Jackson now Diamond Life Master in Bridge

Published 9:35 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To the Editor:
This is about the remarkable achievement of a neighbor and good friend, Jim Jackson, in the world of competitive Contract Bridge players.
Jim is undoubtedly one of the best-known persons in Polk County. He grew up in Tryon, left for a time, and returned with his wife Sheila and their children to take up permanent residency here.
To discuss Jim’s many civic activities could be the subject of another article. He is one who has given much to his community in a variety of ways. But, this is about his recently becoming a Diamond Life Master.
The American Contract Bridge League came into existence around 1930 and currently had more than 100,000 members. A member’s competitive status is determined by the number of master points accumulated. These points are awarded for high finishes in tournaments at the local club, sectional, regional and national levels.
To become a Life Master one needs to accumulate 300 master points, some of which must be won at the sectional and regional or master levels. Jim achieved this goal at the ages of 26 to become the 358th Life Master in the ABCL.
Since then, he has passed the levels of bronze, silver and gold, until he recently because the first Diamond Life Master in Polk County with 5,000 master points.
Jim’s earliest bridge experience came at age 6 when he became an observer at his parents’ bridge games, where he was allowed to watch but not speak. He obviously was a quick learner, and later on competed with many of the top bridge players of our time, such as Charles Goren, Edgar Kaplan and Helen Sobel.
One of Jim’s greatest attributes is his ability to play with virtually anyone and get good results.
Evidence of this is his winning the largest individual tournament, held each year at the regional level in Boston. In this tournament you play with a new partner every two hands. He won this event, competing with several hundred, on two occasions.
Will Rogers once said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” This sentiment could apply to Jim.
His infectious laugh, congeniality and enthusiasm add much to the local bridge scene. Jim devotes considerable time to coaching and playing with aspiring players.
An example: A young foreign exchange student learned the game from Jim and now teaches a bridge class in his spare time at Dartmouth College.
Congratulations, Jim. You have shown that duplicate bridge can be challenging, enjoyable and rewarding, especially for the octogenarians among us. Lucky is the one who sits with you at the table of bridge.
–– Dick Long