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Maria Erhart

Maria Erhart, née Kirner (1944 - 2 September 2011), was an Austrian international bridge player, who had the rare distinction of playing for her country's Open team as well as for the Women's team. She reached the highest rank in the game, World Grand Master, and was a member of the Austrian teams which won the women's event at the European Team Championships in 1991, the World Team Olympiad the following year and the World Championships in 1998. She was described in Bridge Magazine as "one of the finest and most charismatic players in the history of the game".

Early life

She was born in Vienna, and in later life lived in Rattenberg. There she studied at the world trade university, which led to a job in market research. She married Peter Erhart, a medical doctor and like herself an international bridge player, in 1987. She worked as his assistant, as well as looking after the commercial aspect of his practice.

Bridge accomplishments

She began playing bridge in 1969. Just a year after taking up the game she took part in a tournament in Venice, where she met the top Italian players.

Personal

Her hobbies included classical music, and playing tennis and golf. She also oversaw community work for the Rattenberg council.

In later life she suffered from an incapacitating disease. In spite of this handicap, at the 2011 St. Moritz tournament she won the Teams event, finished second in the Open Pairs and third in the Mixed Pairs.

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