This spring, the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame electors chose Jeff Meckstroth to be inducted into the Class of 2017 as the recipient of the Open Award. This was the first year of eligibility for Meckstroth, a resident of Clearwater Beach FL, who is one of the most highly accomplished players in the history of the game.
In 1974, at the age of 18, Meckstroth was one of the first recipients of the ACBL King of Bridge scholarship, and since that time, he has become a world champion nine times over. Meckstroth has gold medals in the Bermuda Bowl from 1981, 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2009 and the World Bridge Games (formerly the Bridge Olympiad) in 1988. He won the World Open Pairs in 1986, the World Mixed Pairs in 2002 and the World Senior Teams in 2016. He is ranked fifth on the World Bridge Federation’s list of all-time World Grand Masters.
Closer to home, Meckstroth has amassed 61 North American championship titles since his first in 1979, including 31 of the premium variety: seven Vanderbilts, 12 Spingolds, nine Reisingers and three Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs. He sits atop ACBL’s masterpoint-holder list with more than 84,000 masterpoints (as of May 2017). He has won Player of the Year (most platinum points in a calendar year) three times, and the annual Barry Crane masterpoint race a record 11 times.
The lion’s share of Meckstroth’s success has come in tandem with longtime partner Eric Rodwell. Together, they are known simply as Meckwell, and they enjoy the widespread reputation as one of the greatest partnerships of all time. The pair has won virtually every major title in the game, most of them more than once. They are renowned not only as great players, but also as brilliant theorists. Their bidding system (starting from a Precision base) is complex, their agreements extensive, and their trademark style ultra-aggressive.
For almost 25 years, Meckstroth and Rodwell have been the anchor pair for teams captained by Nick Nickell. Many of the duo’s North American and world titles were earned as members of the Nickell squad. Even as the lineup has changed over the years, Meckwell has been the core of what is arguably the most successful team ever.
In addition to his many achievements at the table, Jeff has been a faithful servant to bridge. He has been a member the Conventions and Competitions Committee for 25 consecutive years, served as National recorder and been a longtime member of the Appeals Committee. Jeff has also supported and mentored many junior players, most recently by hosting practice sessions on BBO with members of the USBF Junior training program.