The ACBL Educational Foundation has selected Richard Jeng of the Atlanta area as the 2017 King of Bridge. The annual award recognizes a graduating high school senior for their playing record and overall participation in the bridge community.
At 18, Jeng already possesses an impressive collection of titles, especially from Youth events. Richard plays exclusively with his older brother, Andrew, and the duo posted their earliest wins in the Georgia Youth Pairs and Teams Championships almost a decade ago. Their record in the Youth NABCs is astounding, with multiple victories in the Youth National Pairs and Teams Championships.
In “adult” NABC contests, they have been equally effective. In 2011 in Toronto, the Jeng brothers won the Young Life Master Pairs, and in 2015, they were the winners of the Golder North American Pairs, Flight B.
They made their first foray into world Youth events in 2010, and in 2012, they took home a silver medal representing the U.S. at the World Youth Bridge Championships. In 2013, they captured the gold medal in the 2013 World Youth Bridge Team Championship and the silver medal in the World Youth Bridge Pairs Championship.
Along the way, Richard managed to briefly claim the title of Youngest Life Master in ACBL history.
Jane Champion, secretary of the ACBL Educational Foundation, said, “With such an astounding record, Richard was an extremely strong candidate for King of Bridge this year. The members of the foundation board were very impressed. And recognition certainly goes to Patty Tucker and the Atlanta Junior Bridge program for developing such talent.”
Richard agrees with the assessment of Tucker’s role.
“Patty Tucker and her role as president of Atlanta Junior Bridge has been the strongest influence in my short bridge career thus far. She was the one who put advertisements in the newspaper for an AJB summer camp way back in 2006, and after my first week there, it has been a rollercoaster that goes ever upwards. She introduced to me to other mentors such as Lola Sliom, Tom and Jenni Carmichael, and eventually with Michael Rosenberg and other USBF mentors. She introduced me to one of my first bridge books, 25 Conventions You Should Know, and I have since then devoured many more. Without her and AJB, I would not be where I am today. She has additionally helped me grow as a bridge mentor, by encouraging my brother and me to be accredited teachers. Patty also allowed me to teach AJB summer camps, hopefully giving the same experience to Atlanta youth as I was given many years ago,” he said.
Richard’s commitment to giving back to the game is a priority for him, and is another reason why the Educational Foundation felt so strongly about his candidacy.
“In middle school, I created a bridge club and helped to teach students bridge. Additionally, on most Saturdays and in the summer, I help to teach classes and camps. For example, I taught four AJB summer camps last summer over the span of two weeks, giving me the ability to spread my love for the game. And TAP Accreditation has been very useful, giving me access to ACBL resources. In addition to teaching camps, I have helped out with events such as The Longest Day.”
Richard is grateful for the opportunities he has had to develop as a player.
“It really is true that you can never stop learning bridge, and I can say without a doubt that I am still learning. Without all the help of the people mentioned above, I wouldn’t have the exhilarating thrill that bridge has given me. I would also like to thank District 7 and the entire Mid-Atlantic Bridge Conference staff for providing such well-run tournaments that have allowed my brother and me to practice. Additionally, I would like to thank the ACBL and the Educational Foundation for running and funding the Youth NABCs. I have attended nearly every one of them, and it truly is a gratifying experience to meet up with old friends as well as play a few hands of bridge and enjoy a zip KO or two. I also have much appreciation for the USBF program. It gives kids like me an opportunity to compete internationally. Lastly, I would like to thank my brother and parents for continuously supporting me on this journey of bridge.”