Last summer Arnold Palmer refined and distilled the principles and philosophy of his golf and shared the result with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED readers in an unforgettable five-part series. Now it gives us pleasure to say that another great champion, Charles Goren, has found time to put "the lessons of my lifetime" into a manuscript that should do for bridge players (and for nonplayers who will take up the game after reading it) what Palmer's articles did for golfers. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will serialize Goren's A New Approach to Bridge—Easier, Better, More Fun in five parts beginning next week.
For busy and constantly traveling Charles Goren—columns to write, broadcasts to make, lectures to give—finding the time to do the series was the crucial problem. But Goren's fall schedule called for a six-week cruise to the Orient aboard the S.S. President Roosevelt (with daily bridge sessions for 200 passengers who joined the cruise mainly for the chance to learn from Goren). Thus, happily beyond reach of unscheduled distractions, Goren talked his manuscript onto electronic tape with the prodding encouragement of his friend of half a dozen years, Senior Editor Jack Olsen.
Goren and Olsen first met in 1958 when Olsen, then Midwest chief correspondent for TIME and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, filed 10,000 words of research for a TIME cover story on Goren. Later, when Olsen wrote a lively book of his own—at once wide-eyed and sardonic—entitled The Mad World of Bridge, Goren contributed the introduction. Wrote Goren: "I like Olsen, and therefore I will not attempt to describe his bridge game." (Says Olsen: "I like Goren and therefore will not attempt to describe his gin rummy game, except that last time I took him for a fat $1.79.") Since Olsen wrote the introduction to Goren's The Sports Illustrated Book of Bridge (1961), the two are tied 1-1 in introductions.
In Olsen's words, here is how the new manuscript came to be: "Goren and I were talking over how complex and ridiculous bridge was becoming, and he was commiserating with me because, after all, he can adapt to any wild-eyed system but I can't, being just an average player. I said that when I played with him, or when he kibitzed me in the office games, my play improved and became simpler and more fun.
February 10, 1964
"The idea hit us both simultaneously that we must do an opus on how far bridge has strayed from its original idea—which was fun and intellectual challenge—into too much clutter and solemnity. And that our opus could bring about a holy reform; also that it could help average and above-average players as much as Goren's advice helped me."
Eventually Goren and Olsen will publish their collaboration in book form (Doubleday); meanwhile, SI readers are being offered something more entertaining and more valuable than anything previously written or said by Charles Goren—the key lessons he has learned as the world's most famous exponent of the game.