About Kitty

Kitty Cooper, Bridge Champion

I am a genetic genealogist, genealogist, dog lover, and World Champion Bridge player.  For more about my genealogy try my family history site. For more about my genetic genealogy and genealogy research see my blog at blog.kittycooper.com – this page is about my Bridge history.

I love this card game. I learned to play when I was 12, but didn’t start competing in tournaments until after I graduated college, Harvard University 1972 cum laude. These days I mainly partner my girlfriend Lynne Feldman.

I have been teaching Bridge since 1990. At first I mainly taught adults the club series and some more advanced classes of my own devising. Many of these are available on this site. But I felt strongly that it was important to get young people playing, so when I moved to Albuquerque in 2000 I got involved in starting a Schools Bridge program with Felicity Reid Moore. More about that, including our teacher’s manual prepared with the ACBL, is available on my For Teachers page.

My first Bridge-playing triumph was novice player of the year in Boston in the 1973-1974 season. Interestingly enough my late husband Steve won the same title in NYC in 1974. This was before the MiniMcKenney races or he probably would have won that too.

Since then I have won a few more things, The Venice Cup including a World Championship, a Common Market Championship, and a number of National titles. Here are some details.

The 1989 Venice Cup is the World Championship that my teammates and I (as Kitty Bethe) won for the USA.

Although I am an American by birth, I competed internationally for the UK while living in London in the mid-80s in partnership with Liza Shaw and for mixed events, Barry Rigal. Together with Barry’s then partner Peter Czierniewski, the four of us won the Common Market Mixed Teams Championship in 1987. Liza and I also played on the British Ladies team, finishing 3rd in the European Championships.

Other high world finishes (as Kitty Munson) are a silver medal in the Venice Cup in 1995 with my woman partner Carol WBF logo Simon, a 4th in the World Mixed Pairs in 1986 for Britain with Barry, and last but not least, 5th-8th in the 1994 Rosenblum Open World Teams with long-time former partner Larry Mori.

I have also won 8 National championships (3 open, 2 women’s, 2 mixed, 1 nonLM) including two with my late husband Steve Cooper. I have won the North American Open Swiss teams three times, most recently partnering my husband, Steve Cooper, previously in partnership with former husband, the late Henry Bethe, and the other time with former partner the late Larry Mori. My next best event has been the Women’s Swiss, one win, two seconds, and a few other high finishes. As Kitty Munson, I won the Wagar Women’s KO teams, in partnership with Carol Simon. So far though the best my women’s team and I have managed in the Women’s Board a Match is second. Also in the Master Mixed Teams, I have been second twice, once with my husband Steve and once with Helgemo on Rita Schugart’s team. In the Reisinger board-a-match I have been 6th (with Larry). Finally my matchpoint titles were the Senior Mixed Pairs with Steve, Mixed Pairs with Larry and the last ever National Advanced Senior Masters Pairs in 1975 with Rob Schachter.

25 thoughts on “About Kitty

  1. Edward Amundson

    I am a great grandson of George A. Wald (Wold). Thank you for all of the family history work it is very interesting.
    Contact me if you like.
    happy New Year.
    Ed Amundson
    Junction City, OR

  2. Allen Riberdy

    Hi Kitty,

    Years ago, at the Culbertson in New York, Michael Schenker and I coached with you before going to the nationals to compete in the North American Pairs.

    I have an idea for a new column in The Bridge Bulletin that would be co-written by a beginner (me) and an expert. The editor said he’d publish it if he had someone to write it. The basic idea would be an over-the-shoulder column where I would submit a hand, for which I received a poor result, and explain what I was thinking at every step of the way. The expert in turn would intersperse instruction about what I should have thought. One week could be declarer play, another week defense and another week bidding. Ideally they would be hands that one encounters frequently. If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in writing this with me. Please let me know.

    I hope you are well!


