As a five-year-old kibitzing the family bridge game, Dorothy Hayden Truscott never dreamed that bridge would lead her to world travel, four international championships and election to the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame.
The election “pleases me no end,” said Truscott. “I’m very grateful to bridge in general. I’d like to give back to bridge what it has given to me.” For Truscott, bridge has been a life-long love affair. “I can’t remember when I didn’t know the game,” she said. “My parents played bridge and when I was little, there were always bridge games going.” Truscott was permitted to kibitz “if I would stay very quiet.”
She played her first bridge hand at about age seven. A guest was late, “so I was allowed to play for one hour. From then on, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait for the next guest to be late.”
More than six decades later, Truscott was one of the world’s leading players and the only person who has competed in all four forms of major world championship competition.
She won the Venice Cup three times and the World Olympiad Women’s Teams. One of her teammates was Mary Jane Farell, also a 1998 inductee into the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame).
Truscott placed second in the 1965 Bermuda Bowl — the only American woman other than Helen Sobel Smith to represent the ACBL in world open team competition — and third in the Open Pairs at the 1966 World Championships in Amsterdam, the highest finish ever by a woman in open competition.
She won more than 30 NABC titles — nine with Emma Jean Hawes, three with B. Jay Becker, three with husband Alan, three with Gail Greenberg and the remainder with “nine or 10 various partners.”
She won her first two NABC titles — the Mixed Pairs with John Crawford and the Women’s Pairs with Betty Goldberg, both in 1959 — before she became a Life Master. In fact, “I had never played a session of bridge with either one of them.”
Truscott described herself as a good partner. “I’m adaptable. I’m pleasant to play with and I’m lucky. Luck is a very big part. When you win any event, you have to be lucky. I must say I’ve been very lucky with partners.”
She remembered a passed-out board from years ago. “We got 25 out of 25. When that happens, you know you’re lucky.”
Truscott was lucky, concedes former world champion and former teammate Betty Ann Kennedy, but she was also a tenacious competitor and a very supportive teammate and partner. She was a real student of the game. She was open to new ideas and she uses them.
Among the new ideas attributed to Truscott are an unusual jump to show a singleton or void along with support for partner’s suit (a splinter bid) and responses to Blackwood after interference (DOPI).
Truscott also receives credit as the author of two bridge books which are considered classics: Bid Better, Play Better and Winning Declarer Play.