Hofzinser's unsolved card problem

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Postby Philippe Noël » 12/05/04 03:41 AM

Does any one know where was first described the solution to Hofzinser's unsolved card problem, using ATFUS to change one ace for the chosen card?
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/05/04 06:48 AM

I can't imagine which one because Hofzinser have many problems unsolved.
Could you describe the effect, please (s'il vous plait).
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Postby Philippe Noël » 12/05/04 07:17 AM

Four aces are on the table.
You ask a spectator to pick a card from the deck and remember it.
You take back his card and loose it in the deck.
You say that the four aces will help you find his card. You show the aces one by one and after snapping your fingers show that one of the ace has turned face down. Say that as it is for example the ace of hearts that turned face down, his card must be a heart. You once again snap your fingers over the deck and show that one card has also turned face down in the deck. You ask for the identity of the chosen card. When the spectator has answered, you show him that the face down card in the deck is in fact the ace of heart and his chosen card is the face down card between the aces.
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Postby Adam Brooks » 12/05/04 09:30 AM

I don't recall what it's called, but there is a Larry Jennings handling of this exact effect in Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/04 11:04 AM

One of my favorite "solutions" as it were, is the trick called "Kartenkunste" by Darwin Ortiz, in his outstanding book, Cardshark.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/05/04 11:28 AM

See At the Table (1984) by Jon Racherbaumer,
page 89 under the title Deck-ing Hofzinser.
There is an history of this problem.
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Postby Ed Oschmann » 12/05/04 11:34 AM

See 'Reversal of Fortune' in Smoke and Mirrors.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/05/04 11:58 AM

Jennings' solution is entitle Tell-Tale Aces
Ultimate Card Secrets (1969), page 49
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Postby Denis Behr » 12/05/04 12:52 PM

I also think that Ortiz' solution from Cardshark is a very fine and practical one. [Some more can be found here BTW: http://archive.denisbehr.de/archive/rou ... ,46,19,292 ]

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/05/04 01:34 PM

At the moment, I don't know of any evidence that this "problem" is one of Hofzinser's tricks. This all started because Vernon claimed to have read this plot in a letter of Hofzinser's. Richard Hatch has been unable to locate such a letter and, unless it's in the new book by Magic Christian, it most certainly doesn't exist.
Which means either Vernon made it up or confused it with a letter of someone else's.
Also see, I believe, Edward Victor's "Deo Ace Trick."
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/05/04 02:17 PM

Mr. Kaufman, you are right when you say that Vernon had no proof but what about Karl Fulves in Pallbearers 3rd Folio, winter extra 1969, page 299
(L&L Publishing) for Two Unsolved Card Problems ?
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/05/04 02:20 PM

I don't know if it's the same as the account that appeared in "At the Table", but there's a discussion of "the so-called Hofzinser problem" in Mr. Racherbaumer's "Arch Triumphs", where the effect is traced back to Edward Victor's Deo Ace Trick from "Magic of the Hands".

As pointed out in Epilogue No. 10, the Hofzinser card problems were never really supposed to be unsolved problems. Rather, they are descriptions of effects that Hofzinser was thought to have performed. "Experiment No. 2" is the only one that resembles the Hofzinser Ace Problem, although the effect described is actually quite different (for a start, only two aces are mentioned). The S.H. Sharpe translation is misleading; a more faithful rendering is given by Reinhard Mueller in Epilogue 10, but to my mind even the original German is not very clear. I'd be interested to hear what native German speakers have to say about it, and also whether there is any discussion in the new Magic Christian edition of Hofzinser, which I think is already available in German.

A couple of solutions that spring to mind are "A Problem with Hofzinser" from "The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings" (a re-working of Tell-Tale Aces, mentioned above), Jack Avis' Lost Ace Trick. from Epilogue 11, and Richard Kaufman's Hofzinser Ace Tunnel from "Cardworks". Plus also "Father Cyprian on the Hofzinser Ace Problem" (which I don't have). The Jennings method uses ATFUS.
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Postby Philippe Noël » 12/05/04 02:53 PM

MR. Corrie,
It seems indeed that the version I was talking about using ATFUS is from Larry Jennings, "A problem with Hofzinser", The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings 1986 P.17.
Thanks everybody for your help.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/04 03:52 PM

The origins of this plot can be found in Ottokar Fischer's J. N. Hofzinser Kartenknste (1910). Several translations of the Hofzinser card problems have been published. S. H. Sharpe wrote the following in 1931 in his J. N. Hofzinser's Card Conjuring: "Two Aces are placed on the table. A card is drawn from the pack, and the pack well shuffled. One Ace will disappear; and in its place will appear the drawn card. This will again disappear, and the original Ace return."

