My parents were accomplished bridge players and starred in the one game held Thursday nights in Lancaster, PA. My father retired from family medicine at age 53 due to a failing heart. He and my mother wintered in Florida, playing bridge together exclusively until he died. After that, bridge became a lifeline for my mother. She is now in her 90s and has earned more than 6,000 masterpoints.
I learned the game during my sophomore year at Brandeis University where I became president of the bridge club. Bridge was popular in New England and there was good competition with other universities such as Harvard and MIT.
My first foray into tournament bridge was a Friday master pairs game held at a Boston sectional. I played with my then girlfriend and we rolled up a 23% game. Everyone commented on how nice it was to have young people playing and then proceeded to rip us to pieces.
I began to take bridge seriously while attending medical school in Philadelphia. By the third year I was making The McKenney list. In those days the regional winners were photographed for the ACBL Bulletin. I did my best to hide the magazine from my parents. My excellent partners continued to improve my game. I played with Billy Gough, Joey Livezey, Jay Apfelbaum, Craig Robinson, Arnie Fisher and Dave Treadwell.
In my second year of Medical School I met Carole Gold at the Lancaster Regional. It was love at first sight for me and we were married in 1979. Carole taught bridge in Lancaster inspiring her students to play and to eventually teach bridge themselves. Soon there were five games per week.
When I joined my father in family medicine work consumed most of my time. I played infrequently for 15 years. For 10 of those years I worked alone. The fall nationals came to Lancaster in 1989. Three friends and I entered the North American Swiss Teams, a six-session event. My partner Ken Meyer and I played a Precision system and our teammates Eugene Gardner and Ed Shapiro played a Blue Team Club. I worked during the event with morning office hours and hospital rounds. I am on the short list of national champions who worked and took calls while winning. The final day featured very strong competition. In his New York Times article, Alan Truscott called us “The Cinderella Team.” Actually, we were “Princes Charming” — a regular team and partnerships who had achieved much success.
In the late ‘90s, Carole and I became snowbirds buying a home in Scottsdale, AZ. I continued working in Lancaster and gradually spent more time in AZ. Our son Stephen Gold, a wonderful physician, slowly took over management of the practice and we remain independent today. We also have a daughter Gale Gold Nichols who is Executive Director of the Kelly School of Business MBA Program at Indiana University. We now spend about half our time in Scottsdale and play much more bridge.
We enjoy the bridge in the West. Carole and I have played many tournaments and have had excellent results with our dear friends Buddy Marsh and Marianne Spanier. I have an excellent partnership with Markland Jones and consider other fine players like Ben Blacik, Ken Titow, Harv Sidhu and Ken Klein to be friends and partners. To say bridge has been a large part of my life would be an understatement. As we all know, bridge is a fascinating and challenging game. I would not have met my beautiful and talented wife were it not for bridge. We have made many wonderful friends in Arizona through bridge. Bridge helped us acclimate to our new home in Scottsdale. We hope to see everyone back at the table soon.
District 17 is one of 25 geographically defined Districts of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), a membership organization whose mission is to promote, grow and sustain the game of bridge. D17 is home to over 8,500 of the approximate 150,000 members of the ACBL.