The ACBL Hall of Fame Blackwood Award shall be given to individuals who have contributed greatly to the game of bridge without necessarily being world class players. Each year, up to one (1) recipient may be selected by the Hall of Fame Committee, whenever deemed appropriate.
Morehead, Albert (1909 – 1966)
Many of today’s generation know little about Albert Morehead except, perhaps, that there is a bridge library in Memphis named for him.
Morehead was a lad of 23 when Ely Culbertson hired him because of his talent as a player and an expert analyst. In a short time Morehead was technical analyst for The Bridge World magazine and technical manager of all Culbertson enterprises. He was only 25 when he played on the Culbertson team that defeated the English in the second international match for the Schwab Trophy in 1934.
Morehead not only published and edited the magazine, he was responsible for much of the writing of Culbertson's books and radio scripts. He managed details pertaining to the Crockford Clubs in New York and Chicago . He negotiated endorsements and was executive director of Kem Playing Cards, Inc. --- which he sold within a few years for a profit of more than half a million dollars.
A tireless worker, he was the first bridge editor of The New York Times. He wrote and edited bridge books. He ran a plastics business and did free-lance writing on a multitude of non-bridge subjects for leading American magazines.
After he resigned from the Times late in 1963, he devoted full time to the writing, editing and publishing of dictionaries, encyclopedias and a thesaurus which made him one of the foremost American lexicographers. His works also included many "Hoyle" books, giving the rules of cards games, on which he was the leading American authority.
Meanwhile, he found time for tremendous service to organized bridge. He was an officer of the United States Bridge Association when that organization amalgamated with the American Bridge League in 1937. He became a governor of the newly formed ACBL, which he later served as president and chairman of the Board. He was named Honorary Member in 1946. He was a member of the National Laws Commission and was in charge of production of the International Laws of Contract Bridge.
He not only served ACBL as adviser and laws consultant, he made enormous contributions to The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge --- far beyond the scope of duties suggested by his title of chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board.
Early in 1966, while suffering from his then undiagnosed mortal illness, Morehead rose from a sick bed to travel to Amsterdam to present the constitution he had prepared for the World Bridge Federation --- the first formal definition of the scope, structure, powers and duties of that organization.
Some insight into the man behind all this talent can be found in his obituary in the November issue of the 1966 Bulletin. Then editor Dick Frey wrote,
"Dwarfing these magnificent achievements were personal traits rare among men. No one ever saw him lose his temper at the bridge table or heard him speak an unkind word to a partner. He smiled often, but the only player he ever laughed at was himself.
Rarely if ever did he turn down a plea for help. Writing this, I am proud to acknowledge the debt I owe him and to claim that he was my best friend. The secret of his greatness was that there are scores of others who will truly say exactly this of Albert Hodges Morehead."
Morehead left his large and valuable collection of books to the ACBL, and they formed the heart of what has been for more than three decades the Albert H. Morehead Memorial Library.
Hazen, Lee (1905 – 1991)
There exists a small group of individuals who can combine successful professional careers with stellar bridge talent, evidenced by a long line of tournament victories, while maintaining a sense of humor and dignity.
Lee Hazen was one of that group.
Hazen, who died in 1991 at the age of 85, earned degrees from Columbia University and New York University Law School and practiced law for nearly 50 years. He learned to play bridge in the early Thirties when he was a young attorney.
His impressive tournament record leaves no doubt as to his ability.
Hazen had four wins in the Vanderbilt, three in the Spingold and two in the Chicago (now the Reisinger). In addition to those outstanding team victories, he won the Master’s Individual in 1941 and the national Men’s Pairs in 1945. He was runner-up in eight North American championships.
Hazen represented the United States in the Bermuda Bowl twice (1956 and 1959), finishing second on both occasions.
He was the non-playing captain of the first-place North American team in the 1971 Bermuda Bowl in Taipei, and of the silver-medalist team of the 1972 World Team Olympiad in Miami Beach.