In the ninth issue of Epilogue (July 1970), Bob Woodward produced another translation: "The performer places two aces on the table. A card is then chosen from the pack. One of the aces changes into the chosen card. This card then changes places with the second ace."

Another, slightly different translation by Reinhard Mller appeared in the next issue of Epilogue (November 1970): "Two aces are placed on the table. A card is chosen and returned to the deck. One of the aces changes into the chosen card. This card then changes into the second ace again."

As you can see, this is very different from the modern plot as set forth in The Pallbearers Review, Third Folio (Winter 1969).

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Postby Michael Close » 12/05/04 04:05 PM

If memory serves, Roy Walton has a very commercial version of this plot. It uses jumbo cards. I performed it a lot years ago. The climax is visual and very surprising.

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Postby Denis Behr » 12/06/04 02:25 AM

I just had a look at the German text and the above translations seem to be correct. If I had to do a literal translation it would be something like:
"The transformed Aces. Two Aces are placed on the table. One card is selected and shuffled into the pack. One of the aces vanishes and the selected card appears in its place. It changes back into the second ace."
This "vanish and appears" is probably just a not-so-good expression for another transformation.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/06/04 06:33 AM

Originally posted by Philippe Nol:
Does any one know where was first described the solution to Hofzinser's unsolved card problem, using ATFUS to change one ace for the chosen card?
For some reason this recalls a Fulves publication from the mid 1970s. It was a small booklet.

As I recall the "card problems", they seemed like exercises for the student. Calling them unsolved card problems brings a suggestion that he had no methods or found these effects problematic. Such is quite unlikely. Perhaps the next translation published will offer some clarification of Hofzinser's intentions.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 12/06/04 08:12 AM

As mentioned by Edwin Corrie, the "Problems" were not posed as such by Hofzinser. When Ottokar Fischer compiled his famous card book on Hofzinser, circa 1909/1910, he chose to include only routines for which he had Hofzinser's complete patter and presentation. He managed to assemble 32 of these. As an addendum to the book, he offered descriptions of card effects Hofzinser was known or believed to have performerd, but for which the presentation and patter were not available to Fischer. These have become the so-called "card problems", the "problem" presumably being for us to reconstruct Hofzinser's methods and presentation. Cyprian's approach to the Hofzinser Ace problem (published by Fulves and likely the monograph Jonathan is thinking of) was to impose the restriction that he avail himself only of methods known to have been available to Hofzinser, rather than using modern techniques. One of the Hofzinser "problems" sounds very much like a version of "out of this world".
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/06/04 11:10 AM

Re: Denis' translation:

I agree that "one ace vanishes and the chosen card appears in its place" is just an odd way to say that the card changes, as in the two renderings given in Epilogue.

"Changes back into the second ace" is a more idiomatic translation of "verwandelt sich wieder in das zweite Ass", but I still think it's strange in the German because the card in question never was the second ace - it starts as the first ace and then changes into the chosen card. In one way it makes more sense if you read "verwandelt sich wieder" as "changes again", but even then the effect described is still not very clear or logical. Perhaps Austrian German is a little different, or it's just an archaic turn of phrase.

The version we know now with four aces seems a much better effect, and I have often wondered where it originated - perhaps it was Edward Victor's idea. I believe Karl Fulves published a book of Hofzinser's card work (apart from the Father Cyprian booklet) - does anyone have this?

Out of curiosity, Denis, which German edition do you have? I'm only aware of the Olms edition.
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Postby Denis Behr » 12/06/04 12:41 PM

I also have both Hofzinser books in the Olms edition. It is the only edition I could find and is out of print now, too, I think.
A friend of mine has an old edition which is much nicer. [It does not even have a violet or pink cover like the Olms volumes.]
I am in the process of moving and cannot look up the new Fulves booklet on Hofzinser's card magic. Among others the large sized publications from A-I and P-Z are not with me yet... :-)

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/06/04 12:55 PM

The Olms editions were forced off the market by Volker Huber, who owns the copyright to Ottokar Fisher's books. Olms was under the mistaken impression that Kartenkunste and Zauberkunste were in the public domain.
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Postby Denis Behr » 12/06/04 01:09 PM

Ah, that is interesting. If Volker Huber decides to publish a nice edition of the Hofzinser books I guess I'd replace the Olms edition just for aesthetic reasons... [But perhaps there is no need to do so now with the huge volumes by Magic Christian.]

