In 1990 at the World Bridge Championships in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Bridge Federation organized a par contest to test the bridge acumen of the world’s top players. The roster of invitees included Bob Hamman, then the No. 1-ranked player in the world, and the legendary Benito Garozzo.
Only one woman was asked to take part in the contest – Kerri Sanborn. If another such contest was organized today, it is likely she would again be asked to play.
Sanborn, of Stony Point NY, is a retired stock trader who is actively involved in thoroughbred breeding and racing. One of the leading women players in the world, she is a four-time world champion with 18 North American titles.
As of May, Sanborn was 47th on the all-time list of top masterpoint holders with nearly 21,587 masterpoints. She is the last woman to win the Barry Crane Top 500, having done so in 1974 with a then-record 1619 masterpoints. At the time, she was the youngest woman to have her name engraved on the McKenney Trophy, as it was known until 1981, when it was changed to the Top 500. It was renamed after Crane in 1986.
Sanborn’s career was influenced significantly by Crane, with whom she won the World Mixed Pairs in 1978. Sanborn, then Kerri Shuman, flew to the World Championships in New Orleans only for that one event. The two devastated a tough field and won the championship by more than five boards.
Since then, Sanborn has only added to her stature as a player, winning multiple North American championships plus four world titles – the Mixed Pairs, World Women’s Pairs (1990) and the prestigious Venice Cup (1989 and 1993). She is an ACBL Grand Life Master and a Women’s World Grand Master in World Bridge Federation rankings.
Sanborn has an impressive list of wins in the NABC+ events, including winning the Women’s Pairs in 1972 and 2003. She also won the Women’s Teams in 1978, the Mixed Pairs in 1975, 1977 and 1982; the North American Women’s Swiss Teams in 1989,1990 and 1993; the Master Mixed Teams in1980,1987 and 1990; and the Wagar Women’s Knockout in 2003 and 2005.