Whilst aboard the cruise ship Finland in late October 1925, travelling with three friends, all of whom were auction bridge enthusiasts; Harold S Vanderbilt (1884-1970) tested an idea for making the auction bridge version of the game more interesting.
He decided to make it more challenging by requiring a partnership to actually bid to the game or slam level in order to receive a bonus. Since this refinement made slam risky to attempt, he also increased the slam bonuses.
Vanderbilt devised the first unified system of bidding, and he was solely responsible for the articifial 1C bid to show a strong hand, the negative 1D response, the strong (16-18 HCP) no trump on balanced hands only and the weak two bid opening.
He authored several bridge books and was a member of the Laws Committee of the Whist Club of New York that made the American laws of contract bridge (1927, 1931) and the first international code (1932).
Is your club celebrating our sport's 90th birthday?