Tom Smith

Thomas McAdoo Smith (1938-2010) was one of the five original members of the Precision Team that dominated North American bridge in the early 1970s. The squad was organized by Precision club advocate C.C. Wei to promote his system. Smith played with a rotating cast of teammates that included Steve Altman, Eugene Neiger, Alan Sontag, David Strasburg, Joel Stuart and Peter Weichsel. While on the Precision Team, Smith won the Spingold Knockout Teams in 1970 and 1971 and the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams in 1972.

Smith had four second-place finishes in NABC events between 1976 and 2001 which include the Nail Life Master Pairs, the Spingold and the Truscott/USPC Senior Swiss. He was runner-up in the 1973 London Sunday Times Invitational Pairs playing with Peter Weichsel. They were edged out by Precision teammates Alan Sontag and Steve Altman.  He also was second the following year with Steve Altman as his partner, winning their match against the Foot Soldiers, but ultimately losing to them.

Smith began his journalism career in 1967 as a contributing editor of the Bridge Bulletin and the managing editor from 1970-1972. When the ACBL moved its headquarters to Memphis from Greenwich CT, Smith went to work for the Cavendish Club, the venerable rubber bridge club in New York City.

During his time at the Cavendish Club (1973-1987), Smith and Mike Moss organized the Cavendish Invitational Pairs in 1975. The Cavendish Invitational Pairs was the first invitational event in North America offering significant cash prizes. From its inception the event featured a then unique IMPs-across-the-field scoring format and a Calcutta Auction Pool of the pairs. Prior to the demise of the Cavendish Club in the early 1990s, the Cavendish Invitational Pairs was established as a separate corporation in an effort to ensure its continuation.

Smith was the editor of the nationally syndicated Goren bridge column and The Post Mortem, the official publication of the Greater New York Bridge Association (GNYBA). Smith also served as the Secretary for the GNYBA for decades.  He contributed the format to the Bridge Encyclopedia (Alan Truscott, ed) starting with the 4th edition.  He and Augie Boehm updated “Goren’s Bridge Complete”, moving from four card majors to five card majors, and from Forcing jump raises to limit jump raises, as primary differences. He served on the National Appeal Committee, participating in a seminal “no risk psyche” case.

He attended Cornell University.  He served in the US Army for two years.  Before leaving the NYC area, he was a “house player” at the Regency Bridge and Whist Club.  He played for 40 plus years in the UJA Charity Game and other charity events.  He did what he thought was right, and represented bridge, as he thought bridge should be played, and how an expert should deport themselves.