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Josephine  CULBERTSON

Josephine Murphy Dillon (1898-1956) Ŕ stata la seconda donna ad essere eletta dalla  ACBL  in "The Bridge Hall of Fame" ma Ŕ stata senz'altro la prima a meravigliare il mondo intero per la sua capacitÓ di battersi ad armi pari e con successo contro i pi¨ forti rappresentanti dell'altro sesso.

 Nata a Bayside (oggi quartiere di New York city), nel 1919 spos˛ James Dillon che presto la lasci˛ vedova suicidandosi, il suo interesse per il bridge inizi˛ quanto entr˛ come segretaria nello studio "Wilbur C. Whitehead & Milton C. Work" dove conobbe il mitico Ely Culbertson, che spos˛ nel 1923, e con il quale collabor˛ professionalmente per tutto il resto della vita, anche dopo il loro divorzio avvenuto nel 1938.

 La sua fama di giocatrice eccezionale fu definitivamente consacrata dalla partecipazione in coppia con il marito Ely alla "sfida del secolo" contro Sydney Lenz e dall'averla vinta. I suoi partner preferiti furono dapprima Waldemar von Zedtwitz e pi¨ tardi Michael Gottlieb e Albert Morehead

 Josephine, sempre in squadra con il marito,  nel 1930 vinse anche la Vanderbilt e la progenitrice della Spingold.

 Collaboratrice di giornali e riviste e conduttrice con il marito di fortunatissimi talk show, Josephine era forse pi¨ conosciuta ed amata per la sua eleganza ed il suo charme, che per la sua indiscutibile abilitÓ di giocatrice.

 Nel "Red Book", una rielaborazione del pi¨ famoso "Blue Book" alla redazione del quale collabor˛ con il marito, espose il suo  personale sistema dichiarativo.

 La sua idea di chiedere gli onori nel seme di atout attraverso un salto a 5SA (convenzione che porta il suo nome di battesimo), Ŕ ancora oggi largamente usata dai bridgisti di tutto il mondo.

Josephine, che morý di un ictus, il 23 marzo del 1956, a soli tre mesi dalla scomparsa di Ely, Ŕ ricordata dal Trofeo che porta il suo nome e che premia ogni anno la migliore squadra femminile Nord Americana ai NABC's.

Josephine (Mrs. Ely) Culbertson of USA, stood in her own right as a renowned bridge teacher, player and writer, member ACBL Hall of Fame.

She was born Josephine Murphy in Bayside NY (now part of New York City) in 1898.

Her interest in bridge commenced when she became secretary to Wilber C. Whitehead. In June 1923 she married Ely Culbertson and collaborated with him in the development and teaching of the Culbertson or Approach-Forcing systems of auction and contract bridge.

Through the twenties and into the thirties, Culbertson was known as 'the modern miracle - the woman who can play on even terms with the best men.' She was the first woman to achieve highest championship caliber, and as such was unique in her times, before the advent of Helen Sobel Smith and others. As a member of The Bridge World team, with Waldemar Von Zedtwitz as her partner and later Michael Gottlieb and Albert Morehead, Culbertson won several national and international championships including the Schwab Cup 1934.

Paired with her husband she played many high-stake set games, won international matches in England and France, and achieved national fame in the Culbertson-Lenz Match, 1931-1932.

She was co-founder of The Bridge World, 1929, and inaugurated its 'Pro et Contra' department, which appeared under her name until her death. She was often on radio bridge shows, including two long series with her husband.

She participated briefly in motion pictures made by her husband. Jo, as she insisted she be called by her close friends, was as glamorous as a movie star - the world of bridge was at her feet as was the world of fashion.

Every paper, every smart magazine sung her praises and quoted not only her success at the bridge table, but also her beautiful clothes and the chic with which she wore them. Josephine and Ely Culbertson were divorced in 1938, though they continued as business partners and co-editors.

She died on 23 March 1956, of a cerebral stroke, 87 days after Ely's death.

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