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Oswald Jacoby

JACOBY, OSWALD (1902–1984), U.S. bridge champion. Born in New York, Jacoby served in the U.S. Army in World War I and later worked as an actuary. He rapidly established himself as one of the leading U.S. bridge players and belonged to a group called "The Four Aces," which developed a new system of bidding at bridge that attracted considerable attention.

During World War II Jacoby was an officer in the U.S. Navy. During the Korean War, he was a naval commander and helped to prepare the ground for the Panmunjom armistice talks of 1951.

In 1950, he became the daily bridge columnist for Newspaper Enterprise Association. His column, which was exceptionally popular, was published in several hundred newspapers. He established a record on April 22, 1982, when his 10,000th article was printed.

Jacoby won recognition as the United States' leading bridge player and was awarded the McKenny trophy for the Bridge Player of the Year in 1959, 1961, and 1962. He pioneered many bidding concepts, such as Forcing 2 No Trump; Jacoby Transfer Bids; and Weak Jump Overcalls. An expert in backgammon as well, Jacoby captured the World Championship of Backgammon in 1973. In 1965 he was elected to the Bridge Hall of Fame, and in 1983 he was selected as Bridge Personality of the Year by the International Bridge Press Association.

Jacoby wrote many books on cards and other games, including Oswald Jacoby on Poker (1940, 19472); How to Figure the Odds (1947); Complete Canasta (1950); What's New in Bridge (1954); How to Win at Gin Rummy (1959); The Back-gammon Book (1979); Penny Ante and Up (1979); and Jacoby on Card Games (with J. Jacoby, 1989).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.