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Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs

The Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs national bridge championship is held at the summer American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) North American Bridge Championship (NABC).

Usually called simply the "Life Master Pairs" or "LM Pairs", this is a six-session pairs tournament open to all players without regard to age, sex, nationality, or membership. It is restricted to Life Masters, now a modest career record in ACBL sanctioned play, which leading players from overseas are able to achieve by attending a few NABC meets. If it remains the most prestigious competition for pairs, that may be because it is older than the parallel spring and fall events, the Norman Kay Platinum Pairs established 2010 and Edgar Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs established 1963.


The Life Master Pairs is a six-session event with two qualifying, two semi-final and two final sessions. It is restricted to Life Masters. At stake is the Von Zedtwitz Gold Cup. In 1930, Waldemar von Zedtwitz donated the Gold Cup, which was presented to the winners of the Life Master Pairs. The first winners: Von Zedtwitz and P. Hal Sims.

The trophy was initially contested by master players who had qualified by winning a national championship. It was a four-session event, and the field was limited to 64 players so that a complete movement could be played.

The trophy was originally presented on the basis that three wins by one player would secure him outright possession of the trophy. This feat was achieved by Howard Schenken in 1934. Schenken won in 1931 and 1933 with David Burnstine and 1934 with Richard L. Frey. He also won in 1941 with Merwyn Maier and in 1943 with John R. Crawford. The cup, put back into competition by the donor, was stolen in 1954 while in the possession of John Hubbell, who held the LM Pairs title. The theft followed a television appearance during which Hubbell had exhibited the trophy and given the address of his bridge club where the cup was normally displayed.

The trophy was never recovered and the present cup is an exact replica. Mary Jane Farell and Marilyn Johnson are the only pair of women to win the event. Their victory came in 1978.

The record score for the event belongs to S. Garton Churchill and Cecil Head, who won in 1948 --- scoring 65% as an average for four sessions and 77.4% in a single session.


The first seven champion "Master Pairs", from 1930 to 1936, and also the 1931 to 1933 runners-up, each comprised two of the nine men named Life Masters #1 to #9 by the American Bridge League when it introduced the title in 1936.

Only one pair has defended its title successfully, the 1971 and 1972 winners Al Roth and Barbara Rappaport.

