It took me a year to achieve Junior Master status. I started playing in sanctioned games with my partner and we always came in last . . . for many months. It seemed like we would never climb out of the cellar against such great players. Then one day we found ourselves in the middle of the pack – that was a huge victory for us! A few months after that we came in first, we squealed with delight when the winners were announced (very unprofessional of us) but others shared our joy knowing how hard we had been trying. We had been taking lessons for about two years and playing against people who had been partners for 30 years. Our first victory was the result of good defense as we didn’t have great cards that night. Perseverance is what I would recommend to anyone who is trying to gain master points. At least that’s what worked for me!