Mr. Oswald Jacoby was born in Brooklyn on December 8, 1902, and died June 27, 1984, and is buried at the Calvary Hill Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. He was a bridge columnist and first achieved international preeminence as partner of Mr. Sidney Lenz in the Culbertson Match, but he had already established himself` as a champion at Auction and Contract. He next became a member of the famed FOUR HORSEMEN and FOUR ACES teams. His selection by Mr. Sidney Lenz over players of greater experience and with whom Mr. Sidney Lenz had practiced partnerships was early recognition of the brilliance and skill that were later to bring Oswald Jacoby to the top of the ACBL's list of all time masterpoint winners.

He left Columbia in his junior year to become an Actuary, completing the examination of the Society of Actuaries in 1924 to become, at age 21, the youngest person ever to do so. After four years with Metropolitan Life, he went into business for himself, but his success was cut short by the 1929 stock marker crash. Oswald Jacoby's victory-studded career includes many oddities. He played in (and won) his first auction tournament in July 1929, the National Team Championship of the American Whist League. But he had already won the first big contract pair tournament ever played, the Goldman Pairs event in the Eastern States Championship held in February of that year.

Later on, he set a record by winning the Goldman Trophy three times in 20 years, the only occasions on which he entered. Afterward, he became a national champion by winning two AWL pair and team events. After the Culbertson-Lenz match, Jacoby was secretary of the United States Bridge Association for nearly two years, thus being associated with Mr. Ely Culbertson. Late in l933, however, he helped to form the original Four Aces team, which dominated the bridge world for the next several years. During this period, in addition to American Bridge League triumphs, he won two pair championships and four team championships of the USBA. Mr. Oswald Jacoby had two months of Army service in World War 1, when he was 15, and he was awarded the Victory Medal. On December 7, 1941 he was playing in the Open Pairs in Richmond, Virginia, when the Pearl Harbor attack was announced. He immediately left the tournament and did not play again for four years. During most of that time he served as a specialist in the Navy, with the rank of lieutenant commander.

When he returned to competition in 1945, he found Mr. Charles Goren far ahead in the masterpoint rankings. He had done very little about returning to the top when he again returned to active duty in 1950 for service in the Korean War. He served as a commander in intelligence and was a member of the original staff at the Panmunjom armistice conference. This return to service cost him his place on the American team in the first Bermuda Bowl matches. However, he had represented the ABL, in international competition as far back as 1935 when the Four Aces team defeated the French, champions of Europe, in the first official World Championship encounter.

Opening round of National Bridge Championship July 31, 1939 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Pictured are, from left to right: Mr. Albert H. Morehead, Miss Ruth Sherman, Mrs. Donald B. Tansill and Mr. Oswald Jacoby, all of New York, studying a hand before the opening round of the National Bridge Championship for Mixed Teams.

Returning from two years of Korean service. Mr. Oswald Jacoby found he had dropped out of the top 19 masterpoint holders. By 1958 he had managed to move back into sixth place, still far behind Mr. Charles Goren. At that time he decided to make a determined effort to regain the Number 1 position. By 1962 he had done so. Between 1959 and 1963, he won the McKenney Trophy four times in five years; the only player at that time older than 50 to win the trophy. He won it at ages 57, 59, 60 and 61. In 1963 he became the first player to acquire more than 1,000 points in a single year. His winning total that year was 1,034. In 1967, he surpassed the 10,000-point mark, at which time he retired from active competition for the McKenney Trophy. Almost exactly one year later he relinquished his position as top masterpoint holder to Barry Crane.

Bridge Expert Visits Abilene
November 2, 1957

Syndicated bridge columnist Oswald Jacoby is in town to play in the Abilene Harvest Festival of Bridge, sponsored by the Abilene Duplicate Bridge Club and American Contract Bridge League. In an interview before the tournament, he advises players not to try to outguess the experts and says that he considers Abilenian Paul Hodge among the top 10 bridge players in the nation.

Source: Abilene Reporter-News files

In 1950, Mr. Jacoby became the daily bridge columnist for Newspaper Enterprise Association, serving several hundred newspapers. He established a record on April 22, 1982 when his 10,000th article was printed. (Goren's name appeared on more than this number, but he had not written any columns for many years before his death in 1991.) Mr. Oswald Jacoby wrote books on poker, canasta, gin rummy and mathematical odds. He also continuously maintained a practice as a Consulting Actuary, served for six years as a member of the Board of Visitors of Harvard Observatory (for the last three, under the chairmanship of then Senator John F. Kennedy), became an expert on computers and was frequently consulted on questions of tournament movements, elimination schedules and scoring. He won a North American Championship (the Chicago in 1955) with his son, James Jacoby, and scored many victories with his wife of 50 years, Mary Zita Jacoby.

