Born in 1947, Eric Kokish, who is also a member of the ACBL Hall of Fame, is a man of many talents. He was part of a group of young Montréal players who burst upon the scene in the early 1970s. He has numerous accomplishments as a player, coach, top bidding theorist, and writer.
As a player Kokish won four World Championship medals; two silver (1978 World Open Pairs and 1995 Bermuda Bowl), and two bronze (Rosenblum Cup 1982 and 1990). He also won two North American titles (1974 Vanderbilt KO Teams and 1978 Mitchell Open BAM Teams), as well as five Canadian National Team Championships (1980, 1981, 1985, 1994 and 1995).
In 1978, Eric Kokish and Peter Nagy came second in the World Open Pairs to Marcelo Branco and Gabino Cintra of Brazil.
The Canadians and the Brazilians became very good friends. A few years later, the Brazilians remembered the friendly Canadians and invited them to come to Brazil and Argentina on a bridge tour. The tour was a success and in 1985, when Brazil was hosting the Bermuda Bowl, they again invited Kokish to come and coach them in the weeks preceding the championship. Brazil lost in the semi final to the USA when Bob Hamman bid and made a tricky three no trump contract on the last board. However, a career was born.
Since then Kokish became the top bridge coach in the world. His teams won gold, silver and bronze medals in World Championship play – the list of winners includes the USA, Brazil, the Netherlands and Russia. He is best known for coaching the USA Nickell team to many World and North American team championships.
Kokish is also well-known as a top bidding theorist. He has authored several conventions including the Kokish Relay and the Montreal Relay. With partner Peter Nagy, they won the International Bridge Press Association’s 1978 Romex Award for Best Bid Hand of the Year for the following hand:
It is worth noting that the same year Kokish won the Romex Award, he also came second in the competition with a different partner.
With Nagy, Kokish was also awarded 2nd place in the Bols Brilliancy Prize for best defensive hand in the 1980 World Team Olympiad.
Kokish’s accomplishments as a writer and editor are also plentiful.
- Served as the Chief Editor of the World Championship books, transforming them from mere fact reportage to detailed analysis;
- Was heavily involved in the experts’ publication, The Bridge World, serving as director of Master Solvers and Challenge the Champs;
- Contributed the “Our Readers Ask” column in the ACBL Bridge Bulletin;
- Was the bridge columnist for both the Montréal Gazette and the Toronto Star;
- Edited Mélange de Bridge, the Montréal Bridge League’s annual publication; and
- Edited Daily Bulletins all over the world.
Watch Kokish’s ACBL Hall of Fame video below: