The ACBL Hall of Fame will induct three this year, including Jeff Meckstroth, who was chosen by the electors. The Hall of Fame Committee also selected Zeke Jabbour and the late Peter Nagy as recipients of the Blackwood and von Zedtwitz awards, respectively.
Meckstroth’s dazzling bridge career is being interrupted for a brief spin on the red carpet. The Clearwater Beach FL resident will be inducted at the Summer NABC in Toronto.
A first-ballot slam dunk, it would be surprising if Meckstroth’s name didn’t appear on 100 percent of the ballots cast. His numbers are staggering.
A world champion nine times over, Meckstroth has gold medals in the Bermuda Bowl (1981, 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2009) and the Bridge Olympiad – now the World Bridge Games (1988). He won the World Open Pairs in 1986, the World Mixed Pairs in 2002 and the Senior Teams at the World Bridge Games last fall in Wroclaw, Poland. He is ranked fifth on the World Bridge Federation’s list of all-time World Grand Masters.
Closer to home, Meckstroth has amassed 60 NABC titles since his first in 1979, including 30 of the premium variety: six Vanderbilts, 12 Spingolds, nine Reisingers and three Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs. He sits atop the list of ACBL’s top 500 masterpoint holders with more than 83,000 masterpoints. He has won Player of the Year (platinum points) 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 have been one of the most respected partnerships in bridge for more than 30 years.
Jabbour of Boca Raton FL was chosen for the Blackwood Award, which recognizes long and outstanding contributions to bridge. Though being a world class player isn’t among the requirements for the award, Jabbour is not lacking in bridge accomplishments.
He has won the Baze Senior Knockout six times, including the first three times it was played, and the Truscott Senior Swiss Teams twice.
He has two medals from world Senior Teams championships, a silver and a bronze. He won the Barry Crane Top 500 race in 1989 and was Senior Player of the Year in 1995.
Jabbour’s service to bridge was recognized by the ACBL Board of Directors when he was named 2007 Honorary Member of the Year. At the time he had been a longtime writer of a popular Bridge Bulletin column called Winsome & Loathesome.
Throughout his playing career Jabbour has been known as a friendly competitor, someone everyone liked. He was the first recipient of District 9’s sportsmanship award in 2013, and the award was named for him the following year.
Jabbour, 88, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1996 and has played less frequently in recent years, but he attended the recent Fall NABC in Orlando.
Nagy, who died in 2003 at age 60, was chosen for the von Zedtwitz Award, which honors individuals who were top players in their time and are now either deceased or inactive. Born in Hungary, he escaped to Canada as a teenager in 1957 during a tumultuous time in his native country.
He arrived in Montreal without knowing English or French but quickly learned and rose to the top of his class, graduating as valedictorian in 1961. Later in life he lived in Chicago and then Las Vegas.
Nagy had four NABC wins between 1978 and 1995, including the 1993 Vanderbilt, and twice won the Canadian National Teams Championship in 1980–81. He had two silver medals from World Open Pairs competition, one representing Canada in 1978 and one representing the U.S. in 1990, and a bronze in the 1982 Rosenblum Teams. He had eight second-place finishes in NABCs.
Nagy also served District 1 as a Board of Governors representative from 1979 to 1982.