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.

Wolverine Regional
May 15th to 21st
William Costic Center
  Farmington Hills, MI

Click here for results
SOMBA/MBA Joint Sectional
June 22nd to 25th
Bridge Connection
Southfield, MI

Click here for results
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

Keeping You Informed

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!

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.

Director Prep Course

Sponsered by SOMBA
Taught by Mike Crane

Dates:   6/27 and 7/11
Time: 2:45 pm – 5:00 pm (following game)
Place: Birmingham Uunitarian Church

Here is your chance to get some help on the way to becomng a certified bridge director.   The first class will be very instructional.
Whereas, the second will be for your questions and a look at what the ACBL exam will be like.

There is no charge.   --   But you will be rersponsible for any materials if necessary.

The ACBL exam will be scheduled for a later date and is open book, but takes about 3 hours.

Please call for your reservation:
Dave Fletcher (586)786-0811/(586)206-6556 --   hdfletch@aol.com

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 of 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)
by Dave Fletcher

Happy New Year to all our Somba members.  The SOMBA board activities for 2017 have begun.  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 on which you may be added to 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 first board meeting on 1/10/17 with elections and new committee assignments our main activity.  The minutes will be available soon and can be found in the tab above.

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
Bill Goodman-ACBL Contact and Insurance
Latika Mangrulkar-Education and Lectures
Lynn Root- Newcomers
Naresh Kapila-Storage and Asset Management
Scott Miller-Club Relations
Lakshmi Vora-Goodwill
Dave Cleveland-Awards
Sook Wilkinsen-Membership
     *Executive Committee Member

Non-board member contributors:
Tony Savant–Webmaster

Note that officers are elected annually in January and committee assignments are made then as well.

The board has also compiled a list of club games and locations as well as contacts.  This list is also available in the "Games" tab above.  This information as well as 2017 tournament dates were made into a two page flyer available at clubs and also mailed out to all members.

The membership committee is also hard at work planning and preparing for some Bridge the Gap games to attract kitchen bridge player to duplicate- stay tuned for details of dates/times/location.

As always we want and appreciate your inputs on all matters and concerns.  I would encourage you to seek out a board member to 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

Click here for archived news columns: