Friday, July 10, 2009

Richard Freeman, 1933 -- 2009

One of the giants of bridge passed away last week from complications from pancreatitis. His bridge resume is too extensive to list here, but he is a many-time national and world champion. There are several of those, however, but Freeman was different than most of them. He was also a gentleman. I've played against him and watched him play numerous times and I never saw him get upset or mad at the table, and this differentiates him from many of the other world-class players.

Freeman was a child prodigy. He began reading the newspaper at age two. He was a member of the "Quiz Kids." He graduated from high school at age 12, and graduated from college at 15. He went to the University of Chicago, one of the few schools at the time that would take someone so young. He later earned a second bachelor's degree and a law degree.

Freeman has said he considers bridge to be more than just a game. "It broadens your perspective," he said.

Here is another quote:
"In bridge, you have to deduce what's going on from what you can see and from what you can't," says Richard Freeman. "You have to be smart, like in chess, but chess is an open game where there's no deception and no deduction. Bridge is between chess and poker, in that poker has everything hidden."

Much of Freeman's bridge success was in team play, but he was no slouch at matchpoints, either. Here's a deal from the national bridge tournament in Washington DC in 2002:

K 9 3
K J 10 9 4
A K 5 4
A Q 6 5
10 8 7 4 2
8 6 3

Freeman made an agressive move by inviting game and he played 4.

West led a low club and Freeman won the ace and cashed the K. He ruffed a club and led a heart towards the king. West won the A and returned the J (not his best play).

Freeman ruffed this in dummy, cashed the K, dropping the queen from West. He cashed the K and ruffed a club. Next he cashed the A Q, East following.

He exited with a heart and East won. East held A Q and had to lead a diamond to give Freeman his 10th trick with the K.

Top was on a board was 51 and making 4 was worth all the matchpoints.

You can read more from an interview in the Memphis Business Journal here.

You can read what the ACBL said about him here.

Jonathan Weinstein blogged about him here.

Linda Lee blogged about him and your can read her tribute here.

1 comment:

  1. Nice tribute, Mojo.

    I had something else on my mind when I clicked through. Almost afraid to leave it.

    Just for interest: