Games & Puzzles

Billionaire Bill Gates just banked a rich Kansas City memory: A big win at bridge

The American Contract Bridge League’s newsletter noted the victory of Bill Gates (left) and fellow team members Sharon Osberg, Richard Friesner and Eric Robinson.
The American Contract Bridge League’s newsletter noted the victory of Bill Gates (left) and fellow team members Sharon Osberg, Richard Friesner and Eric Robinson.

Microsoft’s Bill Gates, said to be one of the world’s two wealthiest men, just banked a rich Kansas City memory, scoring a win in a major event at the North American Bridge Championships.

“We’ve never done this well before,” Gates told the American Contract Bridge League’s daily newsletter after winning the 0-10,000 Swiss Teams event Saturday. It was the first championship win for Gates and Richard Friesner, who played along with Sharon Osberg and Eric Robinson.

Gates — whose fortune is valued at some $85 billion, making him either the world’s richest person or second richest (depending on Vladimir Putin’s actual worth ) — is among 5,000 contract bridge players who have been competing at the American Contract Bridge League event in Kansas City since March 8.

The event is to last until March 19 at the Westin Crown Center hotel and the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel.

Event spokeswoman Wendy Sullivan said she was unsure whether Gates was remaining in Kansas City to play in other events.

“I have no idea,” she said. “It’s not like the NCAA tournament with one winner.”

Some players choose to stay; others leave. None, she said, treats Gates differently than any other player.

“Our players, for the most part, respect that this is his leisure time and let him enjoy that time,” Sullivan said.

Besides, she said, “We have a lot of other very wealthy players who play this game.”

OK, not as wealthy as Gates — although Gates’ billionaire friend Warren Buffett ($77 billion) is also known to play a pretty competitive game. But at the card table, neither fame nor wealth can make you a champion.

“It’s all about how you play bridge,” Sullivan said.

Eric Adler: 816-234-4431, @eadler

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