Oswald Jacoby

A little bit about Oswald Jacoby

In the 20th century, Oswald “Ozzie” “Jake” Jacoby was one of America’s most notable and renowned card players. A mathematical genius by all accounts, he was born in 1902 in Brooklyn, New York. During World War I, he lied about his age to join the army. Fortunately, he never saw much action and spent the last two months of the war playing poker.

In the wake of the war, he enrolled in Columbia University, which he funded with the winnings from his poker game. When he beat the US champion in chess, Frank Marshall, he gained a reputation as a genius in games. Upon earning his actuarial license, he left University and began working in the New York City insurance industry as one of the youngest actuaries ever.

Jacoby’s professional career

In addition to Bridge and Chess, Oswald Jacoby was an expert in Gin, Rummy, Canasta, Backgammon, and Checkers. Additionally, he wrote books on all of these games. During the 1930s, he won multiple national titles and wrote a nationally syndicated bridge column for 34 years, producing over 10 000 articles solely about bridge. Jacoby also invented bidding conventions that are still popular today. These are the Jacoby transfer and Jacoby 2NT bids.

During the 1970s and 1971s, instead of being part of the flower power generation, he led the North American and US teams to victory at the Bermuda Bowl. He won many tournaments throughout his long career, including one with his son and wife of more than 50 years.

Where is he now?

His final victory came at the ACBL late in 1983. Jacoby died of cancer in 1984 but was inducted into the ACBL Hall of Fame in 1995 posthumously. He leaves behind a masterful and genius legacy in this Hall of Fame.