As a lot of you know, bridge is the name of my game. Man has never devised a card game so agonizingly complicated, so exquisitely pleasurable. To become a very good bridge player is to be able to tell that face in the mirror: "Listen, you. I may not be an Olympic athlete, and I may not be worth a million. But I'm very special, indeed."
Two young Maryland women became very special, indeed, in the last month, and we doff our hats to them this morning. They are Adair Gellman of Rockville and Beth Palmer of Silver Spring.
Adair became the youngest female life master in American bridge history on Oct. 24 when she won her 300th master point at a sectional tournament in Rosslyn. She was 14 years, 6 months and 4 days old that Sunday. Male life masters have been younger, but the previous female "youngest" was about six months older at the time she "went over."
Adair's achievement is all the more remarkable because, a mere 2 1/2 years ago, she had no master points at all. People twice her age who are good bridge players require five or ten years to reach life masterdom. Most players of any age require just what the rank's name implies -- a lifetime. But Adair sailed right up the ladder in rapid order, thanks in large measure to her parents and frequent partners, Len and Corinne, and her frequent teammate, Eric Landau.
"I was especially glad I did it because a lot of people still think bridge is for a bunch of old ladies," said Adair.
She would like to help other Washington-area teen-agers become interested in -- and good at -- bridge. Give her a call at 468-6519 if you'd like to take up the challenge. Or if you're a student at Woodward High School in Rockville, watch the bulletin boards. Adair, a Woodward freshman, expects to begin a school bridge club before Christmas.
Beth Palmer's achievement was every bit as remarkable as Adair's, and certainly more widely recognized. Beth, an attorney in Columbia, finished second in the world ladies' pairs championships, held in Biarritz, France. Her partner was Lynn Deas.
Beth is the first Washingtonian to do so well in a world's championship event in nearly 10 years, when four locals won the mixed team title. Next time, if I know Beth (and I do), it'll be all the marbles.