Not Just the ACBL Story – But HISTORY

True accounts of events and people who shaped the ACBL

Archive for May 2012

ACBL Bridge Beat #63: 1962 Hand of the Year

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By Al Sobel

♠ 10 7 3
K 8
A K Q J
♣ A K Q 5
♠ 4 ♠ A 6 5
Q 10 5 A J
10 6 4 2 9 8 7 5 3
♣ J 10 6 3 2 ♣ 9 7 4
♠ K Q J 9 8 2
9 7 6 4 3 2
♣ 8

This hand occurred in the Greater New York Charity Game and on this particular hand Harry Fishbein, sitting South, decided to open the auction with 4♠. Don’t ask me why – I’m glad he did it otherwise I wouldn’t have had a hand of the year. After West’s pass, North took a well-calculated risk (knowing Fishbein) and bid 6♠. East promptly doubled and that was the final contract. West opened the ♣J and Harry won it and then proceeded to discard all six losing hearts on the good clubs and diamonds. It’s seldom if ever that you see a losing six-card suit discarded, but to do it before trump is drawn is out of this world. This could only happen to Fishy. Whether you agree or not, it gets the Sobel Prize for hand of the year.

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May 30, 2012 at 9:44 am

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ACBL Bridge Beat #62: Olympiad Open Series Finals

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Both Great Britain and Italy had gone through the qualifying rounds without defeat and as the luck of the draw would have it, these two teams met in the first round with Italy losing 66-58, the smallest possible losing margin. (In the finals -fewer than 8 IMPs would have counted as a tie). France defeated Spingold 1, 100-71, while Spingold 2 took three of the four victory points in a winning tie against Vanderbilt 1, 69-65.

In the second round, Italy lost another close match to Spingold 1, 92-81. Meanwhile, Spingold two upset France, 69-61 and Great Britain soundly defeated Vanderbilt 1, 105-39.

The third round saw Spingold 2 owning seven victory points and meeting the twice-beaten Italy. Spingold 2 appeared to carry the best U.S. hopes of victory, but Italy returned to form to win 91-54. Great Britain continued undefeated besting Spingold 1, 76-36, and France made it an all losing day for the U.S. by defeating Vanderbilt 1, 100-71.

Great Britain entered round four having won 12 straight, including three wins worth 12 Victory Points in the play-offs. However, unlucky match 13 saw them lose to France, 60-39. Spingold 1 went ahead of Spingold 2 with a win that gave them a total of 8 Victory Points to the losers 7 and Vanderbilt 1 won its first final match defeating the now-out-of –it Italians, 96-65.

France and Great Britain entered the final round tied with 12 VPs each, but with Great Britain leading on quotient.

In the final round, Spingold 2 knocked Britain out of any chance for the title by holding them to a winning tie, 88-84, leaving Britain with a total of 15 VPs. France easily won their match and the Olympiad when they took 4 VPs in their match against Italy winning by a score so large it more than covered Britain’s quotient advantage had the victory points ended in a tie. Vanderbilt 1 defeated Spingold 1 and took the bronze.

The final standings were:
France – 16 VPs
Great Britain – 15 VPs
Vanderbilt 1 – 9 VPs
Spingold 2 – 8 VPs
Spingold 1 – 8 VPs
Italy – 4 VPs

Allinger partnered by Mathe is all smiles while playing Trezel (l) and Jais (r) during the one final match France lost

Allinger partnered by Mathe is all smiles while playing Trezel (l) and Jais (r) during the one final match France lost

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May 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

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ACBL Bridge Beat #61: 1960 Olympiad Qualifying Rounds

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At the outset, the teams were divided into three sections of ten, ten and nine, from each of which the two top teams would qualify for the play-off rounds. It was decided that three of the four American teams (to be chosen by lot) would join Italy, France and Great Britain as the top seeded teams in each section.

Each team would meet every other team in its group in a 40-board match. The two top-ranking teams in each group would then enter a six-team round robin final of 60-board matches.

