Kennett’s Jonathan Baumel and his bridge team placed second at the recent Youth North American Bridge Championship, sponsored by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) and held in Las Vegas.
It has been a rapid rise in the national youth bridge scene for 16 year-old Baumel. The Kennett Township resident and senior at Kennett High School played his first bridge hand a little more than two years ago. Since then he has achieved the status of “Junior Master” and is currently just a few masterpoints away from achieving “Club Master” and “Regional Master” status within the ACBL’s classification system.
In July, Baumel entered the team competition at the ACBL’s Youth North American Bridge Championships along with his three bridge teammates (one from Reno, NV, and two from San Gabriel, CA). There, Baumel’s team (all age 16 or younger) took second place in the team competition against Youth (under age 20) bridge teams from across North America and the rest of the world.
“It was a thrill for our team to place so highly, especially since we were up against lots of opposing teams whose members were several years older than we were and had more experience”, said Baumel.
Baumel has been playing bridge online and locally at the Wilmington Bridge Studio. He also participates in the US Bridge Federation’s Junior Training Program, a program designed to develop the next crop of American competitive bridge players.
Duplicate bridge is the favorite game of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, and Microsoft founder, Bill Gates. Buffett has famously said, “It’s got to be the best intellectual exercise out there. I wouldn’t mind going to jail if I had three cellmates who played bridge.”
“You can play bridge your whole life and still learn something new every time”, said Baumel. He hopes to continue playing competitive bridge in college and beyond. As he applies to colleges in the next year he will not only keep an eye on schools with top computer science, economics, and international relations programs—his academic interests—but also on the 25 or so colleges with top competitive bridge teams.