Change of Rank Stories by Your Friends

Cynthia Allen Bob Owens  Betty Ann Jones  Fritz Bott  Warren Lightfoot  Belinda Dickinson

Reese Koppel  Diana Powell  Jean Gibson  Kitty Byers  Gail Davis  Fred Lake

These are in no particular order, just the order in which they were received.

Cynthia Allen on achieving REGIONAL MASTER:
I'm having a great time playing duplicate.  I have played bridge since I was 10 years old, but have only been playing duplicate for two and a half years.  I attribute my success to my several wonderful partners and teammates. 
Faye Cline of Nashville on achieving JUNIOR MASTER:
I have played duplicate for about 50 years but not for master points.  I recently moved back to Nashville and joined the Vanderbilt Club and the ACBL and am going to try to collect more along with the enjoyment of playing. There are some great and helpful people there and at this point I don't have anything to add to improve my play.
Richard Kalkbrenner of Liitle Rock on achieving SILVER LIFE MASTER:
The short version of my story is that I sat down at a Bridge table in September 2008 and played Bridge and played Bridge and played Bridge until I won 1000 points. I can also say that the impressive competition in District 10 moved my Bridge game right along. I am proud to be a District 10er. 
Mike Popkin of Little Rock on achieving NABC MASTER:
I owe all of my success to my primary partners Gretchen Evanco & Jerry Bertrand, along with, my Teacher, Coach, playing partner and especially  friend, Ms. Louallen Thomassen(DLM). It is their talent and patience with me that has allowed me to excel.

Bob Owens on achieving CLUB MASTER:
I am indeed slowly “moving on up.”  I played duplicate bridge many years ago while I was in medical school and played a few sessions after entering private practice.  I soon gave up play because of practice and family obligations and inability to ever dedicate an uninterrupted  3 1/2 hrs to any outside pursuit. This past year, I made a resolution to cut down on practice hours and start playing bridge again after a 35 year hiatus!  I was introduced to bidding boxes and quite a change in bidding tendencies by crash course.  I have to chuckle.  Shortly after receiving your congrats via this note, my wife chanced upon a small box that had a wad of the old rating point certificates dating from 1973 to 1980.  I am still working part time and unable to fully dedicate myself to pursuing the 470 odd master points needed.  

Betty Ann Jones on achieving BRONZE LIFE MASTER:

Skilled players within the Club serving as mentors/ not only sharing their knowledge and love of the game but partnering with the novice in team games. I was and am very fortunate to have four outstanding mentors.  At the top of the list is Rick Logan.  The reason that I mention Rick's name is that he was selected as one of the finalist for Teacher of the Year 2014.  I and many other players are pushing for him to be the Teacher of the Year 2015. 

Fritz Bott of New Orleans on achieving SECTIONAL MASTER:
My wife, Mickey, and I had never played in a tournament before the National here in New Orleans last month. We had some success (played on 3 afternoons) and a lot of fun. We decided that we would look for more tournaments within driving range, and your message came at a perfect time. I am going to start this afternoon planning to go to Hot Springs next month.
Sherrie Goodman of New Orleans on achieving LIFE MASTER:

I played party bridge for years (since high school). After raising kids for 38 years (my baby just graduated college and my oldest will be 40) , and after caring for my now deceased parents and in-laws, and after raising money for many organizations, I decided I needed something more for me at this stage in my life.  Two and a half years ago, I was trying to entertain a home bound friend who liked bridge, so I brought her to the Bridge Center for an EZ Bridge class.  Well, I was the one who got bitten by the bridge bug, and all of a sudden, I couldn't get enough!  I started taking private lessons and playing several times a week.  When I wasn't playing at the Bridge Center I would play online.  I have online friends from Saudi Arabia to India and have met many interesting people both online and at tournaments. As far as the Louisiana Bridge Club goes, I have gotten very involved.  I have chaired several tournaments and The Longest Day for the past two years.  I am on the board, and am the club manager and in charge of the directors.  I have made so many new friends from all walks of life......young and old.......and it has truly been a blessing for me.  My empty nest became full with lots of new friends.  When I started this journey 2 1/2 years ago and was told that I needed 500 points to be a Life Master, I thought that would never happen.  It has been a wonderful journey and I look forward to earning the next rank and attending the next tournament and playing the next game.  It is an amazing game and there's nothing I'd rather be doing!

