EDISON, N.J. – A champion bridge player considered one of the game’s great theorists and nicknamed The Beast because of the intensity of his play has died in New Jersey. Ira Rubin was 82.

Eden Memorial Chapels said Rubin died Wednesday at a hospice in Edison.

The American Contract Bridge League said Rubin earned 19 national titles and one world title as a top tournament player for more than four decades. Rubin was inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

The league said Rubin learned the card game as a boy when his mother took him on a trip to New York’s Lake Placid. He played his first tournament bridge at age 16.

The league described him in its Hall of Fame as one of bridge’s great theorists. He’s credited with inventing several popular bidding tools.