Alan Truscott

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Alan Fraser Truscott (16 April 1925 – 4 September 2005) was a bridge player, writer, and editor. He wrote the daily bridge column for The New York Times for 41 years, from 1964 to 2005, and served as Executive Editor for all six editions of The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge from 1964 to 2002.

Britain[edit]

Truscott was born in Brixton, south London, and showed early prowess at chess.[1] He attended Whitgift School in Croydon and served in the Royal Navy for three years around the end of World War II. From 1947 he studied at the University of Oxford, which he represented at both chess and bridge. With Oxford partner Robert d'Unienville, he was on the British team (along with Terence Reese and Boris Schapiro) that won a bronze medal at the 1951 European Bridge League championships, age only 26. He represented Britain in the same event twice more, finishing second with partner Maurice Harrison-Gray in 1958 (again along with Reese–Schapiro) and first with partner Tony Priday in 1961. He was in charge of organizing the 1961 rendition hosted by Torquay in Devonshire, England. As European champions that British team finished third in the 1962 Bermuda Bowl held in New York City. The 1961 European teams was his only international championship.

America[edit]

According to Maureen Hiron, bridge columnist for The Independent of London, in New York City "he fell in love with one of the scorers, in particular, and America in general, and decided to cross the Atlantic."

Richard L. Frey, the American Contract Bridge League publications director, recruited Truscott to help edit the ACBL's membership magazine and its Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, whose first edition was underway. Truscott moved to New York City, then the ACBL headquarters, and succeeded Albert Morehead as bridge editor of The New York Times 1 January 1964. Frey, Truscott, and the editorial board led by Morehead completed the first Encyclopedia later that year.

Alan Truscott had three children Frances, Fraser and Philip with his first wife Gloria Gilling. That marriage was dissolved 1971 (Hiron) and in 1972 he married the American bridge expert and internationalist Dorothy Hayden, born Johnson, a former math teacher and actuary, who had four children from two previous marriages.(Alder)

Dorothy Truscott continued to compete at the highest levels after their marriage, winning all four of her world championships and achieving the world number one rank among women.(Alder) She had written "two best-selling bridge books" in 1969 and 1970 and they later wrote two books together.

Alan Truscott wrote thirteen books himself. He died of cancer at their vacation home in New Russia, New York, near Lake Champlain.[2] Mrs. Truscott died the following year.

Buenos Aires affair[edit]

As New York Times correspondent, Truscott covered the 1965 contract bridge world championship Bermuda Bowl in Buenos Aires and became a chief witness in a cheating scandal where Terence Reese and Boris Schapiro, representing Europe, were accused of using their fingers to pass information about their cards. The initial accusers were the American partnership of B. Jay Becker and Dorothy Hayden; the two confided their suspicions to Truscott, a close friend of Hayden's (and later her husband), and to John Gerber, then captain of the USA team. After an investigation, Reese and Schapiro were judged guilty by the World Bridge Federation authorities at the tournament in Buenos Aires. The British Bridge League (BBL) convened its own inquiry, and next year judged them not guilty by the "reasonable doubt" standard.

Both Truscott and Reese published books on the affair, The Great Bridge Scandal[3] and The Story of an Accusation.[4]

New York Times articles[edit]

Even after 1980, there was significant coverage of the Buenos Aires affair in the New York Times bridge columns by Truscott and his successor Phillip Alder.

Tournament record[edit]

Winner[edit]

  • North American Bridge Championships (3)
    • Mixed Pairs (1) 1989
    • Master Mixed Teams (1) 1985
    • North American Swiss Teams (1) 1987
  • European Championships (1)
    • Open Teams (1) 1961
  • British Championships (2)
    • Masters Individual (2) 1953, 1958

Runners-up[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • Index of New York Times articles by Alan Truscott. When first linked here, that listed 6587 hits for "bridge" from 19 February 1981 to 5 March 2005; it lists 6532 hits for "Alan Truscott" and 6272 for "by Alan Truscott". Phillip Alder continues the "Bridge" column so its number of hits continues to increase. Truscott estimated that his byline appeared more than 12000 times. That implies about half before 1981, which suggests a 7-days-weekly column.
  • Truscott, Alan (1987). Basic Bridge in Three Weeks. New York: Perigee.  224 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1996). The Bidding Dictionary. Oakland: Lawrence & Leong.  272 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (2004). Bridge in Three Weeks. Toronto: Master Point Press.  232 pp.[clarification needed]
  • Truscott, Alan (1968). Competitive Bidding. Bridge Tutor. New York: Roin.  32 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1968). Defensive Bidding. Bridge Tutor. Roin.  32 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1968). No Trump Bidding. Bridge Tutor. Roin.  32 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1968). Slam Bidding. Bridge Tutor. Roin.  32 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1968). Suit Bidding. Bridge Tutor. Roin.  32 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1961). Bridge: Successful Play from First Principles. London: Oldbourne.  159 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1959 to 2001). Contract Bridge. Various publishers.  99 to 133 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1969). The Great Bridge Scandal. New York: Yarborough.  331 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (c. 1970). Improve Your Bridge #3. New York: Doop Bridge Supplies.  26 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1990). Intermediate Bridge in Three Weeks. New York: Perigee.  224 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1971 to 1979). Master Bridge by Question and Answer. Various publishers.  252 to 260 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1987). The New York Times Bridge Series: Doubles and Redoubles. New York: Times Books.  152 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1985). The New York Times Bridge Series: Grand Slams. Times Books.  133 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan (1970). The New York Times Guide to Practical Bridge. New York: Golden Press.  220 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan; Truscott, Dorothy (1976–77). Teach Yourself Basic Bidding.  (New York: Arco Pub. Co., 1996, ISBN 0668038365)
  • Truscott, Alan; Truscott, Dorothy (2002). The New York Times Bridge Book: an anecdotal history of the development, personalities, and strategies of the world's most popular card game. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-33107-X.  ISBN 0-312-29090-X (paper).
  • Rosenkranz, George; Truscott, Alan (1982). Modern Ideas in Bidding. Louisville, KY: Devyn Press.  236 pp.
  • Rosenkranz, George; Truscott, Alan (1992). Bidding on Target. Devyn Press.  292 pp.
  • Truscott, Alan; Alder, Phillip (1990). On Bidding: Albert Morehead's Classic Work on the Principles of Bidding Judgement Revised and Updated. Simon & Schuster.  399 pp.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Winter, Edward. "Chess and Bridge". Chess History Center (chesshistory.com). Retrieved 2011-11-28. 
  2. ^ Pollak, Michael (5 September 2005). "Alan Truscott, Times Bridge Editor Since 1964, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Confirmed 2011-09-03.
  3. ^ Truscott, Alan (1969). The Great Bridge Scandal. New York: Yarborough Press. ISBN 0682469045. LCCN 68023644. 331 pages. (2nd edition, 2004). Toronto: Master Point Press. ISBN 1-894154-67-3. 251 pages.
  4. ^ Reese, Terence (1966). The Story of an Accusation. London: Heinemann. LCCN 67075048. 244 pages. (US edition, 1967). New York: Simon & Schuster. LCCN 67017872. 246 pages.

External links[edit]

Obituaries
Games columns about Truscott

Bridge columns featuring Alan Truscott by his successor Phillip Alder:

Chess column by his fellow Robert Byrne: