You are at the web site of the Southern Michigan Bridge Association (SOMBA), Unit 203 of the American Contract Bridge League.  SOMBA along with MBA supervises and works to promote bridge in southeastern Michigan.  SOMBA hosts several tournaments each year, including the Valentine Sectional in February, the Springtacular 0-299 Sectional in April, the Wolverine Regional in May, the Apple Cider Sectional in November and the Spooktakular 0-299er Sectional in October.  Please visit this site often to keep you 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 (see tab above) listing the members of each unit and the active bridge clubs in the area.

Russell Roosen Sectional
Aug 24th to 27th
Bridge Connection
Southfield, MI

Click here for flyer
Motor City Regional
Oct 9th to 15th
William Costic Center
Farmington Hills, MI

Click here for flyer
SOMBA Spooktacular
October 27th to 28th
Birmingham Unitarian Church
  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Click here for flyer
SOMBA Apple Cider Sectional
November 9th to 12th
Bridge Connection
Southfield, MI

Click here for flyer

Keeping You Informed

Welcome to the New SOMBA Members


Michael Campbell
Diane Greenwalt
Nancy Smith


Donald Epstein
Chie Kawata

Masterpoint Achievements

July Achievements

Junior Master Lori London
Junior Master Anne Shenck
Junior Master Dr. Jane Stewart
Club Master Janice Nash
Sectional Master Barbara Joiner
Sectional Master Richard Shaw
Regional Master Nanct Raitt
Regional Master Carol Resnick
Regional Master Richard Voss
Regional Master Tony Willemsen
Adv NABC Master Lisa Karam
Life Master William Smallwood
Life Master David Winer
Bronze Life Master Larry Cohen
Bronze Life Master Dennis Waniolek
Bronze Life Master Gerald Wigod

August Achievements

Junior Master Dr. Rosanne Murphy-Cotant
Junior Master Susan Zessin
Regional Master Jean Grande
Regional Master Evelyn Rosen
Adv NABC Master Joyce Jonik
Silver Life Master Dr. Ching-Po Wang

Attaining Life Master: My Story
by David Winer  

I started to learn Bridge in my late twenties.   Three friends who knew how to play tried to teach two of us.   So there were 5 of us with a lot of talking during play on Monday nights with Monday night football blaring!   I learned some and still can remember "How could you do that!" from one of my friends. We played Chicago style.   I did that for about 5 years.   Then my wife and I played social Bridge with neighbors 4 to 5 times a winter for about 30 years!

After retiring, my wife encouraged me to try playing more, and I started playing non-sanctioned duplicate with a few nice partners.   We learned more and started doing pretty good.   I don't know exactly when I started sanctioned bridge but it was at the Bridge Connection in Southfield. Then also at the Troy Community Center and The Villages Duplicate Bridge Club in Florida.

I've had many great partners on this surprising journey, primarily Dave Dursum and Dave Harris.   I had only 5 gold points for quite awhile and didn't even think of making Life Master until less than 2 years ago in a Regional, my partners and I won 5 gold points in Swiss and the next day 5 more in the Gold Rush.

So eventually having attained 25 Gold, I then needed 4 Silver, which fortunately came quickly in a recent Sectional at The Bridge Connection when my partner and I won 6.36 Silver!

So thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you of my Bridge "story".

New Club Opening

The grand opening of the ACACIA Bridge Club is Aug. 10 at the Birmingham Unitarian Church.   It will be a club Championship OPEN Game.   Reservation     s are requested and registration starts at 10:30 a.m. with food, hors d'oeuvres, fruits, and beverages.   Game time is 11 a.m.   Starting Aug. 17, there will be a <2500 MP game the 2nd thru last Thursday, but an open game the first Thursday of each month.

For reservations, please call Tai Chan (248)854-6125 or Deepak Dighe (248)345-1444

Other announcements will follow.

2017 MBA/SOMBA Joint Sectional

The fourth MBA/SOMBA Joint Sectional was held June 22-25 at the Bridge Connection.   Many thanks to all the volunteers from both boards who worked to make the tournament a success.   Like many tournaments lately, the overall table count was slightly down.   This did not detract from the competitive spirit of play, especially in the Swiss team events, where several outbreaks of laughter lightened the mood!!

Apologies are in order for a number of issues.   Due to a misunderstanding, no snacks were provided for the Thursday night game.   Saturday, the overcrowded ladies room ran out of toilet paper.   Saturday, we were without coffee for a while.   Saturday, the pita delivery man left one of three trays of pitas at the store causing single pieces until late delivery brought the rest.   Sunday, the pizza delivery man went to the Costick Center prior to figuring out he needed to be at the Bridge Connection; thus causing a delayed lunch.   No excuses, except to say that measures will be in place to prevent this from reoccurring.