  3. Paolo Enrico Garrisi

    Dear Kitty,
    I’m making a collective interview for Neapolitan Club to many people on the matter of memorizing the cards at Bridge:
    …Are there techniques to develop some specific memory?… Could be possible to make a choice of what might be more useful to memorize?
    Please, could you courtesy answer it and explain what you think about the issue?

    The question sprang up in this way: some days ago I started a new class of bridge at Ascoli Piceno’s Circolo Cittadino (City Club); my three pupils, Cinzia, Giampaolo, and Valentina, didn’t know anything of the game, it was their very first time at the table. I dealt a deck, turning up the last card, and I started to explain the Whist. I pointed out that it needed to carefully watch and remember any card.
    Later, at home, I received an email from Giampaolo; he wrote about card remembering and asked me the questions I addressed to you.

    1. Kitty Cooper Post author

      Paolo –
      Remembering the cards is something that comes naturally from playing alot, at least when you are young.
      Here are my tips for card memory:
      1) If you remember best what you hear, then say the name of each card to yourself as you see it, for example “two of clubs”
      2) If you have a more visual memory then imagine yourself taking a picture of each card as you see it. This is what I do.

  4. James Maher (Ireland)

    Kitty, I love your web site and wonder what system you normally play (I play 5-card majors and weak No Trump (12 – 14). I’m particularly attracted to it because of your technology-friendly attitude as I believe technology can help bridge education – but very few teachers I know use it!

    Do you offer, or can you suggest, a web site which would educationally help my system for which. of course, I would be happy to pay?

  5. Kitty Cooper Post author

    James –
    I highly recommend hanging out at BridgeWinners.com to learn more about what people play these days.
    I play a meckwell lite precision with my partner Lynne and an aggressive 5 card major 2/1 system with strong NTs with my husband
    you might also check our Larry Cohen’s site for many articles on modern bidding conventions

  6. Erdem Öztürk

    Dear Kitty,
    I have been working on a bridge application project about 2 years. Here is the temporary name http://anarmusayev.com/bridgebegin/ original name will be bridgebegin.com
    Can you please check the “Flash Demo” part and give me suggestions and feedback ?
    Also I am planning to add some world class players’ and teachers’ comments (testimonials) to the web site so could you please write me a testimonial via email so that I can add it to under “Comments” section in the web site.
    Thanks for your concern
    Best Regards

    Erdem Öztürk

  7. karen jenks

    Years ago, at least 50, I was taught bridge and the teacher used a fabulous book. It was wookbook size and the front had cards that you tore out and could use with each lesson. I would love to use something like it with my grandchildren. Could you ask your associaes if anyone remembers this. Maybe I caould get a copy from an old bookstore if I knew the author.

    Thanks for your help.


  8. Edgwin Simpson

    Hi Kitty,

    I am an ACBL Certified Teacher. I am starting a novice+ bridge class here in Melbourne, Florida.

    Thanks to your downloadable, free bridge lessons I can very easily provide a lesson guide to my students.

    I will make sure you and your husband get full credit for your wonderful contribution to teaching bridge.

    Edgwin (Rick) Simpson

  9. Donald Helmich

    Hi Kitty — again!

    I was reading over your background — very interesting!

    I have been a university professor for some 47 years. What always ‘stuns’ me is that in my classes once a semester I ask if any of my students play a game called ‘ bridge’. The usual student response in last twenty years is: “What is bridge?” Times change — back in my college days that was many students entertainment — playing for 10 cents a a point — often couple guys against couple of girls — with bunch of kibitzers watching and making side money bets on winner of a contract. The good ole days!

    Don Helmich

  10. JIm Garner

    You are well accomplished… I am relatively new to Bridge and stumbled across your site. I then stumbled across the Borel program…. I posted a comment there and am posting here as well, in hopes that you see it…

    Now, regarding Borel:
    You have the executable and documentation… do you also have the original source code as well?
    With the original source code, it is possible to bring the program into the modern era and breathe new life into Borel.

    1st: the BHG format is not well known. You have written the python script to interpret it, but how much more flexible would things be if we had the program write out JSON or XML? This can be accomplished with the source code and a compiler.

