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College Try

UC Santa Barbara wins student-led online college event

Winners of the Online Collegiate Bridge Championship from the University of California–Santa Barbara: Nicholas Adamski, Danning Lu, captain Andrew Rowberg, and (not pictured) Hanwen Tian

When the Collegiate Bridge Bowl, scheduled to be held at the Summer NABC, was canceled, students took it upon themselves to organize an alternative online event. Organizers included Rohan Srivistava of Washington University St. Louis, Andrew Rowberg of UC Santa Barbara, and from Georgia Tech, Cyrus Hettle, Santhosh Karnik and Sriram Ganesan.

“We were disappointed that the Bridge Bowl had to be canceled, as we all really enjoy meeting and playing against bridge players from other schools,” Rowberg said. “Once it became clear that the ACBL didn’t seem likely to put together a replacement event, it seemed like a no-brainer that we should try to organize something among ourselves, and we were quite pleased with how smoothly it went.”

Twenty-one teams from 15 schools entered the Online Collegiate Bridge Championship. They were divided into four groups for a round-robin phase. The top two teams from each group advanced to a knockout. Some matches were broadcast on Twitch, where commentary was provided by Kyle Rockoff, Kevin Rosenberg, Brent Xiao and others.

The online format allowed twice as many teams to participate in the knockout phase as would have had the event been held live in Montreal. Georgia Tech and the University of Minnesota fielded three teams each, and a consortium of seven small colleges in Claremont CA competed as one team.

In the three-day final, the UCSB team defeated the Claremont Colleges 106–102. In the knockout phase, UCSB Overbidders Anonymous was represented by captain Rowberg, Hanwen (Philip) Tian, Danning Lu and Nicholas Adamski. In the group phase, Ian Banta, Aaron Maharry, David McCarthy and Michael Zheng also played.

The Claremont Colleges team consisted of captain Jake Williams and Nick Koskelo from Harvey Mudd; Emma Kolesnik from Scripps; and Luke Williams from Pomona. Elke Kiva of Scripps played a match in the group phase.

Semifinalist teams from Georgia Tech and Minnesota played for third place. Georgia Tech Gold defeated Gopher the Squeeze 81–72. Playing for Georgia Tech were captain Santhosh Karnik, Cyrus Hettle, Richard Jeng, Shengding Sun and Andy Xu. The Minnesota lineup was captain Morgan Johnstone, Sean McNally, Zeren Shui and Julia White.

The organizers didn’t stop with their championship event. They have also held events catering to intermediate and beginner players. These events have also done well, Rowberg said.