Saturday, MBA announced all of its 2016 Ace Of Clubs and Mini McKenney master point winners.   Congratulations to all those players, many of whom were in attendance working on their master point totals for 2017.

Congratulations also to all the tournament winners; too many to list but available on the ACBL web site.   Hope to see you all at the August 22-25, 2017 MBA Russell Roosen Sectional.   Details are available elsewhere on this web site.

Tournament chairmen

Dave Fletcher and Jonathan Fleischmann

Bridge of Joy & Competition
by Lakshmi S. Vora  

My friend, now my husband, introduced me to the game of Contract Bridge in the early 70s and gave me Edgar Kaplan’s book to study.  I loved the game immediately and still have the book.  Over the years, my passages of life took their usual stages of cultivating my career, marrying, having children, watching my children graduate and marry, welcoming the arrival of grandchildren.  A full life, but little time for me to develop my Bridge skills.

As I was about to retire from Ford Motor Company, Ellen Silverest, a friendly Bridge director who is now a dear friend, introduced me to Ford Bridge Club and Duplicate Bridge.  She gave me lessons on duplicate protocols and fended off aggravated opponents when I forgot to use the bidding box and said my bids out loud!

I loved the competitive spirit of Duplicate Bridge, being able to compare my play with other teams to improve my game.  As I was learning the conventions and bidding methods for duplicate bridge-- which were very different from my Edgar Kaplan days-- I was fortunate to get a call from a then-acquaintance and now-friend and mentor, Vishwas Gadgil, an expert duplicate player who graciously partners with me often.

I have now been playing duplicate bridge for over four years.   I am absolutely hooked on the game.  I find it meditative when I am focused on playing a hand with full concentration and joyful when I have played a hand well.   The companion themes in Bridge to “start where you are, use what you have and do what you can" and "do all this with good communication with your partner" provide a powerful metaphor for living my life outside of Bridge as well.

The ACBL has done a remarkable job of creating an ethos of fairness, embodied in due processes so that we enjoy the game properly.  And the SOMBA Bridge Clubs I play in have been most welcoming.  These days when people are talking so much about “building walls”, I'm happy that I am building my own bridges with so many kind people I have had the pleasure of playing with.  Bridge has become much more than a game to me.   It offers me the opportunity to have truly enriching experiences, both in terms of the intellect and in the diverse human connections it has fostered.

I now have the honor of being a SOMBA board member and have an opportunity to promote this fantastic game of Bridge, especially to our younger generation.  I hope to teach my grandchildren.

I thank each and every one of my new-found friends in the Bridge community for this gift, this JOY, of competitive Bridge and look forward to more games and friendships.


Unfriendly Clubs?
by Dave Fletcher

Recently I have heard the term “unfriendly club”.   It is my belief that all our local clubs are working very hard to make their clubs a fun and pleasurable place to play.  Unfortunately, perhaps our membership contains some unfriendly people.  What to do?  What to do?

Personally I know our club directors are working hard to eliminate zero tolerance issues with strong reprimands/penalties and even location bans.  But what do we do about the grumps and behavior that makes the experience at the table less than ideal but not bad enough to be a zero tolerance call?  Partly because it is my nature and partly because it makes a glaring contrast, I go out of my way to be very, very friendly.  Nice hellos, compliments on their play, nice good byes.  This in some way must make them think what a contrast this is to their demeanor!!  It’s time to make them uncomfortable.

The bridge gods will decide what cards you get and your skill and luck will determine your success.  But as a director I have seen scrambling to get table 3 to avoid playing table 1.  Not because they are good players but because they are unpleasant.  Pretty sad.

How about this “you know you are much better looking when you smile!” or “you know – people who laugh live longer”.  Bottom line the grumps are not going to change with out some help.  It’s up to us to push for change.  I am spreading the rumor that people who smile get more slam hands- who’s to say it doesn’t work until you try it!

by Lakshmi Vora

SOMBA’s Springtacular was a lively 2 day event on Thursday April 6th and Saturday Apr 8th.   The Pairs event on Thursday had 2 sessions and 24 tables.

Our congratulations to all the participants and especially to the overall winners:
        Chris Hill and Ann Margossan

Followed by
        Linda Schiller and Diane Kosuda
        Carmel Contardi and Barbara Rozek
        Chuck Raeder and Dave Johnston

The Swiss event had 10 teams.   Margaritas were the beverage of choice for the winning team:
    Jean Grande, Lori Linden, Susy Inza, & Imogene Pilarski.

Second place went to     Joan Roberts, Lynda Lev, Leona Veldhuis & Teri Ford.
Third place went to     Barbara Schiff, Larry Schiff, Daniel Rose & Ron Whitney.

Click here for results

We at SOMBA welcome suggestions from participants and members to improve and enhance our tournaments.

State of the Unit (203 SOMBA)
January thru June 2017

by Dave Fletcher

Well July is here and the first half of 2017 has passed.   The SOMBA board has been very busy these first six months.   Before I go on I would like to remind all of you of our website which includes great articles, pictures, and reference information.   Please visit the site at www.sombaunit203.org.   The site does include an online directory to which you may be added by requesting and completing a form.   This is necessary due to the responsibility of the site to protect your information.   Instructions on how to be added are found on the website under “member directory“ at the top of the page.

We had our second board meeting on 4/27/17 with committee reports and tournament planning our main activity. The minutes will soon be available and can be found in the "Minutes" tab above.

As a reminder, here is a list of our board members and their responsibilities:

Dave Fletcher-President*
Kathy Twomey-Vice President*
Jerry Hasenjager-Treasurer*
Deepak Dighe-Secretary*
Posh Gulati-Chairman*
Satish Shah-Tournament Coordinator*
Lori Briscoe-public Relations and Communication
Dave Cleveland-Awards
Bill Goodman-ACBL Contact and Insurance
Naresh Kapila-Storage and Asset Management
Latika Mangrulkar-Education and Lectures
Scott Miller-Club Relations
Lynn Root- Newcomers
Lakshmi Vora-Goodwill
Sook Wilkinsen-Membership
     *Executive Committee Member

Non-board member contributors:
Tony Savant–Webmaster

So far this year, we have conducted 3 specific SOMBA tournaments and co-chaired the June Joint Sectional with MBA.   This year you may have noticed that we are rotating chairpersons of our tournaments.   This is helping the board get a broader understanding of what goes into holding a tournament as well as assuring tjat we have more than just a couple of people who know the specifics.   Sadly, all of our tournaments have had slightly fewer tables than the previous year.   Many thanks to the chairpersons for the tournaments thus far.

Valentine Sectional- Deepak Dighe/Sook Wilkenson
Springtacular I/N Sectional- Lori Briscoe/Lakshmi Vora
Wolverine Regional- Satish Shah/Naresh Kapila
June Joint MBA/SOMBA Sectional- Dave Fletcher/Jonathan Fleischmann(MBA)

The board also sponsored three nights of BRIDGE THE GAP- a set of sanctioned games with non-ACBL members and seasoned ACBL members.   They were a great opportunity to expose bridge players to duplicate bridge.   A superb job was done by the membership committee.

Some quick hitter news items:
  • We have offered alternate prizes to newcomers: Instead of trophies - bridge instruction books, potted plants, valentine candy
  • We are advertising our tournaments in local newspapers
  • We negotiated new tables for regionals at the Costick Center
  • We offered Director prep classes
  • We increased the recognition of new members and master point milestones
  • We supported the “Longest Day” fund raisers of clubs

  • As always we want and appreciate your input on all matters and concerns.   I would encourage you to seek out a board member and share your ideas and issues, especially in the areas of membership and goodwill.   Our job is to serve our membership.

    Dave Fletcher 586-206-6556 hdfletch@aol.com

    Suggestions Turned in at Wolverine Regional

    In an effort to improve the tournament experience for our members, the SOMBA board solicited opinions from players at the Wolverine Regional.  The following suggestions were received.  The SOMBA board has considered them and offered their responses (in blue italics). 
    • The tables are too small and rickety.  SOMBA will have different tables next year. 
    • The cards are sticky.  The directors will replace any decks you feel have seen their day.  Just ask. 
    • Check bidding boxes for missing bids.  SOMBA cleaned all the bidding boxes the week before the tournament.  Bidding cards were replaced when worn and many one-club and pass cards were also replaced.  At the same time, we checked for any missing bids.  We are sorry we missed a few. 
    • Have a 50/50 raffle.  The SOMBA board will review for logistics and purpose. 
    • The director warned a player when I called for a zero tolerance issue.  Shouldn’t there be penalties?  The directors were advised that it would be preferred if they used their strictest approach.  Board match points were taken away for several incidents.  Although every call involves the director’s discretion, we will continue to remind them we want actions that prevent future zero tolerance issues. 
    • Please call each round so as to keep the game moving, even if it results in late plays.  We will request this of the directors for future tournaments.
    • Two session events should occur with a sufficient break, such as 1 pm and 6:30 pm.  Tournament committees constantly struggle with the times and kinds of events to have for each tournament.  Efforts are made to provide the best variety of events and to consider traffic and opportunities to eat.  We have not yet found the perfect combination. 
    • Why does the Costick Activities Center close and clean restrooms during play time?  We will ask if the cleaning staff could do this during our major breaks.

    Click here for archived news columns: