Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jim Linhart

I was sad to hear about Jim Linhart's passing on the ACBL site last week. Unfortunately I didn't know him personally until this last nationals in Boston. On one of the (many) days that I was out of the national events I played with Helen Raleigh and we picked up Jim and Romanian junior Marius Agica as teammates for the knockout. We were decided underdogs in the first round to Carolyn Lynch's powerful squad that would later win the Open Swiss Teams.

Both of our pairings were first-time partnerships with Jim and Marius being quite an odd one...Jim had 53 years on the kid. While Helen and I had some first-time troubles at our table, it seemd that Jim and Marius were rocks. After a dismal set, Helen and I figured that we trailed by 20 IMPs at the half...we were up by 2. Actually my favorite line from Jim came during the first half comparisons--as often happens with me, it took a few re-addings to arrive at the correct margin. After one of my errors "cost" us 3 IMPs, Jim deadpanned, "Stop checking." Sadly, order was restored in the second half, though again we had our chances...we lost the match by 6. Jim, though clearly a fierce competitor, was far from discouraged by the result--rather, he asked what was on schedule for the evening's bridge events--we'd keep our team together and hopefully do better in a side game! This guy, at 72, seemed to have the same enthusiasm for the game that I had in my early 20s when a trip to nationals for me was akin to a kid visiting a candy store. It was great getting to meet this giant of the game (figuratively and literally--he stood about six and a half feet tall) even if it was just for a day.