Von Zedtwitz Gold Cup, 1930 to present
Year Winners Runners-up
1930 P. Hal Sims, Waldemar von Zedtwitz Ely Culbertson, Josephine Culbertson
1931 David Burnstine, Howard Schenken Michael T. Gottlieb, Theodore Lightner
1932 Michael T. Gottlieb, Theodore Lightner David Burnstine, Howard Schenken
1933 David Burnstine, Howard Schenken P. Hal Sims, Waldemar von Zedtwitz
1934 Richard L. Frey, Howard Schenken Walter Malowan, Sydney Rusinow
1935 B. Jay Becker, Theodore Lightner Louis Haddad, Charles Hall
1936 David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby Robert Appleyard, Isadore Epstine
1937   S. Garton Churchill, Charles Lochridge   Doris Fuller, Henry Vogel
1938 Morrie Elis, Sherman Stearns John R. Crawford, Charles Solomon
1939 Robert Appleyard, Harry Fishbein   Oswald Jacoby, Waldemar von Zedtwitz  
1940 Harry Fishbein, Morrie Elis Sam Fry, Myron Fuchs
1941 Merwyn Maier, Howard Schenken John R. Crawford, Oswald Jacoby
1942 Charles Goren, Helen Sobel Philip Abramsohn, Tobias Stone
1943 John R. Crawford, Howard Schenken Sidney Silodor, Margaret Wagar
1944 Samuel Katz, Peter Leventritt Ambrose Casner, Ralph Hirschberg
1945 Robert Appleyard, M. A. Lightman Bertram Lebhar Jr., Simon Rossant
1946 Sidney Silodor, Charles Solomon Lee Hazen, Ruth Sherman
1947 Allen Harvey, Frank Weisbach John R. Crawford, Theodore Lightner
1948 S. Garton Churchill, Cecil Head Erik Coon, Vincent Remey
1949 Ruth Gilbert, Leo Roet Arthur Glatt, Albert Weiss
1950 Manuel Sherwin, C. W. Yorke Edward Marcus, Sam Stayman
1951 Richard Kahn, Peter Leventritt Ned Drucker, Edgar Kaplan
1952 William Jackson, William Joseph 2/3. John R. Crawford, Howard Schenken
2/3. Arthur Glatt, Albert Weiss
1953 Milton Ellenby, William Rosen Charles Goren, Helen Sobel
1954 David Carter, John Hubbell Victor Mitchell, Ira Rubin
1955 Ben Fain, Paul Hodge Victor Mitchell, Ira Rubin
1956 Al Roth, Tobias Stone John R. Crawford, Sidney Silodor
1957 H. Sanborn Brown, Martin Cohn Francis Begley, Louis Kelner
1958 1/2. Charles Goren, Helen Sobel
1/2. Wilson Landley, Louis Levy
1959 Ed Rosen, Dan Rotman Sidney Aronson, Larry Weiss
1960 Helen Portugal, Morris Portugal Curtis Smith, Bobby Wolff
1961 Phil Feldesman, Marshall Miles Paul Kibler, Robert Reynolds
1962 Phil Feldesman, Ira Rubin Edith Kemp, Albert Weiss
1963 Lew Mathe, Edward Taylor Ira Rubin, Curtis Smith
1964 B. Jay Becker, Dorothy Hayden Bruce Elliott, Percy Sheardown
1965 Victor Mitchell, Sam Stayman Al Roth, Tobias Stone
1966 Hermine Baron, Meyer Schleifer Morrie Freier, Robert Reynolds
1967 Phil Feldesman, Lew Mathe Diana Schuld, Frank Schuld
1968 Billy Eisenberg, Bobby Goldman Jim Jacoby, Bobby Wolff
1969 Sami Kehela, Eric Murray Chuck Burger, Jimmy Cayne
1970 Paul Heitner, Michael Moss Robert Freedman, James Mathis
1971 Al Roth, Barbara Rappaport Jim Jacoby, Minda Brachman
1972 Al Roth, Barbara Rappaport Alan Sontag, Peter Weichsel
1973 Jack Blair, Paul Swanson Chuck Burger, Jimmy Cayne
1974 Gerald Michaud, Bobby Nail Walter Walvick, Thomas Weik
1975 Roy Fox, Eugene O'Neill Mike Becker, Ahmed Hussein
1976 Bobby Lipsitz, Neil Silverman Garey Hayden, Mike Passell
1977 Alan Sontag, Peter Weichsel Ken Cohen, Bobby Lipsitz
1978 Mary Jane Farell, Marilyn Johnson Ron Feldman, David Sacks
1979 Ralph Katz, Ken Schutze Dan Morse, Bobby Nail
1980 Bob Hamman, Eric Rodwell Don Caton, Homer Shoop
1981 Fred Stewart, Steve Weinstein Paul Lavings, Bob Richman
1982 Ron Andersen, Tommy Sanders Bobby Lipsitz, Ron Sukoneck
1983 Bob Hamman, Eddie Kantar Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell
1984 Mike Lawrence, Peter Weichsel Steve Sion, Alan Sontag
1985 George Steiner, Darryl Pedersen David Siebert, Allan Siebert
1986 Douglas Simson, Eric Rodwell Tom Kniest, Karen Walker
1987 David Berkowitz, Larry N. Cohen Peter Boyd, Steve Robinson
1988 Marty Bergen, Larry N. Cohen John Carruthers, Howard Weinstein
1989 Richard Katz, Bobby Levin Howard Weinstein, Ralph Katz
1990 Mike Becker, Ron Rubin John Mohan, Kay Schulle
1991 Doug Simson, Eric Rodwell Steve Sion, Clint Morrell
1992 Bob Hamman, Hemant Lall Zia Mahmood, Hugh Ross
1993 Dan Morse, John Sutherlin Tom Clarke, Alan Lebendig
1994 Bobby Levin, Jeff Wolfson Steve Sion, Eddie Wold
1995 Joe Kivel, Allan Siebert Bill Root, Richard Pavlicek
1996 David Berkowitz, Larry N. Cohen Tony Forrester, Geir Helgemo
1997 Steve Garner, Howard Weinstein Tony Forrester, Geir Helgemo
1998 Eric Greco, Geoff Hampson Richard Pavlicek, Rich Pavlicek Jr.
1999 John Mohan, Sam Lev Brad Moss, Fred Gitelman
2000 Zia Mahmood, Michael Rosenberg John Mohan, Sam Lev
2001 Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Gary Cohler, Ralph Katz
2002 Tobi Sokolow, Leni Holtz Lynn Deas, Curtis Cheek
2003 Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman Michael Rosenberg, Ralph Katz
2004 Walid Elahmady, Zia Mahmood Reese Milner, John Mohan
2005 Stephen Gladyszak, Pat McDevitt Walid Elahmady, Zia Mahmood
2006 Bart Bramley, Björn Fallenius Marty Fleisher, William Pollack
2007 Zia Mahmood, Chip Martel Renee Mancuso, Howard Weinstein
2008 Jan Jansma, Ricco van Prooijen Eric Greco, Geoff Hampson
2009 Michał Kwiecień, Roald Ramer Nikolay Demirev, Hemant Lall
2010 Boye Brogeland, Erik Sælensminde Norberto Bocchi, Guido Ferraro
2011 Per-Ola Cullin, Peter Bertheau Zia Mahmood, Tarek Sadek
2012 Alan Sontag, Alan Osofsky Zia Mahmood, Marty Fleisher
2013 Mark Itabashi, Ross Grabel Kevin Bathurst, Steve Weinstein
2014 Doug Doub, Frank Merblum Giorgio Duboin, Zia Mahmood

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