Source: ACBL Dictionary

Harold Vanderbilt of Newport RI, was a bridge authority whose revisions of auction bridge scoring principles created modern contract bridge, also a system-maker and champion player. Member ACBL Hall of Fame. For many years he was a successful business executive. His greatest fame in competitive fields is as a yachtsman – his revision of right-of-way rules is still known as the Vanderbilt Rules.

Nevertheless, his lasting fame is more likely to come from his contributions to bridge. Vanderbilt took up bridge seriously in 1906, and his partnership with J. B. Elwell was considered the strongest in the U.S. from 1910 to 1920. During that period the contract bridge principle – counting only bid tricks toward game – was often proposed and as often rejected, except for the limited success of Plafond.

Experimenting with the proposed new game while on a cruise late in 1925, Vanderbilt originated the factors of vulnerability and inflated slam bonuses. He produced a scoring table so balanced as to make nearly every aggressive or sacrifice bid an approximately even bet, allowing just enough differential to permit the exercise of nice judgment.