Hazen’s contributions as a bridge administrator are equally impressive. He served as an ACBL director in 1949 and vice-president 1945-47, was a member of the ACBL Laws Commission for more than 30 years and was ACBL legal counsel for more than 40 years.
Hazen is widely credited with helping the ACBL modernize during this tenure in the late Forties.
In addition, Hazen was named ACBL Honorary Member in 1958, served as trustee for the ACBL Charity Foundation and was also the founder of the Greater New York Bridge Association.
Hazen’s reputation as a bridge raconteur and humorist separated him from other experts.
He explained his bidding philosophy as follows: "If I like my hand, I bid. If at the next round I still like it, I bid again. As soon as I stop liking it, I quit bidding."
Another example of Hazen’s humor: "I remember getting up from one table, still thinking hard about the hand I had just struggled through. A pretty lady with dark eyes asked how I was doing. I mumbled some perfunctory reply and moved on to the next table.
"Suddenly, as I took my cards from the first board, it hit me. That lady was my wife (Sylvia)! Being a bridge player herself --- and a good one, too --- she understood and forgave me."
Hazen liked to tell the following story, as told to him by an acquaintance, Charles Duffy. "Duffy and his wife were playing against a pair of long-pause bidders. The opponents stopped on one hand in three hearts, making four, after an agonizingly long auction. They then began to bemoan their failure to bid game. ’You never could have bid it,’ Duffy assured them. ’You just didn’t have the time.’ "
Recounting the stories of other players was a favorite pastime of Hazen’s. This now-classic George S. Kaufman talk was part of his repertoire.
"After one hand, Kaufman asked a rather inexpert person playing as his partner, ’By the way, when did you learn to play, partner?’ And before she could reply, he continued, ’I know it was today, but what time today?’ "
This may summarize Hazen best. "I’ve had two great romances in my life. More than 50 years ago I was able to persuade a perfectly beautiful, charming, bright girl to throw in her lot with me." His second romance was bridge.
Treadwell, Dave (1912 – 2010)
When you saw Dave Treadwell at a tournament, it was wise to prepare yourself to suffer through --- or enjoy, depending on your taste --- a bad joke.
The tournament veteran was notorious for his seemingly endless store of puns and gags that he managed to relate in perfectly deadpan fashion. Despite Treadwell’s reputation, you often don’t know you’ve been had until you hear the punch line.
There are, however, a couple of serious sides to Treadwell, a retired chemical engineer.
First, as an expert bridge player, the Wilmington DE resident maintained the solemn view that it was his obligation to take as many tricks as possible when at the bridge table. In so doing, he earned the rank of Grand Life Master (with more than 20,000 masterpoints) and represented the U.S. in international competition on several occasions.
Second, Treadwell was quite serious when it came to serving the bridge community. His dedication earned him accolades as ACBL Honorary Member of the Year in 1985. He also has a place in the Hall of Fame as the 1998 winner of the Blackwood Award as an ACBL member who has contributed to bridge outside of bridge-playing expertise.
Treadwell served as chairman of the ACBL Board of Governors from 1979 through 1981 and was co-chairman of the ACBL Appeals Committee from 1975 to 1991. He is a past-president of Unit 190 (Delaware) and of District 4.
When Treadwell first started playing, few had even heard of contract bridge. The game he played as a youngster growing up in New Jersey was known as auction bridge.
It all started when, at the age of 15, Treadwell was recruited as a fourth. He was immediately smitten. By the time he enrolled at MIT in Cambridge MA in 1929, contract bridge had taken off, and Treadwell liked it even better than auction.
"I avidly read the Culbertson Blue Book on bidding," Treadwell said. "I knew it by heart."
As he became better and better at bridge, Treadwell found himself at the same bridge clubs as some of the future stars of the game, including Billy Seamon, Billy's sister, Edith (now Freilich), and Sidney Silodor.
One of Treadwell’s biggest thrills came in a game against the legendary Oswald Jacoby. Early on in one deal, Treadwell bared a king behind Jacoby, who didn’t believe the unknown Treadwell was good enough to do it. When Jacoby took the finesse and went down, he was furious.
"I was just a squirt," recalls Treadwell, "but that’s the thrill of bridge. Any player can get a good board against an expert."
Naturally competitive, Treadwell always played in the top event for which he was eligible. He liked the mental stimulation.
When he wasn’t playing bridge, Treadwell spent his time playing blackjack and working on the "magic rectangle" --- a figure composed entirely of squares of different sizes. The minimum number of squares is nine, with only one possibility. With 10 squares, there are more possibilities, and so on. Treadwell developed magic rectangles with up to 15 squares --- about 2500 --- using a computer and a mathematical formula.
Treadwell won hundreds of regional championships to go with two major titles --- the North American Swiss Teams in 1982 and the Master Mixed Teams in 1985.
Kathie Wei-Sender, a three-time world champion and a tireless promoter of bridge, was the 1999 recipient of the Blackwood Award for service to the game outside of contributions as a player. The award was made on the vote of the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame committee.
Born in Beijing (then Peking), China , Wei-Sender is a graduate of the Shanghai University School of Nursing. She arrived in the U.S. in 1949 and worked as a medical facility administrator for 15 years before retiring in 1972.
Although a U.S. citizen, Wei-Sender still visits China regularly and is the only American to hold minister rank in China. She is the official adviser to the Chinese Bridge League. She often leads trips to China for tournaments.
Wei-Sender took up bridge while she was married to the late C.C. Wei, a shipping magnate who invented the Precision bidding system. In 1971, she was co-captain and manager of the bridge team from Taiwan that surprised the bridge world by making it to the final of the Bermuda Bowl. She assumed the same role for Taiwan’s team in the 1972 Olympiad. C.C. Wei died in 1987. Kathie married Henry Sender of Nashville in 1992.
The official Ambassador of Bridge for the World Bridge Federation, Wei-Sender was named ACBL’s Honorary Member in 1987. She was named Bridge Personality of the Year by the International Bridge Press Association in 1986.
Although the Blackwood honor is for contributions outside of bridge play, Wei-Sender has accomplished much as a player. The Grand Life Master (with more than 16,000 masterpoints as of 8/2007) has won three major world women’s titles --- the world Women’s Pairs in 1978, the Women’s Olympiad Teams in 1984 and the Venice Cup in 1987. She was on the second-place team in the Venice Cup in 1981 and 1985 and was runner-up in the world Women’s Pairs in 1990. She and Juanita Chambers were seventh in the world Women’s Pairs in Lille, France, in 1998.
Along with her world championships, Wei-Sender has won numerous North American titles, including the Women’s Knockout Teams, the Women’s Board-a-Match Teams and the North American Women’s Swiss Teams. In open competition, she has three seconds in the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams.
In between tournaments, Wei-Sender has served as a member of the ACBL National Charity Committee (former trustee and president), and an adviser to the ACBL Educational Foundation. She also served as member of the National Goodwill committee.
Wei-Sender has written for the Bridge Bulletin, contributing a series of articles on business leaders who play bridge, among other articles. She has also co-authored two bridge books --- Action for the Defense and One Club Complete --- and served as editor of Precision Today. Her autobiography is entitled Second Daughter. Her latest book is about Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who was a bridge enthusiast.
Rosenkranz, George (b. 1916)
"Bridge is a hobby for me," says George Rosenkranz, causing one to wonder what heights he would have attained had he taken the game seriously.
Such an understatement seems unjustified from someone whose list of accomplishments in the game is staggering. An ACBL Grand Life Master with more than 13,000 masterpoints, Rosenkranz has 11 NABC titles: Vanderbilt Knockout Teams (1975 and 1976); Spingold Knockout Teams (1976 and 1984); Grand National Teams (1981); Men’s B-A-M Teams (1984 and 1987); Reisinger B-A-M Teams (1985); Master Mixed Teams (1990); North American Swiss Teams (1990); Men’s Swiss Teams (1991).
