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Pop History: Kids Win Big Bridge Honors (Billy Rosen and Milton Ellenby, Life Magazine, 24 August 1953)

To commemorate Billy Rosen, here's a one-pager from Life Magazine mentioning the victories of 24-year-old Rosen and 29-year-old Milton Ellenby at the 1953 Summer Nationals in St. Louis. They were at that time the youngest winners of the Masters' Pairs (the article makes that claim, at any rate), and  taking the Masters' Teams (Spingold) a few days later clinched their berth as America's representatives in the 1954 Bermuda Bowl (at that time a long head-to-head match between the previous year's Spingold and European Open Teams champions), so it was a very significant tournament for them.

A hand played by Rosen is given where a slam bid resulted in a large swing, although it seems to have been more the whims of the Bridge Gods than ingenuity. Perhaps Life recognized that this would be more relatable to their readership than technical brilliance*. It is also interesting to note that Ellenby opening 1NT with a small doubleton was considered worth mentioning; at the time éminences grises such as Goren generally advised against opening a 16-18 1NT with a doubleton weaker than Qx.

And there are a couple of photos of a young Billy Rosen, including him walking off with the trophy.

*The syndicated columns of that time (many of which can be perused on the Google News Archive) may have carried more technically complex hands played by Rosen-Ellenby; it was not uncommon for Goren et al to write up interesting hands from tournaments, since they were usually there too.

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