fry_sam_jr1909 – 1991

Sam Fry became Life Master #10 when the category was created in 1936. Selection of the early Life Masters was based on their successes in national events. Fry, who had already won seven national titles, was 26 at the time.

Fry won four more national championships (the Spingold in 1937, 1941 and 1945 and the Vanderbilt in 1958) and represented North America in the Bermuda Bowl in 1959.

Fry, who lived in New York City, was the longtime secretary of the Regency Whist Club. His writings on bridge and other games include How to Win at Bridge with Any Partner and a modern edition of Watson’s Play of the Hand at Bridge. He was a contributing editor of The Bridge World from 1932 until 1966.

Ivar Stakgold called Fry “one of the top bridge personalities of the 20th century.” Boris Koytchou of New York, a longtime friend, recalls this story:

“Sam Fry Jr., Eddie Hymes Jr. and Louis Watson — all fantastic bridge players and really bright guys, their IQs between 150 and 170 — traveled together to a tournament in Atlantic City in the 1930s.

“When they got to Atlantic City, they found that most of the hotel rooms were sold out. There were only two rooms for the three of them.

“Naturally, they drew lots to see who would get a single room and who would share.

“The next day, the guy who was bunking with Hymes said to the other: ’I can’t stand it. Eddie snores. I can’t get any sleep. I can’t concentrate. We’ll have to swap up.’

“The other agreed and so it went for the remainder of their stay. At the end of the tournament,” says Koytchou, chuckling, “it never occurred to them that they could have let Eddie sleep alone.”