Silicon Valley Youth Bridge Center for Bridge Education

The Newsletter of Silicon Valley Youth Bridge

Congratulations to Andrew Chen, Youngest Life Master in History!

After attending his first bridge lesson at a SiVY pizza party in September 2018 and earning his first masterpoints at a SiVY-sponsored newcomer game in October, 2018, Andrew caught the bridge bug. He became a regular at the SiVY monthly events, missing only one he began playing. See pictures of Andrew at pizza parties. Andrew’s regular partners at these games are often his older brother Charlie or his friend Brian Zhang, but he partnered other young people as well, including Olivia Shireson and brothers Kayden and Brandon Ge.

Andrew was in first grade and his friend Brian in 3rd grade when they won the Newcomer game at the San Jose Sectional, Oct. 2018

Andrew decided to try to become the youngest Life Master about a year ago, after winning the Art Weinstein Trophy at the San Mateo Sectional in August 2019. The trophy is awarded to the winners of the 99er pairs event, which were Andrew and his big brother Charlie with a 63% game.

For readers who don’t understand the enormity of this accomplishment, here’s an overview of the requirements. To become a Life Master, Andrew needed to earn a total of 500 points of various types. Points are awarded in small amounts for many games, fractions at a time. In addition a variety of specific types of points are necessary.

Point “color” requirements are: at least 75 must be black points, which can be earned at club games or online ACBL games on BridgeBase Online, at least 75 silver points, which must be earned in sectional events, and at least 100 red, gold, or platinum points. Red and gold points are earned in regional events and platinum points in national events. Also at least 50 of the 500 points for Life Master must be either gold or platinum.

Andrew earned many of his points playing team games with other youth players and with his family. The teams had so many successes, it’s tough to pick just one or two to highlight. The teams often “played up” in Bracket One and always played primarily against adults with many more years of experience.

Brian Zhang, Charlie Chen, Andrew and Kayden Ge won the Gold Rush Swiss in Monterey, January 2020. This was their first win as a team with no parents on it.

Andrew, Brian Zhang, Charlie Chen and Olivia Schireson, winners of the Bracket 4 Round Robin teams at the Monterey regional January 2020

For Andrew, black points were the most difficult to obtain because club games typically conflict with school schedules. The cancellation of classes during the spring Covid-19 outbreak gave him a chance to achieve his goal sooner than he otherwise could have.

A more detailed description of Andrew’s journey in bridge is available in the August ACBL Bulletin and in a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News.