Bernice plays with the Milwaukee Bridge Club where, according to GM Today, she “recently celebrated her milestone birthday  with 96 friends.” She’s earned over 7000 master points qualifying her as a Diamond Life Master.
I don’t blog very often about individual serious bridge players–it’s not what Bridge Table Chronicles is basically about. However, Bernice Larson is a truly exceptional centenarian. Also, she makes a point about the advantages of taking up bridge that I don’t think I remember to mention–the opportunity bridge provides for travel.
Bridge is played in just about every country in the world and that has been generally true for decades. This is one area in which the duplicate and tournament players have it all over us sociable players. The opportunities to combine playing bridge and traveling, having friends all over the world, exist mostly for tournament bridge. Bernice has played in tournaments in Europe, Africa, Australia and Hong Kong.
Evidently language is never a barrier in bridge (you don’t talk during a duplicate bridge game anyway, except to bid!) and as she says: “Bridge is a universal language.”
Sociable players in this context? I’m sure there are sociable bridge players as well in every country of the world but having no organizational structure, they are not likely to find one another when traveling.
But then there are bridge cruises with their international clientele for players at all levels. You can sign up for bridge cruises taught by Audrey Grant herself just as Charlie Goren taught bridge on cruise ships decades ago.
Even I once played bridge with an ACOL-playing (British system) English three-some, but only because they were desperate for a fourth. I can’t remember anymore how we came to a bidding system we all understood. I do remember that the other couple were extremely aggressive bidders, our side mostly passed and we ended up winning the evening.
But to get back to Bernice–she came to my attention via my Google Alert and an article in GM Today. It includes a large and lovely photograph. I have commented before on this–today’s centenarians seem not to be thin and wizened, they are mostly full in face, few wrinkles, blooming. Bernice is no exception!