Oswald Jacoby

December 1, 2020 at 3:14 am

Oswald Jacoby About Oswald Jacoby

Oswald “Ozzie” “Jake” Jacoby was one of Americas most remarkable and most renowned card players in the 20th century. He was born in 1902 in Brooklyn New York and was a mathematical genius by all accounts. When he was 15, he lied about his age to join the army during WW1. Luckily he never saw much action and spent the last two months of the war playing poker.

After the war he enrolled at the Columbia University which he funded with his poker winnings. He became known for his genius in games when he beat the US champion, Frank Marshall, in a chess match. Once he earned his actuary license, he dropped out of University and started working as one of the youngest actuaries in New York History.

Jacoby’s Career

Oswald Jacoby was not only an expert in Bridge and Chess but also in Poker, Gin, Rummy, Canasta, Backgammon and Checkers. Furthermore, he wrote books about all of these games. He won multiple national titles during the 1930s and wrote a nationally syndicated bridge column for 34 years writing over 10 000 newspaper articles purely about Bridge. He also invented bidding conventions which are still popular today, and they are the Jacoby transfer and Jacoby 2NT bids.

In 1970 and 1971 he captained the North American and US teams that won the Bermuda Bowl. During his long career, he won many tournaments with various partners, including his son and wife of more than 50 years, His final tournament victory was at the ACBL late in 1983. He died from cancer in 1984, but Jacoby was posthumously made one of the founding members of the ACBL Hall of Fame in 1995. It is in this Hall of Fame that his masterful, and genius legacy lives on.