1st Gold Points and a New life Master - Congratulations to All
December 21, 2020
Chris Turner Becomes 1st Life Master From SV Bridge Classes
Chris Turner has made life master, and we are as thrilled as she is.

Chris is the first Sun Valley Bridge student to attain the rank, described by the American Contract Bridge League as "the most highly sought level of bridge achievement."

We'll tell you more about Chris, Greta Hansen and her historic swim across Lake Erie, and the 14 players who won their first gold points later in the e-newsletter. But first, we'll reminisce about a memorable experience with Chris.

We were at the North American Bridge Championships in Reno in 2016 and Chris was playing with Wesley May, a Silicon Valley computer engineer she met at the partnership desk. He asked if we would like to play in the midnight zip knockouts, which we had never done.

Midnight bridge
The knock-out is a fast-paced Swiss match that begins at midnight. Each four-person team plays until they lose, or get "knocked out." We arrived about 11:45 p.m. and Chris said she didn't think she could stay awake. We agreed that since we were there, we should play, people who were playing their fourth session of the day were probably quite serious bridge players, we'd get knocked out after the first round, and we could leave.

An early arrival was a 20-something woman with pink streaks in her hair. A gray-haired man brought a case of beer to share with everyone. It turns out he was a Danish national champion.

May we lose, please?
We keep hoping to lose, but we kept winning. It got down to us against one other team, and it was approaching 2 a.m. Chris again said she couldn't possibly stay awake. We enlisted the director to explain that she didn't have to play well. If she could just sit at the table, she would be guaranteed second place and more masterpoints than she had won all day.

We lost to the team with Danish champion Morton Bilde, also a member of the team that was the 2013 winner of the Vanderbilt Cup, one of the most prestigious events in bridge. We got 1.96 red points each. And we got to go to sleep.
--Chuck Abramo and Jo Murray
(Photo above, from left: Jo Murray, Chuck Abramo, Chris Turner & Wesley May at the midnight tournament in Reno. Read more about Wesley and his bridge app later.)
Bid This Hand
We had more questions on this hand from a recent game than any other board in recent memory.
Click here for the answer.
Using Doubles & Redoubles
When partner makes a takeout double and your righthand opponent passes, you must bid even if you have no points. Therefore, remember to jump a level if you have 9-11 points. Let partner know you have a decent hand and are pleased to bid.

We'll talk about how to use the redouble to let partner know your side has most of the power in our Jan. 25 online lesson.
Sign Up for Online Lessons
Have some time to refine your skills on chilly stay-at-home days? Check out our schedule of upcoming online lessons. We'll refresh your knowledge of opening leads, how both defender and declarer can use the information from fourth-best leads, and more.
Still Time to Purchase a Last-Minute Gift
Need a gift for your bridge partner? Or a treat for yourself?

Consider Jo Murray's booklet, "How Come I Don't Know That?" Sun Valley Bridge online lessons or audiovisual lessons from bridge great Marty Bergen. He's offering packages at a special price to our players. See suggestions in our recent e-newsletter.
Chris Turner (BBO: Luckysalt): Playing Bridge, Raising Hens, Foraging for Medicinal Plants
When did you start playing bridge and why?
I learned some basics when I was 20 years old and living in France but never got into it. I tried again and my eyes rolled when some girlfriends tried to explain Stayman. I don’t count those times because it didn’t stick. I didn't become enamored until Oct. 25, 2014, when my friend Barbie John (BBO: Barbiebabs) invited me to her house for a lesson with Chuck. I went to the Sun Valley Bridge Club game with Barbie the next week on Oct. 29, 2014 to play in my first club game. I was hooked right away. I’ve taken many more lessons with Chuck and Jo and played once or twice a week ever since.

 What do you like best about bridge?
I love bridge in general because of the way one has to use so many different parts of the brain. No hand is ever the same. Jo talked me into playing in a regional tournament in Jackpot, Nevada, in 2015 and it was exhilarating. So I started attending as many tournaments as possible, including the nationals. I played 9 days straight, three sessions a day, at my first nationals.I love the virtual games because I can participate in bridge and see friends online. They’ve been a lifesaver during the pandemic.

What was your profession in a past life?
I was in the financial business most of my working life.

Where have you lived – both now and in the past?
I grew up in Southern California. I started spending time in Ketchum in 1996 and moved here in 2008.

What are you doing when you aren’t playing bridge?
I’m gotten away from finance and started doing odd thinks like raising hens and foraging for wild medicinal plans. I’m a trustee of The Community Library and a volunteer for the Wood River Community YMCA.

Photo at upper left: Chris Turner (left) and Sarah Woodward
Greta Hansen: "Aqua Queen of Lake Erie"
Who knew that our own Greta Patterson Hansen was known as the "Aqua Queen of Lake Erie" after she swam 15 miles across the lake in 13 hours in 1955? A swimming pool in Batavia, New York, is named in her honor. The Batavian newspaper recently highlighted the story from its archives.
Developing a BridgeApp
Wesley May, teammate with Jo, Chuck and Chris, in the 2016 midnight knockouts in Reno (see earlier story) came in second in the Grand National Teams non-life master category last year and has qualified for the next Grand Nationals. He's about 20 silver points short of becoming a life master himself. In the meantime, he's just completed his first defense lesson for his free bridge app, LearnBridge, for new players.
It's Their First Gold - Congratulations!
Fourteen Sun Valley Bridge players won their first gold points in the "Stardust Week" Games. Gold points are required for advanced ranks, including the rank of life master.

Our first-time gold winners are in the photo collage at the top of this newsletter. They are, top to bottom, left to right, Becky Smith, Alexandra Brookshire, Lynn Thomsen, Susan Potts, Jill Hitchin with Karen Robideaux and David Hitchin at our YMCA fundraiser, Mikal Thomsen and Bert Green, Melissa Reis, Susan Larson and Gary Kuchcinski, and Dennis and Karen Dunn.

Others who won gold were Chuck Abramo, Joan Belshin, Deborah Berry, Stephanie Campbell, Jim Churchill, Nancy Donavan, Suzy Donavan, Lynne & Stephen Heidel, Linda Parsons, Margo Peck, Elaine Phillips, Judy Powell, Carol Ritter, Merrily Smith, Helen Spalding, Judy Threshie, Chris Turner and Frank Ward. Congratulations to all!
Wednesdays, 3 p.m.
Fridays, 3 p.m.
New Sunday Games
Dec. 27, Jan. 10, Jan. 24
3 p.m.
(no game Christmas Day)
Masterpoint Winners
Click here to see who placed in our "Stardust Week" gold point games, as well as other games in November and December.