For most duplicate bridge players, attaining "Life Master" status is the Holy Grail. Years ago, players coveted little slips of paper that had fractions of masterpoints - or - perhaps even 2 or 3 whole ones! - to send into the ACBL. Today, the process has become digitalized. Nevertheless, the goal - earning enough points to have "LM" after your name - remains the same.
Many of us take more than a few years to become a Life Master. Sometimes, as they say, "life" gets in the way. School, jobs, family, and a myriad of other obligations prevent us from getting the requirements for LM status under our belts.
Occasionally, however, a player has a huge amount of talent and drive. And, those people can become a Life Master more rapidly - and at a far earlier age - than the average.
Ben Kristensen is such a player.
On April 13th, Ben won a club game in Minong, Wisconsin. The points that Ben earned there earned him the title of Life Master.
Ben's first tournament was in May, 2009 in Hayward, WI. There, Ben played with his dad, Curt Kristensen. A year later, Ben won a side game at the Gopher Regional. Evan Sachs told Ben (with a big grin on his face) that if he just found a better partner, he could really go places.
Ben did! Ben has established a regular partnership with Burke Snowden, of Fort Collins, CO. In Toronto of 2011, the boys won the Youth Pairs and Swiss Teams. This year, they and their teammates earned the right to travel to China to play in the World Junior Championships in the Under 21 division.
Ben, along with his partner Burke, recently turned 14. Achieving Life Master status at this tender age is a most special accomplishment.
Nevertheless, with Ben's talents and drive, I imagine that we are going to hear of many more exciting achievements from this young man! Congratulations, Ben! Good luck in your upcoming travels and competitions. And - thank you, too, to all those who have helped Ben to learn our tough game. None of us - irrespective of our abilities - do it on our own.