The families of Kelly Dianne Newsome and Devin Darnell Rambo have known each other for years. Each family is a powerhouse in a community of domino players in Kansas City, Mo., passing down a love of the game over generations. Years ago, Ms. Newsome’s uncle, Travis Newsome, taught the game to Mr. Rambo’s father, Rickey Rambo, the current doubles domino world champion.
But Ms. Newsome and Mr. Rambo didn’t meet until June 2022. A month before the 46th annual World Championship Domino Tournament in Andalusia, Ala., she attended a preparatory seminar that he was teaching in Kansas City. They were both set to compete in the doubles bracket at the tournament.
When Mr. Rambo first saw Ms. Newsome, he was intrigued. Her uncle had told him that she was a lawyer in New York, and Mr. Rambo had expected a “diva.”
Ms. Newsome, 40, is a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, a law firm. She has a law degree from Georgetown and two master’s degrees, one in economic law from the Paris Institute of Political Studies and one in public administration from the University of Missouri.
Mr. Rambo, 31, is a financial management adviser at CommunityAmerica Credit Union in Kansas City. He has an associate degree in business administration from Metropolitan Community College, also in Kansas City.
At the tournament in Andalusia, Mr. Rambo and his partner took first place, while Ms. Newsome and her partner placed second in a consolation bracket. Then, in a series of post-tournament debriefs hosted over Zoom by the Kansas City domino community, the two met again. They were still only acquaintances, but soon enough, they began flirting.
Ms. Newsome’s uncle had encouraged her for years to meet Mr. Rambo. Her father, Jerry Newsome, was also happy to make a formal introduction. During one of the Zoom meetings, Ms. Newsome mentioned that she didn’t have Mr. Rambo’s number. “And literally, my dad was like, ‘Here it is,’” she said. “He texted me his number on the side.”
While Ms. Newsome was in New York and Mr. Rambo was in Kansas City, they began talking one on one. “These were 10-, 11-hour calls,” Mr. Rambo said. Ms. Newsome said that the two of them “missed a lot of work.”
But their nine-year age difference gave her pause. When Ms. Newsome flew to Kansas City in mid-August to visit her family, she was prepared to end their correspondence. But Mr. Rambo had something up his sleeve. “Just give me the weekend, see if you change your mind,” he told her.
Mr. Rambo had once told Ms. Newsome, to her shock, that he had never seen “Black Panther,” a Marvel movie. So he set up a private viewing at a theater in Blue Springs, a Kansas City suburb, scattering rose petals in the aisles and hiring a server to dole out refreshments.
This became their first in-person date. Afterward, Mr. Rambo asked Ms. Newsome, “Is it too soon to be falling in love?” Around the same time, Ms. Newsome told a friend, “I’m going to end up marrying this man.”
They soon became inseparable, Ms. Newsome said. Mr. Rambo started splitting his time between Kansas City and Ms. Newsome’s apartment in Harlem. On Aug. 25, 2022, the couple became official. That November, Mr. Rambo began planning a proposal.
At first, there were many failed attempts. “Every plan I made just fell by the wayside,” Mr. Rambo said. Soon, he decided that enough was enough. Early one morning while they were together in New York, he surprised her. “I was looking raggedy, I had a hair wrap on my head,” Ms. Newsome said, laughing. “He said, ‘Here, open this box.’” Inside was a two-carat emerald solitaire ring.
On Oct. 7, they were married in front of 100 guests at Maison Principale, an event space in Montreal, by Rickey Rambo, a pastor at the Sunlight Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City.
While the couple knew that dominoes would play a role in their wedding, Ms. Newsome drew the line when Mr. Rambo suggested a domino-themed wedding cake. Instead, they paid homage to the game with a black-and-white dress code at their welcome party, which took place at Galerie 203, an art gallery in Montreal.
The couple plans to live together in Ms. Newsome’s apartment in New York. Mr. Rambo said that the speed at which their romance progressed — from acquaintances to bride and groom in a little over a year — was hard to believe. Family and friends who were out of the loop for a few weeks missed what felt like “a year’s worth” of updates, he said. “But there was something different about our connection — this is how it’s supposed to be.”