Barbara Nudelman told about how the Three
Witches came to be. “Joan, Jayne Thomas and I got
started together in 1980 and we bonded. We worked
together and played together. It’s been great.”
As she accepted her award, Joan offered this
tidbit. “Alan Truscott wrote about my marriage to
Ron Gerard, saying that a bridge player married a
bridge administrator. My question for Alan was which is which?”
Probably most of those present didn’t really
know who Leonard Harmon is, but the old-timers
remembered. He was one of the best in the Fifties
Ivar Stakgold, his regular partner in the old
days, remembered the time he and Lennie stopped
in 3NT in the Vanderbilt while Al Roth and Tobias
Stone got to a slam that went down because of a bad
trump break. When Harmon got the trophy, Roth asked if he could be the first to spit in it.
Stakgold also told how Lennie helped Edgar
Kaplan and Freddy Sheinwold to perfect the
Kaplan-Sheinwold bidding system. “It was such a
good feeling when we won the Vanderbilt in 1958,
defeating Edgar and Freddy in the final.
Bill Eisenberg, who was a regular partner of
Harmon’s until he joined the Aces, was present also
but did not speak because of time pressures.
Have you ever been around Alan Truscott when
he is relaxed and feels like singing? Phillip Alder
wondered how Alan ever remembered so many
words and verses. Alan is capable of going on
forever with these ditties, all of which are richly
Alan has been a major force in New York
bridge over the years, but not just because of his
position as bridge editor of the New York Times. He
has worked hard for the New York unit, come up
with great ideas like the Battle of the Sexes, and
conceived and worked up many other promotions.
Phillip told about Alan’s adjectival bidding
system. “You are allowed one adjective with each
bid. So you could open with one marginal 1H and
hear an opponent overcall one strong S. Sounds
SUNDAY AFTERNOON 49ER PAIRS
Seth Manfield, 13, and Sabrina Manfield, 12,
entered the Stratified 299er Swiss Teams on
Sunday with about three masterpoints each.
They doubled their holding when they and
teammates Doug Fields and Judah Kaplan
entered in the 99er strat and emerged as the
winners of all three strats.
If Seth and
Sabrina’s surname sounds familiar, it should.
They are the children of Ed Manfield, who had
a distinguished bridge career before his death
in 2000. The youngsters live in Chevy Chase
MD, and in fact were planning to depart New
York on Monday to attend chess camp.
It's a jungle (cont'd)
The times, says Soloway, have changed – a lot.
As the Spingold Knockout Teams begins today,
the top squads are keenly aware of the dangers of
taking any opponent lightly. As anyone who has
attended NABCs in recent years can attest, the
number of early-round upsets of highly seeded teams has grown significantly.
Says Soloway: “It’s tougher to win the
Spingold than the Bermuda Bowl.”
A major factor in the change, most observers
agree, is the influx of top players from overseas.
Stars from around the world are regular attendees at
the NABCs. Among them are the members of the
very strong team from Italy that nearly won the
Bermuda Bowl last fall in Monte Carlo. There are
also top players from Europe, Australia and the Far
Most NABCs, says Soloway, will feature 75
to 80 of the top 100 players in the world.
The winning Spingold team last year, in fact,
included two Polish stars: Cezary Balicki and
In the amazing run of the Nickell team from
1993 through 1999 – the team won six of seven
Spingolds in that period – their only loss came at
the hands of a squad captained by Grant Baze that
included Balicki, Zmudzinski and two other Polish
But, says Soloway, it’s not just the tough
foreign players that make things tougher – the
homegrown players are much more polished than
they used to be.
“It used to be if you bid well and took your tricks
you could win every match,” says Soloway. “Now
everyone bids well and the systems are good.”
“The fields are deeper now,” says Chip Martel,
who won the 2001 Bermuda Bowl playing on the
Rose Meltzer team. “The rounds of 64 and 32 (in
the Spingold and Vanderbilt) used to be pretty
routine, but now there are many days when more
than one top team is upset.”
Says Bobby Wolff, an 11-time world
champion: “The Spingold and the Vanderbilt have
both gotten a lot tougher. The average-plus players
now can beat you because they don’t beat
themselves as much as they used to.”
By the round of 16, Soloway says, “there are no
He notes that in the round of 16 in the
Vanderbilt this spring in Reno, the Nickell team
found themselves facing a squad that included
Claudio Nunes and Fulvio Fantoni, reigning World
Open Pairs champions – and a Swedish star as well.
The Nickell team won, but Soloway notes that the
top foreign players can be very difficult to play
against. Nunes and Fantoni, for example, have
defensive carding agreements that make them
extremely tough opponents.
Advances in bidding, Soloway notes, have
helped many players elevate their games.
“When I started there weren’t even splinter
bids,” Soloway says.
He recalls a team trials in San Francisco in 1965 in which half the field bid a grand slam missing five trumps to the king-jack.
He remembers that Eddie Kantar and Marshall Miles had a special convention – a leap to 5C – that helped them stay out of slam.
Soloway’s regular partner these days is Bob Hamman, the world’s No. 1-ranked bridge player since 1985. Soloway acknowledges that while he and Hamman are better players than they were a few years ago, they now have to pace themselves as age becomes more of a factor (both players are in their 60s).“We have to slow down and work harder,” says Soloway.
While it may be tougher to win the coveted titles, Soloway says, he doesn’t regret it. In fact, Soloway likes the change: “It’s exciting to play all these good teams.”
Josh Donn and Joon Pahk were winners of the
Stratified Junior Scholarship Pairs Sunday
evening. They each receive $500 scholarships
as winners of Strat A. The Strat B winners,
Gregory Ingolia and Jason Chiu of of
Cambridge MA, receive $375 each. Pahk is a
student at Stanford University. Donn just
graduated from Rochester University in New
York and plans to move to Los Angeles. They
had played only once previously in person,
although they do have experience as online
partners. They play a strong club system with
New Life Masters
It was an especially big day for Louise Thayer
of Key West FL and Orleans MA. Her team has
advanced to the semifinals in the Bracketed
Knockouts, and that has brought her enough points
to become a Bronze Life Master as well as a Life
Master. She played with Rhoda Ferat, and her
teammates were Steve Herman and Janet Fidelman.
Douglas Hamilton of Halifax NS needed 6 gold
points for his gold card, and he got 14 in the
Bracketed Knockouts. He was playing with his
wife Carol, and their teammates were Kathie
MacNab and Bill Halliday, also of Halifax.
Paula Cohen of Basking Ridge NJ needed 5.28
points and collected 8.16 in a Bracketed Knockout
event to earn her gold card. Her partner was
Barbara Lowenfish of Livingston NJ and her
teammates were Ellen Dutcher of Denville NJ and
Ed Finlay of Southbury CT.
Rozi Alhale lost in the semifinal of the Friday-
Saturday Bracketed Knockout Teams, but she won
enough points to earn her gold card. She played
with her husband Jack.
Clark Fairbrother went over the top in the
Sunday afternoon side game.