Make sure you play frequently during the week beginning November 11th.

Jakob Kristinsson Among Top Winners at Gatlinburg Regional

Playing in the top bracket knockouts in Gatlinburg is not for the faint of heart or for those who tend to let a short spell of bad luck affect their play in their next matches.  SOMBA’s own Jakob Kristinsson had no problem with this while playing on a team captained by Mike Levine in the annual Gatlinburg Regional tournament which took place this past April.  Playing with Jakob was Bjorgvin Kristinsson.  Their teammates, in addition to Mike Levine, were Dennis McGarry, Jerry Clerkin and Dennis Clerkin.  For those who are familiar with the annual Gatlinburg Regional, the Knockout Team events draw hundreds of teams into each event resulting in numerous brackets of sixteen teams each.  It would be fair to say that when you are playing in the top bracket the competition is as tough as it will ever get. 

The Levine team entered the Monday/Tuesday Knockouts and were knocked out fairly quickly.  The same result befell them when they entered the Tuesday/Wednesday Knockouts.  Their luck did not change when they entered the Knockouts beginning Wednesday morning.  The tide turned when the team started play Wednesday afternoon in the  Wednesday/Thursday Knockouts.  At this point they could do no wrong (well, not much) and went on to win all of their next fifteen matches, including winning the Wednesday/Thursday Knockouts and the Friday/Saturday Knock-outs, and taking second place in the Sunday Swiss.  On his way home from Gatlinburg, Jakob was looking at 140.33 brand new masterpoints, having personally finished in 6th place overall out of the 3635 players who earned masterpoints while playing in Gatlinburg.

In the Wednesday/Thursday Bracket 1 Knockout the Levine team played early rounds against the Mike Cappelletti, Sr. team and the Carolyn Lynch team before reaching the final match against the Daniel Hoekstra team.  The Lynch team consisted of Carolyn Lynch, Mike Passell, Geoff Hampson, Marc Jacobus, Jeff Meckstroth; and Eric Rodwell. The Hoekstra team consisted of Daniel Hoekstra, Huub Bertens, Billy Miller, Roger McNay, Jeff Roman, and Karin Kelsey.  When the dust settled, Jakob and his teammates took first place.

After polishing off the competition in the first three rounds of the Friday/Saturday Bracket 1 Knockout, the Levine team reached the final round playing against the Samuel Marks team.  The Marks team consisted of Samuel Marks, Thomas Carmichael, Jerry Helms, and Robert Bitterman.  After a come from behind effort, Jakob and his teammates once again chalked up first place.

Jakob has written for the SOMBA website a wonderful article, “Adventures in Gatlinburg.”  The article describes several great hands played against Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell at their table, in addition to two other hands played in the Knockout finals. Jakob’s article can be reached by clicking here or by clicking on the [Bridge Hands and Articles] menu item at the top of this page.

Jakob and Bjorgvin have regularly played together since Bjorgvin came to the U.S. roughly three years ago.  Although they share the same last name they are not related.  They are both from Iceland where bridge is considered a major sport and where bridge is taught to students at a young age.  Jakob learned bridge in Iceland and was already a good player when he settled in the U.S. in 1999.

Jakob met Gail Hanson shortly after arriving in the U.S.  They live in Lake Orion.  They are both active bridge players and teachers in our area. The Gatlinburg Regional is a favorite event for Jakob and Gail and they have been there 14 times now.  They frequently play in Gatlinburg with students.  Jakob’s full time regular job is with the Kroger food chain where he is a general manager in the Michigan division and is active with store remodels and new sites.  Jakob and Gail will be playing in the Nationals in Atlanta in August. 

SOMBA takes great pride in the Gatlinburg accomplishment of one of its own, Jakob Kristinsson.


Spooktacular Sectional, October 25th and 26th

One of SOMBA’s sensational events for novices is its annual two-day Spooktacular Sectional at Halloween time.  This year’s Spooktacular will take place Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th at the Birmingham Unitarian Church.  The schedule includes two pairs games on Friday and a Swiss Teams event on Saturday.  The Saturday event will be preceded by a lecture with helpful competition advice.  This is a great opportunity for newcomers and intermediates to earn silver masterpoints. The flyer for the tournament can be accessed by clicking here.

Fall Nationals to Take Place in Phoenix, AZ

There is probably no greater thrill for a bridge player than playing against a world-class player in a nationally-rated tournament.  And if that’s not your piece of cake, how about playing against your peers in an 11-day competition where you are surrounded not only by the world-class and the experts, but players just like you (unless you just happen to be world-class or an expert).  The North American Bridge Championships (the Nationals) offer you just that.  The Nationals take place three times a year.  And they will be taking place again, this time from November 28th through December 8th in Phoenix, Arizona. For the link to the Fall Nationals website click here.

The Nationals offer you the opportunity to play in pairs games and team games throughout the tournament.  If you want to play in knockouts they take place every day.  Because of the large number of entrants, you will be bracketed against players with roughly the same number of masterpoint totals as your own team. 

