ABOUT ACBL CSS
The mission of the ACBL is to promote, grow and sustain the game of bridge and serve the bridge-related interests of our Members.
- Executive Director: Joe Jones
- Headquarters: Horn Lake, MS
- Employees: Headquarters staff: 56; Tournament Directors: 160
- Annual Budget: $16,000,000+
The ACBL certifies:
ACBL sponsors:Three North American Bridge Championships annually, each attracting up to 6,500 players.
The School Bridge Lesson Series Program for more than 4000 children annually.
Bridge – the ultimate partnership game – is a game of skill, communication and infinite possibilities. Worldwide, millions of people play it at home. Many also play “duplicate bridge” in clubs and tournaments to enjoy its social and competitive aspects.
Bridge is played using a standard deck of 52 cards dealt equally among four players. The players bid in a coded language to describe their hands to their partners and then play to make their contract. Generally, one suit is determined as “trump,” leading to the expression, “Play your trump card.” Duplicate contract bridge, in which each competitor or team plays identical hands under similar conditions, is the main form of competitive bridge.
The American Contract Bridge League was founded in 1937. Today it is the largest bridge organization in North America, supporting clubs and tournaments in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda. A not-for-profit organization, the ACBL determines internationally recognized rules of bridge, sanctions clubs and tournament games, and encourages participation at all levels of proficiency and experience.
The ACBL Museum is not only the premier collection of bridge-related artifacts in the world, it’s also an interactive showcase of the history of the game. From Vanderbilt to Culbertson to Goren to the modern era, bridge comes alive with photos, videos, art, instructional material and more.
Our spectacular collection of national championship trophies must be seen to be believed. Touch-screen technology allows visitors to research the history and previous winners of each trophy.
View the Bridge Hall of Fame display which includes hundreds of photos of the top names in the game, and the biographies of each inductee. All are easily viewed with the touch of a digital button.
The Joan Schepps Collection of Trump Indicators is an homage to the early days of the game featuring 600 colorful pieces.
In addition to these highlights, visitors to the ACBL Museum will find dozens of other fascinating items.
The ACBL Bridge museum is located in the ACBL main offices at 6575 Windchase Boulevard, Horn Lake MS 38637.
For more information about the museum, email email@example.com.
Simply the best bridge magazine for players at all levels. The Bridge Bulletin is an exclusive benefit for ACBL Members.
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ACBL Timeline lightboxes 1937-1976
Announcement was made on Sept. 29, 1937 that the long-sought merger of the five-year old United States Bridge Association headed by Ely Culbertson and the 10-year old American Bridge League headed by William McKenney had been effected by mutually acceptable agreement. Tentatively the new organization was to be known as the American Bridge Association. It quickly came to light that another national bridge organization founded in 1932 to encourage contract bridge among African-American players was named the American Bridge Association and within the next month the name American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) was decided upon for the newly merged organization.
William McKenney stays on as the executive secretary of the newly formed ACBL and donates the first official ACBL trophy - The McKenney Trophy. This trophy is awarded to the player earning the most masterpoints each year.
ACBL begins operations from the former ABL office located at the Park Central Hotel in New York City.
Taking a little from each of the previous contract bridge organizations, ACBL issues its new operating procedures, masterpoint and rating plans and tournament schedules. This information is communicated to members through ACBL’s publication The Bulletin edited by William Huske (first image).
1938 ACBL President Nate Spingold (second image)
Beginning in September 1939, The Bulletin changes its format to resemble a newspaper tabloid. Each issue is four pages.
Sally Young is the first woman to attain the rank of Life Master. (thumbnail image)
James H. Lemon is the ACBL President
ACBL President Elmer J. Babin
The first Intercollegiate Bridge Championship is held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York. Radcliffe won the tournament.
Dec. 7, 1941 – Leading masterpoint holder Oswald Jacoby (thumbnail image) walks out of the National Open Pair Championship in Richmond VA upon announcement of the Pearl Harbor attack immediately returning to duty as a specialist for the U.S. Navy.
Soldiers Melvin Lobell, Morrie Elis, Harold Ziman, Phil Abramsohn and George Rapee take a break from their base in Brooklyn to compete in the Metropolitan Teams held October 27, 1942 at the Park Central Hotel.Victory Certificates
July 1942 – At all future tournaments of the ACBL, players will be given a choice of a Victory Award, a framed certificate stamped by the League. The certificate will testify that the winner has accepted the Victory Award so that the value of the trophy may be donated in the winner’s behalf to the cause of war relief.War Orphans Scholarships
September – ACBL announces plans to provide scholarships in increments of $500 to orphans of the war.
