A light-hearted tribute to Edgar Kaplan
All bridge enthusiasts are probably aware of the fact that Edgar Kaplan was a magnificent Vugraph commentator, much admired for his wit, besides his analyses. Such witty Vugraph comments have been collected, published in bulletins and, in fact, most of them are already on the Net (see, for instance, David Stevenson's pages).
On the other hand, Kaplan also was an unsurpassable tournament reporter for the Bridge World. His reports contain a wealth of witty remarks which have not, as far as I know, been the subject of an anthology. It occurred to me to try and select those "Kaplan Nuggets" from his reports, as a tribute to the great man that I was not fortunate enough to know.
As opposed to the Vugraph comments, the nuggets in the reports are on the average less droll -the purpose here is different; nor are there in a report idle moments to be handsomely filled with a witty remark. On the other hand, the reports give to Kaplan the opportunity to present a distilled piece of wisdom and experience in witty form.
The unavoidable snag with such an anthology is that the net result may seem perhaps unfair to Kaplan; I mean, the reader might conclude that E.K. was continually poking fun at the players for their errors or bad luck -this is not obviously the case. Also, since my anthology is concentrated in some periods, some players may seem to have been constantly the target of Kaplan's wit, which is also inaccurate. Another snag: some witty remarks are repeated here and there, especially when Kaplan is criticizing his pet targets (the off-beat notrump opening, for instance).
My Bridge World corpus is far from complete; I have almost all the 90s issues, perhaps half of the 80s' issues and very few from earlier (from the Kaplan era, that is: I have perhaps 50 issues from the early 60s but Kaplan was not writing the tournament reports back then; Moyse was). So, inevitably the anthology is a bit lopsided.
After all these warnings, please do proceed to the texts. I believe they are worth it!
Luxembourg, February 2001P.S. My own additions in the text, intended solely to clarify the context, are enclosed in [square brackets]. Needless to say, the copyright stays with the Bridge World. By the way, if you don't receive this excellent magazine, do yourself a favour and rush to get a subscription!
Kaplan Nuggets, I: Prior to 1980*Updated*
Kaplan Nuggets, II: 1980-1984*Updated*
Kaplan Nuggets, III: 1985-1989 *Updated*
Kaplan Nuggets, IV: The 90s
Update, October 2005: I added a lot of material in the 1985 to 1989 section, which now is four times longer than it was before.
Second update, March 2006: I added a lot of material in the pre-1980 section (years 1977-1979) and also some material in the 1980-84 section (years 1981-82).
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