Born in Hungary in 1916, Rosenkranz earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in Zurich, Switzerland. His plans of accepting a teaching position in Ecuador in 1941 were changed by the outbreak of World War II, stranding him en route in Havana, Cuba. There he worked as a research chemist and later as a scientific director of a large pharmaceutical company until 1945.
After the war, Rosenkranz accepted a position in Mexico City, where he founded Syntex Corporation. He led the company’s research team to important discoveries, namely the synthesis of cortisone and the development of birth control pills.
Rosenkranz remained in Mexico and became the leading Mexican player and theorist. He has represented his adopted country in dozens of world championship events since the early Sixties. He represented North America in the Bermuda Bowl in 1983, and reached the semifinals. Rosenkranz was Mexico’s first Life Master and is a WBF World Master.
The story of Rosenkranz’s career is not complete without mentioning his wife, Edith. Edith is originally from Vienna. She and George met in Havana in 1942 and were married in 1945, a short time before leaving for Mexico.
"My favorite partner is my wife," says George. "We have been married 54 years. She is the most wonderful thing that happened in my life."
The couple has three children and seven grandchildren. Edith Rosenkranz has been Mexico’s top woman player for years and has represented Mexico in many world championship events.
Rosenkranz learned to play bridge from Culbertson’s Blue Book. "I’d beat my parents for allowance money," he says mischievously.
Rosenkranz took a break from bridge during the early years in Mexico, but returned to the game at a regional in Fort Worth in the mid-Fifties. "There I found my mentor, John Gerber."
Rosenkranz developed the Romex system in response to the success of the Italian Blue Team in world-level events. "Our bidding methods were inferior to theirs, so I decided to develop a system that would put us on more equal footing. At first, the pros in the U.S. didn’t want to invest the time to learn it, so I had to prove to myself that it was workable."
Rosenkranz’s record speaks for the success of his methods. Along the way he managed to attract some of the best and brightest players to his cause. His best-known partnerships include those with Eddie Wold, Mike Passell, Roger Bates and Miguel Reygadas.
Rosenkranz was the non-playing captain of both Mexican teams in 1964 and of a team in the USBC in 1984. He placed 3rd in the Bermuda Bowl 1983. He’s an ACBL Honorary Member 1990 and an ACBL Grand Life Master with more than 17,000 MPs as of 2/2008.
He established the Rosenkranz Award for the International Bridge Press Association in 1975, won the Precision Award 1976. Rosenkranz’s writings include contributions to the ACBL Bridge Bulletin and other bridge periodicals. He has authored 10 bridge books including The Romex System of Bidding, Win with Romex, Bid Your Way to the Top, Trump Leads, Tips for Tops, More Tips for Tops, Bridge: The Bidders Game, also Modern Ideas in Bidding, Bidding on Target with Alan Truscott and Bid to Win, Play for Pleasure with Phillip Alder. He invented dynamic notrump, Mexican two diamonds and Rosenkranz doubles.
Truscott, Alan (1925 – 2005)
"Alan’s biggest accomplishment was not in bridge," said his wife Dorothy Truscott. "He ran in --- and finished --- the New York Marathon when he was in his 60s."
The couple was married more than 30 years, and Dorothy said she had no idea how things would change when she married Alan. "I lost my dining room and my living room to his equipment and his books."
Alan, bridge editor of The New York Times from 1964 until his death in 2005 was a former president of the International Bridge Press Association. He was executive editor of all six editions of The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge.
At his Hall of Fame induction, when Alan took the podium, he noted that Dorothy preceded him into the Hall by three years and that he had been saluting her as a superior all those years. "I salute you for the last time," he said to Dorothy. "Now we’re equals."
Corn Jr., Ira G. (1921 – 1982)
Texas businessman Ira Corn is no doubt best remembered as the driving force in the creation of the famous Aces team in 1968. Corn had grown weary of the domination of the Italian Blue Team in world championship events, so he gathered a squad of players from the U.S. who would train together. Their goal was to win world championships.
Corn contacted Bobby Wolff, Bobby Goldman, Jim Jacoby, Mike Lawrence, Billy Eisenberg and Bob Hamman to be a part of the squad. All agreed except Hamman, who later changed his mind and joined the team. The Aces succeeded in their quest for gold medals beginning with a victory in the Bermuda Bowl in 1970.
As the founder or co-founder of 24 companies, Corn was a successful businessman. In addition, Corn was an expert on World War II, according to Bobby Wolff. "Just before his death, Ira completed a book on the Normandy invasion. That book is something special in that it tells the story both from the Allied and the German sides."
Corn also wrote and had published The Story of the Declaration of Independence. This was shortly after he paid $407,000 for an original copy of the document, prompting this headline in an English newspaper: "Wealthy Texan buys rebel document."
Wolff’s favorite story, however, concerns Corn and backgammon. "Ira wanted me to write the definitive book on backgammon by Ira Corn. 'Why would you write a book of backgammon when you don’t even know how to set up the pieces?’ I asked. 'Bobby,’ Corn replied, 'you don’t understand. That’s what makes it so great.’ "
Corn served as president of the Dallas Bridge Association in 1968 and was elected to the ACBL Board of Directors in 1971. He served as ACBL president in 1980 and as chairman of the Board in 1981. Corn died in 1982.
Francis, Henry (b. 1926)
One of the most popular and capable personages to ever grace the ACBL family is Bulletin Editor Emeritus Henry Francis. As a teenager in the early 1940s living in Massachusetts, he embarked upon two careers that for six decades would enrich his own life as well as others with whom he came into contact.
One endeavor was bridge (as a player, tournament reporter, club director and owner, and ACBL tournament director at the sectional, regional and national level). The other was as a journalist.
According to his dear friend and well-loved Co-Editor Emeritus, Sue Emery, "It was pure serendipity when these two careers came together in 1972. The Boston Herald was folding, and the ACBL was moving to Memphis and needed an editor for the Bulletin. Henry brought his considerable knowledge, great experience, talent and boundless enthusiasm to the job."
During his years in Memphis, he edited the monthly ACBL magazine, three editions of The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, many editions of the World Championship Book, World Championship Bulletins and Daily Bulletins at the North American Bridge Championships for more than 30 years. His association with the World Championships attracted the attention of the world bridge press. Soon thereafter, he was invited to serve in several capacities by both the International Bridge Press Association and the World Bridge Federation.
Henry still can be seen playing in the local and nearby tournaments, an occasional ACBL event and in the weekly Memphis duplicates where he ran his own Thursday night game for many years. Despite the passage of much time, his interest in the game has not diminished, and the mutual love affair between Henry Francis and the world of bridge continues to flourish.
Kearse, Amalya (b. 1937)
This popular co-winner of the Blackwood Award is weighted down by the numerous hats she has donned in the course of an exciting dual career, encompassing the judicial system and her love for bridge. The Honorable Amalya Kearse, a New Jersey native and Wellesley graduate, earned her law degree at the University of Michigan, where she served as editor of The Law Review. Now a senior judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, she was the first woman to sit on the Federal Appeals Court in Manhattan.
Her bridge credentials include: WBF World Life Master; winner of World Women’s Pairs 1986; counsel to the GNYBA and Conduct and Ethics Committee 1970-79; ACBL Board of Governors 1970-76; member of the ACBL Appeals Committee 1971-75; and ACBL Laws Commission from 1975-2002.
Amalya served as editor of the 3rd Edition of The Official Bridge Encyclopedia and authored Bridge Conventions Complete and Bridge at Your Fingertips. She was honored in 1980 by the International Bridge Press Association as "Bridge Personality of the Year" and has won seven American Bridge Association Championships and five North American Bridge Championships. For years, she juggled her time at the NABCs, bringing along court homework, working out at the gym and playing bridge.
Amalya’s dedication to our great American judicial system and her devotion to bridge convincingly disproves the old saying that one cannot serve two masters at the same time.
