Dallas Aces

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The Dallas Aces (initially the U.S. Aces, then later just the Aces) were the world's first professional bridge team, organized by Dallas businessman Ira Corn in 1968.[1][2] Corn was determined to return bridge supremacy to the United States, after the long domination of the formidable Italian Blue Team.[3]

Corn recruited James Jacoby and Bobby Wolff, then Billy Eisenberg, Bobby Goldman, and Michael Lawrence, paying salaries ($800 per month for single players, $950 for married ones) and expenses for major tournaments.[4] Bob Hamman at first declined an invitation, but became the sixth member of the team in 1969.[3] Jacoby paired with Wolff, Eisenberg with Goldman, and Lawrence with Hamman. The team practiced and analyzed hands for long hours; Corn even hired coaches and provided a computer from one of his companies for analysis and to generate bridge hands to order.[4]

In 1969, the team achieved its first major success, winning the Spingold Knockout Teams at the fall North American Bridge Championships.[2] In 1970, it represented the United States at the Bermuda Bowl, the world team championship, and defeated a team from Taiwan in the final (the Blue Team having disbanded in 1969). The Aces defended their title in 1971, beating a French team. Afterward, Corn ceased paying salaries and only picked up some expenses.

The composition of the team began changing. In 1971, Eisenberg departed, with Paul Soloway taking his place until 1973, when he in turn was replaced by Mark Blumenthal. That year, the Aces lost to the revived Blue Team in the Bermuda Bowl final. Lawrence and Jacoby were the next to leave, making way for the pair of Eric Murray and Sami Kehela. The team again came second to its nemesis, the Blue Team, in the 1974 and 1975 Bermuda Bowls. Other personnel changes followed. In 1977, the Aces recaptured the title, with the pairings Eisenberg/Edwin Kantar, Hamman/Wolff, and Soloway/John C. Swanson. In 1981, Corn put together one final Aces team. However, he died of a heart attack in April 1982. The team went on to win the Spingold and the Bermuda Bowl, which was dedicated to Corn, then disbanded.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alan Truscott (May 3, 1982). "Bridge: The Bridge World Mourns Ira Corn, Founder of Aces". New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Charles Goren (September 15, 1969). "Corn's Aces Prove They're Really Pros". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Aces Team". Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b William Johnson (March 23, 1970). "A Handful of Aces". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 

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