Fred Hamilton was born and raised in East Lansing MI, where his father was an English professor at Michigan State University. “My parents played some bridge, so I had an early introduction to the game,” Hamilton remembers.
At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Army as a paratrooper. Though he never played bridge for three years, he says, “I had my trusty Goren book with me.” After his discharge, he enrolled at MSU on the G.I. Bill and talked his mom into going to the local duplicate club. “We finished third — and I was hooked! I learned as much as possible from those I played with until eventually they were learning from me.”
Mike Passell, whose illustrious bridge career he helped to launch, reminisces, “I played with Freddie in my first World Championship in Manila in the 1970s leading from beginning to almost the end before losing to Hamman–Wolff, etc.”
Reflecting upon his long and distinguished career, Fred considers his most treasured bridge accomplishment to be winning the Bermuda Bowl (World Championship), defeating the fabled Italian Blue Team in 1976. He names Billy Eisenberg, Mark Lair, Mike Passell and Paul Soloway as “my favorite partners and good friends.”
Besides the overwhelming successes he has achieved as a professional bridge player and teacher, few major NABC events have eluded him. Fred has captured multiple victories in the Reisinger, Vanderbilt and Spingold. Other notable triumphs include the 1982 Cavendish Invitational, 1994 Senior Pairs, 1996 and 1998 Senior Knockouts, the 1998 Senior Swiss Teams and the 2001 Silver Ribbon Pairs. He holds the prestigious titles of WBF World Grand Master and ACBL Grand Life Master and is also the inventor of the popular Hamilton convention over the opponent’s 1NT opening bid.