Rubens, Jeff (b. 1941)
Jeff Rubens’ current claim to fame is as the editor and owner of the bridge experts’ bible, The Bridge World, on which he worked side by side with Edgar Kaplan for over four decades until Kaplan’s death in 1997.Jeff’s other far-reaching contributions to the game were his advocacy of the popular Swiss teams, a major force on the tournament scene today; his fastidious dedication to defining Bridge World Standard and Standard American; his brilliant Bridge World magazine editorials, enabling a more understandable presentation of the laws; opening the doors and educating the public to the inner workings of the appeals system; and perfecting the already-established Master Solvers' Club by guiding the panelists and stressing the importance of a simple network — resulting in more meaningful comments by the experts.
Although Jeff’s comprehensive contributions to the game were brought to the public primarily via his prolific pen, as a player he enjoyed respected partnerships with Ronnie Blau, Bob Mosher and B. Jay Becker, winning seven North American championships in the 1960s and 1970s and participating in the Bermuda Bowl in 1973.
Since retiring as a professor of mathematics and computer science at Pace University, he has directed his focus toward writing and editing. His competitive spirit, extraordinary talent and zest for challenges are exhibited through crosswords and puzzle-solving.
Jeff’s rare leisure moments are enjoyed as a devoted husband to Beth and their two sons.
Miles, Marshall (b. 1926)
Marshall Miles was born in Loma Linda CA in 1926. He received a B.A. in economics from Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna College) in 1948 and a law degree from UCLA in 1954. He practiced law from 1955 until 1992. He was married to Betty Barnett from 1972 until her death in 2000.
Ever since a friend of his mother’s taught Marshall the game when he was 15, bridge has been Marshall’s major hobby. At first he had no one to play with, so he read newspaper columns and books. Today, his favorite part of the game is bidding, and he thinks the biggest challenge is to visualize everyone’s hands and plan the best way to describe his own.
Marshall has won five North American events, most of them in partnership with Eddie Kantar: the Spingold in 1961 and 1962, the Reisinger in 1962 and 1965 and the Life Master Pairs in 1961. He also won the World Senior Teams in 2004 playing with Leo Bell.
Marshall has been an important, if sometimes idiosyncratic, theorist of the game. He was one of the first experts to espouse overcalls on four-card suits — "Our most likely game is in spades," he often would comment in the Master Solvers’ Club — choosing to bid 2over an opponent’s 2 opening on, say, A-Q-10-x. At one time, he was famous for bidding 3NT holding tenuous stoppers in an opponent’s suit.
His approach to the play also was occasionally outside the mainstream. Years ago, an up-and-coming young expert was playing with his wife in her first real North American event. Before they sat down against Marshall, he told her: "That’s Marshall Miles. He likes to underlead aces." Sure enough, on the first board, dummy bid spades, but the young wife ended up in 4. The opening lead from Marshall was the *S*2, dummy held *S*K-J-9-x, and third hand held *S*Q-10-8 — perfect! Only the young wife played the *S*K, drew trumps, and pitched her second spade on another suit. Marshall looked puzzled, and the up-and-coming expert said, "Sorry, Marshall. Your reputation has begun to precede you."
But Marshall will always be remembered as a bridge writer. One of his earliest books, All Fifty-two Cards, is still required reading to move up from the intermediate level. He is the author of 10 other books, many written while he was still practicing law. The most recent, Modern Constructive Bidding, was published in 2005.
Goldberg, Richard (1923 – 1999)
Richard L. Goldberg, who died in 1999 at age 76, was a major figure in North American and world bridge for many years. At the world level he was a member of the Committee of Honor of the World Bridge Federation (WBF). He served the WBF as treasurer and finance officer from 1981 to 1990. He was elected a member of the WBF Executive Committee in 1972 and served on that board until 1984.
At the North American level, Goldberg began his career as a tournament director in 1959, rising to national tournament director in 1961. The ACBL drafted him for work as tournament division head in the New York City office in 1963, and he switched to Greenwich, Connecticut, when the ACBL moved there. In 1965 he became assistant to Alvin Landy, the executive secretary. He served in this post under Landy and later under Easley Blackwood until he took over as chief executive officer in 1971.
