In the long light of history The Decline and Fall of New York by Gerald Holland (SI, Jan. 11) may not overshadow a more extensive treatise on the similar fate of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. But already Holland's Decline has made an agreeable start. A none-too-solemn argument on the status of sport in our largest city, it had hardly appeared before swift rebuttal came from Richard Frey of the American Contract Bridge League. "In bridge, at least," Frey wrote (SI, Jan. 25), " New York is neither second-rate nor second-best."
This roused Ivan Erdos of Los Angeles to a far from declining reply. The best in Los Angeles bridge, he said, would gladly cross cards with whatever New York had to offer (SI, Feb. 8). "Anywhere, any time."
New York aces and Los Angeles trumps thus declared, a home-and-home series of matches begins on August 11 and 12 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, just before the opening of the Summer National Championships there. New York's finest players, among them Helen Sobel, John Crawford, Tobias Stone, Peter Leventritt, George Rapee and Howard Schenken, will meet a Los Angeles team which includes Ivan Erdos, Lew Mathe, Harold Guiver, Ira Rubin and Meyer Schleifer. The return engagement comes November 17 and 18 at the Statler Hotel in New York, prior to the Fall Nationals.
At stake, of course, is Holland's appraisal, but there is more than that—municipal pride, for one thing, plus a resplendent pennant which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, the cause of it all, has gladly given. Suitable for flying from the first available flagpole in the winning city, it is adaptable to flagpoles in any city, town or, indeed, hamlet you could name. This is just as well, because even before the first trick has been played, several others, among them Chicago and Washington, have indicated a desire to cut in on the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Bridge Capital Championship.
Open to the kibitzing public, the matches will raise funds for the National Association for Mental Health. For these matches, and the Nationals, too, Charles Goren will be commentator, as usual, in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.