Today would have been John Lowenthal’s 75th birthday. Google may not have done a doodle for him but I will do a blog post in his honor. Plus, with his widow Celia’s permission, I will rerelease the DOS version of his brilliant Borel hand generator (for the technically inclined only!) with instructions on how to use it on a modern PC in my online store Monday night. Proceeds will go to the ACBL Junior Fund (after my costs) as per his wishes.
John was always happy to talk about bridge, to discuss loser count, and his theories on opening leads. He was a mentor and a friend. And most importantly, he always knew where to get the best Chinese food.
He was a great captain for our 1995 Women’s team trials which we won. If he had been able to go to China with us we might have come back with gold rather than silver.
He never yelled and he had a wonderful humorous manner about him. He was an endless source of bridge stories. He originated the “stripe tailed ape” double. That is where in a competitive auction you double the opponents at the five level when they are cold for six since that is a smaller score. But if they redouble you run like stripe-tailed ape.
My favorite funny story about him is how when playing with his first wife in a club game he held 19 points and five diamonds so when she opened 1 he passed that because he knew she could make it but his LHO balanced so he had to bid 2. But when they balanced again he had a new problem, what could he make? After all she had never taken nine tricks in her life … Here it is in the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/1999/12/16/arts/bridge-humor-isn-t-really-the-point-but-it-sometimes-creeps-in.html
If you google “John Lowenthal bridge” you will find many more stories. I love this bridge hand and story about him that his long time partner Phil Martin published https://sites.google.com/site/psmartinsite/Home/bridge-articles/remembering-john-lowenthal
John I miss you!
Now for more about Borel
John wrote a language for describing bridge hands so that one can write a script called a control file to generate hands to your exact specifications. He included subroutines for checking if the opponents would bid as well as for whether a hand qualified for a notrump opening. He named it for the famous mathematician who was the main author of “The Mathematical Theory of Bridge”
Borel is now available in my store and I have made a support page for Borel here.