Archive for January 2012
ACBL Bridge Beat #13 – Behind the scenes at a 1930’s bridge tournament with ACBL Hall of Fame member, Alexander M. Sobel…
In the June 1937 edition of The Bridge World, ACBL Hall of Fame member, Alexander M. Sobel described eight types of players found at bridge tournaments. Here are the first three. Do you think these descriptions still foot the bill and if so, which category of player do you belong in?
Post Mortemist: Always disregard the fact they have more boards to play; go over each hand in the most minute detail as to what could have happened has East played so-and-so, or South played this-and-that, etc., etc., etc.
Chair Pushers: Not happy unless the tournament supplies chairs a’ la Crockford’s, tip the attendants to get chairs large enough for the Coronation ceremonies and push them around from table to table. The fair sex the main offenders in this group; frail women, who normally cannot lift a book without help from some male, lugging these chairs around for fourteen rounds.
Wanderers: Finish three boards in ten minutes and then ramble up and down the playing floor; distract everyone else’s attention, and when chased off the floor by the director, forget to come back until the next round is half over.
Sobel, A.M. “BEHIND THE SCENES Of a Big Tournament.” The Bridge World June 1937: 31-32
The first week of October 1937, the American Bridge League merged with another leading bridge organization, the United States Bridge Association. Their merger saw the creation of a newly named organization – the American Contract Bridge League – whose 75th Anniversary we celebrate this year.
ACBL Bridge Beat #11 – One of the first bridge love stories, A.B.L. Secretary Marries Former Women’s President…
On June 9, 1937, the American Bridge League’s permanent secretary, Mr. William E. McKenney married the past president of the Women’s Auxiliary of the ABL, Mrs. Marguerite Hoffmeier. The marriage took place at Broadway Tabernacle Congregational Church. Many officers and directors of the ABL attended the wedding reception.
Photo from The Bridge World
One of the first school bridge programs was documented in January 1937. Helen Berry Baker began teaching contract bridge to seventh through ninth grade students at Marina Junior High School in San Francisco CA. Over eighty students signed up to participate in her class. At the time, a San Francisco welfare worker gave her opinion about teaching bridge in public schools.
“I think that providing a mental recreational outlet like contract bridge for our school children might be the answer that our parent-teacher organizations are seeking to reduce juvenile delinquency. I know of many juvenile delinquents whose tendency toward delinquency would have been curbed, had they had a competitive mental outlet. I can see how Contact Bridge tournaments offer this outlet, because participants are not restricted to the physical qualifications that are required in other school sports. It is my opinion that Bridge in public schools would be a splendid addition, and would fulfill the growing demands of parents that their children be given activities that will insure a better social adjustment.”
Baker, Helen Berry. “Contract Bridge as an Instrument for Early Social Adjustment.” The Bridge World Dec 1937: 32-34
ACBL Bridge Beat #9 – Crockford’s Bridge Club is a prime establishment on the New York social scene..
Founded by Ely Culbertson in 1932 and named after the English club of the same name, Crockford’s was a popular bridge club located at 14 East 42nd Street in New York, NY. Membership in Crockford’s was by election only, and a very high standard was maintained in determining membership. Only the most socially prominent of players and experts in the game were invited to join. Many celebrities of the stage, screen and high society were counted among their membership. Crockford’s was known for its high-quality cuisine and for its luxurious appointments. Crockford’s ceased operation in 1938.
In the 1930s, National Championship tournaments were held twice a year, summer and winter. A spring tournament was added in 1958. Today, three NABCs (North American Bridge Championships) are held annually in the spring, summer and fall. Each 11-day tournament averages 10,000 tables of bridge play.
In 1931, the masterpoint award system was first introduced at the World Masters Individual Championship event. All new players today celebrate their first fraction of a point with enthusiasm. Could you imagine the American Contract Bridge League today without the masterpoint?