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Leader of the Pack

By LOIS SCHMIDT

July 20, 2012

One-hundred-year-old Bernice Larson of Milwaukee is a revered bridge player locally and internationally.


To say Bernice Larson is an excellent bridge player is an understatement.

Larson plays a style of bridge known as duplicate bridge, in which you donít win by playing the hand dealt to you. Instead, you play the same cards as your opponents ó but play them better.

In a typical session, a winner might win about three master points. Larson has accumulated more than 7,000 master points, making her a Diamond Life Master player. She has traveled the world playing bridge, taught many other Milwaukeeans to play and even has an award named after her. The Bernice Larson Achievement Award is presented each year by the Milwaukee Duplicate Bridge Club to a person who has achieved success in the game and exhibited good character.

At 100 years old, Larson is still an active bridge player. She recently celebrated her milestone birthday with 96 friends at the Milwaukee Duplicate Bridge Club.

Larson learned to play bridge in her off hours as a nurse at St. Lukeís Hospital. She retired from nursing in 1974 and spent her free time playing bridge ó the same year she started travelling to tournaments all over the world. She found a partner from Las Vegas and they played tournaments in Norway, Sweden, Scotland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. There was no language barrier; English is spoken worldwide. She says with a big smile, "You know, bridge is a universal language."

 


This story ran in the May 2012 issue of: