paul_soloway1941 – 2007

Paul Soloway may be the only bridge player who wasn’t impressed with his mas­ter­­point total — 56,000.

“I wouldn’t say that masterpoints are meaningless,” he said in a 1998 interview, “but for me, they’re just a by-product of doing my job. They’re part of how I make my living. For me personally, masterpoints have become an attendance award.

“Masterpoints have been a wonderful marketing tool for the ACBL,” he said. “Giving the average player an attainable goal is what masterpoints are all about.

“But for me, winning a national event or a world championship is a meaningful goal, so that’s where my focus is, not masterpoints.”

Soloway won four world championships — the Bermuda Bowl in 1976, 1977, 1979 and 1999 (actually played in Jan. 2000). He has also won more than 20 North American championships and more than 1000 regional titles.

Soloway began playing duplicate bridge in 1962 and still keeps his ACBL Junior Master card — which he earned for winning his first masterpoint — as a reminder of where he started.

He won the McKenney Trophy (now the Barry Crane Top 500 ) in 1968, 1969 and 1998 and finished in the top 10 for the last 20 years. Soloway won his first national title — the Life Master Men’s Pairs — in 1965 with Alex Tschekaloff.

Soloway was also the first winner of the Sidney H. Lazard Jr. Award for Sportsmanship. The award was established in 2001 by Sidney Lazard in honor of his son, who died in 1999.

At the time of his death, Soloway had earned 65,511 masterpoints.