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.

Lansing Great Lakes Regional
July 13th to July 19th
Ramada Lansing Hotel &
Conference Center

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Summer North American
Bridge Championships

August 6th to 16th

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Great Lakes Regional
June 14th to 19th

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Joint SOMBA/MBA  Sectional
June 25th to 28th 
The Bridge Connection

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Keeping You Informed
Sunday, June 14, 2015

Marilyn & Myles Maddox Being Honored
July 18 Update

The Michigan Bridge Association (MBA) will honor Marilyn & Myles Maddox for their more than 60 years of dedication to bridge in our area at the Wednesday, July 22 noon game at the Bridge Connection.  Hope you can join them there!

Patricia Reich Death
July 15 Update

Patricia Reich, a longtime member of our bridge community, died on July 11th. Friends will be received at the funeral home on Thursday afternoon. Full details can be found at http://v3.fserv.net/bin/get/obit.php?fid=4017.

Joint SOMBA-MBA Membership Directory Now Online
by Bill Landrum
The Joint SOMBA-MBA Membership Directory is now available online. All members of the SOMBA and MBA units have their names in the directory. However, only the people who filled out and signed a form have the additional information posted of one or two phone numbers and/or email address.

You can access the directory from this website where you choose "Member Directory" from the main menu, or from the District 12 website, www.district12bridge.org, where you choose "Member Directories" from the main menu.

The directory can be accessed only by our membership—by computer, tablet, or smart phone. It is very fast and responds to queries within one second. 32% of our members have chosen to have their data in the directory now, and we expect that number to grow as members learn how safe and useful it is.

If you are a SOMBA or MBA member and want to have your name, telephone number(s), or email address added to this directory for others to be able to access, you need to fill out a form. You can click here for the form. Please sign it and date it, and then see that it gets delivered to Shelley Boschan or Posh Gulati—either in person or by mail or by emailing them a scanned version of the signed form. A phone call will not be enough. We must have a completed form in writing to protect your privacy and to meet ACBL regulations.

Although I took care of the technical aspects of building the database and writing the web programs, Shelley Boschan and Marilyn Nathanson labored many hours collecting information and entering the data. Several other people made significant contributions along the way. The Michigan Bridge Connection provided significant help in collecting and storing forms for us at various points.

Two New Members on SOMBA Board

The SOMBA board has recently lost two long-time hard working volunteers.  Both Marilyn Lindow and Betty Anderson have recently left the board. Marilyn has relocated to Naples, Florida and Betty has asked to be replaced.  Our thanks go to both of them for their many contributions to our board and the bridge community.

Two individuals have been named to replace Marilyn and Betty.  The individuals are Janis James-Rubin and Lori Briscoe who were runners-up in the last SOMBA board election.

Janis James-Rubin was a registered nurse before returning to school to get an undergraduate degree in business, then an MBA.  Most recently she was a hospital administrator for University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio.  When she and her family moved to Birmingham she was able to fill her days with great competitive bridge.  She feels that she has learned so much from so many in the past several years that she would like to do what she can to "pay it forward."  In addition to bridge, she enjoys golf, travel, and gardening.

Lori Briscoe’s background was in special education.  For several years now she has volunteered her home for bridge lessons and study groups.  She has also contributed to our sectional and regional tournaments.  Lori is very interested in encouraging people to learn and enjoy bridge.  She prides herself on thinking outside the box, organizing events, and getting along with others in a group setting.  She took her first bridge class in 2006 and achieved the rank of Life Masters in 2013.

Vickie Vallone—Recent BBOer Story

Our own Vickie Vallone was recently the subject of a wonderful story which appeared on Bridge Base Online.  Every so often BBO does a feature story on a regular BBO player.  This story is in the form of an interview and contains nice vignettes regarding bridge, family, and her bridge club.  The article also contains some great pictures.  You can find Vickie playing on BBO by looking for her handle, VickieAnn.  You can access the story by clicking on this link.

Bridge and Bill Melander Featured in AARP Bulletin

The March issue of the AARP Bulletin contained a very nice article on Bridge. A nd who should be featured in the article?  None other than local bridge Grand Life Master Leonard (a/k/a Bill, a/k/a Doc) Melander.  Bill is a regular player at the Michigan Bridge Connection, local tournaments and at least one or two national tournaments each year.  In addition to accumulating more than 10,000 masterpoints, Bill has won two national championships.  In 2007, at age 82, Melander became the oldest player to win a U.S. national duplicate bridge championship.  He accomplished this in San Francisco.  Now deceased local player Rick Kaye was one of his teammates.  He won another championship, in the senior division, four years later.

The article contains some nice material on the history of the game, the ACBL, the social aspects of the game, and the mental and physical health benefits of the mental gymnastics involved in playing the game of bridge. Here is the link to the article as it appeared on the ACBL website.


Presidential Ponderings
by Dave Fletcher

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our SOMBA members and all of the other bridge players from near and far who were able to attend our Wolverine Regional. Your support is much appreciated. Those that attended probably noticed several changes from prior years. Among those changes were photo posting of Mini-Mckinny and Ace of Club winners, prepackaged snacks, embroidered tournament stickers, and full-sized pre-sharpened pencils with erasers.

