You can now read 10 articles a month for free. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Ira Rubin, 82; bridge player known as ‘Beast’

NEW YORK — Ira Rubin, a champion bridge player and an innovative theorist who was nicknamed the Beast because of the emotional intensity of his play, died Feb. 6 of heart disease in Edison, N.J. He was 82.

Mr. Rubin earned 19 national team titles and one world team title in four decades.

Continue reading below

Mr. Rubin’s main theoretical contributions were in the field of bidding. In bridge, two pairs of partners take turns bidding on how many rounds of cards they will win in a given game. The process is complex on several levels. At the most basic level, no player knows what cards are in his partner’s hand.

Bidding is a process of both maneuvering against one’s opponents and exchanging information with one’s partner. The bidding systems Mr. Rubin invented were given the names ‘‘two-way two-bids,’’ “Gladiator,’’ and ‘‘Extended Landy.’’

In ‘‘The Bridge Bum,’’ a 2003 memoir by Alan Sontag, Mr. Rubin was described as an unforgiving partner.

‘‘Ira Rubin had spent a major portion of his life trying to perfect himself at what is a terribly difficult game, and he could not accept any less dedication from his partner,’’ Sontag wrote. He earned the Beast nickname, Sontag added, from his behavior in close contests: ‘‘When his partner made a mistake at the table, he rattled windows with his screams.’’

But he was also gracious to opponents who beat him when a hand was well played.

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week