updated 09/29/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/29/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Billy Hsieh, 13, is the youngest life master in the history of contract bridge. Two months ago he achieved that cherished title and the gold membership card that signifies it by going over the required 300 master points at the Klondike Tournament in Edmonton, Canada. "It's sort of a trip to deal with someone his age," says tourney teammate and bridge champion Ron Andersen, 39, of his protégé. "There are so few children in the game." Billy just reckons, "It was one of my better tournaments."
Most serious players require eight to 10 years to reach life master status; Billy did it in four. He learned the game by kibitzing the lessons his older brother David, 16, got from their father, George Hsieh, a Chinese-born computer programming consultant and Billy's usual partner. Dad says it was sibling rivalry: "Billy never lets David do anything without learning it himself." Billy, also a skiing and tennis buff who divides his time between the Manhattan homes of his divorced parents, is now a precocious sophomore at Hunter College High School. Not that he's the family's only brain. His father and older brother are also life masters, and younger brother Douglas just might break Billy's record next year at age 11.