He was hoping to add to his titles the missing victory of most masterpoints earned by any husband and wife team, regardless of when acquired. Mr. Oswald Jacoby was elected to the Bridge Hall Of Fame in 1965 and was named ACBL Honorary Member in 1967. As npc of the North American teams for 1969, 1970 and 1971, Jacoby captained the first North American Bermuda Bowl champion teams (1970 and 1971) in more than a decade.

Personality of the Year. This Award is presented annually by the International Bridge Press Association and was known as The Charles H. Goren Award until 1989. Beginning in the year 1990, the award has been strictly an award presented by the International Bridge Press Association. The Award was presented to Mr. Oswald Jacoby 1982/1983.

His North American Championship titles are: Spingold 1934, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1945, 1950, 1959; Vanderbilt 1931, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1965; Chicago (now the Reisinger) 1955; Reisinger 1983; Master Individual 1935; Master Mixed Teams 1968; Life Master Pairs 1936; Mens Teams 1952 and 1959; Open Pairs 1935, 1960, 1964; Mens Pairs 1934, 1939, 1949. He also won USBA Grand National Open Teams 1934, 1935, 1937, Open Pairs 1936, 1937; he won ABL Mens Teams 1931, 1932; AWL Team-of-Four 1929, 1931, 1933, Open Pairs 1933, and the HERMAN TROPHY in 1960. He placed second in many NABC events and won countless regional titles including the MARCUS CUP 1955. In 1973 he won the World Championship of Backgammon. Mr. Oswald Jacoby pioneered many bidding concepts, including Forcing 2 No Trump, Jacoby Transfer Bids and Weak Jump Overcalls.

