Bridge player attains rare achievement

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

A local bridge player can now claim something not many otherlocals can say they have – Life Master status.

Katherine Huckaby said she’s been playing duplicate bridge for15 years. On Tuesday, her fellow bridge players at the BrookhavenRecreation Department threw a celebration in honor of her newdistinguished status.

“You can play for all your life and never be a Life Master,”said her friend and fellow bridge player, Mary Smith. “Or you canplay for a short time and be one, like Katherine.”

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Life Master is the highest level of bridge achievement, and isearned by a player who has earned 300 or more masterpoints.Masterpoints are a unit which measures achievement in duplicateplay.

Huckaby achieved the honor recently at a regional AmericanCompetitive Bridge League tournament in Biloxi. She said theaccomplishment was quite an honor.

The Bogue Chitto resident said it’s the challenge of betteringher game and competing with others that keeps her in the game. Shesaid that’s why she loves her bridge group at BRD.

“I love the competition, and their competitiveness with eachother,” she said.

Huckaby, who is originally from Pontotoc, comes by hercompetitive nature honestly, as she taught Physical Education atCopiah-Lincoln Community College at one time.

She moved to Bogue Chitto about nine years ago. Her daughter,Cheryl Shelby, lives just outside Brookhaven.

And while Huckaby has achieved quite an honor, she said thereare still things to strive for beyond Life Master.

“Now they have bronze, silver, and gold level Life Masters too,”she said.

Life Masters reach bronze status after 500 masterpoints, silverstatus after 1,000 masterpoints, and gold status after 2,500masterpoints.

The bridge group at Brookhaven Recreation Department is one ofseveral that meet each week.

Karen Harveston, who works at BRD, said Thursday is the only daythere is not a bridge group that meets to play and socialize. Someplayers play with more than one group, too, she said.

“They come from all over,” she said. “They even come from McCombto play here.”

Harveston said the groups are made up of players of all ages.The game, she said, provide the gamers with some much-enjoyedactivity.

“They play for the enjoyment of it, and just to have somethingto do,” she said. “They do it to socialize and get out of thehouse.”

And Huckaby said that’s what she plans to continue doing.

“I’m going to play just as long as I can,” she said.