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Edgar Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs

The Edgar Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs (or simply the Blue Ribbon Pairs) is a national bridge championship held at the fall American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) North American Bridge Championship (NABC). The event is restricted to those that have won a blue ribbon qualification and is generally considered the hardest pairs event on the ACBL calendar.

The Blue Ribbon Pairs is a six session MP pairs event, two qualifying sessions, two semi-final sessions and two final sessions that takes place over three days, typically starting on the first Tuesday of the NABC.

Along with the Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs at the summer NABC and the Norman Kay Platinum Pairs at the spring NABC, the events provide one marquee pairs championship at each of the three NABCs. Each is open to all players whose past performances qualify them, without regard to age, gender, nationality, or ACBL membership. In addition, the North American Pairs, contested in the spring, is for ACBL members who have qualified in one of its 25 Districts, some of which require qualification in local Units.


The event was introduced in 1963 and ranks with the von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs (Summer NABC) as the most prestigious - and toughest - pair events on the ACBL calendar.

Entry is restricted to winners and runners-up in regional championships - plus high finishers in North American championships, members of current Grand National district championship teams, members of current official teams representing ACBL and the top 100 lifetime masterpoint holders.

The Blue Ribbon Pairs was renamed the Edgar Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs in 1999 to honor one of bridge's all-time great players, writers and administrators. Edgar Kaplan was recognized as the world’s foremost authority on the laws of duplicate and rubber bridge. He became co-chairman of the ACBL Laws Commission in 1978 and was co-chairman of the WBF Laws Commission at the time of his death. He was named ACBL Honorary Member in 1993. In 1995 he was inducted into the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame and the WBF Hall of Fame.

The event is contested for the Cavendish Trophy, which was donated by the Cavendish Club of New York in 1928 and long awarded for the National Open Pairs. Since 1963, the trophy has been awarded to winners of the Blue Ribbon Pairs.


No Blue Ribbon Pairs champion has successfully defended its title. Three pairs have won twice: Steve Robinson-Kit Woolsey, Marty Bergen-Larry N. Cohen, and Jeff Meckstroth-Eric Rodwell. Bob Hamman won four times with four partners over thirty years from 1964 to 1993.

Kathie and Mike Cappelletti were runners-up in 1973 and 1977. A married couple last won the predecessor Fall National Open Pairs in 1945, Jane and Lewis M. Jaeger (the first married couple who became Life Masters).

Two women, Daniela von Arnim and Sabine Auken were runners-up in 2005 - the last time there was one woman in the winning pair, Jenny Ryman and Gavin Wolpert (who later married). Two women won the predecessor Open Pairs in 1948, Helen Sobel and Margaret Wagar - also the last time any pair defended its title.

Blue Ribbon Pairs, 1963 to present
Year Winners Runners-up
-1962 preceded by the Fall National Open Pairs
 1963  B. Jay Becker, Dorothy Hayden Harold Harkavy, Cliff Russell
1964 Bob Hamman, Lew Mathe Gunther Polak, Robert G. Sharp
1965 Chuck Henke, John H. Moran Mike Lawrence, Ron Von der Porten
1966 Charles Coon, Richard Zeckhauser Leland Ferer, Gratian Goldstein
1967 Sami Kehela, Baron Wolf Lebovic Phil Feldesman, Lew Mathe
1968 Larry T. Cohen, Richard H. Katz Bobby Goldman, Mike Lawrence
1969 Erik Paulsen, Alex Tschekaloff 2/4: Sami Kehela, Eric Murray
2/4: Tom Hodapp, Robert Morris
2/4: Larry T. Cohen, Richard H. Katz
1970 Chuck Burger, Ira Rubin Richard Freeman, Cliff Russell
1971 Roger Bates, John M. Grantham Hermine Baron, Mike Lawrence
1972 Richard Khautin, Warren Kornfeld Garey Hayden, Mark Lair
1973 Steve Robinson, Kit Woolsey Kathie Cappelletti, Mike Cappelletti
1974 Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay Roger Bates, George Rosenkranz
1975 Steve Robinson, Kit Woolsey Ron Andersen, Hugh MacLean
1976 Jay Apfelbaum, Bill Edelstein Jim Jacoby, David Berkowitz
1977 Lou Bluhm, Tommy Sanders Kathie Cappelletti, Mike Cappelletti
1978 Ron Andersen, David Berkowitz Ted Horning, Peter Nagy
1979 Bobby Levin, Ron Smith James Bennett, Chet Davis
1980 Warren Rosner, Allan Stauber Dan Morse, Bobby Nail
1981 Larry N. Cohen, Ron Gerard Chip Martel, Lew Stansby
1982 Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell 2/3: Bob Blanchard, Drew Casen
2/3: Peter Boyd, Steve Robinson
1983 Marty Bergen, Larry N. Cohen Peter Weichsel, Mike Lawrence
1984 1/2: Jack Kennedy, Bobby Wolff
1/2: David Funk, Mark Lair
1985 Walter Johnson, Eric Rodwell Ed Manfield, Kit Woolsey
1986 Bob Hamman, Ron Von der Porten Ed Manfield, Kit Woolsey
1987 Fred Stewart, Steve Weinstein Bobby Levin, Kerri Shuman
1988 Marty Bergen, Larry N. Cohen Bobby Levin, Ron Smith
1989 Mark Molson, Robert Lebi Gaylor Kasle, Roger Bates
1990 Ed Manfield, Kit Woolsey Brian Glubok, Sam Lev
1991 Bob Hamman, Nick Nickell Mark Tolliver, Marc Zwerling
1992 Haig Tchamitch, Adam Wildavsky Brad Moss, Ravindra Murthy
1993 Bob Hamman, Michael Rosenberg Martin De Bruin, Steve Price
1994 Mark Lair, Alexander Weiland Fred Stewart, Steve Weinstein
1995 David Berkowitz, Larry N. Cohen Paul Kiefer, Jerry Helms
1996 Bob Blanchard, Jim Krekorian David Berkowitz, Larry N. Cohen
1997 Allan Falk, Adam Wildavsky Tony Forrester, Geir Helgemo
1998 Zia Mahmood, Howard Weinstein Eric Rodwell, Marty Seligman
1999 Jill Meyers, John Mohan Russ Ekeblad, John Sutherlin
2000 Richard Coren, Marc Jacobus Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein
2001 Salvador Assael, Nafiz Zorlu Pratap Rajadhyaksha, Steve Landen
2002 Bart Bramley, Sidney Lazard Fred Stewart, Kit Woolsey
2003 Geir Helgemo, Michael Seamon Eric Greco, Geoff Hampson
2004 Tarek Sadek, Walid Elahmady Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein
2005 Jenny Ryman, Gavin Wolpert Daniela von Arnim, Sabine Auken
2006 Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes Drew Casen, Jim Krekorian
2007   Steve Landen, Pratap Rajadhyaksha     Ernesto Muzzio, Alejandro Bianchedi  
2008 Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell Martin de Knijff, Frederic Wrang
2009 Bart Bramley, Björn Fallenius John Hurd, Joel Wooldridge
2010 Jay Borker, Jan Jansma Sjoert Brink, Bas Drijver
2011 Joshua Donn, Roger Lee Billy Cohen, Brad Moss
2012 John Diamond, Brian Platnick Geoff Hampson, Eric Greco
2013 Agustin Madala, Steve Weinstein Bar Tarnovski, Dror Padon
2014 John Hurd, Justin Lall Nikolay Demirev, Eldad Ginossar

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