And if you want to go up against the best, there are all of those amazing events you have heard of: the Nail Life Masters, the Smith Life Masters, the Baze Senior Knockout Teams, the Marsha Sternberg Womens BAM, the Mitchell Open BAM, the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, the Senior Mixed Pairs, the Keohane North American Swiss, and the granddaddy of them all, the Reisinger BAM Teams.  Every bridge player needs to play in a least one Nationals.  If you haven’t played in one yet, don’t miss this opportunity.  You will have lots of great memories to bring home.

Top Masterpoint Winners at Wolverine Regional

680 players carved up a total of 5618 masterpoints awarded at this past May’s Wolverine Regional.  Congratulations to each and every winner. SOMBA thanks you for your participation in the Wolverine Regional and looks forward to your participation in all of the SOMBA sponsored tournaments. 

A special shout-out is given to the top twenty masterpoint winners:  1. Larry Mori; 2. Leonard Melander; 3. Joe Chiesa; 4. Michael Alioto; 5. Robert Crafton; 6. Diyan Danailov; 7. Mary Smith; 8. Ken Gee; 9. Jerry Stamatov; 10. Sheldon Kirsch; 11. Robert Katz; 12-13. Bert Newman and Stephen Apodaca; 14. John Buchheister; 15. Henry Shevitz; 16. Hans Jacobs; 17. Michael Huston; 18-19. Marjorie Michelin and Ellis Feigenbaum; and 20. Michael Crane.

Two New Articles by Henry Shevitz

Dr. Henry Shevitz is a long-time contributor of bridge articles to SOMBA’s Echo and website.  With this Update he has contributed two new articles.  Make sure you read his article “Miss Cleo” which you can access by clicking on the title.  Also make sure you catch his new article “Over My Shoulder 8 --- Important Tempo” which you can access by clicking on the title.  As always, all SOMBA articles can be accessed through the sub-menu you will find by clicking on the menu item [Bridge Hands & Articles] at the top of this page.

A Personal Approach to My Non-Bridge Playing Friends
by Ron Rogers

The essence of what I believe to be at the core of the approach for soliciting new players in general includes a personal experience/embrace followed by a scope/overview of duplicate bridge.  I would like to encourage the readers of this website to email their non-bridge playing friends encouraging them to register and attend the SOMBA Learn Bridge In A Day event at the Bridge Connection in June.  The following is a letter I use and is easily adaptable to your personal style:


“With but a bit of finesse, my purpose is to invite you to be introduced to a pastime of mine.  Specifically, I am referring to duplicate bridge, a pastime which many of you know to be a life long obsession, as evidenced by my estimated average playing time of 10 hrs/week for the last 48 years.

“Sunday afternoon June 9th, the Southern Michigan Bridge Association invites you to ‘learn bridge in a day.’  Well you might not learn it all in a day, but you will determine whether you might enjoy it and how to proceed in case you wish to find out.

“Feedback from the first session held earlier this year, attended by about 73 people, was very favorable and the program has been tweaked a bit in the meantime.  I am confident you will enjoy the accommodations at the Bridge Connection including the hosts/trainers. Please click on the following site for details regarding this event: http://www.district12bridge.org/unit203/Flyers/LBIAD1306.pdf.

“The following site, specifically the first two tabs --- our game and our 
history, provides an overview of duplicate bridge.  There are about 1 
million active players worldwide in 125 countries, 65,000 in USA and 
4,000 active players in MI:  http://www.acbl.org/about/ourGame.html.

“Needless to say I have found it to be a fascinating pastime; even better 
in retirement!!  And your enjoyment/options are not curtailed by weather 
or aging!”

A Message to Our SOMBA Community
from Nancy Stein, Communications Director

We would like to know when our SOMBA members are seriously ill or pass away.  Many of us see each other many times a week or month and would like to send cards of sympathy or encouragement or to call and let you know we are thinking of you.

When we know about this information, we send copies out to the SOMBA board and the directors of the games in the SOMBA area.  We ask them to let the people at their games know the information.  In order to do this bet-ter, we need everyone’s help.  When you learn of someone's illness or death, please notify Nancy Stein, 248-398-2463, or Bette Andersen.

Please tell us the name of the person, including the proper spelling and an address that we can post for cards if people wish to send them.  If you have additional information, a hospital, nursing home, or funeral home, please give us this information.  Please keep in mind, that some of our members are very private people and do not want information about their health spread.  If you have any question, please let us know, and we'll attempt to call or email a person close to them to get their permission before sending out any information.

And SOMBA board members and club directors, when you hear about the death or serious illness from one of your games, please send this information to Posh, Bette or me, and we will send it out immediately.  If you have not heard about it in your email, we probably do not know.  Many of you have been very good about doing this, and it really helps.

We are a loosely connected social group, and we care about each other.

Al Tushman (MichiganAl@Yahoo.com)

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