CALL the DIRECTOR
When is the correct time to plan your defense?
Your partner makes an opening lead, and Declarer calls for a a card to be played. Is this the
correct time to stop and determine your defensive strategy? No!
You should play in tempo. If you stop to ponder, your action will be interpreted as you are trying to decide which card to
play in the suit, thus giving unauthorized information. The correct way to play, is to play your card in tempo, and then ask
everyone to leave their card face-up on the table while you plan your defense, regardless if you won the trick or not. Please email a note to email@example.com if you read this.
SPOOKTACULAR   A   SUCCESS
On 10/25 and 10/26, SOMBA held its 11th annual SPOOKTACULAR.   Thanks to a lot of hard work, we had a very festive tournament with
stable numbers and many happy costumed players.
Dave Fletcher (a/k/a Harry Potter) directed magnificently with the earliest Saturday finish ever.   His suggestion of chicken for
Saturday lunch won raves from players.   Naresh Kapila served as the steadfast co-chair, helping full time both days, always handling
any task without complaint.   Posh Gulati’s Swiss lecture prepared the players for our favorite event.   Diane Kosuda was able to
play, order Friday's lunch, shop, help and clean, always pitching in where necessary.   Dave Cleveland (and Laurie too!) did donut and
bagel pick up then returned to pack up and help load, and clean the kitchen.   Dependable Deepak Dighe assisted with finishing tasks
and took supplies away.   Our newest board member, Anita Green, pitched right in at the welcome desk.   Our treasurer, George
Christian, stopped in Friday to help with lunch and pick up receipts.   President Satish Shah made multiple trips to bring over supplies
Non board member helpers, Lynn Martin and Carol Burkett worked tirelessly, Lynn even filled in playing with a newbie.   Carol served as
our capable caddie.   Josie Doherty, a new director, helped Dave direct the Swiss game and gained some experience to the benefit of the
tournament.   Jane Hall served as assistant director for the Pairs game on Friday.
Congrats to our Winners:
AM PAIRS N/S- Claudia Snyder/Valerie Straith
AM PAIRS E/W- Ronald Zurilla/Alan Hassoun
PM PAIRS N/S- Teryl Asher/Carol Resnick
PM PAIRS E/W- Sheri Rotenberg/Miriam Forman
SWISS TEAM- A Tie For First Place
Joannie Capuano/Jane Lehman/Jill Rastelli/Mary Robinson
Gary Boyers/EJ Chiciac/Alan Hassoun/Gail Soderling
Thanks to everyone for making SPOOK a fun event.   Already looking forward to the 12th annual next year.   See you there!!
KathyToumey- Tournament Chairperson
Detecting Cheating in Bridge
by Nicolas Hammond
Review by Marty Hirschman      (from MBA's Table Talk)
When we last met Nicolas Hammond a few years ago, he was embroiled in a dispute with ACBL over whether his
software company had performed properly under a contract with the league to update the ACBLScore program used
to keep score at our club games and tournaments.
ACBL was a little vague about what the problem was.   Hammond says his new program, ACBLScore+, worked just fine, but
the league was worried that it would not own the copyright on the source code for the program and decided not to use it.
Eventually ACBL paid Hammond’s company $1.5 million for the work it did, Hammond reports.
Now he has taken his software, renamed BridgeScore+, and enhanced it in an effort to use statistical methods to determine
how much cheating is going on at bridge tournaments and, to a limited extent, who the cheating pairs are.
It is all explained in his fascinating new book, Detecting Cheating at     Bridge.
Until now, cheaters generally could be caught only when their cheating methods were uncovered.   Hammond’s approach is different.
Basically, he compares how well players, and particularly pairs of top players, perform compared to best double-dummy play.   Over a
large enough set of results, the theory goes, a pair can only do so well without cheating.   Particularly on defense.
The last paragraph is a big oversimplification, but it captures the basic idea.   Hammond’s approach does not require knowing how
the cheating is done.   That may or may not be determined later by viewing videos of hands played by suspect pairs in major tournaments,
particularly international tournaments, over the past five years.
I cannot begin to assess the validity of Hammond’s approach, partly because I don’t have the technical background and partly because
he has withheld details of some of his methods.   I can, however, report some of his more startling findings and statements:
♦ His software would have flagged all four of the major international pairs that were caught cheating in 2015, plus two pairs that
were caught in 2005 and 2013.
♦There were at least four other pairs, perhaps as many as eight, who were cheating in the 2014 European Bridge Team Championships.
They have not been caught.
♦There was probably a significant amount of cheating at the Bermuda Bowl in 2009, 2011 and 2013, even excluding the pairs that have
since been caught.   Also at the Bermuda Bowl in 1955 to 1983.
