Bridge Experts






See web page on famous players:

Read about Bob Hammon, sometimes called "Mr. Bridge". Also at

The following is a list of the greatest bridge players of all time, alphabetically by last name:  B. Jay Becker, Giorgio Belladonna, Norberto Bocchi, Gabriel Chagas, Billy Eisenberg, Pietro Forquet, Benito Garozzo, Bob Hamman, Maurice Harrison-Gray, Geir Helgemo, Oswald Jacoby, Zia Mahmood, Jeff Meckstroth, Terence Reese, Eric Rodwell, Michael Rosenberg, Howard Schenken, Tim Seres, Paul Soloway, Bobby Wolff

Paul Soloway (October 10, 1941 – November 5, 2007) was a world champion American bridge player. He won the Bermuda Bowl world team championship five times and won 30 national championships. Soloway was inducted into the American Contract Bridge League's Hall of Fame in 2002. At the time of his death he held 65,511.92 masterpoints – more than any other player in history, and more than 6000 points ahead of second place. 

Paul Soloway:  If 3NT is a viable option, then bid it.

Alfred Sheinwold Since the average person's small supply of politeness must last him all his life, he can't afford to waste it on bridge partners.   

Alfred Sheinwold  A player who can't defend accurately should try to be declarer.

Alfred Sheinwold  Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself. 

Alfred Sheinwold  One advantage of bad bidding is that you get practice at playing in atrocious contracts.

Alan Sontag  It is not the handling of difficult hands that makes the winning player.                                                 There aren't enough of them.        It is the ability to avoid messing up the easy ones.

Helen Sobel was asked how it feels to be playing with an expert (She always played with Charles Goren) said:  "Ask Charlie".

Howard Shenken never made a hand in a Truscott column.  They were not on such good terms.  Ditto with Stayman and Goren. In the Goren columns, a 2C response to 1NT was never referred to as Stayman.  It was always 'the two club convention'.

Alan Truscott:  Bridge is essentially a social game, but unfortunately it attracts a substantial number of antisocial people.

Ely Culbertson Culbertson suggested that if only the Bennetts had been playing the Culbertson System of bidding, then 36-year-old John Bennett might still be alive. Read about the Bridge Table Murder Case and the verdict in:

Richard Pavlicek.  On odds:

General Dwight D  Eisenhauer and General Alfred M Guenther  were both good bridge players and bridge partners.  See article on  Bridge, Not Chess, Is The Ultinmate War Game.

Charles Goren developed the modern point count system of hand evaluation, that replaced the honor tricks used by  Ely Cumbertson, but he borrowed ideas from others:  Milton Work, Bryant McCampbell and William Anderson.  Oswold Jacoby and William Anderson were both actuaries, but Anderson was a noted Canadian actuary who was President of a life insurance Company, President of the Society of Actuaries, and President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

In the mid-Forties, Charlie came to Bill, a long-time friend and brilliant mathematician, and asked Anderson to undertake the mathematical research needed to prove whether a hand’s trick-taking potential could be totally evaluated for suit bidding as well as notrump bidding, on a point-count basis. The problem with the 4-3-2-1 Work point count was that it was fine for notrump bidding with balanced hands, but was notoriously inaccurate for suit evaluation. At the time, nearly all players still used the Culbertson honor-trick method of evaluating their hands for suit bidding.

Bill spent two years working on the problem. His first task was to verify whether the Work point count method was accurate – he discovered that, although it could be bettered slightly mathematically, the combination of its simplicity and accuracy could not be improved upon. He then set about resolving Goren’s main issue – how to evaluate hands for suit bidding. Bill thus developed the 3-2-1 point scheme for evaluating hands with voids, singletons and doubletons respectively.

William Anderson.  Bill Anderson was an acknowledged genius: he graduated from the University of Toronto with honors in mathematics and physics, joined the North American Life Assurance Company upon graduation and soon become the youngest-ever actuary in Canada. He rose to president, then chairman, of North American Life and became president of both the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the U.S.-based Society of Actuaries.Bill was responsible for developing and introducing the Code of Professional Conduct for actuaries, putting the profession on the same footing as the medical and legal professions.

.Oswold JacobySee and He was an actuary, but he never worked as an actuary. Oswald Jacoby – at one time the youngest-ever to become an actuary (at age 21) – once declared about Bill Anderson: “I used to claim I was the best actuary among bridge players but quickly abandoned that claim after meeting Bill Anderson, after which I claimed only to be the best bridge player among actuaries.”

Oswold Jacoby  I favor light opening bids. When you're my age, you can never be sure that the bidding will get back around to you again. Oswald Jacoby at 77. 

David Bruce was on lead against a grand slam in a suit contract holding two aces and he knew the dummy had to be void in one of those suits. The dummy was Ozzie Jacoby, who always left the table the moment a card was led.  David Bruce decided to lead his gum wrapper. When Jacoby saw something hit the table he put this dummy down and David Bruce saw which ace would cash. 

 John Crawford  Oswald Jacoby and John R. Crawford were very good friends and rivals in a variety of games. At backgammon there are international championships: Jacoby has won three, Crawford one. Crawford has also won the Regency Cup championship. At one time, Crawford held five National bridge titles, and Jacoby was second to him in four of them. Crawford has also been a member of three of the American teams to win the world's championship. Jacoby has won the world's championship once. Crawford has won more National bridge championships than anyone else. At other games, Jacoby will admit that Crawford is probably the best gin-rummy player in the world. But Jacoby is probably superior at casion and piquet. When it comes to bridge and backgammon, neither will concede to the other, but no one would do well against them if they play as partners.

John R Crawford  He achieved considerable notoriety as a shrewd card player. According to legend, he was once in a hopeless four-spade contract. About midway through the play this exchange takes place:  

Crawford Opponent
The rest are mine. Making five. What do you mean! I still have a trump trick.
You are absolutely right. Great defense, too, to hold me to four.  Thank you.

John Crawford playing with a beginner for huge stakes. Partner leads the Spade King and Crawford has the 1098.  He doesn't want partner to continue, but knows if he plays the 8 he will. So Crawford drops the Spade 8 on the floor and is slow about picking it up. His partner asks what card is it?  "Oh, just a low spade" says Crawford. Partner shifts suits.

 Backgammon Rules developed by Bridge Players:

The Jacoby rule, named after Oswald Jacoby, allows gammons and backgammons to count for their respective double and triple values only if the cube has already been offered and accepted. This encourages a player with a large lead to double, possibly ending the game, rather than to play it to conclusion hoping for a gammon or backgammon. The Jacoby rule is widely used in money play but is not used in match play.

The Crawford rule, named after John R. Crawford, is designed to make match play more equitable for the player in the lead. If a player is one point away from winning a match, that player's opponent will always want to double as early as possible in order to catch up. Whether the game is worth one point or two, the trailing player must win to continue the match. To balance the situation, the Crawford rule requires that when a player first reaches a score one point short of winning, neither player may use the doubling cube for the following game, called the Crawford game. After the Crawford game, normal use of the doubling cube resumes. The Crawford rule is routinely used in tournament match play. It is possible for a Crawford game never to occur in a match. 





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This site was last updated 04/16/17