The Bulletin is published bi-monthly instead of monthly.
Feb. 19 – New laws for contract bridge are announced. Effective date of new laws is April 1, 1943.
ACBL President Richmond Skinner
Thumbnail image: Soldiers with ACBL executive secretary William McKenney at the Atlantic City Regional.
1945 ACBL President George Alderton
Thumbnail image: Former ACBL President, Brigadier General Robert Gill, a veteran of both world wars, was appointed chief military counsel to Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson at the war trials in Nuremburg.
1946 ACBL President Benjamin Golder (left)
Right:Winners of the National Mixed Pair Championship at Bridge Week in San Francisco are Harry Fishbein and Paula Bacher. Runners up are Mr. and Mrs. Norman Perlstein. This event established new attendance records and served as the launch to raise $250,000 for the fight against cancer in children.
ACBL President Raymond J McGrover
The first Life Master gold card is awarded to William McKenney during the Quiz of Two Cities on WOR radio in New York. After the show, McKenney presented Dick Frey with his card. (thumbnail image)
January – After 20 years of service to organized bridge, William McKenney (above) retires as executive secretary of the ACBL. Col. Russell Baldwin takes over the reins as Business Manager.
February 16 – Beautiful replicas of the Vanderbilt cup were awarded to the 1948 champions for permanent possession. Similar cups were awarded to winners of contests held during war years when trophies were not available. A total of 38 replicas were distributed.
August – ACBL moves its office from the Park Central Hotel to 33 West 60th St.
September – The Bulletin changes its format to 8 ½ x 11 and expands to eight pages bi-monthly.
Col. Russell Baldwin congratulating Arnold and Mary Jane Kauder (later Farell) on their double feat of winning both the National Mixed Pair Championship and the California open pair championship.
Thumbnail image: ACBL President Dr. Louis Mark
Nov. 13-19 – The first official world team championship, the Bermuda Bowl, sponsored by the ACBL, the European Bridge League and the British Bridge League is held. The U.S. Team - Sam Stayman, George Rapee, Howard Schenken, John Crawford, Sidney Silodor and Charles Goren – defeated Great Britain and Europe in the three-team round robin contest.
ACBL President Rufus "Skinny" Miles (thumbnail image)
- Jan - Charles Goren, top masterpoint winner, has been appointed ambassador-at-large by Julius Rosenblum, ACBL president. Goren will represent the ACBL, officially, when no officer or member of the Executive Committee is present. He will act as League liaison officer between ACBL and its units, clubs and players.
- Feb. -The Bulletin increases its page total from 8 to 16.
- March – Business Manager Col. Russell Baldwin returns to the U.S. Army. Alvin Landy (thumbnail image) is named Business Manager of the ACBL.
- July – ACBL Headquarters has 17 employees. The Damon Runyon Fund is named as ACBL’s 1951-1952 charity.
- December – New ACBL Districts and Representatives are announced.
- ACBL President Joseph Cohan
- Jan. – Alfred Sheinwold replaces George Beynon as editor of The Bulletin.
- Beynon (sitting) is named Director of Publicity.
- Charles Goren wins the McKenney Trophy for the eighth time. This record will stand until 2009.
- March 28-30 – The first Mexican National Bridge Championships are held in Mexico City.
- July – ACBL names The Heart Fund as its charity for 1952-1953.
- The Sally Fishbein Memorial Trophy (thumbnail image) is contested for the first time.
ACBL President Benjamin O. Johnson
April – The Bulletin begins publishing nine issues a year and using women’s first names.
July – ACBL names The March of Dimes as its charity for the 1953-1954.
Aluminum duplicate boards are introduced for the Summer Nationals.
Dec. - Billy Rosen is the youngest winner of the McKenney Trophy
Nov. – Dianne Barton, ACBL’s youngest member, playing 12 simultaneous games of chess at the Letterman Hospital in San Francisco. Dianne won 10 games and lost two.
Nov. 27 – Daily Bulletins are introduced at the Winter Nationals in Atlanta.
1954 ACBL President Peter Leventritt
Feb. – Eligibility requirements are raised and masterpoint awards are increased for national events. Limitations are placed on the number of sectional tournaments ACBL Units can run.
