Michael Xu is a young bridge player of note. Born in 2003, he lives in Palo Alto, CA – and just a quick read through a recent post he made on Bridge Winners (were a search on his name produces 1505 hits btw) was enough to convince us that he has serious passion for the game. We tracked him down for an interview, and here’s what he had to say about his journey playing bridge so far.
I want to acknowledge to you that I cannot deny how much I love bridge. I cannot deny the fact that I had dreamt 3 times of the YNABC. I cannot abandon and forget my emotions; when I think of the YNABC, my legs get shaky and my heart beats faster as if I just saw my crush. I cannot dismiss the love I have for my fellow bridge peers, a love forged through our mutual love for bridge, as fake. And even though I don’t know you readers personally, I want to hug and crush you into a different dimension, a dimension where there is no other worries, where we can just enjoy the mystical wonders of bridge for eternity.
Michael Xu on BridgeWinners, “My Midnight Thoughts”
Michael first started playing bridge in grade 8 thanks to being invited to a Silicon Valley Youth Bridge party which he says is hosted every month. “Any youth players, regardless of their skill level, can come for a 3 hour session of bridge, free pizza and dessert.”
What makes the tournaments great are a combination of free food and prizes for tournament winners. “This makes tournament participants feel the excitement that comes with competition.” As for free food, he calls it a pretty good way to attract people – pizza has somehow become known as the free food.
He plays relatively few tournaments for now. “My schedule is such that I usually can’t afford to spend large chunks of time all at once. On days where I do play bridge, I would save my post mortening for a later date and sleep later to get all my homework done.”
“I think pizza parties are a great way to attract more youth players. The free food gets people to come and learn bridge, the prizes get people to keep coming back, and the youth players there challenges the notion that bridge is only for old people.”
Overall he prefers to play offline games. In his words, there’s just something magical about getting to hold your cards and getting to lay them out on the table. “Also,” he says, “In real life, I evaluate my hand better and think faster. Online play just does not have the same vibe as real-life play. Holding a 6-6 hand online feels like a 5-4 hand in real life, and making slam online feels like making a partscore in real life.”
In five years, he sees himself having more connections and stronger relationships with people in the bridge community.
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