Italy (Walter Avarelli, Giorgio Belladonna, Eugenio Chiaradia, Pietro Forquet, Giancarlo Manca and Roberto Bianchi) and Spingold 1 (Oswald Jacoby, Ira Rubin, Sam Stayman, Morton Rubinow, Victor Mitchell and Bill Grieve) were assigned to the nine team section, in which each team had a bye-round. Vanderbilt 1 (John Crawford, Tobias Stone, B. Jay Becker, George Rapee, Sidney Silodor and Norman Kay) was drawn into the section with Great Britain (Jeremy Flint, Nico Gardener, Terence Reese, Albert Rose, Boris Schapiro and Ralph Swimer) and Canada; Spingold 2 (Charles Goren, Helen Sobel, Howard Schenken, Harold Ogust, Lew Mathe and Paul Allinger) and Vanderbilt 2 (Don Oakie, Meyer Schleifer, Sidney Lazard, Leonard Harmon, Ivar Stakgold and William Hanna) played in the bracket with France (Pierre Jais, Roger Trezel, Gerard Bourchtoff, Claude Delmouly, Rene Bacherich and Pierre Ghestem).

In the first round Vanderbilt 2 was upset by Lebanon, 65-57, and in the second round they were defeated 53-33 by France. They never recovered.

After the first four rounds, Canada (Eric Murray, Sami Kehela, Percy Sheardown, Bruce Elliott, Harry Bork and Bruce Gowdy) with three wins and a losing tie had beaten Vanderbilt 1 and was firmly in the second qualifying position behind Great Britain. However, after nine rounds of qualifying play, it was the six top-seeded teams who qualified for the play-offs: Italy, France, Great Britain, Spingold 1, Spingold 2 and Vanderbilt 1.

Vanderbilt 2 vs. Spingold 2: Left to right: Allinger, Harmon, Mathe and Stakgold

Vanderbilt 2 vs. Spingold 2: Left to right: Allinger, Harmon, Mathe and Stakgold

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May 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

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ACBL Bridge Beat #60: The First Olympiad

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Twenty-nine teams from twenty-five countries entered the first World Bridge Olympiad. Fourteen of those countries also sent women’s teams to compete simultaneously with the open series.

Based on total membership of its Leagues, Sweden entered two teams and the United States entered four teams in the open series. (This method of representation was repealed and only one team per country would be allowed in the future.)

A beautiful new trophy for the Olympiad was presented to the WBF by Harold Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt’s generosity also provided for individual replicas for future winners. The cards for the Olympiad were provided by the U.S. Playing Card Company and Charles Goren.

The 12-day marathon, April 23 – May 4, 1960, was played in the exhibition hall of the Society for Promoting Fine Arts in Turin, Italy. Despite the reported chilliness of the building, the consensus was that the playing space and tournament organization was magnificent.

Every table in the open room was surrounded on three sides by a built-up three-row grandstand. Each table was identified by the flags of the two nations whose teams were playing and the names and geographical position of all four players.

A system of buzzers and lights enabled the players to summon a director, a waiter or messenger to move boards without leaving the table or raising a voice. A similar signal system, connected with the closed room, advised players there when the play if their match was over in the open room and they could be released.

Hand records were made out on four-copy forms – a separate form for the cards of each player. One copy served as a curtain card, placed in the pocket of the hand so the player who held it could make certain the board had not been fouled.

The duplicate hand records were used to give each captain a copy of all deals played and a summary of the score after the conclusion of each session. The fourth copy became part of the official record of the match for the press room.

Each player received a portfolio of information including a guide map of the city, a dictionary in six languages and a resume of rules under which the Olympiad was conducted.

First Olympiad

The first Olympiad

The first Olympiad

Flagdecked open room

Flagdecked open room

Written by acbl

May 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

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ACBL Bridge Beat #59: 1958 Spring NABC Wrap-up

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The 48 teams that entered the Vanderbilt were seeded by masterpoints into three brackets. Thursday morning a storm knocked out the Atlantic City power station causing the first matches to be delayed until Thursday evening. Most teams played their first match and half of their second at that time. However, the Fishbein team played entire second match on Thursday night, finishing about 5 a.m. Friday.

At the time the Vanderbilt was played as a double elimination, so the 24 winning teams continued in the undefeated half and the 24 losing teams continued in the defeated half.

At the end of the two matches on Friday there were four undefeated teams. The round of 16 was postponed until Monday to allow time for the Open Pair Championship.

The Jacoby team was the first of the top-seeded teams to bite the dust. Team Jacoby (Oswald, Ira Rubin, Al Roth, Tobias Stone, Emanuel Hochfeld and Milton Ellenby) lost by 28 IMPs to the team of Dr. Kalman Apfel, Francis Begley, Murray Schnee, Louis Kelner and Ronald Rosenberg.

In the undefeated bracket, Team Fishbein defeated Team von Zedtwitz and the Goren team defeated the Kaplan team. All teams remained in the contest.

Fishbein defeated Goren by 8 IMPs and was the only team remaining in the undefeated bracket.

The Kaplan team (Edgar Kaplan, Alfred Sheinwold, Charles Solomon, Norman Kay, Ralph Hirshberg and Richard Kahn) faced the Cinderella team of six Philadelphia ladies (Edith Rosenbloom, Ruth Gilbert, Mrs. C. Vorhees, Mrs. H. Sabott, Mrs. Barney Budin and Mrs. Herman Simon) and just barely managed to scrape through. They won by a mere 5 IMPs.

By Tuesday afternoon only six teams remained: Team Fishbein (Harry Fishbein, Sam Fry, Lee Hazen, Leonard Harmon, Ivar Stakgold), Team Kaplan, Team Goren (Charles Goren, Helen Sobel, Howard Schenken, Peter Leventritt, Boris Koytchou and Harold Ogust), Team von Zedtwitz (Waldemar von Zedtwitz, William Seamon, Albert Weiss, Edith Kemp and Sam Stayman), Team Johnson (Sallie Johnson, Pedro Cabral, Roger Stern, and Lawrence Rosler) and Team Crawford (John Crawford, Sidney Silodor, B. Jay Becker, George Rapée, John Gerber and Paul Hodge).

Fishbein defeated Johnson, Kaplan defeated von Zedtwitz and Crawford defeated Goren.

Only three teams remained on Tuesday night. Fishbein drew a bye while Kaplan eliminated Crawford. Fishbein remained undefeated, winning by 15 IMPs over Kaplan.

Vanderbilt winners Lee Hazen, Harry Fishbein, Ivar Stakgold, Leonard Harmon, Sam Fry Jr

Vanderbilt winners Lee Hazen, Harry Fishbein, Ivar Stakgold, Leonard Harmon, Sam Fry Jr

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May 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

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ACBL Bridge Beat #58: 1958 Spring NABC Cont.

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The tournament began on Saturday afternoon, March 15, 1958 with 43 teams in the Commercial and Industrial Team Championship. The team representing New York Life (David Strasberg, Nicholas Zampino, Dorothy Hayden, Edward Wendt and Leo Haskell) captured the title.

The Men’s Pair Championship started with a field of 202 pairs, playing two qualifying session with 128 pairs qualified for the finals. Name players came through to win the title. This marked the first time Norman Kay and Sidney Silodor won a major event together. They failed to qualify for the Men’s Pair event in 1956.

A field of 312 entered the Open Individual, held in two sessions, Monday and Tuesday afternoon. The event was won by Mrs. Frances Robinson. Her husband, Dr. L.C. Robinson had to be content with third place.

Silodor, Sylvia Stein and Norman Kay

Silodor, Sylvia Stein and Norman Kay

Frances Robinson

Commercial and Industrial Teams

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May 17, 2012 at 8:31 am

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ACBL Bridge Beat #57: The First Spring NABC

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Three players greeted the new Spring NABC by winning their first national championships – twice. Phyllis Novak, of Shreveport, Leonard Harmon, of New York, and Ivar Stakgold, of Washington, won two national titles apiece at the Atlantic City Tournament.

Novak came first by winning the Women’s Pairs with Betty Nail, of Houston on the first Sunday of the tourney. She then won the Mixed Pairs (Hilliard) with John Gerber of Houston.

Perhaps to show that Houston had nothing to do with it, Harmon and Stakgold paired up to win the Open Pairs and the Vanderbilt Teams.

Stakgold nosed Harmon out in the competition for best-in-show by landing third in the Men’s Pairs. Harmon placed fifth. At the time there was no trophy established to honor Stakgold’s achievement, but two years later the Mott-Smith Trophy was put into play and made retroactive to include the 1958 and 1959 winners.

Betty Nail, John Gerber and Phyllis Novak

Written by acbl

May 15, 2012 at 8:30 am

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