ACBL Bridge Beat #28: Do You Play Roth-Stone?

Prior to the 1952 Winter Nationals held in Miami FL, a debate began about the use of the Roth-Stone system in tournament competition.

Oswald Jacoby wrote a letter to the Bulletin stating, “I believe that considerable study should be given to the matter of barring from any except knockout teams-of-four of all systems such as Roth-Stone . . . These systems could not possibly be understood by the player who only has a minute to learn them; and give the players who use them an unfair advantage.”

The following month, Al Roth countered in his letter: “What right does Mr. Jacoby, or anyone else, have to stand in the way of individuals exercising their rights as Americans to formulate and practice new ideas . . .? He casts a definite reflection on me and those who play the Roth-Stone system and I insist that our names be cleared . . . I strongly recommend that the League publish and distribute not only the Roth-Stone system but all conventions that deviate from the predominant standards.”

The Tournament Committee met on Sunday, Nov. 30, 1952, and decided to allow the use of the Roth-Stone system at the Winter Nationals. The Committee emphasized that use of Roth-Stone was approved for the 1952 tournament only.

Al Roth proceeded to win the National Mixed Pair Championship and the Open Teams. He placed second in the Men’s Teams to the team comprising Jacoby, Sam Stayman, Charles Goren, Charles Solomon and Sidney Silodor, third in the Open Pairs and captured the Lou Herman Trophy its first year in play using his system.

Al Roth

Al Roth

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