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Eddie Kantar: An all-time great bridge that will be sorely missed – The Royal Gazette




Big personality: Bridge great Eddie Cantar, who passed away last month at age 89 (Photo courtesy of American Contract Bridge League)

Before I get to the column, the Men’s and Women’s Pairs Championships will take place on Saturday, May 21, with two morning and afternoon sessions. The number of registrations so far is quite low, and the Bridge Club is looking for more couples to register. Lunch is provided and celebratory drinks are usually provided by the winners, so it should be an enjoyable day. Join the Club or email Wendy Gray at [email protected]

It is with a heavy heart to report that Eddie Kantar, one of the greatest personalities to ever grace our game, passed away on April 8th. I was lucky enough to get to know Eddie, play bridge against him and also have him at a great game of table tennis, a sport in which he also excelled. Eddie was talented, incredibly funny, a great communicator and teacher, and one of the nicest men in the game, he was universally loved and respected.

I can do no better than to reproduce here an obituary prepared by Jon Carruthers of Canada with help from the ACBL Hall of Fame, the Los Angeles TimesThe New York Timesthe 1975 World Championship book and Wikipedia.

It is with a deep sense of grief and loss that I regret to announce that the great Eddie Kantar passed away this morning at the age of 89. Eddie, I can’t find the right words. You were simply the best.

Eddie Kantar wasted no time when he moved from frigid Minneapolis to sultry Southern California’s Venice Beach after graduating from the University of Minnesota. He found the beaches along the Pacific Ocean far more pleasant than Minnesota’s 10,000 frozen lakes. Eddie was not only one of the greatest bridge players of all time, he was also an accomplished table tennis, racquetball and paddle tennis player.

To date, he is the only person to have competed in the World Bridge Championships and the World Table Tennis Championships. He had significantly better results at the World Bridge Championship. He was inducted into the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame in 1996, the same year he was inducted into the Minnesota State Table Tennis Hall of Fame. In 2018, he was also inducted into the National Paddle Tennis Hall of Fame. Other achievements included the Sidney Lazard Sportsmanship Award and the Precision Award for the best article on a convention or system.

Eddie’s wins are too numerous to list: there were 17 North American Bridge Championships, with multiple wins in each of the Vanderbilt, Spingold, and Reisinger, the top three ACBL events, three USBF Trials wins, and two Bermuda Bowl wins. He also won a Pan-Am Games gold in 1977 and the Maccabiah Games in 1981. Eddie was arguably the greatest player/writer/teacher of all time.

Others can match him as a player and/or as a writer, but not for all three categories. He was loved for his self-mockery and many of his 35 books are classics, especially Kantars completes defensive game† He was a regular on many bidding forums, the ACBL Bulletin and other bridge magazines. For many years he was the bridge editor of Illustrated Sports magazine when that weekly still had a bridge column.

Kantar studied languages ​​at the University of Minnesota and was fluent in French and Spanish, with the working knowledge of a few others. He was a much sought-after bridge teacher/teacher all over the world. While in the US Army, Eddie taught bridge to a class in Germany, so he taught in German. Even though the students only spoke German, they begged me to teach in English towards the end of class, Eddie recalled.

Eddie had successful bridge partnerships with Marshall Miles, Bob Hamman, Billy Eisenberg and Alan Sontag. His collaboration with Hamman resulted in the most beautiful piece ever to appear in the ACBL Bulletin, entitled Roberts Rules. This had nothing to do with Robert’s Rules of Order (Henry M. Robert, 1876), but with the rules Robert’s partners had to follow when playing with him. The lines testify to Kantar’s great sense of humor.

They are:

Robert’s Rules

Rule 1: If you have a choice of bids and one of the choices is no trump three times, bid no trump three times.

Rule 2: Don’t play me for the perfect hand; l never have it.

Rule #3: If everyone at the table seems to be shaking their head, trust them, not me.

Rule 4: When considering a slam, always subtract a king from what it sounds like I have before bidding the slam.

Rule 5: Be practical.

Rule 6: Do the right thing.

Kantar pointed out that the rules offered no guidelines on what to do if they conflicted. If he went down by four points in a ridiculous three trump contract, Eddie would have been charged with breaking any or all of the other rules, especially General Rule 6. Kantar and Hamman dissolved their partnership after failing to come first or second. had finished in the competition. 1969 Bermuda Bowl, the first time a North American representative team had ever done so.

It’s unusual for a great player’s most famous deal to be a disaster, but that was the case with Eddie. It took place in the 1975 Bermuda Bowl final, aboard 92 of 96, with Italy leading North America 195-183. The North Americans had started setting up 25 IMPs, but were trailing 12 at the time. Here’s the infamous deal in Figure 1.

Ezekiel: This is arguably the most famous hand ever played in bridge history. I had just arrived on the island in 1975 and saw it live on Vugraph in the Southampton Princess, where the tension was on the cutting edge throughout the match. The bidding is long and complex, but it all added to the drama.)

Figure 1

For bidding, see figure 2.

Figure 2

1. Precision: 11-15, 6+ clubs or 5+ clubs and a 4-card major

2. Relay: ask bid

3. Spade suit with 4 cards

4. 5+ hearts, forced play

5. An offer to play

6. Trying Club Slam

7. Diamond management, especially king or ace, given the 3NT bid

8. Declarative-questioning, showing two aces and further interest

9. Confirms diamond control on the first round, in this case the ace, and shows interest in a grand slam. 10. Heart Check.

11. First round heart check.

12. Usually a check; here Garozzo deemed worthy of his possession.

13. Grand Slam Attempt.

When Garozzo bid seven clubs, Kantar thought, God isn’t Italian after all, expecting the club Ace to be on his right. Kantar led a heart and then came the shock of seeing Garozzo’s dummy. Belladonna ruffed the heart, led a club to the queen, cashed the ace of clubs and claimed plus 2140 and 12 IMPs. Incredible luck because the Clubs had to be exactly Kx with East.

There was laughter after this hand and a lot of analysis. What would have happened if Kantar had played the king of clubs in the first round of the series (which he says never occurred to him)? Belladonna, when asked what he would have done, said afterwards: The North Americans would become world champions today.

Belladonna would have played to trump Eisenberg’s coup from the ten-fourth of the clubs, eventually losing a trick to Kantar’s ten of the trumps. That would have won 17 IMPs for North America, a swing of 29 IMP and would have been one of the best defensive deals of all time. The final score of the match was Italy 214 North America 189, a margin of 25 IMPs.

Greatly written by JC, we ended up with a bridge hand which in a way is fine but not on some levels as Eddie’s stature came into play from so many other places. His book on defense is a classic and everything he wrote had a distinctive Kantar flavor. He will be greatly missed personally and in the bridge world.


Friday May 6

1. Molly Taussig John Glynn

2. Marge Way Jane Smith

3. Judy Bussell Charles Hall

Monday 9 May

1. Molly Taussig Charles Hall

2. Diana Diel Dorry Lusher

3. Marge Way Gill Butterfield

tuesday 10 may

1. Malcolm Moseley Mark Stevens

2. Rosemary Smith Jean Schilling

3. Sarah Bowers Stuart Clare

Wednesday 11 May

1. Joyce Pearson Joe Wakefield

2. Tracy Nash Des Nash

3/4. Lynanne Bolton Peter Donnellan

3/4.Molly Taussig Tony Saunders

thursday 12 may

1. Elizabeth McKee Linda Pollett

2. Jane Smith Peter Donnellan

3. Martha Ferguson Judy King




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