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The Vanderbilt number is a measure of how closely a bridge player is connected to Harold Vanderbilt (1884-1970), the inventor of contract bridge by way of bridge partners. People who partnered with Vanderbilt in a bridge game have a Vanderbilt number of 1. Players who did not partner Vanderbilt but partnered someone with a Vanderbilt number of 1 have a Vanderbilt number of 2. People who partnered someone with a Vanderbilt number of 2 have a Vanderbilt number of 3, et cetera.

The idea is similar to the Erdős number for mathematicians, Morphy number for chess players and the Bacon number for actors. For example, Bob Hamman has a Vanderbilt number of 2: Hamman played with Oswald Jacoby (Vanderbilt number 1). Unlike a Morphy number, a Vanderbilt connection only applies to bridge partners, not to bridge opponents.

## Definition

If Alice partnered with Harold Vanderbilt at a bridge event, and with Bob on another, but Bob never played with Harold Vanderbilt himself, then Bob is given a Vanderbilt number of 2, as he is two steps from Vanderbilt. To be assigned a Vanderbilt number, a player must partner with someone who has a finite Vanderbilt number. Vanderbilt has a Vanderbilt number of zero. Anybody else's Vanderbilt number is k + 1 where k is the lowest Vanderbilt number of any bridge player.

Vanderbilt stopped playing competitive bridge in 1941 but continued playing in high stakes rubber bridge games.[1]

## Vanderbilt number of famous players

These are players who are important in making links for Vanderbilt numbers.

### Vanderbilt number 2

 Bob Hamman Peggy Kaplan Sidney Lazard Bobby Wolff