Cristal Nell - a Tragic Death

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Cristal R Nell

JULY 7, 1978 – JULY 24, 2020
RIP Cristal Nell
This is the most gut wrenching thing I have ever had to write. Yesterday morning, Cristal Nell died at her home in Seattle, WA. She had just turned 42 years old and leaves behind a 13 year old son and 10 year old daughter, who are currently with their father. This was completely unexpected and is a huge shock to everyone.
First, bridge. She was a very talented and intuitive player. I met her at the table in 2011 when she did something rather brilliant against me, and I knew I had to get to know this person. She was an NABC champion, winning the Rockwell Mixed Pairs in 2017 partnering Igor Savchenko. I had some occasions to play with her in regional pair games and she was solid as a rock. Cristal was extremely enthusiastic about bridge, attending almost every NABC and occasional USBF trial events as well.
But more importantly, here are some personal details. She was a devoted and caring mother, was absolutely gorgeous, and was Ivy League educated at the University of Pennsylvania. She had been dating Brad Bart since the 2017 Toronto NABC. Brad is a professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. He is a talented bridge player who has won the Canadian Team Trials. He is also one of the genuinely nicest people on earth. My thoughts are with him.
Cristal was one of my dearest friends in the world, and the closest I have ever lost. We talked almost daily for the last 9 years. Frankly, bridge has enough death as it is, but rarely has there been one as premature as this. Cristal was loved by many.
Let me end with this. I know there is a lot of passion about things going on in the world and in bridge, such as recent cheating revelations. I love bridge enough to have made it my life, and like everyone else one of the main reasons is the people. But no matter what happens at the table or online, it is still just a game. Let's all please remember what is really important in life, and spend as much time as you can with those you love.

2017 - With Her Children

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From her Facebook Page:  June 3, 2017:

Darkness can not drive out darkness;  only light can do that.

Hate can not drive out hate: only love can do that.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

(With her partner, after they won their national bridge title in 2017)

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text that says 'S American Contract Bridge Leaque'

Her children:  Halloween, 2017

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I played against Cristal quite a few times, mostly at (West) Seattle club games before I moved from Seattle in 2018.   She was always a most gracious, strong opponent.   She would give advice, when asked, in a caring, thoughtful way.   

I have taken pictures from Cristal's Facebook Page and a single quote from - the memories sent to Bridgewinners - at:

I hope that others will share memories - emailing me:  marxgeo(at)gm__l(dot)com - so I can add them to this page.

Since I first wrote this, I have heard more, which I am not comfortable sharing here.  It is very, very sad!

Thank you!


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