Jewish Ozzies' Inter.Net
The electronic voice of the Australian Jewish Community

Letters from Jewish Australia - No.49


By Ron Klinger

Ron Klinger writes a regular bridge article for the Australian Jewish News under the title, 'Thursday the Rabbi Played Bridge'. Ron and David Bird have collaborated on two humorous and instructional books, called Kosher Bridge and Kosher Bridge 2, about the exploits of a bridge-playing Rabbi. A third Rabbi book is in the pipeline but it needs a title, something more original than Kosher Bridge 3. Have you any ideas? If so, please send them to Ron Klinger or telephone (02) 9958-5589 or fax (02) 9958-6382. The reward for whoever suggests the chosen title first will be fame (acknowledgement in the book itself) plus a free copy of the book.
The 1997 Australian National Bridge Championships to be held in Sydney from Friday 11th July to Saturday 26th July may score some extra points with kosher players. The venue is the Square House at the University of New South Wales with nearby, on-campus, kosher food and accommodation available at Shalom College. With special rates for participants, this provides an opportunity for kosher bridge players to participate in open events Sunday to Friday. [Contact details below.]

At least two Jewish youngsters are competing. Anthony Newman, 15, son of John and Shirley who are well known in Australian bridge circles, and another student, Adrian Banner, have qualified for the NSW Youth Team. We wish them luck and maybe one day they will rank along with other Jews who have played a significant role in bridge in Australia and indeed the world.

World-class Jewish players include: Edgar Kaplan, editor of The Bridge World and a member of the World Bridge Federation's Laws Commission; Bobby Wolff, one of the world s greatest players, former President of the American Contract Bridge League and a multi-world champion; Eddie Kantar, USA, world champion and one of the best bridge authors; Eric Kokish, Canada, author and brilliant bridge analyst, responsible for most of the material in the annual world bridge championship reports.

The Maccabiah, which is held every four years in Israel, includes a very strong international tournament. Australia participates regularly and has even had a win, which, given the powerful teams fielded by the USA, Canada and France, not to mention Israel which is able to rely on its national open team, is a very impressive achievement.

At this year's Maccabiah, Australia will be represented by:

ALAN SELWYN of Melbourne, (non-playing captain). Alan is a strong player and was also non-playing captain of the 1993 Maccabiah team where his continuous efforts on behalf of the team were greatly appreciated.

TOM KISS, of Sydney (section manager), is a very tough competitor on the Sydney tournament scene. He was also part of the 1993 team and gave unstintingly of his time to assist the team.

BOBBY RICHMAN, of Sydney, is one of Australia s most brilliant players. He has an outstanding record in national championships and holds records for the most wins in several events including the National Open Pairs. His best international performance so far was third in the 1979 Bermuda Bowl, the world open teams championship. Bobby was also the non-playing captain of the Australian Open Team at the 1988 World teams Olympiad and is one of the two players on this team who have won at a Maccabiah. Recently he won the South Pacific Open Teams Championships and thus qualified to represent Australia in the 1997 Bermuda Bowl.

BOBBY EVANS, of Sydney, is the second member on this team who has previously won at a Maccabiah. Bobby was also on the 1993 Maccabi team and several earlier. I played with Bobby in my first year of serious bridge competition way back in 1968 (and hold him responsible for much that has happened to me as a result since then!). One of Bobby s greatest achievements in bridge was winning the Far East Pairs when the Far East Championships were first held in Australia, in Melbourne in 1971. That was in partnership with another Jewish player and personality, George Havas, who wrote the bridge column for The Weekend Australian for many years. George lives in Brisbane and retired from bridge activities two years ago.

ELIZABETH SAWICKI and RACHEL FRENKEL, both of Melbourne, have represented Victoria a number of times in national championships and are regularly in the fray in national events. This will be their first Maccabiah but they are very seasoned and tough competitors.

ROBERT KROCHMALIK, of Sydney, competed in the 1993 Maccabiah in the tennis competition. This year he is partnering Bobby Richman in the bridge. He has had many local successes and is a regular competitor at the NSW Bridge Association. When he arrives at your table, you know you are not going to have an easy time.

ISHMAEL DEL'MONTE, of Sydney, is one of the young super-stars of bridge. He has represented New Zealand and Australia and competed in the 1995 World Youth Championships. He already has national titles notched on his belt and is a quick and brilliant analyst with an outstanding future in the game. This will be his first Maccabiah. Although only about 0.4 percent of the Australian population is Jewish, bridge players who are Jewish account for more than 10% of the leading bridge players in this country. It is a common occurrence for the Australian Open Team to have at least one Jewish player. It would take too much space to list and describe all of the leading Jewish bridge players in Australia. Even worse, were I to do so, there would be any number whom I might accidentally omit (memory being it what it is) and who would never forgive me such a slight. There are, however, four Jewish personalities who have been at the very forefront of bridge in some way or another.

JIM BORIN originally from England but these days of Melbourne is one of the great bridge players of Australia. He competes in national events only rarely these days but in the 60s and 70s he was dynamite. He competed in the 1971 and 1979 Bermuda Bowls where Australia reached its highest position in this world championship and won any number of national titles. I have always felt he could have done even more and am sorry that he is semi-retired from major competition.

GABY LORENTZ of Sydney has played in a great number of teams representing Australia. He was a member of the Australian team in the World Teams Olympiad 1984 and 1988, the Bermuda Bowl in 1989 (when Australia finished fourth) as well as a number of other international events. He has a considerable number of national titles to his credit. He does not play so often these days but when he does, he is always near the top.

YOSSE GREENFELD of Perth was the Treasurer of the Australian Bridge Federation for a number of years and has since become the A.B.F. President, a position which he still holds.

JESSEL ROTHFIELD of Melbourne has probably had more influence on the direction of bridge in Australia than any other individual. He was the first President of the Australian Bridge Federation in the 1960s (until 1971) and was the non-playing captain of the Australian Open Team in 1971. In the 1960s, he privately sponsored teams to participate in the Far East Championships. He was a member of the Australian teams that won the Far East Open Teams in 1968 and 1970. Through his efforts Australia became a country invited to participate regularly in the Far East Bridge Championships (nowadays known as the Pan-Asian Bridge Championships). One of the measures of Jessel s success can be gauged from that fact that since the ABF commenced sending teams to the Far East in 1971, no Australian team has won the Far East Open Teams. Jessel was also instrumental in arranging to have the Far East events held in Australia for the first time in 1971 and he was the organiser of those championships. In partnership with his wife Carol, Jessel has had an amazing string of victories in the past year. These national and international successes include:

As a result of winning the South Pacific, Jessel and Carol will compete in the 1997 Bermuda Bowl, the first time they have played in this world championship. Jim and Norma Borin were the first married couple to compete in the Bermuda Bowl. Jessel and Carol will be only the second married couple to play for Australia in the Bowl.

In his day, the late Frank Theeman, also Jewish, became Australia's oldest international representative at the age of 70. Jessel will set a new record this year for when he plays his first deal in the Bowl in Tunisia in October, he will be 79. As we say, we wish him "bis 120". It just goes to show the validity of the slogan 'Play Bridge, Stay Young'.

* For accommodation contact
Heather Ph:(w) 6 12 9213 2272 Fx: 61 2 9213 4005
Shalom College: Ph: 6 12 9663 1366 Fx: 6 12 9313 7145
email Beverly Solsky

* To obtain a program for the Interstate Championships and additional daily, open events see your local bridge club or Phone Wendi Halvorsen 61 2 9971 4176 or fax 61 2 9351 5266

* For full information on the Maccabiah visit the Maccabi home page

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