Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Richard Freeman

I  saw Judy’s Blog that Richard Freeman passed away a few days ago.  This picture is from the ACBL website: ACBL In Memoriam for Freeman


And this lovely picture from Claire Bridge



In his blog JWL wrote “In my opinion, Freeman was an underrated part of the Nickell machine who will be hard to replace.”

According to his bio on the USBF Website (and on Judy’s Blog) Richard was one of the original quiz kids in the radio and TV show in the 50’s.  There is a fascinating book about the Quiz Kids who were stars.    So before he became a bridge star and before he even graduated from high school, Richard was already famous.


“The premise involved host Joe Kelly asking questions sent in by listeners and researched by Eliza Hickok. The answers were supplied by a panel of five children, chosen for their high IQs.”

At 18, he was then the youngest Life Master in the ACBL in 1952.  (By contrast according to the ACBL the current youngest life master is Danny Hirschman of Southfield, MI, who attained the rank at age 10 years, two months and 20 days.)

Of course Dick Freeman played with Nick Nickell for more than twenty years.  There was a recent controversy at the US Team Trials when he had to be hospitalized forcing the Nickell team to play four handed.  The USBF recently ruled that Nickell and Freeman would join the other four in Brazil. 

In a 2000 article in the Memphis Free Press Nickell who was then an executive director at Oppenheimer & Co., Inc., in Atlanta describes his ideas about why financial people make good bridge players.

Options traders are good at bridge, Freeman says, because both are zero-sum games. "One guy’s going to be right and one’s going to be wrong," he says. Freeman says he was a numbers kid, and always loved games that involved numbers, wit and calculated risks.

In 2001 Freeman was elected to the Bridge Hall of Fame during the 2001 Summer Nationals in Toronto.  The following (copied from Unit 114)


Richard Freeman Elected to Bridge Hall of Fame

Richard Freeman became Unit 114’s third member of the Bridge Hall of Fame during the 2001 Summer NABC in Toronto.  The following is taken from the Daily Bulletin:


Presenter: Nick Nickell, a friend of Freeman’s for 30 years and his bridge partner for 20 years. Like Freeman, Nickell is a Bermuda Bowl champion and has a long string of major North American team victories over the past half dozen years.

Hall of Famer: Freeman was famous long before he made it to the top in the bridge world. When he was just a kid, he was the mathematics expert on the Quiz Kids show. He would perform incredible math feats, solving problems in his head while mathematicians tried to work them out on paper.
Bob Hamman wrote in his autobiography that Freeman started college when he was only 15. Freeman took issue with that – he graduated from college at 15. Old-time tournament directors remember his amazing speed in scoring a game – nobody could compete with him. He is also a fabulous bridge player and one of the fastest and most accurate analysts in the game.

When Freeman took the podium, he said that he considers bridge to be more than a game, more than a sport – "it broadens your perspective." He credited his wife Louise with teaching him how to win.

No doubt, Richard Freeman was a winner in every aspect of his life.


JUDY KAY-WOLFFJuly 2nd, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Thanks for the beautiful tribute, Linda. (Still can’t get used to hearing him referrred to as Richard). It is such a shock as I had assumed he had fully recovered from last year’s ordeal. I know it’s no consolation to any of us, but one thing’s for sure — he’ll be a welcome addition to that big bridge team game in the sky with lots of his old-time buddies and partners there to

greet him!

Dave Memphis MOJOJuly 2nd, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Well said!

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