ACBL Bridge Beat #30: Stoney v. Becker

During the Roth-Stone controversy of 1953, Tobias Stone remained fairly silent until one night at the Dallas Winter Nationals.

Stone was out to prove that B. Jay Becker was wrong in objecting to the Roth-Stone system.

In his usual manner, Stone delivered a fiery monologue at 300 words per minute, complete with gestures and body English. After about twenty minutes of this, about twice the normal adult dose, Stone rested his case. “What do you say now?” he demanded.

“I still think you’re wrong,” said Becker very quietly, not moving from the position he had assumed at the beginning of the incident.

These five words, the only uttered by Becker to this point, set Stone off again. This time, realizing he was dealing with no easy customer, Stone pulled out all the stops. Decibels and grammar fell mangled at his feet. And Becker sat there quietly, never moving an eyelash.

After 20 minutes of this full treatment, all other conversations in the room (about the size of Grand Central waiting room) came to an uneasy halt. Finally Kay Rhodes could stand no more of it. “Stop it, Stoney,” she cried. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Never mind, Kay,” Becker reassured her. “Stoney and I are having an argument.”

Tobias Stone

Tobias Stone

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