Goldberg faced a monumental task during his first year as CEO. The board of directors voted to move ACBL headquarters from Greenwich to Memphis, Tennessee. The task was accomplished in December 1972, when the ACBL headquarters building was completed.
Goldberg was named the ACBL's Honorary Member in 1994. He was a member of the ACBL Laws Commission and the ACBL Goodwill Committee. He was also a good bridge player, achieving the rank of Life Master with several regional championships to his credit.
He retired as CEO in 1984 and moved shortly thereafter to Nashville, where he was born and where he earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering at Vanderbilt University. He worked as a civil engineer for 15 years before turning to bridge as a player and then as a director.
After announcing his retirement, Goldberg said his most satisfying moments in bridge came during his time as a tournament director. “Then I was working directly with the members,” Goldberg said, “and there is no substitute for being around people, understanding them, talking to them.”
On Goldberg’s death, Roy G. Green, former ACBL CEO, recalled Goldberg as “a wonderful human being who left his mark on the American Contract Bridge League. The people who worked with him loved him and respected him as an outstanding leader and a friend.”
Tommy Sanders of Nashville, former ACBL President and former District Director for District 10, remembered Goldberg as “my friend for 50 years — we were always close. He always gave me encouragement when I was on the Board of Directors. I loved him like a brother.”
Henry Francis, whom Goldberg hired as editor of The Bridge Bulletin in 1972, also called Goldberg one of his closest friends. “I never worked for Dick — we always worked together. He was one of the kindest men I ever knew. His son said it best at the funeral services: ‘He was a gentleman and a gentle man.’”
Machlin, Jerome S. (Jerry) (1913 – 1997)
One of the all-time great tournament directors, Jerry Machlin was selected to receive the Blackwood Award for 2008, but because of his ties to the Washington DC area, his induction was held to the Summer NABC in 2009.
When Machlin died in 1997 – he had been retired for nearly 20 years – former Bridge Bulletin Editor Henry Francis wrote: “Machlin was one of the grandest of the grand old-time tournament directors. He followed in the steps of his Uncle Al – Al Sobel – and eventually became ACBL’s chief director, just as Sobel had been for many years. He began working at tournaments in the Forties at the insistence of Sobel and became a full-time director in 1950.”
Machlin was a gifted story teller who penned numerous articles for the Washington Bridge League Bulletin. A collection of his best stories are contained in a book hailed as one of the best of all time, Tournament Bridge: An Uncensored Memoir.
The legendary TD helped lead an American bridge team in the first international bridge contest ever staged in China, in 1981. He directed special matches between Congress and Corporate America.
Upon retirement, Machlin started a new career as a player, which provided more material for his humorous writings. He delighted in telling of his misadventures.
Wrote Francis, a former TD: “I can say that working with Jerry was interesting and exciting. I had some of my best times when working two-man tournaments with him.”
Osofsky, Aileen (1926 – 2010)
If it seems as though Aileen Osofsky has been chairing the thrice-yearly meetings of the ACBL Goodwill Committee forever, it might be because she has been doing it for more than two decades.
And if it seems that the ideas of goodwill, ethics and sportsmanship have taken firmer hold of bridge players on Osofsky’s watch, it might be because of her unswerving devotion to the principles and her talent for persuading even the toughest cases.
Osofsky, a New Yorker who winters in Arizona, is the Queen of Goodwill because she leads by example.
Fittingly, the surprise announcement that Osofsky had received the Blackwood Award came during the Goodwill Committee meeting at the 2009 Spring NABC in Houston. The normally loquacious Osofsky was left almost speechless when Steve Robinson told the assembly of the award, given to a person for contributions to bridge without necessarily being a top player. She may not qualify as a world-class competitor, but those who know her agree she has no peer as a Goodwill ambassador for bridge.
Tom Stoddard of Laguna Hills, California, was known as the “Father of Bridge on the West Coast”. And for good reason.
He was one of the outstanding personalities of American bridge, a pioneer in bridge teaching and bridge-club management, founder of the Pacific Bridge League (PBL) and former ACBL executive.
