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Oct 22, 2020

Not all professional bridge players are world class. I will comfortably posit that Chris Willenken is. Having watched a director ask Chris about a bidding problem at an NABC I've been dumbfounded about how much Chris knows with just a few words introduction. Demand for playing lessons with him has skyrocketed during Covid as bridge players seek to improve their games online.

I love the role Chris' mother played in helping him find this lifelong pursuit. Find out how she and bridge communities in both the Poconos and New York City's initial nurturing helped turn Chris into a top American expert.


Episode highlights

2:45- How Chris started playing bridge through his mother

9:05- The Collegiate School and Manhattan Bridge Club

13:40- Chris’ relationship with one of his first partners

16:00- Chris’ quotation on Ernest Hemingway to describe how he started his bridge professional career

20:05- Chris’ heartbreaking story about losing the Blue Ribbons Pair on the last board

25:20- Chris’ story of a funny hand played with Roy Welland

30:20- Chris’ story of making it to the semifinals of the Rosenblum with Michael Rosenberg,  Chris’s hall of fame bridge partner for five year

38:20- Chris’ mindset on all his incredibly close calls in winning major tournaments

41:30- Chris’ answer to when he felt he could be considered a great bridge player

47:10- Chris’ epic history with parliamentary debate at Williams College

Amanda Amert, Chris’s debate partner at Williams.

51:45- Chris’ style of bride with his current partner, Jan Jansma

57:15- How Chris views the use of deception in bridge

1:04:50- How Chris decides with his partner their bidding system

1:07:10- Chris’ family and quarantine time

1:15:50- Is Chris better than Kalita???

1:18:45- Youth Bridge Association