Oswald (Ozzie, Jake) Jacoby
– June 27
) was an American bridge
player and author, considered one of the greatest players of all time.
Born in Brooklyn, he was taught to play whist at the age of six. 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 of Columbia University to become an actuary, he became the youngest person ever to pass the examination of the Society of Actuaries, at the age of 21.
Throughout his career, he also worked as a bridge columnist. He soon achieved fame as a player at both auction and contract bridge, but achieved international renown via success in the Culbertson Match, partnering Sidney Lenz. He was a member of the famous "Four Horsemen" and "Four Aces" teams.
He captained the North American and US teams that won the Bermuda Bowl in both 1970 and 1971. In 1983, he was awarded the prestigious Charles H. Goren Award. During a long playing career, he won tournaments with his son, James Jacoby, as well as his wife of over 50 years, Mary Zita Jacoby.
He pionereed many bidding ideas, including the Jacoby transfer and Jacoby 2NT bids.
A prolific writer, he wrote over 10,000 newspaper articles on bridge, and his many books include volumes on poker, gin rummy, canasta, and the mathematics of card games. He also released a record titled How to Win at Championship Bridge.
- ACBL Hall of Fame 1965
- ACBL Honorary Member of the Year 1967
- Charles H. Goren Award (Personality of the Year) 1983
- McKenney Trophy 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963
- Herman Trophy 1960
- IBL World Championship (1) 1935
- North American Bridge Championships (29)
- 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
- 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
- Other notable wins:
- Marcus Cup (1) 1955
- Goldman Pairs (4) 1929, 1934, 1953, 1955
- North American Bridge Championships (18)
- 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
Jacoby was also an expert backgammon
player, and in 1972, 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 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 R. Crawford); 1970. ISBN:670-14409-6
- Oswald Jacoby on Gambling
- Gin Rummy
- How to Win at Gin Rummy
- Oswald Jacoby on Poker
- How to Win at Canasta
- Oswald Jacoby's Complete Canasta
- How to Figure the Odds
- Intriguing Mathematical Problems (with William H. Benson)
- New Recreations with Magic Squares (with William H. Benson), (New York: Dover, 1976).