Sobel Smith, Helen

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Sobel Smith, Helen Gender: F
Helen Elizabeth Martin
born on 22 May 1909 at 22:25 (= 10:25 PM )
Place Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 39n57, 75w10
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 01°21' s_mo.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 16°35 Asc.s_capcol.18.gif 14°28'

Helen Sobel Smith (2nd from right, among the winning Austria open team at the 1937 world championships)


American bridge player said to have been the "greatest woman bridge player of all time" and who "may well have been the most brilliant card player of all time." She won 35 North American Bridge Championships, and was the first woman to play in the Bermuda Bowl. She was a long-time partner of Charles Goren.

Helen was a chorus girl in her youth. At age 16, she was already performing with the Marx Brothers in shows including The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers. She only knew how to play Pinochle and Casino until another chorus girl taught her bridge: she took to the game like a duck to water.

She started earning a reputation in the mid-1930s, winning her first national bridge championship in 1934. After a brief marriage to a Jack White that ended in 1930, she married bridge player Alexander M. Sobel (1901–1972), a former vaudeville performer who found better work in the Depression as a tournament director. Though she and Sobel eventually divorced in 1945, she achieved most of her success under the name Helen Sobel.

Sobel and Sally Young won the annual North American women pairs championship (now Whitehead Women's Pairs) in 1938 and again in 1939. That year Young became the first woman to achieve the rank of ACBL Life Master; Sobel became the second in 1941.

From 1943 to 1946, Sobel teamed with Young, Emily Folline, and Margaret Wagar to win the women teams four years in a row.

She married Stanley Smith in 1966, and retired for two years. She died on 11 September 1969 in a Detroit hospital at the age of 60 after a long battle with cancer.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Goren, Charles (born 4 March 1901). Notes: Long-time bridge partners
  • opponent/rival/enemy relationship with Herbert, Walter (born 18 February 1898). Notes: Contract bridge opponents
  • compare to chart of Solomon, Peggy (born 14 August 1908). Notes: ACBL Life Masters


  • Work : Prize 1934 (Won her first national bridge championship)
  • Death by Disease 11 September 1969 (Cancer, age 60)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Prize 1995 (ACBL Hall of Fame)

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided birth certificate.


  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Divorces (Two)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Three)
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Cancer)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Other Entertain/Music (Chorus girl)
  • Vocation : Sports : Games - Bridge/ Chess/ Other (Bridge)
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : Other Extraordinary (Bridge)
  • Notable : Awards : Hall of Fame (ACBL)
  • Notable : Awards : Sports Championship (Bridge Champion)
  • Notable : Famous : First in Field (Top-ranked woman bridge player)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession (Won 35 North American Bridge Championships)