By Nick Shopp

It is 8 o’clock on a school night, there is a student sitting at his desk finishing up his AP Lang homework. He then opens up a game of bridge and immediately gets on a winning streak. This student, Ethan Xie, is a junior here at East and has a fascination with the card game of bridge and even represented the United States under 16 team. Bridge, for anyone who does not know, is a “complex card game involving 4 players, divided into 2 partnerships,” Ethan told me. “It’s composed of two parts, bidding and playing.”  The game is also played with a standard deck of 52 cards and is one of the most popular card games in the world.

Bridge, as stated before by Ethan, is very complex. Despite the many intricacies, Ethan comically mentions how he, “…Started playing when he was a little, braindead 9-year-old.” He did not just learn all of this on his own, he had help from everywhere in his life. “My father,” Xie told me, “got me into the game when I asked him for something to do.” After picking up the game quickly, his interest kept growing, and eventually began taking lessons at the Bridge Center  on Sheridan Drive which helps coach kids ranging from age 8 to 16. But if you would ask him, Ethan would simply tell you that his talent for the game comes from three things: “Genes, Talent, Success.” Ethan was so talented at the game that in online servers he was able to play against Michael Rosenburg, who has won many US and World championships in bridge…when he was only 11. Now you could find him volunteering at the Bridge Center, helping develop another generation of technical and gifted bridge players. His accomplishments do not end there. He qualified for the United States Bridge Federation training program, being 1 of 38 to be accepted (once again being the youngest player to be accepted). In Ethan’s opinion, though, “Well, my one big accomplishment was being able to represent the U.S. U16 junior bridge team.” What he didnot mention, though, was that this happened when he was in the seventh grade.

When learning bridge, Ethan found a sudden uptick in his grades, going from a 92 all the way to a 97. The game managed to help him with his patience, critical thinking, and logical deduction skills, which was particularly helpful in his math classes. These skills particularly helped when he was accepted into the University at Buffalo’s Gifted Math Program(GMP) in the fifth grade. Taking many both honors and AP classes, Ethan is preparing to take many exams.

Ethans mother is his “Biggest fan,” he told me. He said his momwill support him in every way possible, as long as he is keeping up in school and with his grades. Otherwise, when at home Ethan snarkily says that he, “Frags out after doing chores.” Now, you might be wondering, what exactly does Ethan frag out on. Ethan mentioned that he is 1400 on, so he is not only working to master one complex game but two of them. He loves to watch movies as well, citing his favorite to be the Disney cult classic, Cool Runnings. Ethan also considers himself an avid gamer. The two games that he plays the most are both Valorant and Overwatch, both similar games. In Valorant, Ethan is ranked at Platinum 2 which is the second rank of the fourth highest tier. If Ethan’s life could not get even more busy, heis starting a rap career. His first single, ‘Raise the Dough,’ both written and recorded with his friend, Eric Yang, doubled as his campaign video for the Williamsville East Student Council as he ran for the spot of Treasurer which, sadly, he did not win.

In the future, although having many talents, Ethan mentioned that he would most likely be, ‘…some form of stereotypical Med School student,” but instead of being in a medical practice, he would like to teach medicine. Following in the footsteps of both his mother and father, who are professors at UB.