March – ACBL membership is reported to be at 50,000 Members.
Thumbnail image: 1955 ACBL President Jeff Glick
Jan. 1- ACBL became a League of bridge players from all of America instead of just part of it. Although ACBL had been working in agreement with Tom Stoddard’s Western Division (formerly the Pacific Bridge League) since the Forties, they finally integrated. The Western Division headquarters was erected in Los Angeles and all financing was consolidated.
National Tournament Directors were added to the company payroll as salaried employees. The first salaried National TD is Dean Weisbach. Seven additional National TDs were added as salaried employees over the course of the year – Paul Marks, Joe Matthews, Ed Cheronnet Howard Foering, Harry Goldwater, Jerry Machlin and Walter Wilson.
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A large projector screen shows the deals and play-by-play is provided from inside the "fishbowl".
Thumbnail image: 1957 President J.G. Ripstra
The 1957 ACBL Honorary Member is Alvin Landy
March 15-23 - The first Spring Nationals are held in Atlantic City NJ at the Traymore Hotel.
April– Alfred Sheinwold edits his last issue of The Bulletin.
May – Dick Frey takes over as editor of The Bulletin.
August – Bermuda is ACBL’s newest Unit.
March – Annual Membership dues are increased to $2.00
October 18 – The first episode of Championship Bridge with Charles Goren sponsored by North American Van Lines airs on ABC. Credit for the production is given to ACBL and the U.S. Playing Card Co.
December – Membership is slightly above 100,000
Thumbnail image: 1959 ACBL President Winslow Randall
Thumbnail image: 1960 ACBL President Frank Westcott
January - The Bulletin becomes a monthly publication and publishes its largest volume to date (64 pages).
April 23 – The first World Team Olympiad is played in Turin, Italy.
May – ACBL contracts with Service Bureau Corporation a subsidiary of IBM to conduct a study of tournament bridge scoring as applicable to electronic computing and accounting machines.
August – Results of the study completed by Service Bureau Corporation suggest that computer scoring of a 210 table tournament would take three and a half hours. The Board of Directors recommended tabling the idea until feasible. However, it is decided that IBM data processing equipment will be used for masterpoint recording.
November – New IMP scale is approved by WBF and ACBL and a new convention card is adopted by ACBL.
December – The League Library received a large gift of books (125) from the estate of Sidney Lenz. It was stressed that the library is purely for reference and no books will be circulated.
Jan. 1 – Bob Wilkins (thumbnail image) and Richard Goldberg are employed and classified as National Tournament Directors by ACBL.
March - The Mott-Smith Trophy is put into play. In memory of former Bulletin editor Geoffrey Mott-Smith, the trophy is awarded to the player who wins the most masterpoints at the Spring NABC.
Nov. – The first Systems and Conventions Committee is formed. The committee is comprised of two players from each of the then 23 Districts.
Thumbnail image: 1962 ACBL President Max Manchester
Jan – The Bulletin adds the words “contract bridge” to its name.
1963 ACBL President Jerry M. Lewis
Jan- Alan Truscott joins The Bulletin staff as associate editor.
March - ACBL Charity Foundation is established
July- Summer NABC breaks all attendance record with 12,481 tables.
ABC’s Wide World of Sports airs the finals of the von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs.
Thumbnail image: 1964 ACBL President Leo Seewald
Jan – The first ACBL Official Encyclopedia of Bridge is published
June 4- the Vanderbilt Trophy is stolen from a display at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It was recovered the following month when the thief tried to sell the 11 lb. trophy to the Newman Silver Shop in Reno NV. The man, John Hadreas, an Ambassador employee, was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property. His bail was set at $2,500.00.
The American Contract Bridge League Handbook is published.
May – The Buenos Aires Affair – The international bridge world is rocked by a widely publicized chare that Terence Reese and Boris Schapiro, representing Great Britain at the Bermuda Bowl in Buenos Aires Argentina, had transmitted information about the heart suit by finger signals.
Thumbnail image: 1965 ACBL Presdient Robin Mac Nab
- Jeremy Flint achieves the rank of Life Master in 11 weeks.
- May - ACBL moves its headquarters to 125 Greenwich Ave, Greenwich CT 06830
- Thumbnail image: 1966 ACBL President Eilif Andersen
1967 ACBL President John Norwood (thumbnail image)
September 23 – ACBL Executive Secretary Alvin Landy dies at the Atlantic City Hospital during the Team Trials. Image: Alvin Landy with famous kibitzer, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Tom Stoddard steps in as interim executive secretary
Oswald Jacoby is the first player to amass more than 10,000 masterpoints.
