In Bob Levey's series of articles on contract bridge in The Post last March, he made the statement: "Charles Goren popularized the simple system of counting points in a hand, assigning numerical values to aces, kings, queens and jacks. . . ."
It is quite true that Goren "popularized the simple system. . . ." However, in reading the preceding paragraph, one might conclude that it was Goren who "assigned numerical values to aces, kings, queens and jacks." Such was not the case.
In The New York Times of Oct. 23, 1949 (how the years fly by!), there appeared the following paragraph: "Undoubtedly, the principal development in contract bridge this year . . . is the point-count method of hand valuation. The point-count method rates the ace as 4 points; the king, 3; the queen, 2; the j pack, 1 . . . . Until last week, the principal exponent of the point-count for valuing every hand (whether for no- trump or suit bidding) has been Fred Karpin of Washington, D.C., author of a highly successful book on the subject. Then Charles H. Goren . . . entered the field with a book, 'Point Count Bidding'. . . ."
Some 10 years later, in The New York Times of March 1959, it was stated: "Mr. Karpin was the original apostle of the point-count method, which, with some additions, is now standard in most countries; in fact, for a few years he was a voice crying in the wilderness while the masses clung to the quick-trick method that has now been abandoned."
In December 1979, in the American Contract Bridge League's magazine, "The Bulletin," Henry Francis, the editor-in-chief of all ACBL publications, wrote: "Karpin resurrected the (4-3-2-1) point count in the Forties, adapting it to suit bidding as well as no trump bidding. Later, Goren latched on to Karpin's refinements."
Going back in time, in 1948 I had a weekly television program on Channel 5, WTTG, for one year. In December of that year, WTTG put out a release which stated, in part: "Fred L. Karpin . . . has created quite a stir among the nation's bridge players. His booklet, 'The Point-Count System of Bidding in Contract Bridge,' has just been officially challenged by the Culbertson organization (the world's constituted authority at that time ). This booklet, which introduces a method of valuation that is completely different from the time-honored Culbertson System, has already had two reprintings. . . . Mr. Karpin's answer to the Culbertson organization's challenge will appear in over 500 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada."
For the concluding piece of evidence, permit me to quote Alfred P. Sheinwold, the new bridge columnist of The Post. In October 1980, Sheinwold wrote (in Popular Bridge magazine): "In 1948, Karpin published the Karpin Point-Count System, and remained the chef exponent of this new method for several years. He was the first to propose in print the now widely accepted key numbers: 13 for an opening bid; 26 for game; 33 for a small slam; 10 for a 2-over-1 response, redouble or jump response to a takeout double; 6-9 for a single raise, etc. .fs.fs. Several years later, Goren introduced some point-count paragraphs into a new book of his."
In 1759, approaching the conclusion of the French and Indian War, Gen. James Wolfe, as he lay dying outside of Quebec, said with respect to Thomas Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard": "I would rather have written that poem than to have taken Quebec." Whatever my other accomplishments have been in the world of bridge, I would rather be remembered as the man who created the point-count system of bidding.