Curtis Cheek has been named the 2019 recipient of the Sidney H. Lazard Jr. Sportsmanship Award.
According to the selection committee, Curtis is being honored for his universally acknowledged integrity and his consistently pleasant demeanor and behavior toward his partners, teammates and opponents. This attitude was recently highlighted when his team won a rather one-sided match and his opponent contacted the ACBL to say what a pleasure Curtis was to play against.
Upon being informed of his selection, Cheek said, “This award is an honor that I will always cherish. I grew up in the South where Sidney was an icon of kindness, gentleness and sportsmanship, which makes this award even more special. I have always believed that good sportsmanship is not only important to the game, but also that it is simply smart bridge. I close every lecture by telling the audience that the easiest way to improve their score is simply to be nice to their partner and to take responsibility for any disaster.”
Curtis is an ACBL Grand Life Master with five NABC+ championships, including the Vanderbilt and the Reisinger, and is number 13 on the all-time ACBL masterpoint list with over 44,000 masterpoints. He was on the winning team in the Yeh Bros. Cup in 2017 and he captained the silver medal USA team in the 2011 Bermuda Bowl.
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 ACBL Educational Foundation, 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.”
The award will be presented at the ACBL Hall of Fame banquet during the Summer North American Bridge Championships in Las Vegas.
The selection committee members are Steve Beatty, Zia Mahmood and Steve Weinstein.