Bridge | July 23, 2022

I was very saddened to learn of the passing of legendary American player and author Eddie Kantar – he was still writing articles with such youthful vigor that I had no idea he was 89. Kantar was considered the greatest player-teacher-writer of all time. The clarity of his writing, combined with his self-deprecating humor, has won him legions of fans around the world. I have a whole row of his books on my shelves – including classics like Full defensive game and bridge for dummies – which I have been leafing through for 20 years. As England player John Cox said: “For many of us his death feels like the loss of a friend, even though we had never met”.

Kantar was an equally brilliant player, winning two world championships. And as a bridge teacher, it’s no exaggeration to say that his wacky, anecdotal style has made him America’s most popular. And as if that weren’t enough, he was the only person to have participated in both a world championship in bridge and a world championship in table tennis.

Here is the big man in action.

North’s 5♥ called for a check diamond, but Kantar felt too weak to bid 6♥. West led the ♦A, and another diamond. Kantar cut and played a heart to the ♥K. It would be easy to get careless now and play a club at ♣10, then ♥Q. West would win and play spades or clubs, locking you in a dummy and forcing you to cut a black suit, which West would crush. Kantar took the simple precaution of cashing in the ♠AK and ♣A before moving to the ♣10. Now, after playing the ♥Q, he could cut whatever West was returning, draw the last trump and claim.

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