About the players
Lynn is a law professor at the University of Texas, and frequently serves as a consultant to other attorneys on issues of legal ethics in mass tort settlements. A graduate of Yale Law School and Yale College, she also holds a degree from Oxford University, which she attended as a Marshall Scholar.
A 16-time National Champion, Lynn’s work commitments largely limit her tournament play to NABC women’s team and pair events. In 2014, Lynn won her first World Championship, the McConnell Cup in Sanya, China. She has twice represented the US in the Venice Cup, winning a silver medal with USA I in 2009 (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and finishing 5th in 2001 (Paris, France. In 2015, she was on the winning Women's Team in the European Open Championships (Tromso, Norway).
A lifelong athlete, Lynn rowed for the Yale Varsity Women’s Crew and was selected to one U.S. Olympic and three National Women’s Rowing Team training camps during college. An avid downhill skier and runner in recent years, she has completed four marathons. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Sam Dinkin, their 18-year-old daughter, and two cats, Reginald and Shadow.
A six-time world champion, her most recent win being the McConnell Cup in Sanya, China, Karen is perhaps best known for her aggressive and complex "light initial action" bidding system. Although the five-card (non-vul) "McCallum weak 2-bids" (with no restrictions on suit quality or side holdings) are no longer an oddity among experts, Karen saw their promise in the 1970s.
Respected around the world as a bidding theorist as well as a player, Karen has served as a coach of several Turkish national bridge teams (open, women, and junior), and of the Australian open national bridge team. She was the NPC for the Turkish juniors in the 2000 Junior World Championships in Antalya. Karen has been an invited participant in bidding panels in numerous bridge publications in England, Australia, Turkey, New Zealand, France and the US. She has also edited several bridge books, including the best-selling bridge book of all time, Larry Cohen's "To Bid or Not to Bid."
In addition to her great success in women's bridge, Karen has had some memorable experiences in open bridge. She was invited (with her partner, Kerri Sanborn) to play in the 1990 Rosenblum Teams with Peter Pender, Ralph Cohen, Bob Jones, and Mike Smolen, and the team faced a formidable opponent in the round of 16: Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby, Jimmy Cayne, and Chuck Burger. At the half, Pender's team was down 15 IMPs, and one team member suggested that perhaps "the four guys" should play the rest of the way. But Pender sent in McCallum and Sanborn for the second half and won the match. Pender's team eventually lost in the round of 8 to the German open team that won the event.
A woman of many talents and interests, Karen's primary work outside bridge is creating hand-crafted glass and beaded jewelry. You can see examples of Karen's stunning work at www.eclectica3.com. She is an insatiable reader of all genres, with a home library of more than 50,000 volumes. She also enjoys gourmet cooking and playing the piano. She lives in a 215-year-old farmhouse in Exeter, New Hampshire.
Irina is the only person in the world to win world championships in both chess and bridge. She has won five bridge World Championships, including all of the Women's events (Venice Cup, McConnell, Olympiad and Women's Pairs) as well as the Transnational Mixed Teams.
Especially well respected for her declarer play, Irina was one of 34 world-class players (including only 4 women) invited to participate in the World Par Contest, a declarer play competition, held in connection with the 1998 World Championships in Lille, France. In finishing 14th overall (and first among the women), Irina placed ahead of such stars as Benito Garozzo, Chip Martel, Steve Weinstein, and Zia.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Irina was first taught chess as a young child by her father. By the age of 18 she was a member of the Soviet team and was the top woman at the chess Olympiad. At age 18, Irina also took up bridge, introduced to the game by Simeon Furman, her chess teacher (and Karpov’s) at the time. Immigrating to the US in December 1990, Irina co-founded the International Chess Academy in Teaneck, NJ, in 1997 (you can read more about the chess school and Irina's chess career at www.icanj.net).
Inducted into the ACBL’s Hall of Fame in 2007, Kerri is a seven-time world champion. She has won at least one World Championship in each of four consecutive decades, a record of “longevity at the top” equaled only by Bob Hamman. (Indeed, one wonders if anyone in any competitive endeavor outside of bridge has, or could, come close to that record of sustained excellence.)
Although (because?) her parents played bridge, Kerri swore she never would. But, she finally succumbed during her sophomore year at Miami University in Ohio, and played her first local duplicate with her father. She soon moved to California, where she credits many experts for helping her during her early years as a player: Mike Shuman, Harold Guiver, Mike Smolen, Hermine Baron, Harold Kandler, Rhoda Walsh, and, most significantly, Barry Crane.
Kerri’s first victory at the world level was the 1978 Mixed Pairs in which she and Barry Crane bested a world-class field by an astonishing margin of 5 boards. During her highly successful 14-year partnership with Barry, she was responsible for buying his coffee (2/3 of a cup, black) and filling out the convention card, while he handled the travel arrangements. Kerri’s five subsequent world championships were won in partnership with Karen McCallum (1989, 1990, 1993) and Irina Levitina (2002, 2006). Her most recent world championship was a repeat Mixed Pairs win, this time with Jie "Jack" Zhao.
A full-time player beginning in the early 1970s, Kerri changed careers in 1988 when she began trading options full-time on the floor of the American Stock Exchange. She retired in 2001. An avid golfer, Kerri lives in Delray Beach, FL, with her husband, Steve, and brother-and-sister cats Boomer and Brooke.