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Bill Gates
Bill Gates. (Photo via Shutterstock).

Bill Gates is going to take on the world! No, not just its infectious diseases and education issues, but some of its leading bridge players, as well.

The Microsoft co-founder and world’s richest man is a well-documented fan of the classic card game, and he’ll be on a team of Americans competing in the first live Yeh Online Bridge World Cup, Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

Gates and the USA-BBO (Bridge Base Online) team will play from the Silver Cloud Hotel in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The team consists of five other players besides the billionaire. They are Bob Hamman, the world’s all-time top player; Jill Meyers, No. 2 all-time women’s champion; Sharon Osberg, a regular partner of Gates and his bridge pal, Warren Buffett; Fred Gitelman, the founder of BBO; and Sheri Winestock, wife of Gitelman.

Gates and his team will play virtually against three other teams: Team CCBA and Chen Yeh teams in Beijing and Europe-Lavazza team in Turin, Italy.

Remotely controlled webcams will monitor each player’s reactions while their “cards” (computers will be used in lieu of cards) can be seen by viewers, according to a news release for the event. The images and games will be streamed live across the internet using and Ourgame, a Chinese leader in streaming.

Here’s a schedule of when USA-BBO will play:

  • Oct. 31, 9 a.m. PT: Europe-Lavazza vs. BBO-USA
  • Oct. 31, 1 p.m.: BBO-USA vs. Europe-Lazazza
  • Oct. 31, 7 p.m.: Yeh Team vs. BBO-USA
  • Oct. 31, 10 p.m.: CCBA vs. BBO-USA
  • Nov. 1, 7 p.m.: BBO-USA vs. Yeh Team
  • Nov. 1, 10 p.m.: BBO-USA vs. CCBA

Gates’ bio on the team web page says that bridge, tennis and golf are among his interests.

“I love bridge. Bridge makes you think,” Gates is quoted as saying. “It’s a game you can play your entire life and keep getting better and better. I think anybody who’s good at bridge is going to be great at lots of things. So I really encourage people to get involved and I thank people who have taught bridge to juniors. They will thank you the rest of their life because bridge is such a great sport.”

This archival CBS video also details Gates’ love for the game, along with fellow billionaire Buffett.


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