You might expect to find bridge games and tables featured at senior living communities, but there’s no player in the Dallas area quite like Jean Jensen. For more than 75 years, the Edgemere resident and the card game known for its tricks and subtleties have literally gone hand in hand.
Whether it’s contract bridge or duplicate, at nearly 89 years old, Jensen is one of, if not, the most experienced player in the metro. She credits the game, and her passion for it, with her quick wits and calculated thinking.
“Bridge is one of the best things in the world for your brain,” said Jensen, who continues to play three or four days a week at various games and tournaments throughout Dallas. “I have a very good memory, still do my own investments — it’s because I’ve played for so many years.”
And she’s played the best. A highlight of her bridge career was defeating Jim Jacoby, who upon his passing in 1991 was described by The New York Times as “one of the world’s greatest bridge players.” After the game, he said, ‘Well, congratulations — let’s go get a drink,’” laughed Jensen. The two remained close friends and played frequently together over the years.
Jensen was first introduced to bridge at age 12, acting as a fill-in at home when her mother’s friends couldn’t make their regular game. Duplicate bridge quickly followed in her early 20s. By age 30, Jenson had become a life master, the second-youngest woman at the time to earn the ranking.
Now a gold life master — the sixth-highest ranking by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) — Jensen is always seeking out new tables, whether at Edgemere or further afield. “I admire playing against really tough competition,” she said. “It makes you appreciate good talent when you play someone challenging.”