The Info List - Oswald Jacoby

Oswald "Ozzie", "Jake" Jacoby (December 8, 1902 – June 27, 1984)[1] was an American contract bridge player and author, considered one of the greatest bridge players of all time. He also excelled at, and wrote about, other games including backgammon, gin rummy, and poker. He was from Dallas, Texas[2] and an uncle of activist and author Susan Jacoby.[3]


1 Early life 2 Bridge career 3 Bridge accomplishments

3.1 Honors 3.2 Awards 3.3 Wins 3.4 Runners-up

4 Other games 5 Publications 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Born in Brooklyn
to a Jewish family,[3] he was taught to play whist at the age of six and played his first bridge at ten.[1] During World War I, he joined the army at 15 by lying about his age but spent most of his time there playing poker. Dropping out
Dropping out
of Columbia University
Columbia University
as a math major[1] to become an actuary, he became the youngest person ever to pass four examinations of the Society of Actuaries
Society of Actuaries
at the age of 21.[4] Having an exceptional aptitude for mathematics, Jacoby could multiply three and four digit numbers in his head without benefit of paper.[5] During World War II and the Korean War, he applied these abilities to counterintelligence and cryptanalysis being referred to as a human computer;[1] later, he lectured on probability at M.I.T. and wrote books on mathematics. However, his passion and lifelong focus was games, especially bridge. Bridge career[edit] By the end of the twenties, Jacoby had achieved fame as a player at both auction and contract bridge, further gaining international recognition when chosen by Sidney Lenz to be his partner in the famous Culbertson–Lenz match of 1931. Jacoby's more aggressive bidding style confused Lenz and Jacoby withdrew after Lenz's criticism. Years later the analyst Terence Reese
Terence Reese
wrote, "That the Culbertsons did not win more easily ... was due to the fact that Jacoby was a player of quite different class from any of the others".[6] Jacoby subsequently solidified his position as the most successful tournament player in the thirties[1] as a member of the famous "Four Horsemen" from 1931 to 1933 and the "Four Aces" from 1933 to 1941, dominating tournament play.[7] He is recognized by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) as Life Master #2, one of ten named in 1936.[a] LM #1 is David Burnstine, his partner on the Four Horsemen and co-founder of the Four Aces. He pionereed many bidding ideas, including the Jacoby transfer and Jacoby 2NT bids. Throughout his career, he also worked as a bridge columnist; a prolific writer, he wrote over 10,000 newspaper articles on bridge, and his many books include not only bridge but volumes on poker, gin rummy, canasta, and the mathematics of card games and gambling, which he played at high stakes.[5] He also released a record titled How to Win at Championship Bridge.[full citation needed] Jacoby captained the North American and US teams that won the Bermuda Bowl in both 1970 and 1971. During a long playing career, he won tournaments with many partners including his son and co-author, James Jacoby (1933–1991), as well as his wife of more than 50 years, Mary Zita Jacoby. Terminally ill,[1] his final tournament victory came in a major event at the ACBL North American Bridge Championships late in 1983, as a member of the team-of four champions for the Reisinger trophy with Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Bill Root and Richard Pavlicek. In the same year, he was named Personality of the Year by the international bridge writers (Charles H. Goren Award). He died at his Dallas home of cancer on June 27, 1984.[8] Jacoby, Lenz, and Milton Work
Milton Work
were named to its hall of fame by The Bridge World in 1965, which brought the number of members to six. They were all made founding members of the ACBL Hall of Fame in 1995.[9][10][b] Bridge accomplishments[edit] Honors[edit]

ACBL Hall of Fame, 1965[10][11][b] ACBL Honorary Member of the Year 1967 Honorary World Bridge Federation
World Bridge Federation
Grand Master


Charles H. Goren Award (Personality of the Year), 1983, from the International Bridge Press Association McKenney Trophy 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963 Herman Trophy 1960


IBL World Championship (1) 1935 North American Bridge Championships (31)

Vanderbilt (7) 1931, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1965 Asbury Park Trophy (now Spingold) (4) 1931, 1932, 1933, 1937 Masters Teams-of-Four (now Spingold) (2) 1934, 1936 Spingold (5) 1938, 1939, 1945, 1950, 1959 Chicago (now Reisinger) (1) 1955 Reisinger (1) 1983 Men's Board-a-Match Teams (2) 1952, 1959 Master Mixed Teams (1) 1968 Life Master Pairs (1) 1936 Fall National Open Pairs (2) 1935, 1960 Open Pairs (1) 1964 Men's Pairs (3) 1934, 1939, 1949 Master Individual (1) 1935

United States Bridge Association (5)

Grand National Open Teams (3) 1934, 1935, 1937 Open Pairs (2) 1936, 1937

American Bridge League (2)

Men's Teams (2) 1931, 1932


North American Bridge Championships (21)

Vanderbilt (3) 1930, 1941, 1949 Spingold (4) 1941, 1948, 1949, 1957 Chicago (now Reisinger) (5) 1931, 1932, 1939, 1956, 1960 Men's Board-a-Match Teams (2) 1954, 1956 Master Mixed Teams (2) 1935, 1941 Life Master Pairs (2) 1939, 1941 Fall National Open Pairs (1) 1932 Hilliard Mixed Pairs (2) 1931, 1939