Warren Lightfoot of Birmingham on achieving SECTIONAL MASTER:

I would have to say that my reaching that level at this time is largely a matter of luck and a succession of good partners. I returned to bridge in 2008 after a hiatus of over 40 years and found the bidding unrecognizable. After a few lessons I began playing for a half cent a point and had to learn quickly. I discovered duplicate around 2010 and and was immediately hooked; for the first time, results no longer depended on getting good cards. Over the past five years I have played almost exclusively non-sanctioned duplicate in North Carolina from May to September and sanctioned duplicate here in Birmingham for the other seven months each year. It has gotten to be more and more enjoyable, and I learn something new every time I play. I have concluded that bridge has an aspect in common with football: solid defenses produce the best results. I am pleased to be a part of the ACBL and the community of bridge players -- invariably good company.

Belinda Dickinson of Birmingham on achieving CLUB MASTER:

Thank you for your letter.  I play at the Birmingham Duplicate Bridge Club about once a week.  Our instructors and directors are fun, pleasant and not at all critical.  This makes, for the most part, fun and pleasant players.  It is a great club.

Reese Koppel on achieving CLUB MASTER:

As I am fifteen and go to high school, the only thing I would request is more night games or weekend games. We have two of each at my club, and I attend both of them as much as I can. Also, I encouraged my parents and my sister to go to the Learn Bridge in a Day class, and we don't really know where to go from there, as easy bridge is once a week on Thursday mornings which is not a good time at all. That's all I ask, maybe a night easy bridge class like there used to be.

Diana Powell of Louisianna on achieving SECTIONAL MASTER:
I have continued to take weekly group lessons at the LBA center and have certainly learned a lot from the lessons.  I am enjoying the learning process as well as the new friends.  Like so  many people, I played bridge in college and ;put it aside until after I retired.  I appreciate the ACBL and the opportunities to play in other parts of the country.  I visited Lexington, Ky for a month last year and played at their ACBL bridge center.

Jean Gibson of Jackson on achieving BRONZE LIFE MASTER:

I am honored to be a member of the Jackson Bridge Association and to be able to play among great bridge players. I have always been persistent in all activities that I choose to participate. Bridge has become a hobby and passion for me. I was taught at a very young age to work hard in whatever I do. My advice to all bridge players is to be persistent. I also have chosen to play in many, many, tournaments. My second piece of advice to my fellow bridge players is to play, play, play... I am reminded of the following excerpt by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."

Kitty Byers of Jonesboro, Arkansas on achieving NABC MASTER:
I am at approximately 290 now, but I still need 18 gold points. The only gold I have won in the last 30 years has been in our club. Playing with Imogene McDaniel and Sarah McKnight in tournaments, we always played in the 299 group. I did not play in any special games during my 20 years in Calico Rock. I’m planning on playing in Gold Rush pairs in NO, and that is what I'd like to do in Hot Springs.

Gail Davis on achieving NABC MASTER:

I’m trying so hard to succeed in my goal to become a Life Master but winning the gold points is very hard.  I just wish all the Regional and National bridge tournament directors would always include games to play for gold twice a day instead of 1:30 pm and 7:30pm at night.  I’m 79 and there are a lot of people like me who don’t like to play at night.   However my partner and I are going to San Antonio and there are games there for those times.

Fred Lake on achieving JUNIOR MASTER:
 I live in Louisiana and play Bridge only when I travel to visit my brother Robert C Lake a teacher and a real Master with thousands of points. He has tried hard to educate me but I travel to Alabama every 6 to 8 weeks several years. so the number of games we played were very few, and my lack of ability was not being offsetting my Brothers abilities. Early this year he informed me he need to go thru open heart surgery. Pat, my wife and I told Bob, we would stay as long we were need.  Finally Bob was doing well and we decided to play a game at the new Montgomery Bridge Club. A miracle occurred and we won the set for the first time in six to nine months. We played the following week and did it again. And that very night the bridge world had another Junior Master. All to Robert C Lake’s abilities and persistence.