100 Years Young by Barry Rigal

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Géza Ottlik was born a century ago this year on May 9, 1912 in Budapest, where he died on October 9, 1990. He was a Hungarian writer, translator, mathematician, and bridge theorist.

By Barry Rigal
On 3 June, 2015 At 15:52

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Barry Rigal

Barry Rigal

Géza Ottlik was born a century ago this year on May 9, 1912 in Budapest, where he died on October 9, 1990. He was a Hungarian writer, translator, mathematician, and bridge theorist.

He attended military school at Kőszeg and Budapest, and studied mathematics and physics at Budapest University. After a brief career on Hungarian radio, he was a secretary of the Hungarian PEN Club from 1945 to 1957. As he was unable to publish his works for political reasons, he earned his living translating, mainly from English (Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, John Osborne, Evelyn Waugh); and German (Thomas Mann, G. Keller, Stefan Zweig).

He was a passionate bridge player and advanced theoretician, and his 1979 book Adventures in Card Play written with Hugh Kelsey introduced and developed many new concepts (such as Backwash squeeze and Entry-shifting squeeze). A survey of bridge experts in 2007, listed the book third on a list of their all-time favourites, nearly thirty years after its first publication.

In 1977 the first Junior European championships were held in Budapest. Ottlik composed deals for the camp that proved the model for many of the deals in Adventures. Here are some of those problems.

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PLAY INSTRUCTIONS: 4 by South. West to lead 5. (A standard auction of 1-2-4 would achieve the target equally well).

The full deal:aa

You should try to avoid guessing the trump honors. If the king of clubs is onside you won’t need to open up the trump suit at all. Return a spade at once and use dummy’s entries to ruff spades in your hand, a diamond in dummy, then concede the club loser. In the three-card ending you are down to trumps in both hand and the opponents must find the trump jack for you.

 

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