    2nd: Requiring people to use DosBox throws off potential users. Many people interested in bridge these days are older, and do not have the experience necessary or desire to load DosBox. I am a software engineer, and I do not want to bother with DosBox, though I will if there is no other way.

    3rd: Command line interfaces, if designed smartly, can be used as the interface between a UI program and a simulator. The UI can be written as a windows/MAC program or a web interface, calling the program as though it were a service on the server. This is done with chess engines all the time. Stockfish, for example, is a simple command line program that utilizes UCI as its interface. You can download Stockfish to run on any device (Android, iP{hone, iPad, Windows, MAC, even run it from web-pages) People simply use it, and do nto think about how it is put together. This can be done with Borel.

    4th: Depending upon how it is put together, a redesign (while preserving the core logic) can be accomplished to make it more maintainable, or more flexible. The time of its creation it is probably written in C, but could have been written in Pascal, assembler or FORTRAN. With the exception of assembler, these langunages have modern counterparts and can be compiled in modern compilers and packaged to run directly on modern machines. A little work on the interface aspect may be needed , but designing the interface will be helpful (see above)

    I think it would be a good idea to breathe new life into Borel.
    As a software engineer and programmer with over 25 years experience, I might be able to help with the effort.
    Let me know what, if anything I can do.

    Jim Garner

  11. Laurence Banks

    Opener west 1st seat
    Q 6
    K 10 9 5
    J 8 7
    A Q 10 9

    Responder East 3rd seat

    Bidding 1 dia 3 spades pass 12 tricks made please advise ?

    I was playing east my Partner bid 1c , I had a rush of blood and jumped to 3 spades looking for a slam, My Partner passed – She said she thought I was pre empting
    A K J 8 4 3 2
    K J 3 2

  12. Kitty Cooper Post author

    3 is a double jump so it is never this hand. Some play it as shortness in spades with club support and others play it as preemptive like your partner.

    2 is a fine bid, if you play strong jump shifts, as it sets the game force and anounces very good spades. Else you have to start with 1 and make forcing bids or just bid Blackwood.

  13. Anne Berit Kalseth Kinberg

    Hello, I am Anne Berit Kalseth, from Sannidal, Kil, Norway. I found a link to you Hans Svendsen och Maren Christiansdatter. My mother Kirsten Helen, still living born 1943 lives i Kil in the old house were the relatives lived.

    Hans Svendsen
    Mor: Maren (født Christiansdotter)
    Søsken: Svend Hansen
    Christian Hansen
    Pauline Marie (født Hansen)
    Hans Jacob Hansen
    Karen Ellefine (født Hansen)
    Maren Helene (født Hansen)
    Regine Helene (født Hansen)

  14. Mark

    I am a descendent if Jabcob VanAlstine he is my 3rd great grandfather. His son Abraham VanAlstine settled in Grant township north east of Bud Rapids, MI. There are still many of his direct descendants still living there. As a matter of fact there is a cemetery there with many VanAlstine family members in it. I have found many VanAlstines in the up state New York area. In a history of Mecosta county book Abraham his brother Nelson and there parents are mentioned. You can reach me at kranichmarkw@hotmail.com

  15. Art Desmond

    Hi Kitty, I was reading your comments on Bridgewinners about “Always Drury” and you wrote to message you for your notes on the subject. Please send me your notes.

    You may not be aware of it (?) but Andrew Robson is endorsing a method that a 2C advance of partner’s overcall is a limit raise or better. In order for advancer to show a club suit, they must cue bid the opener’s suit. He has a Youtube video on this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U50be0U-8A

    Thank you

  16. ray zekauskas

    This is Ray Zekauskas, hope you remember me, Always enjoyed our conversations at the nationals some years ago. Still playing bridge at the local level and doing some teaching with our less experienced players. I f you have time would like to talk about your teaching methods.
    Truly sorry about Steve

    Ray zekauskas


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