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Hall of Fame 2011

by Peggy Kaplan

Amidst the glittering field of players and bridge contributors, three prestigious awards were given. The Blackwood Award was bestowed upon Eric Kokish. Prolific writer, editor and successful competitor, Eric’s bridge career has culminated with becoming the world’s top bridge coach. Eric’s award was presented to him by fellow Canadian star Sami Kehela and by Nick Nickell, head of the most dominant team in the U.S. for the past twenty years.

The von Zedtwitz Award went to Russ Arnold of Florida. Russ’s long career began with a first NABC win in 1963 with the Spingold KO Teams; his most recent success was the Senior Team Trails in 2007. Unfortunately, Russ could not attend the dinner. Bobby Levin, however, gave a fitting tribute to his mentor.

Another competitor with a most successful career was awarded the Sidney H. Lazard Jr. Sportsmanship Award. Betty Ann Kennedy, introduced by Zia, told the fascinating tale of how she almost never came to play bridge at all! The game was “prescribed” to her to cure memory difficulties after a most serious illness in her early twenties. With a victory in the 1960 Mixed Teams, many NABC titles and five world championships, the “cure” assuredly worked!

George Jacobs, master of ceremonies with the perfect touch of humor and entertainment, delighted both guests and those being honored.

Congratulations to Eric Kokish, Russ Arnold and Betty Ann Kennedy for your great contributions to our game and your most successful careers!