Sammy Maitra – Platinum Life Master
SAMARESH MAITRA by Yashu Maitra, his long suffering wife and Bridge partner who thinks the ACBL should award her at least half his master points
Samaresh, (Sammy) Maitra was born on December 13, 1938, in Pabna, a small village in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. He was the youngest of 19 children, and was nicknamed ‘Khokha’, reserved for a beloved little boy. His childhood was idyllic; he went to school in a boat during the monsoon, swam in huge ponds, and climbed trees, plucking and eating mangos, papayas, lychees and other topical fruits. And feasted on fish from the rivers and ponds. His only plaything was one tennis ball a year, brought by an uncle visiting from Calcutta; the whole village would gather to admire this toy.
The nearest railway station was twelve hours away by bullock cart. When little Khokha was nine, the family emigrated to India, to Calcutta. He attended The Hare School, and then Presidency College, getting his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, and then his Master of Science degree from Calcutta University. In 1961, he won a scholarship to the University of Maryland, where he earned his doctorate in Physics; his doctoral subject was Relativity.
Subsequently, Samaresh accepted a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Rochester, where he met Yashu, herself a graduate student in Chemistry. They were married in June 1970, at the opening ceremony for the University of Rochester’s Interfaith Chapel. They have two children, their daughter Jai, and their son Rahul.
He joined Xerox Corporation in 1973 as a research scientist. He played bridge locally, and on the Industrial league, but took up the game seriously after retiring from Xerox in 2001.
Sammy has many interests. He is an avid reader; his favorites are the great Russian authors, from Dostoyevsky to Gogol, and the esteemed Bengali writer, Rabindranath Tagore. He is devoted to Western classical music, and absolutely crazy about Rabindrasangeet, the music of his hero Tagore.
Currently he is immersed in pod casts on European and American History.
He loves mathematical puzzles and once had seriously taken up the study of chess., till he was trounced by Yashu.
But his true passion is bridge. He is a fierce opponent, a creative bidder, and one who never gives up. I asked what took him so long to achieve his 10,000 points. His answer: he was held back by his partners. So I suggested he clone himself, but alas, I know that won’t work. No clone would be good enough for ‘The Great One’ as he is affectionately known. Someone once asked him,’Are you Sammy, the Great One’? His polite answer was, ‘Ma’am, ‘I’m not sure I’m Sammy, but I’m surely the great one!!’ She laughed uproariously. She understood he was laughing at himself.
And that sums up Sammy in a nutshell. He is funny. He loves to tell jokes, which is a challenge; between his rapid delivery, Indian accent, and the fact that he laughs loudly before the punch line, his jokes are a challenge to the listener.
His bidding confuses everyone; his partners and opponents, In fact he is now mastering the art of confusing the robots who are his long-suffering partners online.
And I, his wife have the distinction of being his longest suffering partner. In fact, the ACBL has a handbook, based on Sammy called ‘The Don’ts of Treating Your Partner’.
But seriously, the man is fun to play with, and he acknowledges what bridge has given him, not only his passion, but a great community whom he adores!!!