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Born To Play Bridge

April 2, 1984 — People Magazine

To say that Richard Pavlicek Jr. was born to be a bridge player is putting it mildly. His parents met while playing bridge, and they took their son to his first tournament when he was three weeks old. Now 14 years of age, Rich is the youngest Life Master (out of 30,000) in the country, a ranking he earned just three years after taking up the game in 1980.

After years of “caddying” — picking up score slips and other tournament chores — Rich decided to try his hand at the game. “We knew he was ready for tournament play when he was nine and showed us he could remember and replay 26 hands from a bridge session,” says his mother. “There aren’t many adults who can do that.”

Though his parents have made bridge their lifework (both teach and play professionally), it is only a hobby for Rich. During the school year (he’s a ninth-grader at St. Thomas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) he plays an average of three hours a week — less time than he spends on tennis, chess or computer games.

Around school Rich is better known for his tennis and ping-pong prowess than his bridge. How come? “It’s not a subject that comes up a lot,” he says with a shrug. Unlike his parents, Rich doesn’t plan to make his living at the bridge table. He wants to be a computer engineer, and no doubt will play his cards accordingly.

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© 1984 People Magazine