The Milwaukee Journal – Apr 8, 1970

One thing the bridge expert must have is fantastic concentration. In ‘The Fireside Book of Cards,» edited by Oswald Jacoby and Albert Morehead, is told the story of Maxim Litvinoff, Soviet statesman, who was playing bridge one evening in June, 1941.

«I had just bid a grand slam and the dummy was about to go down when the telephone rang.» Litvinoff later recalled. It was Moscow. Germany had invaded Russia. Litvinoff was, needed in Moscow immediately.

«I dashed upstairs, packed a bag»

«But how did the grand slam come out?» he was asked.

«I never stopped to find out,» Litvinoff replied.

«Maxim Minchnovitch,» said one of his listeners, «you will never be a bridge player.»

It would be interesting to speculate what would have happened had Vanderbilt’s frequent partner, Waldemar Von Zedtwitz, been in Litvinoff’s place at the playing table.

Von Zedtwitz, to the story goes, once was Vanderblit’s partner a top tournament at New York’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. He was pondering hit reply to Vanderbilt’s bid of three spades when a passing waiter stumbled and spilled a whole pitcher of Ice water on Von Zedtwitz’s shoulders.

The break in his train of thought was all but unnoticeable as’ Von Zedtwitz shrugged off the ice cubes and said, «Don’t do that again, I don’t like It —four diamonds.»