Gates wins 10K Swiss
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates likes to keep a low profile when he plays in bridge tournaments. That became impossible Saturday when his team won the 0–10,000 NABC Swiss Teams. Gates played with Sharon Osberg, Richard Friesner and Eric Robinson. It was a first NABC win for Gates and Friesner.
The team finished with 126 victory points, 1.75 ahead of Ellen Kozlove’s squad. Kozlove played with Ralph Letizia, Lee Bukstel and Michael Wolf.
Wins in the first six rounds of Friday’s qualifier propelled them into a lead that held on through the end of the day. On Saturday, the Kozlove team, who had been second after qualifying, led six of eight rounds, but Gates recaptured the lead on the last round of each session. “We led every session,” Gates noted. Spending more time practicing with partner Osberg helped, he added. “Bill doesn’t have a lot of time for bridge,” Osberg explained. With a round to go, Kozlove led by 6 VPs, 118 to 112. “It’s a great feeling, particularly when you come back on the last round,” said Robinson. At age 22 in 1979, Robinson won the first North American Pairs.
“At that time I was the youngest person to have won a national open pairs. Five days later this kid named Eric Rodwell won his first, and he was a little younger than me.” Osberg previously won three NABC titles and two world championships in women’s events.
Grossacks maintain slim lead in Platinum Pairs
Brothers Adam Grossack and Zachary Grossack finished the semifinal round of the Kay Platinum Pairs with a narrow lead over Alan Sontag and David Berkowitz. The carryover scores for the top four pairs going into today’s two-session final are separated by a fraction of a masterpoint: The Grossacks have 22.89; Sontag-Berkowitz have 22.68; Jeff Meckstroth and Thomas Bessis have 22.50; and Dror Padon and Zia Mahmood stand with 22.35. Twenty-eight pairs survived the cut in yesterday’s semifinal round.
Chen, Jing grab IMP Pairs title
China’s Chen Zhao and Jing Liu won the foursession Lebhar IMP Pairs, holding off a challenge by runners-up Fred King and Barry Bragin. Chen and Jing’s margin of victory was 1.8 IMPs. For Chen, a PhD student at the University of Maryland in computer science, and Jing, who plays for China’s national team which made it to the quarterfinal round of the last two Bermuda Bowls, it was their first North American title. The duo has been playing together for less than a year, but they have been practicing extensively online because of distance: Chen is a first-year doctoral candidate living in College Park MD, while Jing lives in Beijing. Jing praised his partner, saying, “Our new system is very complicated, but [Chen] is very smart: He learned it in just two months.” The winners qualified in 34th place in Friday’s opening round, but had took control of the lead in the first final session. They finished with a foursession total of 120.07 IMPs (a strong 84.09 in the first final, including carryover, and 35.98 in the second) to edge out King and Bragin who scored 118.27.