By GUY WILLIAMS
The Queenstown Contract Bridge Club has the first grand master in its history.
Kelvin Heights resident Anne McGregor has gained the coveted title after earning her 500th ‘A point’ at a tournament in Winton two Saturdays ago.
A points come from winning sessions or getting high places at A-grade tournaments across New Zealand.
McGregor celebrated her achievement with a drink with her clubmates after their weekly playing night at the Queenstown Events Centre on Tuesday.
Although she concedes she’s among her club’s top half-dozen players, she says her grand master status, which is conferred by the national body, is as much about her longevity in the game as her ability.
She took up the card game, which is played by millions around the globe, about 40 years ago while living in Invercargill.
Now, as well as attending weekly club nights in the resort, she and one of her regular playing partners enter a tournament every couple of months or so.
She describes the game, which has taken her all over New Zealand and to Australia, as ‘‘addictive, difficult, and just a challenge’’.
It’s also completely absorbing while you’re playing it.
‘‘No matter what problems are going on in your life, that’s the end of them for three-and-a-half hours.’’
Most of all, she treasures the friendships she’s formed through the game, particularly with her playing partners, who’ve become her ‘‘very best friends’’.
McGregor, whose two daughters also love the game, says the best players have a good memory, self-discipline, the ability to think tactically, and can communicate well with their playing partner.