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Alfred Sheinwold's Love Affair With Bridge Spans Six Decades

April 04, 1993|CHRISTINA V. GODBEY

You could say Alfred Sheinwold has trumped his way across America.

The world-class contract bridge player has spent the past 35 years writing a daily syndicated bridge column that appears in some 200 newspapers--including The Times--in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Sheinwold's bridge career began more than 60 years ago when he was a student at Brooklyn College in New York City. The London native immediately became hooked on the card game.

"It was better than any game I'd come across," the 80-year-old Bel-Air resident said. "I started playing in clubs and I never turned back."

To learn more about the game, he made several trips to the library and discovered gaping holes in what the bridge books had to offer. He started to fill those gaps and did a bit of writing. A few years later, he met Ely Culbertson, known as the "Master of Bridge" during the 1930s.

"(Culbertson) needed someone to join his staff who knew the game and how to write," he said. "I proofread columns and prepared hands that went into his magazines."

Sheinwold later joined the staff of a New York newspaper, where he worked for two years producing bridge columns. Then World War II came and he abandoned the game. He spent the next four years serving as chief of cryptology security for the Offices of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA.

After the war, Sheinwold co-wrote a book on the hit game canasta with Oswald Jacoby, another famous bridge player. From there, the two began writing bridge columns together.

Sheinwold got an offer in 1957 to write his own column--and it was an offer he couldn't refuse.

"The only way I've kept my sanity is that I try to write amusing as well as instructive columns," he said. "Bridge gives you a reason to get out of bed."

His columns are still widely read and quoted. Because of his special understanding of bridge, he's often asked to conduct workshops and talks around the world. On Thursday, he will appear at the Traveler's Aid bridge benefit at the Wilshire Country Club.

Sheinwold has no plans to retire or scale back his busy work schedule anytime soon.

"I enjoy writing the column," he said. "I'm not sure I'd know what to do with my time if I retired."

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Pacific Palisades resident Susan Ross has joined the Peace Corps and will serve as a volunteer in Botswana.

She will work as a park development/interpretive officer to promote visitor appreciation of Botswana's protected areas. Ross formerly served as a park superintendent at Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades and was an employee of the California State Park system for 12 years.

She will have a two-year assignment in the African nation.

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County Supervisors Ed Edelman and Deane Dana have reappointed two Westside residents to the Los Angeles County Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Commission.

Anthony Smulder, an associate dean of science at Loyola Marymount University in Westchester, and Miriam West, a social worker, will again serve on the commission. Their duties include monitoring current law and pending legislation, and strengthening programs in the fields of narcotics and dangerous drugs.

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The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has awarded the Rensselaer Medal to Sarah Braun.

Braun, who attends Santa Monica High School, lives in Santa Monica.

The Rensselaer Medal is given to students chosen by their schools as the top performers in science and mathematics.

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Wise Senior Services has announced the addition of four members to its board of directors.

The new members are Paula Janoski, Jean Maloney, Juan Villagomez and Anthony Amendola.

Wise Senior Services is a nonprofit social service organization that provides a broad range of services to senior citizens in the Los Angeles area.

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Violinist Chen Zhao has been nominated to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

Zhao, a senior at Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, was selected from among more than 6,000 applicants nationwide. He was also the second-place winner of the 1991 Palisades Symphony Young Artist Award Competition.

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