Ideal starting times remain a problem—many liked the 6:30 evening session start time so they could finish early and also have a shorter wait after the afternoon session, but many preferred a 7:00 start time to miss the traffic and get to the tournament after work. We will be re-discussing all the times and events for next year.

As always, your board and other volunteers work hard to host these tournaments. We are very open to your comments and suggestions. Please feel free to approach or contact any of our board members. Their names and contact information may be found by clicking on the [Board] menu tab at the top of this page.

I wish you many two club openers!

Wolverine Regional

The Wolverine Regional completed another run in May and a good time was had by all who attended. The hospitality was first-rate. The only problem was not overeating on the many snacks that were provided. An especially good time was had by all of the masterpoint winners including the top 20, many of whom travelled quite a distance to play here.
1 96.84 Jonathan Steinberg, Toronto ON
2 96.84 Daniel Korbel, Hamilton ON
3 92.69 Larry Mori, Clearwater FL
4 82.16 Vladislav Isporski, Sofia
5 82.16 Valentin Kovachev, Las Vegas NV
6 82.16 Lynne Rosenbaum, Glencoe IL
7 82.16 James Melville, Springfield IL
8 76.54 Leonard Melander, West Bloomfield MI
9 65.99 Michael Cafferata, Markham ON
10 65.99 David Colbert, Etobicoke ON
11 60.97 Joe Chiesa, Oak Park MI
12 60.64 Bob Webber, Waterford MI
13 59.73 Michael Crane, Canton MI
14 56.88 Suzy Burger, West Bloomfield MI
15 53.65 Richard Temkin, Farmington MI
16 48.23 Martin Hirschman, Southfield MI
17 45.40 Robert Brent, Bloomfield MI
18 42.64 Michael D Alioto, Birmingham MI
19 42.64 Kenneth Eichenbaum, Pickerington OH
20 39.18 Chuck Burger, West Bloomfield MI

As usual, events such as this happen because of the hard work of the SOMBA Board and many other SOMBA volunteers. Those who either chaired tournament areas or who were managers included Dave Fletcher, Posh Gulati, Satish Shah, Bill Goodman, Deepak Dighe, James Phillips, Lynn Root, Carol Diebold, Kathy Twomey, and Marilyn Lindow. Many thanks and gratitude to all of these folks.

SOMBA Director Emeritus - Dave Buskirk
by Tai Chan
As a plant engineer in General Motors and later as director of GM’s Environmental Activity Staff in the regulatory-intense decades of 1970-80s, Dave Buskirk had to deal with demands from the newly-formed EPA and OSHA, pushy plant managers, and unreasonable union reps on a daily basis. After 35 years with GM, his second career as ACBL director was simply more stimulating, satisfying, and silky smooth. For more than three decades, Dave and Judy have directed weekly games in Oakland County, and as bridge directors on many cruise ships. They played a formidable yet friendly game, and are truly LIFE masters in more ways than one. Dave has been a selfless mentor to many of his colleagues, the SOMBA Board and friends in life and in bridge. Last year, Dave celebrated his 83rd birthday and he and Judy’s 50th wedding anniversary.

Dave and Judy taught their 8-yr old grandson Zachary the game. Today, Zach Wasserman has matured to be a silver life master at 26. Good genes and great grandparents is always a winning combination! If there is ever a grandpa/grandson pair event, they would be the seeded pair to beat. Zach wrote, “Grandpa Dave has been an inspiration and exceptional role model in virtually every aspect of life, and bridge is no exception. He taught me the game as much as humanly possible from the time I was old enough to hold a deck of cards with nothing but patience and love. Bridge for me today has become a passion of mine and has created so many opportunities to challenge my mind, compete at the national level, travel all over the country, and make wonderful friends. He has truly given me a gift that will last a lifetime."

Another disciple of Dave, Vicki Vallone wrote, “Dave is my mentor. He is my friend. Many years ago I asked Dave to help prepare me for the ACBL director’s test. He did that and so much more. He helped me understand that my players are the key to success. You need to learn the laws but your players will keep coming back if they are treated as you would your friends. Make them comfortable, treat them with respect and kindness, and let them know they are missed when not there. This is Dave Buskirk, the kind and gentle director.”

Dave is known to bring gifts to his annual holiday party as rewards during the game for taking a trick with the deuce of clubs, one-eyed jacks, making a redoubled contract and other unique plays. He would also share one or two of his humorous bridge stories to celebrate the holidays before heading down to Florida for the winter.

In recognition of Dave Buskirk’s distinguished service to ACBL Unit 203 and unswerving dedication to the game, SOMBA has honored Dave with the title “Director Emeritus” In honor of Dave and Judy, SOMBA hosted a dinner party at the Bridge Connection prior to the Apple Cider Sectional this past November.

Dave, congratulations on your lifetime achievements!

Al Tushman (MichiganAl@Yahoo.com)

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