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In The Well: Chip Martel

Chip Martel is one of the giants of the game. He and his long-time partner Lew Stansby are regarded as one of the top pairs of all time, and with new partner Marty Fleisher (read Marty's BW Interview) he is on a recent hot streak: winning the 2016 Spingold, the repechage of the 2017 trials, the 2017 Bermuda Bowl, and the 2018 Vanderbilt.  He is one of the few people to have won the Bermuda Bowl (4 times), the World Open Pairs (youngest to ever win it in 1982), and the Rosenblum Teams.  He has also won over 30 North American Bridge Championships. Now, Chip enters the Well to answer any questions you may have. (Editor’s note: Chip prefers to answer in concentrated bursts so we will open the Well 24 hours before he arrives.  He'll be answering questions on Thursday from 10am-6pm PDT with breaks for food.)

Chip was born in Ithaca, NY, but his family moved around a lot before settling in Urbana, IL.  He learned bridge from his parents as a child, but didn’t start playing seriously until high school (Sheinwold’s 5 Weeks to Winning Bridge was a catalyst for that). In high school he benefited from the strong cadre of young players at the University of Illinois, in part thanks to Kit Woolsey who was there just before Chip started playing.

Bridge didn’t completely distract him from his studies: Chip ended up getting a B.S. in Computer Science from MIT and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. His time in Berkeley was quite eventful as he started his partnership with Lew there and found his soulmate Jan (and fellow Bridge Hall of Famer/ACBL Honorary Member). After graduating, he became a Professor in the CS department at the University of California at Davis, which he helped found. Chip retired in 2012 but is still active in the department. He has a stepson, Rick, and two grandchildren.

In his spare time, Chip chairs the ACBL Laws Commission and serves on the WBF Laws and Systems committee. He has also coached two world championship teams: the 1991 US Junior team and the 2005 US Seniors team. Other interests include reading (mysteries, science fiction, and lots of other types) and movies.

Photo taken by Peg Kaplan

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