How to Play Chess, Bridge for Berkshire Hathaway shareholders

May 1, 2011

Each year, Warren Buffett brings in several professional game players for his shareholders during the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders’ weekend. They’re all at Borsheims during the Sunday brunch and shareholders’ only shopping day. Here’s how you can participate in the fun!

Bridge is set up in the center court of the mall, right outside Borsheims mall entrance. Anyone is welcome to play starting at 11am (but a basic knowledge of bridge is helpful). Bridge champions Sharon Osberg and Bob Hamman will arrive at 1pm. Warren Buffett has sat down and played several hands of bridge in past years, but we do not expect him to play this year. Bill Gates has also played in the past, but he doesn’t ever let us know ahead of time if he’ll be here.

Bridge rules: 4 players must be present to start a game (if someone doesn’t have a party of 4, they may wait to join other solo players); tables are filled on a first come first serve basis. There is a waiting list if the tables are full, but the guest must be present at time of opening to play or their name will be removed from the list; there isn’t a time limit; no substitutes are allowed during game play.

Players also will need to sign up if they wish to play two-time U.S. chess champion Patrick Wolff. He plays six people at once, all while blindfolded! Chess is tucked just to the east of Williams Sonoma in the side corner on the way to Paradise Bakery. Sign up will begin at 11am and sign up will occur in the bridge area. The first 6 players to sign up will get the chance to play Patrick. We take additional names in case any of the first 6 are a no-show. Players must be present at 1pm (a few minutes earlier would be best) when Patrick will show up. A television monitor will be set up for spectators to see the plays. It’s really an amazing thing to watch!

The world-class magician, Norman Beck, is also in center court just outside of Williams Sonoma. He does his tricks for whomever is present. There are a handful of chairs available for people to sit down if they choose.

Remember, there will be a game registration table set-up just inside the bridge area. This is where guests can sign-up to play chess and come to play bridge. Hope to see you there, and good luck against the pro’s!

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