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Alvin Roth

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Subject: List of Stanford University people, Bermuda Bowl, Negative double, World Team Olympiad, Spingold, Reisinger
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Alvin Roth

Alvin Leon (Al) Roth (November 6, 1914 – April 18, 2007) was an American bridge player, considered one of the greatest of all time.[1] He wrote several books on the game, and invented various bridge conventions that have become commonplace, including five-card majors, negative doubles, forcing notrump, and the unusual notrump.[2] Roth was considered a fascinating theorist but was described by one partner as "very tough to sit opposite—unless you were so thick-skinned that no insult was severe enough to hurt, or you were willing to make extreme sacrifices to get on a winning side."[3]


Roth was born in The Bronx. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School and studied mathematics at City College of New York, where he discovered bridge.[2] Roth then took a job as a government statistician in Washington, D.C.[1] He served in the US Army in World War II, where he met future bridge partner Tobias Stone, then returned to New York City.

He played for the United States or North America in the Bermuda Bowl world team championships of 1955, 1958, and 1967, losing the final each time.[2] He also won a silver medal with the US team in the 1968 World Team Olympiad.[1]

Roth was a Grand Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League, and a World Life Master of the World Bridge Federation.[1]

After attending a bridge tournament in Miami Beach, Roth moved there and ran a bridge club for five years. Then he founded the Charles Goren School of Bridge in Washington, D.C., and ran it for ten years. Roth then purchased the Mayfair Club in New York, which he managed until retiring to Florida in 1995.

Roth married twice, first to Fay Edelstein in 1940. They had a son, but were divorced in 1963, and she died in 1995. He married his second wife, Jean Farrell, in 1980.

Roth died of natural causes in Boca Raton.[1]

Bridge accomplishments






  • Al Roth on Bridge: the Roth–Stone system (Washington: Melville, 1953)
  • Bridge Is a Partnership Game: the Roth–Stone system (E. P. Dutton, 1958), Roth and Tobias Stone; 2nd ed. (Ballston Lake, NY: Granovetter Books, 1989), with a new preface by Roth
  • Modern Bridge Bidding Complete: introducing the Roth point count (Funk & Wagnalls, 1968), Roth and Jeff Rubens
  • Bridge for Beginners (Funk & Wagnalls, 1970), Roth and Rubens
  • Picture Bidding: the art of painting a bridge hand (Granovetter, 1991)
  • Negative Doubles (Louisville: Devyn Press, 1981), Championship Bridge no. 5
  • The Unusual No Trump (Devyn, 1981), Championship Bridge no. 11

WARNING: WorldCat includes works by more than one Al(vin L.) Roth.


  1. ^ a b c d e Alder, Phillip (April 19, 2007). "Alvin Roth, Bridge Champion, Dies at 92". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c Obituary, The Times, May 26, 2007. (subscription required)
  3. ^ Rubens, Jeff, ed. (December 2009). "Dick Freeman: The Bridge World Interview". The Bridge World 81:2, p. 27. Interview of Richard Freeman.

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