Oct. 15 – Barry Crane surpasses Oswald Jacoby’s masterpoint total by 6.67 masterpoints.
1968 ACBL President Joseph Stedham (thumbnail image}
Easley Blackwood is named ACBL Executive Secretary)
The Western Division office is closed and all business is conducted from the Greenwich office.
The Team Trials are eliminated
1969 ACBL President Ed Theus (thumbnail image)
July 16 – Membership stands at 138,693. This number was established after 43,829 delinquent members were dropped from the reported membership total.
The Swiss Team Movement, championed by Paul Heitner (pictured above) and Marc Low, makes its debut on the bridge scene
Team trials changed back to a playoff between the Spingold and Vanderbilt winners
Paul Soloway sets the record for the most masterpoints won in a year – 1,434
C.C. Wei’s Precision System makes its debut at the World Championships
1970 ACBL President William Baldwin (Thumbnail image)
January – Dick Frey retires as editor of The Bulletin.
Feb. – Steve Becker takes over as executive editor of The Bulletin.
Oct - The Aces win the Bermuda Bowl for North America breaking a 16 year losing streak.
1971 ACBL President Carl Rubin
March 1 – Easley Blackwood retires as ACBL Executive Secretary and Dick Goldberg is named as his successor.
Nov – Memphis is selected as the new base of operations for ACBL. Executive Secretary Dick Goldberg signs the contract for the Memphis property as League Prexy Percy Bean (left) and real estate developer George B. Long Jr. look on.
Dec – Barry Crane (thumbnail) sets new record in his third McKenney win with a total of 1,443 masterpoints.
1972 ACBL President Percy X. Bean
Feb – Al Sobel’s final installment of his popular “30 Days”, “60 Days” and “360 Days” columns is published.
March 8 – The Greenwich Headquarters building is sold for $700,000. Estimated cost of the Memphis building is $400,000.
May 18 – Legendary tournament director Al Sobel dies at the age of 71.
November – ACBL moves into its new building at 2200 Democrat Rd. Memphis TN. The building was designed with signature doors bearing pips. Through the pip Edith Simons sits at the reception desk while Marion Bendersky, Nate Silverstein and Dick Goldberg chat in the background.
1973 ACBL President Jerry Silverman
Jan. – Henry Francis becomes executive editor of The Bulletin with Sue Emery as editor.
March 5 – Dedication ceremony for the new headquarters.
Non-smoking sections were introduced at tournaments.
1974 ACBL President Ruth McConnell (thumbnail)
April– Polly Shepherd is ACBL’s 20,000 Life Master
May 28 – USA (Bette Cohn, Emma Jean Hawes, Betty Ann Kennedy, Marietta Passell, Carol Sanders, Dorothy Truscott and npc Ruth McConnell) wins the first Venice Cup.
ACBL uses bidding screens for the first time in tournament competition.
Dec- Kerri Shuman sets record in the McKenney contest – 1,619 masterpoints
1975 ACBL President Lew Mathe
Contract Bridge celebrates its 50th year.
Jan – Foot tapping incident at the Bermuda Bowl sets the cause of world bridge back. John Swanson and Paul Soloway face Italy’s “tappers” Sergio Zucchelli and Gianfranco Facchini.Lancia Challenge Matches
March 2 – The Los Angeles team is selected (Billy Eisenberg, Eddie Kantar, Larry Cohen and Dr. Richard Katz)
March 29 – The New York team is selected (Peter Weichsel, Alan Sontag, Matt Granovetter, Ron Rubin)
April 13 – The Chicago team is selected (William Rosen, Milton Rosenberg, Les Bart, Gene O’Neill)
May 11 – The Miami team is selected (Dr. George Rosenkranz, Sol Dubson, Roger Bates, John Mohan)
May 17 - 28– The New York, Los Angeles Team and the Miami teams defeat the Lancia Team of Giorgio Belladonna, Benito Garozzo, Pietro Forquet, Walter Avarelli and Omar Sharif thus procuring Lancia automobiles for all.
The Chicago team was defeated by Lancia, but was rewarded with Caribbean cruises.
1976 ACBL President Don Oakie (Thumbnail)
Feb. 15 – Regina Barnes becomes the youngest Life Master at 14 years and 11 months.
