The Montréal Bridge League honors a true Canadian bridge legend, Mr. Sam Gold, who was also a co-founder of the League. The Sam Gold Trophy is awarded to the player who accumulates the most points in PAIRS during the tournament.
Fred Hoffer (Montreal) and Don Piafsky (Toronto). See the list of the 25 finalists.
Do you know Sam Gold?
Sam Gold of Montréal (1908 – 1982) was “Mr. Bridge” to generations of Quebecors. He was an extraordinary player, becoming the second Canadian to achieve Life Master status in 1948 (ACBL Life Master #132).
He was instrumental in the creation of the Montréal Bridge League (MBL), becoming a charter member in 1946 and is a member of the Canadian Bridge Federation Hall of Fame (information on the CBF website).
As a player, Gold represented Canada in the 1964 World Team Olympiad (with Cohen, Murray, Kehela, Forbes, Howell, and NPC Al Lando), surviving to the semi-finals where they lost to Team USA. He represented Montréal in the 1967 and 1968 Intercity Team match with Toronto and won the Congress Trophy both times.
In addition to being a top player and mentor to many of Canada’s top players, Kokish, Silver and Mittleman among them, Sam was also an exceptional tournament director and bridge administrator. He was a member of the National Laws Commission and a certified director. He conceived many new duplicate movements, including the Three-Quarter Howell.
Sam was also a talented writer who was published in numerous newsletters, newspapers and magazines, The Bridge World Magazine among them.
For a number of years, the Montreal CAN-AM Regional commemorated him by holding the Sam Gold pairs as the premiere Saturday event. Since 2011, other events were included in the program to that day: Swiss movements and Gold Rush Pairs which had gained popularity in tournaments of the ACBL. In addition to the impact of these events on the numbers in the Sam Gold Pairs, there was some confusion about the event itself that was seen as the exclusive domain of Life Masters. In 2015, the League withdrew the name of Mr. Gold on the Saturday program, but nevertheless continues to act in the sense of actions and ambitions of Mr. Gold, to target and assure a strong and growing League.
Today, the Canadian Bridge Federation honors Mr. Gold with an event bearing his name, the Sam Gold Canadian Senior Team Championship (plaque pictured).
Another Canadian hall-of-fame bridge player, Montréal’s inimitable Boris Baran, related this classic Sam Gold story:
When I first started to play bridge, Sam was the toughest and most respected player that I knew. I still remember the first tip that Sam gave me: Even with only 11 high card points, always open with AK-A (3 quick tricks). Although today this is common to open 11 point hands, bridge was far more conservative 45 years ago.
I had the pleasure of playing with Sam in a regional pairs game. This one hand came up where we apparently arrived at some hopeless contract due to my poor bidding. Sam was the declarer, and when I tabled my dummy he was so upset at what he saw that he tossed his cards over to me and said “Here, you can play this hand!”
Barbara Saltsman – Montreal Internationalist writes:
In 1972 Sharyn Reus, myself, Mary Paul Irene Hodgson, Jackie Begin Moselle Berger, were representing Canada, in a World Competition. Sam Gold was so proud of this team: it was the beginning of our wonderful journey into the international bridge scene. He presented us each with a gold maple leaf pin, inscribed on the back the year, the event, and his name were inscribed.
The tournament took place in Miami. Aaron Goodman was our captain, he sat alongside of me, as I was playing. Sam was very helpful to us for practice matches, he was a wonderful mentor and friend to me always, as was his dear wife Rebecca .
In 1982, Alan Truscott wrote an article on Sam Gold in the New York Times. Mr. Truscott was a well known bridge figure himself, writing the daily bridge column for The New York Times for 41 years, from 1964 to 2005, and serving as Executive Editor for all six editions of The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge from 1964 to 2002. Alan wrote of Sam:
Bridge: Sam Gold Built Reputation In Organizing and Playing
In the past half-century North America has had many great players and a rather smaller number of great organizers. Very few indeed have belonged in both categories. One member of this elite group is Waldemar Von Zedtwitz, alive and well in Hawaii at the age of 85. Another, less well-known, was Sam Gold of Montreal, who died recently at 73.
Gold was often known as ”Mr. Bridge of Canada” and well deserved the title. As a young man in the 1930’s he made substantial improvements in the movements used in duplicate bridge, a highly technical but important area of which the average player knows virtually nothing. In particular, he invented the ”Three-quarter Howell,” an ingenious arrangement that has been helpful to hundreds of clubs. Outstanding as a Player
In the 40’s Gold built the fledgling Montreal Bridge League to a flourishing organization almost as big as it is today. And at the same time he built a formidable record as a player that reached its zenith in 1964. He was then a member of the Canadian team that reached the semifinal of the World Team Championship in New York City.