BAM Board-A-Match Teams
1952 Team: 1. Charles Goren, Oswald Jacoby, Sidney Silodor, Charles Solomon, Samuel Stayman
1954 Team: 2. Henry Chanin, John Fisher, James Jacoby, Oswald Jacoby, Sidney Lazard - Placed 2nd with Son James
1956 Team: 2-3. Paul Allinger, John Fisher, Emanuel Hochfeld, Oswald Jacoby, Sidney Lazard - Placed 2nd
1959 Team: 1. Ollie Adams, Ivan Erdos, Oswald Jacoby, Robert Sharp
Spingold Winners of the Asbury Park Trophy
1931 Team: 1. David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby, Willard Karn, P. Hal Sims
1932 Team: 1. Michael T. Gottlieb, Oswald Jacoby, Theodore A. Lightner, Louis H. Watson
1933 Team: 1. David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby, Richard L. Frey, Howard Schenken
1937 Team: 1. David Burnstine, Charles H. Goren, Oswald Jacoby, Merwyn D. Maier, Howard Schenken
Spingold Winners of the Spingold Knockout Teams
1938 Team: 1. B. Jay Becker, David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby, Merwyn D. Maier, Howard Schenken
1939 Team: 1. Oswald Jacoby, Theodore A. Lightner, merwyn D. Maier, Robert A. McPherran, Howard Schenken
1941 Team: 2. B. Jay Becker, Oswald Jacoby, Theodore A. Lightner, Merwyn D. Maier, Howard Schenken - Placed 2nd
1945 Team: 1. Sam Fry Jr., Edward Hymes Jr., Oswald Jacoby, Theodore A. Lightner, Howard Schenken
1948 Team: 2. Julius Bank, arthur Glatt, Robert W. Halpin, Oswald Jacoby, Ralph Kempner - Placed 2nd
1949 Team: 2. Henry H. Chanin, David Clarren, Oswald Jacoby, Jack Krause, Waldemar K. von Zedtwitz - Placed 2nd
1950 Team: 1. John Crawford, Oswald Jacoby, George Rapee, Howard Schenken, Samuel Stayman
1957 Team: 2. Milton Q. Ellenby, Ivan E. Erdos, Emanuel Hochfield, James Jacoby, Oswald Jacoby, Ira S. Rubin - Placed 2nd
1959 Team: 1. William Grieve, Oswald Jacoby, Victor Mitchell, Ira S. Rubin, Morton Rubinow, Samuel Stayman
Master Mixed Teams Renamed the Mixed Board-A-Match Teams in 1996
1935 Team: 2. Mary Clement, Mary Zita Jacoby, Oswald Jacoby, Waldemar K. von Zedtwitz - Placed 2nd with wife Mary
1941 Team: 2. Oswald Jacoby, Louise Wainwright, Sherman Stearns, Mrs. William A. Tucker
1968 Team: 1. Minda Brachman, James Jacoby, Oswald Jacoby, Helen Sobel Smith - with Son James
Chicago Renamed the Reisinger in 1965
1931 Team: David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby, Willard Karn, P. Hal Sims - Placed 2nd
1932 Team: Ely Culbertson, Michael Gottlieb, Oswald Jacoby, Theodore Lightner - Placed 2nd
1939 Team: 2-4. Oswald Jacoby, Merwyn Maier, Robert McPherran, Waldemar von Zedtwitz - Placed 2nd
1955 Team: Ben Fain, George Heath, Paul Hodge, James Jacoby, Oswald Jacoby - with Son James
1956 Team: Ben Fain, Paul Hodge, Oswald Jacoby, Dick Sutton - Placed 2nd
1960 Team: Oswald Jacoby, Mervin Key, Bobby Nail, Curtis Smith - Placed 2nd
1983 Team: Oswald Jacoby, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Bill Root, Richard Pavlicek
1930 Team: 2-3. Huber Boscowitz, Oswald Jacoby, Willard Karn, P. Hal Sims - Placed 2nd
1931 Team: 1. David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby, Willard Karn, P. Hal Sims
1934 Team: 1. David Burnstine, Richard Frey, Michael Gottlieb, Oswald Jacoby, Howard Schenken
1935 Team: 1. David Burnstine, Michael Gottlieb, Oswald Jacoby, Howard Schenken, Sherman Stearns
1937 Team: 1. David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby, Merwyn Maier, Howard Schenken, Sherman Stearns
1938 Team: 1. David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby, Merwyn Maier, Howard Schenken, Sherman Stearns
1941 Team: 2. B. Jay Becker, Oswald Jacoby, Theodore Lightner, Merwyn Maier, Howard Schenken - Placed 2nd
1946 Team: 1. John Crawford, Oswald Jacoby, George Rapee, Howard Schenken, Samuel Stayman
1949 Team: 2. B. Jay Becker, Myron Field, Charles Goren, Oswald Jacoby, Helen Sobel - Placed 2nd
1965 Team: 1. Philip Feldesman, John Fisher, James Jacoby, Oswald Jacoby, Ira Rubin, Albert Weiss - with Son James
Life Masters Pairs von Zedtwitz Gold Cup
1936 1. David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby
2. Robert Appleyard, Isadore Epstine
1939 1. Robert Appleyard, Harry Fishbein
2. Oswald Jacoby, Waldemar K. von Zedtwitz
1941 1. Merwyn Maier, Howard Schenken
2. John Crawford, Oswald Jacoby
Wernher Trophy National Men's Pairs Championship
1934 David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby
1939 John Crawford, Oswald Jacoby
1949 Charles Goren, Oswald Jacoby

The Oswald and James Jacoby Service Award was established in 1982. It is designed to honor those volunteers who have worked diligently at the Unit level and risen to recognition at the District level after many years of outstanding service. It is District 16's premier Service Award.

The standing Awards Committee is formed from past recipients of the Oswald and James Jacoby Award. The chairman is appointed by the District President. The committee reviews information submitted on candidates nominated by Units in District 16 and chooses an outstanding individual annually. The selection is kept confidential until presentation of the award is made at the Fall Regional in Dallas-Fort Worth.

His innovations have included developments of Gerber and Blackwood and a specialized use of Two No Trump and Three No Trump Responses. His most recent innovations were the use of Two-Way Stayman in connection with Jacoby Transfer Bids after 2 No Trump opening and after 2 -anything- 2 No Trump. He invented the use of 3 Clubs as a double negative response to 2 Clubs with 2 No Trump a positive Heart response and 2 Diamonds the usual waiting bid. Among his writings are The Four Aces System, What is New in Bridge, Win at Bridge with Oswald Jacoby, Win at Bridge with Jacoby Modern, Win At Bridge With Jacoby and Son, Improve Your Bridge With Oswald Jacoby: 125 Bridge Hands from the Master, The Backgammon Book (with John Crawford). He also had many books on mathematics, gambling, poker and other card games, including canasta, in which he had the two best-selling books.

We are more than happy to update
and add any accomplishments
not mentioned here.

Claus and Raymond


Bridge Sites

Home Page I

Bridge Greats

Home Page II