Unit 254 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Bridge news for San Miguel

In case you are new to duplicate bridge here in San Miguel, Unit 254 contains two clubs – the Bridge Studio and Bordello Bridge. The former plays at Hotel Arcada, Calzada de la Estación No. 185, San Miguel de Allende, MX 37759, and the latter at Casa de la Noche, Los Órganos 19, San Miguel de Allende, MX 37700. There is also an online game at bridgebaseonline.com. The online game came into existence to serve players who are either, a) frequent visitors or residents of San Miguel who find themselves elsewhere in the world at game time, b) still averse to meeting face-to-face, or c) less mobile, for the moment.

The Bridge Studio, the Bordello and online play all are sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League, which serves clubs in Mexico as part of District 16. All three entities award master points with stratified awards.

The Bridge Studio meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with game time at 1:15 P. M. (local time in San Miguel is “Mountain time” in the US, though it varies, as does the US with its dayllight savings time). The club’s premises are one floor above the reception. Reception can guide you if necessary. Game results for The Bridge Studio and the online game are at this link.

Bordello Bridge is running ACBL-sanctioned games on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30 A. M. Bordello Bridge results can be accessed by clicking on this link . You can reach Bordello Bridge at bordellobridge@gmail.com to answer any questions.

Bridge attendance in face-to-face settings slows down during April and May, the hottest months in San Miguel. As you read this it will already have begun picking up.

We hope to welcome all of you to the bridge tables in San Miguel!

The San Miguel online game is facilitated by Bridge Base Online, a site with wonderful learning tools like BridgeMaster. If you want to play bridge with other players (or robots), you need to register, and playing at sites like Unit 254’s online game costs money (some of which filters down to us in due course). The online game is currently diminishing in size, but meets Thursdays and Saturdays at San Miguel’s 10:30 AM (subject to enough players registering to play). If you want to play online and you aren’t currently registered to play in the SMA game, send a BBO message to vacb252528 a quarter of an hour before game time. Game results for both the face-to-face games at The Bridge Studio and the online games are available here.

Barbara Poole


Kathy Snodgrass

Barbe Poole came to San Miguel and bridge thanks to a ruined California Thanksgiving and a mother’s vow. Unable to find a plumber to fix a major disaster, Barbe’s family headed toHome Depot where they knew they’d find men looking for work. There may have been a plumber in the lot, but no one in Barbe’s family could communicate in the one crucial language, Spanish. Fearing lightning might strike twice, Barbe’s mother promised to give $1000 to anyone in the family who would learn Spanish.

A painter, as well as a school psychologist, Barbe came to San Miguel in 1994 to study painting and Spanish–and collect that $1000. Not surprisingly, she fell in love with the city and visited as often as she could. Back in California, post-retirement, she started an art gallery. At one opening she recognized a woman’s laughter. Five years earlier she had stayed at this woman’s house in San Miguel–a house, she now learned, that was for sale. Soon after, armed with the house key and a bag full of money, she flew down to see if she and the house were a fit. Serendipity struck yet again: arriving in San Miguel in an airport taxi, she asked directions of the first gringa she saw, who not only knew the house but also had been on the verge of buying–until she discovered that the neighbors’ bombardment of noise rattled the windows.

Within two weeks Barbe bought the run-down Bordello–”the floor was so slanted you could roll an egg down its length”– and started renovating. No sooner did she hand over her bag of money than the Mexican government enacted a law that meant she had to stay put for five years. She was permitted to leave the country only 29 days out of the years, which meant her family paid regular visits. Serendipity struck yet again. Her mother, an avid bridge player, returned from bridge at Gary Mitchell’s house raving about her day and urged Barbe to take lessons. She did, and played first with Jean Schickle’s group and, later, with the “big guys” at the Bridge Studio, which then held games at the Hotel Real de Minas. She remembers feeling like a kid summoned to the principal’s office the first time the director was called to her table.

Bordello Bridge was born roughly ten years ago when she invited Phyllis Culp to direct charity games at the hotel. Mexican women’s education is something she values highly, so Mujeres en Cambio was the first charitable organization that benefited, followed by Jovenes Adelante.

At the close of our conversation, Barbe said, “I love bridge. I use it as meditation from the frenetic things going on constantly. It takes me away from things, things, things.”