Marvin French nacque il 13 aprile del 1927 a Waukegan nell'Illinois ma crebbe a Chicago e a Lake Forest ed è stato un teorico particolarmente noto ai bridgisti californiani.
Imbarcato in marina durante la seconda guerra mondiale, studiò presso la Brown University e la San Diego State University.
Dopo la laurea in ingegneria si fermò a San Diego, e divenne uno specialista di software nell'industria aerospaziale.
ACBL Life Master giocatore di successo negli anni '50 e '60, ha scritto molti articoli per alcune delle principali riviste specialistiche, come ad esempio "Popular Bridge", "The Bridge World" e sul "Bridge Bulletin" dell'ACBL.
Sposato due volte con Lois e Mary Ann ebbe tre figlie.
La sua ultima compagna per oltre venti anni fu un'altra nota bridgista Alice Leicht, assieme hanno spesso collaborato in varie attività del bridge federale.
Acceso sostenitore del naturale, ha creato un sistema dichiarativo chiamato "Skeleton" proprio con lo scopo di minimizzare l'uso delle convenzioni.
É scomparso il 16 febbraio del 2014 a San Diego a causa di un cancro.
Marvin French was born in Waukegan, IL and grew up in Chicago and Lake Forest, IL. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and then studied at Brown University and San Diego State University. He lived in San Diego from 1947 onward, working as a software engineer in the nascent aerospace industry for thirty four years, twenty six at General Dynamics and eight at Cubic Corporation.
He was Life Master number 1023 achieving the rank in 1956, “when it was hard” as he liked to say. Marvin wrote many bridge articles for Popular Bridge, Bridge World, and in the ACBL’s Bridge Bulletin and he was a long time ACBL Patron Member together with his companion Alice Leicht. He served as an ACBL Casebook expert panelist, critiquing the performance of tournament directors and appeals committees in regard to disputed table rulings at North American Bridge Championships. These cases usually involve difficult considerations stemming from breaks in tempo (BITs) or unauthorized information (UI).
Marvin, while not denying the importance of good bidding judgment, felt card play was more important than complex bidding systems and the use of a large number of conventions. He favored four card majors long after the community had shifted to five card majors, both in Standard American and 2/1. He created a bidding system called Skeleton, designed to minimize the use of conventions. But at the same time he created the more sophisticated Ambiguous Diamond bidding system. His Squeeze Refresher is worth a read by all serious players. Marvin was thrilled by the publication of The Rodwell Files in 2011.
Even local players might not know that Marvin introduced the first card dealing machine, a Duplimate, to the San Diego area. This kicked off a wave of local innovation. Evan Bailey wrote code to merge ACBL score results with the hand records that was used at Adventures in Bridge. This software motivated Matthew Kidd to write an improved program called ACBLmerge, which is open source. The Philippe Lamoise built Bridge Results on top of ACBL merge.
Marvin played Blackjack for profit during the 1980s, writing many articles for Arnold Snyder’s Blackjack Forum under the name of Marvin L. Master. Local bridge player Roger Zellmer was his frequent sidekick during his blackjack adventures as well as a regular bridge partner.
Marvin was a staunch atheist and strong defender of reason in the face of religion and other forms of unreason. He was a member of both the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Marvin married two times, to Lois and Mary Ann, and had a 22 year relationship with Alice Leicht.
He disappear on February 16, 2014 in San Diego.
Alice, who survives him, shared his interests in both bridge and literature.
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