May – Tom Stoddard is awarded the rare “Certificate of Service” citation.
May 14 – ACBL registers its 200,000 member – Danny Chiu
June 30 – the new official ACBL convention card is issued
Timeline Light boxes 1977-2020
- At the team trial in Houston, suspicion arises about Dr. Richard Katz and Larry T. Cohen. They were confronted about suspicions of signaling the value of their hands, and inviting favorable opening leads, via a coded exchange of coughs and sniffs. The two men resigned from the league and signed what the league said was an "apology" to their teammates for unspecified acts.
- Nov. 6 - Steve Cochran becomes the Youngest Life Master at 14 years, 5 months and 20 days
- Dec. – Ron Andersen sets a new McKenney record of 2009 masterpoints
- Lou Gurvich is the 1977 ACBL President (thumbnail image)
- Walter K O'laughlin is the 1978 ACBL President (thumbnail image)
- Membership fees are increased from $6 to $7 per year.
- All opening notrump bids with fewer than 10 points are considered conventional and unauthorized. No action is taken on matter of barring psychic opening bids.
- May 1 – Charlie MacCracken is named Tournament Division Manager following the resignation of Buddy Spiegel and Julie Greenberg joins the ACBL staff taking over MacCracken’s duties.
- July -The Golden Age Master rank is established.
- Sept 15 – 30,666 tables compete in the club stage of the first Grand National Pairs
- Dec – Long-time National Tournament Director Jerry Machlin retires.
- May – The Board passes a motion stating that all unusual carding agreements such as Lavinthal Discards, Odd-even discards and Upside down signals must be announced to opponents at the beginning of each round.
- “Meckwell” win their first three national championships (the Nail Life Master Pairs, the Silodor Open Pairs and the Reisinger) and place second in the Vanderbilt.
- Leo Spivack is the 1979 ACBL President
- Ira G. Corn Jr. is the 1980 ACBL President
- Entry fees for NABC+ events are increased from $5 a session to $6 a session to help fight inflation.
- Peter Rank’s “Annie Bid Your Slam” premieres at the Fresno NABC.
- 25 Gold points are added to the requirement for attaining the rank of Life Master.
- Billy Hsieh becomes the Youngest Life Master at age 13 years, 7 months and 15 days. (Thumbnail image)
- Jim Zimmerman is the 1981 ACBL President. (Thumbnail Image)
- March – Sites for NABCs are selected by management subject to veto by a 2/3 vote of the Board of Directors.
- The Board of Directors recognizes and accredits the Association of Professional Bridge Players, Inc. (APBP).
- Sept. – Doug Hsieh becomes the Youngest Life Master at age 11 years, 10 months and 4 days.
- October - ACBL gets its first in-house computer which allows point confirmation cards, mailing labels and unit report forms to be created on site. The computer also allows vital member information to be processed immediately. (Pictured are Jack Kelley, director of administration; Ethel Eldridge, supervisor of computer operations; Alan Oaks, division manager of operations and CEO Dick Goldberg.
- Dec. 1 – The first Duplicate Directors Training Course is offered.
- Sidney Levey is the 1982 ACBL President (thumbnail image)
- Jan.1 - The Board mandate stating that no player may compete professionally in red or gold point events unless that person is a member in good standing of a professional organization accredited by ACBL goes into effect.
- The McKenney Trophy Race is renamed The Top 500. 31-year-old bridge professional, Eddie Wold of Houston, topped the list of contenders by scoring 2016 points for the year. Fourteen other players earned more than 1000 masterpoints during the first year of the contest that expands and replaces the 45-year-old McKenney Trophy Race.
- Oct. 24 – Adair Gellman is the youngest female Life Master at age 14 years, 6 months and 4 days. Gellman only held this record for 12 days when Tricia Thomas at age 14 years and 26 days became a Life Master. Tricia still holds the Youngest Female Life Master title and is listed as such in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- William Gross is the 1980 ACBL President
- May – Barry Crane is the first player to break the 30,000-masterpoint barrier putting himself almost 10,000 masterpoints ahead of his nearest competition.
- July 1 - Dick Goldberg resigns a CEO and Ralph Cohen steps in. Richard Oshlag is promoted to data processing manager and Frank Stewart joins The Bulletin staff.
- Jim Munday is named King of Bridge. (Thumbnail image)
- Dec – Grant Baze smashes Top 500 record earning 3270 masterpoints
- Doug Drew is the 1984 ACBL President