Many of you become duplicate bridge players, join the ACBL, and don’t give much thought to becoming a Life Master. Such was the case of our heroine, let’s call him MA aka the Maxwell Smart of the San Diego duplicate bridge world. Somewhere along each of your journeys up the ranks from Junior Master to Club, Sectional, Regional, and then NABC Regional, you start to zero in on the specific requirements that will satisfy your own quest; how many more total master points, silver points, red points, and gold points.
Such was the case of our heroine as the 2011 San Diego Regional Tournament approached last April. In his case he needed about 15 overall points, including about 6 1/4 gold. Gold points are earned at regional and national tournaments in events lasting a minimum of two sessions. After a couple of warm-up single session events, MA’s first venture into the gold region was the Wed/Thurs 2 day Knockout event. After winning both rounds Wednesday, his team played in the semi-finals Thursday morning. Following that round, their opponents came over to congratulate MA and his teammates. Unfortunately, MA’s team had calculated the results as a tie, and after a short playoff, MA’s failed to advance. That close loss cost MA 3.27 MP, including 1.63 gold.
Next up for MA and another set of teammates was the Friday/Saturday 2 day Knockout event. Once again, MA’s team charged through the early rounds, eventually finding themselves in the finals. After holding a decent midway lead and playing well in the second half of the match, MA and his partner thought they had scored enough to get him to Life Master. To their surprise, they lost the final match, 56-55; that narrow loss cost MA 3.41 MP, including 1.72 more gold.
That brought us to the final day of the tournament, and new teammates were on hand to try and push MA over the top in the Swiss Team event. The team played solidly, earning a 9th place finish with 81 VP’s. As fate would have it, teams with 82 VP’s earned gold, while MA’s team would go home with just under 4 red points. Thus ended the San Diego Regional, with MA having fulfilled the Life Master overall point requirement, only to fall 0.06 gold shy of becoming one. One trick here or there on any of the the previous five days of play would have done the deed. As others clamored to the photographer to celebrate their new status, MA and his teammates sighed deeply and plotted their next strategy.
Traveling up to Irvine on a Sunday in September for the Swiss team event in search of 0.06 gold points, MA’s team played well enough to finish 13th in a field where the first 12 earned gold. He and teammates came home with red points only. That’s right, MA “missed by that much”. A disappointment, yes, but it was not meant to be. Will MA get it done on his next try? Stay tuned for Part 2 of Maxwell Smart’s Road to Become a Duplicate Bridge Life Master!