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Growing up in a household where my parents played social bridge regularly, I began to learn the game as a teenager.  After college, groups that I worked with played cards at lunch and, in the 1980s, I found myself playing lunchtime Swiss teams under the mentorship of a duplicate player named Bob Hamilton who took us beyond social bridge into five card majors, Jacoby transfers, weak twos, and more.  When my wife enrolled us in an evening duplicate class I joined ACBL and the race was on.  A co-worker, Mark Hunter, and I played one evening each week at a club and in local tournaments about every three months.  A highlight was when Mark and I won the First Place trophy in the Future Master Pairs tournament session in St. Louis on 9 June 1990  When a job change moved me out of St. Louis, I continued playing one night per week at a club in the Boston area and on a company Swiss team in the Route 128 Industrial Bridge League.  Though I enjoyed the venue at the club, non-stratified scoring in tough competition limited my quest for Masterpoints.

Another job change moved my wife and me to Middle Georgia and we eventually retired in the Atlanta area.  Here golf displaced bridge for fourteen years until bad winter weather led me back to the bridge table and I met John Erkkila, who became my partner.  At that point I had been an ACBL member for 23 years (nine of them active) and had 29 Masterpoints.  John and I, and eventually other partners, played twice weekly in Gainesville and Athens, Georgia, and in a lot of nearby tournaments.  With our Masterpoint totals climbing, we realized for the first time that we could eventually be Life Masters if we accumulated those elusive gold points.  We concentrated on Regional tournaments and improving our game trying to get 25 gold before reaching 300 Masterpoints.  We won a lot of red points and, finally, enough gold.  Then it was just a matter of winning the remainder of the points.  I achieved the rank of Life Master in September, 2015.  John moved to Phoenix at the end of a great run together.

Bridge is not an individual game and I am grateful for my mentors, partners, and teammates.  James Dover taught me a lot about duplicate conventions and play at the Gainesville club.  In addition to John, Dan and Dana Osburn, Jim Kirby, Chris Shanks, Phyllis Pagano, Linda Naples, and Ruth Bruner were in the thick of my search for gold.

Member of ACBL.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 September 2015 07:51