Master Individual

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The Master Individual national bridge championship was held at the fall American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) North American Bridge Championship (NABC); it was held from 1931 until 1960 after which it was discontinued.


The event was contested for the Karn Trophy from 1931 to 1933 and the Steiner Trophy from 1934 to 1960.

Described as “a magnificent gold cup” by The Bridge World, the Karn trophy was donated by Willard S. Karn in 1931 for the National Individual Masters Championship. While refuting allegations of impropriety in 1933, Karn withdrew his trophy. It was replaced in 1934 by the Steiner Trophy donated by Albert Steiner and Philip Steiner of Cincinnati, Ohio.


The Master Individual was contested thirty times with a single winner on every occasion. The inaugural event was played at the home of P. Hal Sims in Deal, New Jersey, 5–7 September 1931 and won by Karn himself. Howard Schenken won in 1932 and David Bruce was the final winner in 1933.[1]

Four people won The Master Individual twice: B. Jay Becker, George Rapée, Harry Fishbein, and Morrie Elis. Becker was the sole runner-up three times and tied once; Fishbein and Elis were runners-up once each. Elinor Murdoch was second in 1933 and first in 1934. Sylvia Klein in 1958 was the only other woman champion.

Masters Individual, 1931 to 1960
Year Winner Runner-up
 1931  Willard Karn Richard L. Frey
1932 Howard Schenken David Burnstine
1933 David Burnstine Elinor Murdoch
1934 Elinor Murdoch B. Jay Becker
1935 Oswald Jacoby David Burnstine
1936   Waldemar von Zedtwitz   Merwyn Maier
1937 B. Jay Becker George Unger
1938 Richard Ecker Jr. Harry Fishbein
1939 Merwyn Maier Alvin Landy
1940 Morrie Elis Lee Hazen
1941 Lee Hazen B. Jay Becker
1942 Harry Fishbein Olive Peterson
1943 Alvin Roth Charles Solomon
1944 George Rapée Robert D. Chatkin
1945 Charles Goren Albert Weiss
1946 Robert A. McPherran Morrie Elis
1947 Charles J. Solomon Jack Cushing
1948 B. Jay Becker Myron Field
1949 George Rapée B. Jay Becker
1950 Morrie Elis Robert Appleyard
1951 Sidney Silodor John R. Crawford
1952 Harry Fishbein Peter Leventritt
1953 Tobias Stone Larry Hirsch
1954 Edward Burns F. Ayres Bombeck
1955 Norman Kay 2/3. B. Jay Becker
2/3. Alvin Roth
1956 John R. Crawford Robert Appleyard
1957 Edgar Kaplan   Ernest E. Karshmer  
1958 Sylvia Stein John R. Crawford
1959 Leo Pressburg Frank L. Jackson
1960 Robert Reynolds Arthur Robinson



  • 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. ISBN 0-943855-44-6. OCLC 49606900.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • "Search Results: Masters Individual". ACBL. Visit "NABC Winners"; select a Discontinued NABC. Retrieved 2014-06-04.[dead link]