In 1931, at age 35, Stoddard owned a Los Angeles hotel at a time when most hotels were going bankrupt. He conceived the idea of making his hostelry a center for bridge lessons and duplicate games. The project was a sensational success, at its peak employing eleven teachers and conducting games daily from 9:30 a.m. to midnight.
Stoddard founded the PBL in 1933 and was responsible for the wildfire growth of bridge on the West Coast. The PBL included the 11 far western states, the territories of Hawaii and Alaska and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Stoddard also founded the Contract Bridge Forum in the early Thirties and during more than 75 years of publication it has been the voice of the PBL and the Western Conference.
Collaboration between the ACBL and the PBL began in 1940 when they agreed upon a uniform masterpoint system. In 1946 Stoddard turned his bridge business over to his associates and in 1948 he agreed to a merger of the PBL and national organizations, an arrangement that was consummated in 1956. It was at that time he was elected President Emeritus of the ACBL, Western Division and ACBL Board member.
Named the ACBL Honorary Member in 1960, he was also a member of the Goodwill Committee. In May 1976 he was awarded the rare “Certificate of Service” citation by the ACBL’s Board of Directors for his long and devoted service to bridge and to the ACBL.
The Blackwood Award is given to a person for contributions to bridge without necessarily being a top player. Therefore, it is fitting that Tom Stoddard receives the Blackwood Award as part of the Bridge Hall of Fame Class of 2010.
Although better known as the coach of the Nickell team, Eric Kokish has many accomplishments as a player. He won two North American championships — the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams in 1974 with a young four-man pickup team, and the Men’s Board-a-Match Teams (now the Mitchell Open BAM), and finished second at least once in each of the major North American team events . He won the Canadian National Team Championships (CNTC) five times, earned two silver medals for Canada in international play and finished third three times in the Rosenblum Cup. In 1980 Kokish won both the Bols Brilliancy Prize and the Romex Best Bid Hand Award. He has authored several conventions including “Birthright” (commonly known as Kokish), “Reject” game tries, “Flags and Scrambles,” customized 1l–2' and Inverted Minor Raise schemes, the Singleton Rule, a variety of specialized doubles, and the Montreal Relay.
Away from the table and his coaching duties, Kokish manages to stay busy with other projects. For years, he was editor and writer of the world championship books produced by the World Bridge Federation. As a Contributing Editor of The Bridge World, he has been a director of the Master Solvers Club since 1981 and Challenge the Champs since 2000. Since 1994 he has been the Editor of World Bridge News. For 20 years, he authored the ACBL Bridge Bulletin’s “Our Readers Ask” column, covered bridge for the Montreal Gazette and later developed a feature for the Toronto Star Syndicate. He has served in different capacities for the Canadian Bridge Federation, ACBL, European Bridge League, Pacific Asia Bridge Federation, and WBF. Kokish currently provides consulting services and develops special projects with his wife Beverly Kraft through their company, International Bridge Services Inc.
Kokish got his first coaching gig in 1985, traveling to Brazil to try to mold a loose group of emotional Brazilians into a tight-knit bridge team. His efforts paid off when the underdog Brazilian team came within a hair of defeating the powerful American squad in the semifinal round of the Bermuda Bowl. The Brazilian adventure was the springboard for a series of exciting projects with foreign teams including: Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Egypt, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, and Turkey.
In 1997, Kokish moved from Montreal to Jakarta on a two-year contract to further a coaching initiative with Indonesia that had begun in 1995. Six months into the job, the deteriorating political and economic situation had segued into a full-blown revolution and the Kokishes were forced to return to Canada, landing in Toronto, where they have lived since.
Kokish is a stickler for getting partnerships to concentrate on what’s important. “The way they react and how they use their time is more important that what system they play,” he says.
While developing partnerships is an aspect of his work that keeps Kokish excited about the game, he confesses under duress that, “sometimes I really miss playing in the major events.”
* Player biographies are up to date as of the year of induction.