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Postby Richard Hatch » 12/06/04 02:30 PM

In addition to the Cyprian booklet on the "Hofzinser Ace Problem", the references in Pallbearers and Epilogue, and his expanded reprint of the Sharpe translation, Fulves published two 8.5 x ll comb bound books inspired by Hofzinser: HOFZINSER'S CARD TRICKS (2002), 148 pages giving new technical descriptions of Hofzinser's card techniques and routines (patter and presentation omitted) and HOFZINSER NOTEBOOK (2003), 87 pages of routines inspired by or bearing a relation to Hofzinser. As far as I can tell, neither makes reference to the card "problems" though both contain material of interest to the historian and technician.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/07/04 01:16 AM

My Olms editions of Hofzinser and Conradi have black covers and seem to be part of a series (Bibliotheca Magica). Don't know what other titles they did.

Sorry, another question: is the Fulves book a new transation or an amplified version of S.H: Sharpe?

According to Magic Christian's website (http://www.magicchristian.com/hofzinser.html) the new volumes are also available from Edition Huber (so far only in German), unless they're already sold out. Wife permitting, I'm very tempted...
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Postby Richard Hatch » 12/07/04 10:49 AM

Olms also reprinted turn of the century magic books by Willmann and Conradi.
The new Fulves version of HOFZINSER'S CARD TRICKS is not a new translation, but new technical descriptions of the material, with illustrations by Joseph Schmidt. My guess is that Fulves rewrote the material working from Sharpe's translation, rather than retranslating the original. I believe his purpose was to render the technical information more transparent and place it in a proper historical context.
Magic Christian's first two books on Hofzinser are both published by Volker Huber (Edition Huber) and are both still in print and are both wonderful! The second volume is devoted to Hofzinser's card work and contains much that is new. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy at the moment to consult to see what it says about the "card problems" (Call that the "Hofzinser bookseller problem": it is difficult to keep these in stock. We do expect to have a few more of each volume in stock in a month or two when the surface shipment arrives from Germany. We currently just have one copy of volume one, which is exclusively biographical. Caveat: Both volumes are in German. English translations by Ariel Frailich are pending...). A third volume on Hofzinser's non-card material is in active preparation.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/08/04 01:37 AM

Thanks for the information. It certainly would be interesting to know what Karl Fulves says about this card problem in particular and the rest of Hofzinser's work in general.

Translating German is what I do for a living, so I will probably get the "Ne Plus Ultra" series in the original. Hopefully though the new translation will fix the mistakes in the Sharpe version of "Kartenknste".
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Postby Philippe Noël » 12/11/04 02:54 PM

Is there any published method using the Biddle Move?
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/11/04 03:22 PM

Is it really reasonable ?
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Postby Pete McCabe » 12/11/04 03:40 PM

Chad Long has a great version of this trick on Chad Long's Magic Video. As I recall it adds a kicker to the trick where the rest of the aces change into the mates of the chosen card.

As I remember, Chad's handling is very nice, natural and magical. I worked up a routine that made Chad's already-extended handling phase one of a three-part routine, which I no longer do, so I can't remember Chad's routine exactly. But anyone interested in this routine should definitely check out Chad's version.

No offense to the many magicians who use these moves, but I've seen ATFUS about a million times, by magicians at every level of skill, and it always looks like a move. The Biddle Move is little better. Audiences credit the performer with great sleight of hand, but it never seems like a miracle.

