Kathie Wei-Sender, a three-time world champion and a tireless promoter of bridge, was the 1999 recipient of the Blackwood Award for service to the game outside of contributions as a player. The award was made on the vote of the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame committee.
Born in Beijing (then Peking), China , Wei-Sender is a graduate of the Shanghai University School of Nursing. She arrived in the U.S. in 1949 and worked as a medical facility administrator for 15 years before retiring in 1972.
Although a U.S. citizen, Wei-Sender still visits China regularly and is the only American to hold minister rank in China . She is the official adviser to the Chinese Bridge League. She often leads trips to China for tournaments.
Wei-Sender took up bridge while she was married to the late C.C. Wei, a shipping magnate who invented the Precision bidding system. In 1971, she was co-captain and manager of the bridge team from Taiwan that surprised the bridge world by making it to the final of the Bermuda Bowl. She assumed the same role for Taiwan’s team in the 1972 Olympiad. C.C. Wei died in 1987. Kathie married Henry Sender of Nashville in 1992.
The official Ambassador of Bridge for the World Bridge Federation, Wei-Sender was named ACBL’s Honorary Member in 1987. She was named Bridge Personality of the Year by the International Bridge Press Association in 1986.
Although the Blackwood honor is for contributions outside of bridge play, Wei-Sender has accomplished much as a player. The Grand Life Master (with more than 16,000 masterpoints as of 8/2007) has won three major world women’s titles — the world Women’s Pairs in 1978, the Women’s Olympiad Teams in 1984 and the Venice Cup in 1987. She was on the second-place team in the Venice Cup in 1981 and 1985 and was runner-up in the world Women’s Pairs in 1990. She and Juanita Chambers were seventh in the world Women’s Pairs in Lille, France, in 1998.
Along with her world championships, Wei-Sender has won numerous North American titles, including the Women’s Knockout Teams, the Women’s Board-a-Match Teams and the North American Women’s Swiss Teams. In open competition, she has three seconds in the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams.
In between tournaments, Wei-Sender has served as a member of the ACBL National Charity Committee (former trustee and president), and an adviser to the ACBL Educational Foundation. She also served as member of the National Goodwill committee.
Wei-Sender has written for the Bridge Bulletin, contributing a series of articles on business leaders who play bridge, among other articles. She has also co-authored two bridge books — Action for the Defense and One Club Complete — and served as editor of Precision Today. Her autobiography is entitled Second Daughter. Her latest book is about Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who was a bridge enthusiast.