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A Student of the Game

by Peggy Kaplan

The Reisinger. Of all the events on the NABC calendar, the Reisinger is the ultimate. Played in board-a-match format against the elite of the elite, the competition is brutal. Almost every round, a multi-national champ or a world title holder prepares to crush you. The wrong bid can be fatal; every trick is crucial. The field is small. Outside of the world’s best, few are willing to enter such an arena.

Some, however, want to face the toughest out there. Let me introduce you to one Bill Gates.

Unlike many of the “bridge bums” we know, Bill has kept himself a little busy outside the world of bridge. When it comes to business, foundations and family, one might describe Bill as a “Grand Life Master”. Yet, such success cuts into the time that Bill can devote to his bridge game.

No matter. Bill, along with partner Sharon Osberg and teammates David Smith and Richard Friesner fearlessly entered the Reisinger. They didn’t make the cut at the end of the day, though their showing was surely respectable. Still, I inquired of Bill why they chose this most brutal venue.

“I like the challenge. My team thought it would be good to try this event. And, as we study the hands after words, it is superior having the hand records.” (The Reisinger has pre-duplicated hands available each session, unlike the concurrent “shuffle and deal” North American Swiss.)

Some players want to face a relatively easy field. Not Bill. Along with his teammates, he chooses to do battle against the best and bring his game to a new level. We could all learn from the guy who does what he needs to do to excel.