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All comments by Jordan Cohen
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I was living in Memphis between 1972-74 at the time when the Vietnam War POW's were being released. One evening, Nate Silverstein, who was Mr. Bridge in Memphis, asked me to play in a local duplicate at the M.A. Lightman Bridge Club, with Commander Ray Vohden, one of the longest held POW's, who had been based in Memphis, previously. I remember his leg had been badly injured during the war, and he had to wear a boot of some sort. I was only 16-17 at the time, and as a Canadian who had only been living in the US for 2-3 years at that point, I was probably too young to appreciate what he had gone through, at the time.I do remember him describing how they'd played bridge while in captivity, in the manner described in the Bulletin article cited by Barry Rogoff.
Dec. 16, 2018
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i thought i saw resort fees being waived for Hawaii. maybe that's what you saw
Sept. 14, 2018
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Congrats! More hardware heading north!
Aug. 1, 2018
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Fantastic job guys! Appropriate that the trophy return north for the first time in 49 years–worthy successors to Murray-Kehela.
July 30, 2018
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I thought he spoke Texan. And for what it is worth, webs should be “no-brainers” for single section 14-17 tables, and even more [as opposed to splitting in to 2 9+ sections for 18+ table games.
July 11, 2018
Jordan Cohen edited this comment July 11, 2018
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And Hugh Ross, and Peter Nagy and Billy Cohen…the list goes on and on
June 2, 2018
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The family recorded the celebration at Osgoode. Hopefully they will post a “Best of…” on YouTube. The law stories were more humorous than the bridge ones; the best being by a lawyer, telling how, when he was a student in a class on trial advocacy was describing to his friends around him the articling job he'd secured at this firm, but how they had one scary litigator–“ERM” (as he seemed to be affectionately known to his colleagues). The professor then called the class to order, and invited the guest lecturer for the day to come and speak. Up stood the gentleman (in his brown suit–there were a lot of brown suit jokes) next to this student to address the class—ERM.

He said not a word was ever spoken between them about the incident. The mortified student still got his articling job, and worked with ERM for many years thereafter.

Fortunately, for bridge players, English grammar is not a big part of our game, limited as we are to 16 words (I think, counting notrump as 1), as there was another aspect to him that we were spared. We were informed that his professional nickname, ascribed to him by one of his colleagues 40+ years ago, was “OUTRAGE”. This would come as no surprise to bridge players.

For those interested, we were pointed to a You Tube posting of a legal argument between ERM, John Laskin ( a fine bridge player in his own right, who is a senior judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal) and the distinguished English lawyer and judge, Sir Robert Megarry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyArAYdc6Lo

It is lengthy, but we were informed quite entertaining
May 31, 2018
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Magistrate Bigelow also had articles published in the Bridge World in the 40's (and beyond). He certainly would not have needed Eric to go into great detail about bridge, and would have likely been as knowledgeable a person on the bench at the time as to the nature of bridge. One wonders if he was a consistent loser at rubber bridge, which he perhaps only attributed to bridge being, at best, a game of mixed skill and chance!
May 30, 2018
Jordan Cohen edited this comment May 30, 2018
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As an update, the case was then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which granted leave to hear it, and in a 4-1 decision upheld the conviction. The dissenting opinion to quash the conviction goes into great detail about the evidence that Eric provided at trial

https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1968/1968canlii21/1968canlii21.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAAAAAAEAFjE5NjcgQ2FuTElJIDM0IChPTiBDQSkAAAABAA4vMTk2N29uY2ExMDAxMQE&resultIndex=1
May 30, 2018
Jordan Cohen edited this comment May 30, 2018
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This is the link to the 1967 Ontario Court of Appeal decision upholding the conviction of various individuals for running a common gaming house (ie rubber bridge club). Eric was the expert witness for the defence and G. Arthur Martin, one of the pre-eminent defense lawyers of his day, and subsequently a Court of Appeal judge himself, represented the defendants. One small quote

“There is nothing in the agreed statement of facts which describes the nature of the game of bridge of how it is played. The evidence in that regard, so far as it goes, is contained in the testimony of Mr. Eric Murray who was called as a witness for the defence. His qualifications as an expert on the game of bridge are impressive.”