♦Cheating in top-level bridge declined after 2015, probably because pairs were afraid of being caught, and some suspect pairs have
stopped playing together.
♦At least 30 pairs among the 300 pairs who play the most in ACBL tournaments are much better on defense than declarer play, an
indication of unethical behavior if not outand-out collusive cheating.
♦There are over 130 active pairs in ACBL who are acting unethically by playing undisclosed partnership agreements designed to allow
the better player to declare more of the hands.
♦There is no evidence that there is cheating in computer bridge.
♦There is a 90 percent chance that as of 2016 some pair or pairs “cracked” the hand-generation program of the ACBL and thereby had
access to hand records in advance of playing.
♦Code-cracking experts working with Hammond easily developed software that could take the 52-card layout on the first three deals
of a set of hands and generate the rest of the hand records. (ACBL changed its hand-generation program after this was reported.)
The book is on sale for $39.95 at www.detectingcheatinginbridge.com
Shortly after the Summer NABC in Las Vegas, Hammond posted the following provocative remarks on Facebook:
“Back in Atlanta from Las Vegas. I hope everyone took lots of pictures of their favorite players.   Some of these players will not be
there at the next NABC…
“A bold statement.... some top pair(s) will not be there at next NABC or major event... but you read it here first. Give me 1-12 weeks…
“Just a question of which pair I decide to work on first.   The book shows there are several.   I'll probably start with the ones
that avoided eye contact with me all last week... doesn't narrow it down much …”
Bill Landrum, who maintains the website for the MBASOMBA Directory, is hoping to train someone so that he isn’t the only one who knows how
the software works.   If you have technical ability with websites and programming and are interested, contact:
MBA-SOMBA Need Assistant Techie
Shelley Boschan, 248-225-1700, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Satish Shah, 586-932-1817 or 586-944-6708, email@example.com
Welcome to the New SOMBA Members
|Adv. NABC Master
||Bronze Life Master
|Adv. NABC Master
|Adv. NABC Master
|Bronze Life Master
|Bronze Life Master
|Silver Life Master
|Silver Life Master
|Gold Life Master
Great news!!   You can now sign up to receive a quarterly SOMBA Newsletter via email.
To subscribe, click on one of the following names, put NEWSLETTER as the Subject and include your name and contact phone number.
Vickie Vallone   or
Sign Up Now
That's it!!     Easy Peasy.
While you're at it, why not be on the list to attend future SOMBA Education Seminars?   Just click on one of the following names and
put SES as the Subject and include your name and contact phone number.     Vickie
Vallone   or   Satish Shah
Bridge Learning Resources
For those bridge enthusiastic players who strive to add more depth to their bridge game, here is a great web site that
does not cost any money. This web site is by the prominent bridge player, writer and teacher of bridge, Larry Cohen.
Twenty five times he has been named as North American Bridge Champion, and two times as the winner of the Cavendish Invitational
Pairs.   The Law of Total Tricks was popularized in the USA by Cohen.
Go to www.larryco.com and click on Learning Center.   This contains numerous learning tools such as:
I.   Articles:   This section contains numerous topics and sub topics.
II.   Quizzes:   Contains quizzes on topics like, Defense, 2/1 Game Force, Doubles, etc.
The online quiz will test your knowledge and provide instant answers and rate your knowledge.
III.   Bidding with Larry:   This section provides you various hands and tests your bidding knowledge.
IV.   Larry's eLessons:   This section provides articles and quizzes on various topics.
V.    Videos:   Provides brief videos on various subjects.  You can also print out handout
material on the subject which provides practice hands and analysis. It also gives you quizzes to test your knowledge.
Submitted by Satish Shah, SOMBA President
The Latest Educational Seminar
On Sunday, October 6th, The Somba Education Committee presented an excellent seminar on the bidding
of 2/1 Game Force.   The seminar was well attended by nearly 50 people having Master Pointa ranging from Life Master to those
with less than 50 points.
This was the fifth Educational Seminar presented by SOMBA on various bridge topics of interest.   The participants first
played four lesson hands on the topic followed by a brief analysis and then a short break for Pizza and Pop.   The grand
finale of the seminar had the participants watching a DVD presented by world famous bridge author, teacher and many times
National Champion, Mr. Larry Cohen.
Mary Jo Campbell, one of the participants, said “ I was very happy with the session.   Larry Cohen made it sound so easy.   I
am eager to try it out with my partners.   It will also help when I am competing with opponents who use the system.”
“It was extremely interesting and well organized” commented Linda Gosling, “I was very impressed with the turn out”
After Somba President Satish Shah led the seminar and guided the players though the session, he disclosed that Somba will continue
these seminars with one being planned for January, 2020, and that a Pro-Am is being planned for April 2020.