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Dennis Bilde is 2020 Lazard Sportsman of the Year

Dennis Bilde has been named the 2020 recipient of the Sidney H. Lazard Jr. Sportsmanship award. The Sportsman Award was established by Sidney Lazard in honor of his son, Sidney Jr., who died in 1999 at the age of 41 after a year-long battle with cancer. Administered by the Foundation for the Preservation and Advancement of Bridge, the award is given annually to a top-level player, one who has scored a high-level finish in a major national contest. According to Lazard, the object of the award is to “enhance sportsmanship among top players and to salute those who try to win with class and dignity.”

Dennis is the youngest-ever recipient of the award. He has comported himself with dignity and class from a young age, impressing everyone throughout his relatively short career with not only his bridge skill but his integrity, effusive personality, and charm. He has distinguished himself as not only a top-notch player but also as a model competitor, partner, teammate, and opponent. Gracious in victory as in defeat, he would be near the top of any poll of the most popular player around.

Dennis began his career on the Danish youth team, winning the junior world championships in Beijing in 2008. He burst onto the USA scene at the age of 23 in 2013. Playing four-handed with his father, Morten Bilde, and Roy Welland-Sabine Auken, they came back from a 70+ IMP deficit in the last 16 boards to beat team MONACO on their way to winning the Vanderbilt. Since then, Dennis has won the 2017 ACBL Player of the Year award and six NABC titles with six different partners, with his most recent win being the 2019 Reisinger as a member of the LAVAZZA team. Other significant accomplishments with LAVAZZA are winning the 2018 European Winter games and finishing second in the 2017 Spingold and Jacoby Swiss Teams.

Dennis displayed characteristic grace and humility when informed of his selection. "I’m very proud to have been chosen for this award. Bridge is a fantastic game, when it’s played the right way. I think it’s great that Sidney Lazard established this award to put focus on the topic. We all want to win, but it will only feel good if you know you’ve done it through fair play."

The award will be presented at the American Contract Bridge League Hall of Fame banquet during the Summer North American Bridge Championship in Montreal.

The selection committee members are Steve Beatty, Zia Mahmood, and Steve Weinstein.

Photo taken by Peg Kaplan

Previous winners:

2019 Curtis Cheek
2018 Lew Stansby
2017 Eddie Kantar
2016 Boye Brogeland
2015 Howard Weinstein
2014 Bob Hamman
2013 Benedicte Cronier and Sylvie Willard
2012 Michael Kamil
2011 Betty Ann Kennedy
2010 Roy Welland
2009 Peter Boyd
2008 Giorgio Duboin
2007 Seymon Deutsch
2006 Ralph Cohen
2005 Nick Nickell
2004 Lynn Deas
2003 Larry Cohen
2002 Rose Meltzer
2001 Paul Soloway
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