Mini Naidoo, 62. Queen of Hearts.


A message from Wuhan.

‘I have been playing bridge as long as I can remember’, says Mini, ‘I used to sit on my dad’s lap, playing, watching, learning, when I grew up on the tea estates back in the sixties’. 

But it wasn’t till she was well past fifty, that she started taking bridge seriously. Most people in her age would have been content finding a neighbourhood bridge community to play a few idle rubbers with; but not Mini. She figured she wasn’t exactly tournament material, so she went about becoming one. From approaching master bridge players for private classes, to enrolling in official bridge tournaments run or backed by state associations – it has been one hell of a ride for her, over the last decade. 

And then came the gold in Asian championships, held in Jordan. It was a proper podium finish for the then 50-year old, at last; but Mini wasn’t done yet. Pushing herself harder, she qualified along with her partner for the World Championship held at Wuhan in September 2019; while she came back, unfortunately, without some metal, she also feels she’s learnt a lot, playing with the best of the best in the world. And she intends putting that learning to use in the next couple of years, when the next World’s, as well as the Asian games roll in – she is confident of qualifying for both. 

When exactly does she intend retiring? I didn’t dare ask that question, but she must have sensed it anyway. ‘The word retirement should be retired’, she boomed enthusiastically, ‘everyone should carry on whatever they are doing, for as long as they can do it’. 

You can find teams to play bridge with on the Karnataka Bridge Association website.

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