Source: Bocchi & Madala Big Bang Bridge

Vanderbilt champions Lorenzo Lauria, Alfredo Versace, Giorgio Duboin, Ralph Katz, George Jacobs and Norberto Bocchi are presented the Vanderbilt trophy by ACBL President Bruce Reeve.

It ran the year 2001 and I was hired by George Jacobs to play an American National with Lauria, Versace and Duboin, but before the teams championship there is always a pairs tournament and I was the one to play it with the sponsor (surely because of my sympathy, I am not very sure if it was because of my game).

After some boards we arrived to a table, the opponents was a pair formed by a guy who was identical to Salvador Dali and a guy that I swear he looked like Hulk (instantly I thought: “better than we are playing a bridge hand and we are not engaged in a Roman Greek fight”). We had to play 2 boards and the first hand went smooth, it was an average hand, you must know that George is a great person besides being a sponsor who plays well, but he has the defect (as many Americans have) to ask a lot, he is very punctilious, the bidding goes:

Hulk opens 1 club, I Pass and Dali 1 diamond. George asks Hulk what does 1 diamond mean and he imperturbable says: natural, because we play everything completely natural. George Pass and Hulk says 1 heart, I Pass and Dali says 2 hearts and George asks what 2 hearts mean, and Hulk a little less imperturbable says natural (the voice was a little more firm), Hulk continues with a 2NT bid and Dali says 3NT.

George asked him what 3NT was, and Hulk responds in an almost unpleasant manner: NATURAL, but George was not satisfied and he wanted to ask for more information, so he asked it in this way: but is this all we have to know?

At that point, Hulk dressed in a white short-sleeved shirt got his elbows over the table showing his swollen biceps (like my legs I swear, never seen such muscles) and said to him:

At this point YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT MY NAME IS JOHNNNN,

and George at that point, frightened (I was already under the table, actually I was 2 yards from the table and was looking for a way to escape) said:

I don’t care what the bidding meant, I was very interested to know your name dear friend John, at that point a everybody started to laugh…as a liberation.

Still today Hulk and John are a myth but George is still more…