July 9, 2021

New Life Master Stefan Baumann

My Journey to Life Master

In The Beginning

When I turned forty I took up bridge and tennis. I learned to play party bridge at a convent in northeast Iowa from Sister Tomasita. Ten years later I was introduced to the world of duplicate bridge and dove in head first. Iíve been taking lessons ever since from a variety of teachers and mentors who have helped me to evolve in my understanding of the game and develop my own style of play.

Love/Hate Relationship With The Robots

When COVID hit, like many, I turned to online duplicate bridge and challenged myself with the goal of one master point per day. This was a real turning point for me; not only did it mean that I was able to put in many hours at the bridge table, but I could also play with and learn from the robots. Sure there were plenty of expletives delivered as Mr. Robot would take us to the impossible slam. Lesson learned and no hard feelings.

The Elusive Gold

A game changer for me was when I joined a Swiss Team about a year ago. Everyone on the team is dedicated to learning the same system. We take lessons together over zoom once a week from a pro out of South Dakota, who concentrates on an aggressive system for team play. We also set up practice times to play online and to grow as a team. I have always fretted over where my gold points would come from. It seemed nearly impossible to achieve life master status with the number of gold points needed. The proliferation of sanctioned online opportunities opened the door for me, for the team and for the gold.

New Life Master Stefan Baumann
Sister Tomasita


Although I enjoyed playing tennis, it is the game of bridge that has won my heart, and in doing so I have made life long friends and extended family. My hope is that Sister Tomasita is looking down from heaven with a smile, knowing how grateful I am to her.

Stefan Baumann