Solitary Pursuits

This 68-Year-Old Woman Is Attempting to Set a World Record Playing Solitaire

Kathleen Henkel attempts to play Solitaire Blitz for 30 hours straight with only a ten-minute break per hour. (Jess Schiewe)

It was lunch hour on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 47th and the intersection was teeming with people. A Prêt-A-Manger employee proffered brownie samples to passersby on a silver tray. A family of five, laden with backpacks and rolling suitcases, searched for a cab. A man in a suit peeled a banana. A panhandler begged for money. A knock-off purse salesman set up shop. And Kathleen Henkel, a 68-year-old retiree from Oakland, New Jersey, played another round of solitaire.

“This game is great,” said Ms. Henkel, a sprightly red-head wearing a patterned shirt and skirt outfit that she bought in West Africa and a beaded ankle bracelet. “It’s addicting.”

She was sitting in front of laptop computer in a white corner room penned in by two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows facing out to the street. Cameramen and videographers crowded around her, snapping pictures and rolling film. Curious pedestrians, passing by, paused to peer in. Models—Dan Metz, Brandon Collins, Jay Parks, and Georgie Badel— and minor celebrities—Kenley Collins, Chelsea Krost, and Lady Jenn Bocian—ostensibly there for the publicity—“What is this for again?” said Ms. Collins—preened in the background.

Ms. Henkel hardly noticed them. Her eyes, hidden behind red-wire glasses, were glued to the screen in front of her. She’d played solitaire before, but today was different. Today she is attempting to break the world record for the longest videogame marathon playing a card game. She’s not alone: 31-year-old mother of three, Laura Rich, from South Wales, is attempting to do the same on the other side of the pond. Read More