https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/1967/1967canlii34/1967canlii34.html?resultIndex=8
May 30, 2018
Jordan Cohen edited this comment May 30, 2018
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Do we need to be gowned?
May 24, 2018
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Eric was someone who I was aware of since i was a kid, when my father was a member, together with Eric, Sam and Sami, of the 1964 Canadian Olympiad team that came 4th. When I moved to Toronto in 1977 to attend law school, I finally got to meet him, and thereafter got the benefit of his skills as a raconteur in the fields of both law and bridge. In the curent bridge pro regime, one has to remember that Eric accomplished his bridge feats while also being one of Toronto's leading trial lawyers for many, many years.
May 23, 2018
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Paul wasn't the CEO; and 60K in the mid-80's was a decent salary in Memphis. That said, the Exec-sec'y's salary was not what it is today. Compensation and housing prices i suspect are two of the reasons the ACBL stayed in the Memphis/Horn Lake area. From other threads it seems like they got a great deal on the building, although it iappears from subsequent events that it lies in a flood plain.
I also agree that the BoD's apparent penchant for micro-managing doesn't help.
May 8, 2018
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Gary is correct. Paul is not related to either Ralph or myself (or Billy for that matter), although he too has a first-rate bridge pedigree. That said, i'm not sure I concur with Gary's assessment. During Ralph's and Paul's tenure as Exec Sec'y and Marketing manager in the mid-80's I recall that membership trended up into the mid 180's and many programs (like Teacher Education, the Novice Program, the ACBL Educational Foundation) were either started or expanded upon.
Ralph, although probably the most expert “Head” the ACBL has had, aside from maybe Alvin Landy, was also thoroughly familiar with the whole gamut of the bridge organization, having worked as a tournament director, unit executive member, tournament chairman including chair of the 1967 Summer NABC in Montreal, long before he went to work at the ACBL. All this is to say, that in addition to whatever general business acumen the BoD is seeking, it is useful if the individual understands how the game and the organization works at all levels, irrespective of his/her bridge expertise.
May 8, 2018
Jordan Cohen edited this comment May 9, 2018
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As a member of a family that was involved with the Greenwich to Memphis move, i can confirm that it was that move that was decided by the razor-thin vote. The building at Democrat Road was built for the ACBL and i think suited its purposes for many years. Airways was a converted building. I think one factor that might have kept the ACBL in the mid-south area was the sticker shock employees would have faced for housing on a move elsewhere, and there might have been concern that too many employees would not make the move, with all the attendant disruption that might cause; but Don would be more familiar if that was a factor.
May 4, 2018
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maybe that's a hangover from the Bill Gross regime.
May 4, 2018
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When Dick Goldberg and Ralph Cohen were the “top executive” their title was Executive Secretary. I can't remember what Blackwood's title was, but I'm sure someone can sift through the archives. Sometime later, it was felt necessary to upgrade the title, it seems without the commensurate authority that accompanies it.
May 2, 2018
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I'd wait until “the 12th of never..”

You ask me how much I need you, must I explain?
I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain
May 2, 2018
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A little bit more history. Easley succeeded Alvin Landy who died suddenly in Sept. '67. It necessitated him relocating from Indiana to NYC or CT, as the league moved its office from NYC to Greenwich. That is why it was only for 3 plus years. Easley groomed Dick Goldberg to be his successor, and he lasted in the position for 13 years from 1971-1984. Having been annointed by Easley as his successor, Dick had a headstart on dealing with the BoD, which I think was his most difficult task . BTW, he had a rule that head office staff couldn't play in NABC+ events if they were otherwise working at the Nationals. His immediate successor maintained that policy.
By the time that he stepped down in ‘84 there had been a substantial turnover in the BoD and old stalwarts whose names would be familiar to long time members were gone, and I think the new board wanted to re-assert itself. It has been a 30+ year saga since then with an unfortunately high rate of turnover in CEO’s to the detriment of the organization.
May 1, 2018
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Marvin Barnes and Ernie DiGregerio led Providence to the Final Four, where they lost to the Larry Kenon & Finch led Memphis State Tigers, who then got crunched by Bill Walton in his final NCAA game.
May 1, 2018
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