ACBL Bridge Beat #37: Lew Mathe
As I was preparing Bridge Beats to have at the ready while I am off serving my civic duty, this classic came to mind.
From Tournament Bridge: an Uncensored Memoir, Jerry Machlin writes, “Lew was a witness in a court case where ACBL was being sued. He was put on the stand as a bridge expert and the attorney for the plaintiff was attempting to discredit him. Mathe reeled off his incredible list of wins in regional, national, and international competition, and the attorney continued, ‘From your remarks, Mr. Mathe, you sound as if you consider yourself the greatest player in North America.’ Mathe answered with his usual modesty, ‘I do.’ The attorney persisted, ‘And do you consider yourself the greatest player in the world?’ and Lew replied, ‘Yes.’
“After he stepped down from the stand, Lew’s wife tore into him. ‘Lew how could you get up on the stand in front of all these people and say you were the greatest player in the world?’ ‘What could I do?’ answered Lew, ‘After all, I was under oath.’”
Known for his intensity and energy at the table, Mathe was a self-proclaimed perfectionist who expected much from his partners. He was a firm believer that bridge expertise is innate, not acquired, and that a healthy sense of self-confidence and ego is an integral part of being a top-notch player.