Other games[edit] A poker player and author on the subject, Jacoby was convicted of a gambling charge in 1944 while in the navy but acquitted of a charge of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.[12] Although he did not pursue a career in competitive chess and did not write on the game, he was nevertheless a strong player. When in college, Jacoby beat US chess champion Frank Marshall, and in 1963, in a rapid-transit game, he played a draw with Tigran Petrosian, the then world champion.[1] Jacoby was also an expert backgammon player, and in 1972 he was crowned World Backgammon
Champion. In 1970, he wrote The Backgammon Book with John R. Crawford, which is considered the first book to deal with backgammon from an analytical viewpoint. The Jacoby Rule, which states that gammons and backgammons count only after the cube has been turned, is named after him.[13] Publications[edit] [clarification needed]


Famous hands of the Culbertson-Lenz match, 1932 Watson on the play of the hand at contract bridge, 1934. Foreword by Oswald Jacoby. The four aces system of contract bridge, 1935 Five-suit bridge, 1938 What's new in bridge, 1954 Hear how to play winning bridge, 1960 The complete book of duplicate bridge, 1965 Win at bridge with Jacoby & son, 1966 Jacoby transfer bids, 1981 Major suit raises, 1981 Improve Your Bridge With Oswald Jacoby: 125 Bridge Hands from the Master, 1983, ISBN 0-07-032238-4 Win at bridge with Oswald Jacoby : America's winningest bridge champion, 1963 Win at bridge with Jacoby modern, 1973


Poker, 1940 Oswald Jacoby on Poker
... Revised edition, 1948 Winning poker, 1949 Oswald Jacoby on Poker, 1981, ISBN 978-0-385-17590-6


The Backgammon
Book (with John R. Crawford), 1970, ISBN 0-670-14409-6


Laws of Oklahoma, 1946 Oswald Jacoby on Oklahoma, the wild, wild rummy game, 1948 How to Win at Gin Rummy, 1978 Oswald Jacoby on Gin Rummy, etc., 1947


Oswald Jacoby's Complete Canasta, 1950 How to win at canasta, 1951

Other card games

The book of card game rules and strategies, 1989 The fireside book of cards, 1957 Oswald Jacoby on Gambling, 1963, New Recreations with Magic Squares (with William H. Benson), 1976 Jacoby on card games, 1986 Magic cubes : new recreations, 1981


Intriguing Mathematical Problems (with William H. Benson), 1996 How to figure the odds, 1947 Mathematics for pleasure, 1962

See also[edit]

Four Aces


^ Jacoby and nine others were named Life Masters by the American Bridge League in 1936. The ACBL was established by mergers of competing organizations, completed late in 1937, and it continued the ABL Life Master title and master points program.[14] ^ a b The Bridge World monthly magazine, established by Ely Culbertson in 1929, named nine members of its bridge hall of fame including Culbertson from 1964 to 1966, but it never named another. Almost thirty years later, the ACBL established its hall of fame with the Bridge World nine as founding members. It named eight new members in 1995 and has inducted others annually since then.[9][10]


^ a b c d e f g Jacoby, James (1987). Jacoby on Bridge. New York: Pharos Books. pp. Preface. ISBN 0-88687-305-3. LCCN 87060160.  ^ Francis, Henry G., Editor-in-Chief; Truscott, Alan F., Executive Editor; Francis, Dorthy A., Editor, Fifth Edition (1994). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (5th ed.). Memphis, TN: American Contract Bridge League. p. 654–55. ISBN 0-943855-48-9. LCCN 96188639. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ a b "Unraveling the Past: A journalist digs deep into her family's roots -- and religious wounds". Jewish World Review. 8 August 2000.  ^ "Oswald Jacoby" (PDF). Obituary. Transactions of the Society of Actuaries. Society of Actuaries. 36: 616. October 1984. Retrieved March 5, 2016.  ^ a b Wolff, Bobby (2008). The Lone Wolff. Toronto: Master Point Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-1-897106-37-2.  ^ Reese, Terence, "The bridge battle of the century". British Bridge World, August 1963, pp. 38-43. The rest of the match was described in subsequent issues. ^ Francis, Henry G., Editor-in-Chief; Truscott, Alan F., Executive Editor; Francis, Dorthy A., Editor, Sixth Edition (2001). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (6th ed.). Memphis, TN: American Contract Bridge League. p. 165. ISBN 0-943855-44-6. OCLC 49606900. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ " Oswald Jacoby Dies at Age 81". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Logansport, Indiana. 28 Jun 1984. p. 8 – via newspapers.com.  ^ a b Hall of Fame (top page). ACBL. Retrieved 2014-12-29. ^ a b c "Induction by Year". Hall of Fame. ACBL. Retrieved 2014-12-29. ^ "Jacoby, Oswald". Hall of Fame. ACBL. Retrieved 2014-12-29. ^ "Oswald Jacoby's Court Martial". Myron L. Gordon. Unknown origin. Copy at Bridge Ace (bridgeace.com). Retrieved 2014-05-15. Copy at Better Bridge. Archived October 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Jacoby Rule". Backgammon
Galore! (bkgm.com). ^ "Bridge" (untitled column on the original Life Masters—ten, 1936). Alan Truscott. The New York Times. July 14, 1991. Retrieved 2014-06-10.

External links[edit]

Citation at the ACBL Hall of Fame "International record for Oswald Jacoby". World Bridge Federation.  Biography at Bridge Bum Biographical information at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
(archived December 3, 2002) at Bridge Guys Oswald Jacoby at Library of Congress
Library of Congress
Authorities, with 29 catalog records James Jacoby at Library of Congress
Library of Congress
Authorities, with 6 catalog records

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List of contract bridge books 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know Bridge Squeezes Complete The Cardturner Design for Bidding Contract Bridge for Beginners Edwin Kantar bibliography Master Point Press Planning the Play of a Bridge Hand Terence Reese
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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 20222864 LCCN: n50028048 ISNI: 0000 0000 8099 6987 SN