Letter from a Player
New NABC Master played since HS, played in UK and Spain, back in US plays over Internet
By Karen Sloan
Playing bridge has been a lifelong hobby for me. I learned as a youngster, and recall playing in the High School cafeteria and in dormitory hallways as a college student. After graduating, as I moved to new towns for work I found playing in local bridge clubs was a great way to socialize and meet people.
So I joined the ACBL in the 1970s. But when I left the U.S. in 1989 I let my membership lapse, as I no longer had the opportunity to play in licensed clubs and sanctioned tournaments. Instead I was playing bridge in English pubs. And after the national organization there introduced pay to play I started earning EBU masterpoints in 2012.
I was playing a lot on the computer as well, first with bridge programs on my laptop that kept me occupied on work trips, and then in 2005 I began playing live on BBO.
Forward ten plus years and I continued to play on BBO during a first attempt at early retirement living in Spain, as well as playing duplicate in some local clubs there and also spending some time teaching beginners in an attempt to broaden the pool of players.
When I knew I would be spending more time in the U.S to support my aging father I renewed my ACBL membership.
Then the pandemic hit! And I figured that people would benefit by transitioning to playing online, so I spent time reaching out to all the players I knew in different corners of the globe to help them get familiar with the BBO platform. In New York I helped my local club in Heritage Hills in Somers get their virtual play going, and after joining with a club in Salisbury, Connecticut they have been holding online duplicate sessions four times a week since the spring, with a good turnout.
For myself I figured it was a good time to move ahead with my long–delayed goal of becoming a Life Master, so I have been playing regularly in Heritage and other virtual clubs as a member – in Alliance and All For One –– and as a guest, in Knoxville and St. Paul and Ft. Lauderdale and Ft. Collins and elsewhere.
I reached the NABC level after picking up gold points in the clubs in the most recent Stardust week. I'd like to offer thanks to the multiple partners who have helped me in the journey, including several regulars at Heritage and a few people I have met online, including Paul Wright of Charleston, South Carolina, who has reached his personal goal of playing in virtual clubs in all 50 states, but is still working on accumulating 10,000 masterpoints.
I have just begun directing in one of the free clubs on BBO, Bluff City, and that has been fun.
I also have recently started playing with an English partner on the Real Bridge online platform – which incorporates video and audio –– after reading that the EBU was planning to use it for the organization's big end–of–year tournament. I am finding it more social, which is good, but harder for me to concentrate and focus on the cards, which is not so good!
But I am still enjoying the bridge play in all forms, and I am pleased that it is helping many people get through the isolation of the present situation!
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