Kevin Lane recently won the March's Stars & Platinum Robot Individual with an impressive score of 62.62%, showcasing his skill and consistency throughout the tournament. He's a highly accomplished bridge player with a passion for technology.
I had the opportunity to speak with Kevin about his bridge career, his recent win, and his views on the future of the game. Kevin resides in Long Beach, California, where he works in the tech industry. He has been playing bridge seriously since 2002 and has been involved in volunteer bridge work for over 20 years. He served on the ACBL Board of Directors from 2016 to 2021, advocating for the importance of technology in the future of bridge.
During the tournament, Kevin's performance was outstanding, consistently scoring very well. When asked about his special strategies to achieve this, Kevin emphasized the importance of 1) paying attention to opponents' bidding before playing and 2) playing with and against good players to improve one's game.
He also shared an interesting hand from the tournament, Board 15 of the second day, where he got 100% of the Matchpoints as a result of good technique and a bit of luck.
He said, "After trick 3, I have two Heart winners once I set them up and potential tricks in the Club suit with at least 1 loser. The bidding tells me nothing about who has the ♣K; RHO likely has 3-4 cards of Spades, so 4-5 cards of minor suit. I played a low Heart at trick 4. If I get two Hearts, then I'd only need one extra minor suit trick to make my contract. But when RHO ducked the Heart, then I can't afford to play more Hearts. So I cashed the ace of clubs - in case RHO dropped a stiff honor - returned to hand with a Diamond and played a Club towards the ♣Q. Here, I got lucky. LHO played the Jack of clubs for unclear reasons. Now I have 10 tricks when RHO played a Spade instead of cashing out the ♥A."
As a seasoned bridge player, Kevin has noticed how the game has changed over time, with technology becoming increasingly important. Referring to BBO he said, ”The future of bridge is technology. Uday and Fred and their teams have done a great job of realizing the potential.”
When asked about his tips for players who want to improve their game, Kevin advised playing with and against good players to gain more experience and knowledge. He also credits his father as his biggest influence and mentor in bridge, "My dad is the biggest influence. He taught me how to play well and how to be a good partner.” One of his father's sayings that has stuck with him is, "To improve the partnership, work on your own game.”
Kevin has had many successful partnerships in his bridge career, including with his partner Murat Veysoglu.
In 2017, they won the Golder Flight B North American Pairs. Kevin credits their success to Murat's team mindset. He explains, "Murat never noticed any of my mistakes, and that allowed me to play with confidence and focus on our collective success." Kevin's experience highlights the importance of finding a partner who shares your goals and values and who can support you through both the wins and the losses of competitive bridge.
Outside of bridge, Kevin's top priority is his family, and he loves spending time with them.
To wrap things up, Kevin Lane's recent win at the Stars & Platinum Robot Individual is a testament to his skill and dedication as a bridge player. His forward-thinking approach to the role of technology in bridge's future, combined with his passion for the game and commitment to improvement, make him a valuable contributor to the bridge community. His advice to play with and against good players and focus on improving one's own game is a valuable lesson for anyone looking to excel in bridge.
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