He attended the military school at Kőszeg and Budapest, and studied mathematics and physics at Budapest University 1931-1935. After a brief career on Hungarian radio, he was a secretary of Hungarian PEN Club from 1945 to 1957. As he was unable to publish his works for political reasons, he earned his living translating. He translated mainly from English (Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, John Osborne, Evelyn Waugh); and German (Thomas Mann, G. Keller, Stefan Zweig).
He was a passionate bridge player and advanced theoretician, and his 1979 book Adventures in Card Play written with Hugh Kelsey introduced and developed many new concepts (such as Backwash squeeze and Entry-shifting squeeze). A survey of bridge experts in 2007, listed the book third on a list of their all-time favourites, nearly thirty years after its first publication.
- He received a grant from the British Government for his translations, 1960
- József Attila Prize (1981)
- Kossuth Prize (1985)
- Hamisjátékosok (Swindlers; stories) (1941)
- Hajnali háztetők (Rooftops at Dawn; novella) (1957)
- Iskola a határon (School at the Frontier; novel) (1959)
- Minden megvan (Nothing's Lost; short stories) (1969, revised and enlarged 1991)
- Adventures in Card Play (with Hugh Kelsey, on the play of the hand in bridge) (1979)
- Próza (Prose; essays, interviews) (1980)
- A Valencia-rejtély (The Valencia Enigma; novel) (1989)
- Hajónapló (Logbook; novel) (1989)
- Buda (novel) (1993)
- Francis, Henry G., Editor-in-Chief; Truscott, Alan F., Executive Editor; Francis, Dorthy A., Editor, Sixth Edition (2001). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (6th ed.). Memphis, TN: American Contract Bridge League. p. 710. ISBN 0-943855-44-6. OCLC 49606900.
- American Contract Bridge League Bridge Bulletin, June 2007, pages 20-22.
- Hungarian Literature database
- His biography and publications
- Géza Ottlik on Hunlit.hu
- Géza Ottlik international record at the World Bridge Federation.
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