There are moves that are better than either of these, which don't really take significantly more effort to learn, which are completely transparent.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/12/04 05:32 AM

Philippe,
If you are interested, Marlo had a version without sleight(s).
See M.I.N.T (1988), Vol 1, page 191, Choice Transposition
or
New Tops, November 1965
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Postby Philippe Noël » 12/12/04 07:43 AM

Philippe,
To begin with, I must admit that using the Biddle move for that trick seems indeed not reasonable.
I in fact think that ATFUS is a far superior method.
Concerning Marlo's Choice Transposition, I personally don't think that a double face card brings something really worth.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/12/04 08:46 AM

I mention this one only because, usually, Marlo's tricks are more complicate or difficult.
I think it's a "curiosity".
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Postby Reinhard Mueller » 12/13/04 10:53 AM

Very often I correspond with Karl Fulves. I also asked him about the so-called Hofzinser Ace Problem.
You will find in Magic Christians NON PLUS ULTRA II: HOFZINSER KARTENKUENSTE (2004) on pp. 322 324 my list of 50 references, from Aldrich to Yedid, regarding the 4-Ass-Problem. Those references are from my Manuscript on Hofzinser, which was written for the German Cardworkshop in 1993.

I ask Karl about the history of the origin. Karl wrote me: the card problem known as the Hofzinser four-ace problem was something passed along by Dai Vernon when he learnt I was writing the Hofzinser Folio. Vernon was one of the first in this country to promote the work of Hofzinser (and Erdnase) and I knew he had access to Hofzinser letters. From this I assumed he had knowledge of a trick I did not know. [letter from July, 30, 2004].

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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/13/04 11:20 AM

In the Magic Wand, Vol 5, N10, June 1915, there is a book review of
Modern Card Tricks Without Apparatus by Will Goldston.

Here is an excerpt of the text

In his latest contribution to magical literature, Mr Goldston embodies over fifty excellent and NOVEL CARD PROBLEMS, which do not require the use of special apparatus.
A section of the work, a most interesting one, IS BASED ON THE INVENTIONS OF HOFZINSER....etc, etc

As I haven't this book, someone can check and tell us which trick(s) or problem(s) Goldston is inspired
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Postby Richard Hatch » 12/13/04 12:11 PM

The "Hofzinser Section" of Goldston's MODERN CARD TRICKS WITHOUT APPARATUS begins on page 60 and continues through the end of the book on page 109, and so comprises more than half the text. Though no mention or acknowledgement of Ottokar Fischer is made in the book, this is clearly a translation of the first portion of his J. N. HOFZINSER KARTENKUENSTE, including the introductory material. Only 5 tricks are described, which are translated under the following titles: "The Sympathetic Numbers," "Like Thoughts," "Thought Transmission," "The Four Eights," and "Everywhere and Nowhere." The translation is quite literal. No mention is made of the Ace problem under discussion here.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/13/04 12:15 PM

Thanks you, Richard.
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Postby Reinhard Mueller » 12/14/04 04:14 AM

By the way, the following is to complete Richard Kaufman's and Denis Behr's mail on the OLMS-Hofzinser editions:

In 1972 Edition Volker Huber, Offenbach am Main, published in his series "Circus und Artistik" as Volume 3 a photopgraphic reprint (fotomechanischer Nachdruck) of O.Fischer's original "J.N.Hofzinser Kartenkuenste" in a green book cover designed after the original.

P.S.
In Magic Christian's NON PLUS ULTRA II he gives his attention to "Angebliche Kunststuecke Hofziners nach Ottokar Fischer und deren Lsungen" in chapter 10, pp. 316 - 359. I hope I could roughly translate the title correct: "Hofzinser's alleged tricks according to Ottokar Fischer and solutions of which".
Even here is no "4-Ace-Problem" as it was already told in several mails above.

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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/14/04 10:28 AM

Lots of interesting information here...

Originally posted by reinhard mueller:
You will find in Magic Christians NON PLUS ULTRA II: HOFZINSER KARTENKUENSTE (2004) on pp. 322 324 my list of 50 references, from Aldrich to Yedid, regarding the 4-Ass-Problem. Those references are from my Manuscript on Hofzinser, which was written for the German Cardworkshop in 1993.
Could I ask if this manuscript is still available?

I found an advert for what looks like a Spanish translation of "Kartenknste" by Editorial Paginas (http://www.ctv.es/USERS/jclaguna/PAGINAS/Hofzinser.html), including some introductory notes. Unfortunately the web page seems to be either incomplete or out of date.
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Postby Reinhard Mueller » 12/14/04 02:33 PM

Edwin,

Yes, there is an Spanish edition of Hofzinser's Kartenknste as a paperback 266 pages. The special with that translation is, that it was made from the German Ottokar Fischer book. I was involved in that translation:

"Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser - CARTOMAGIA, compilado y edito por Ottokar Fischer, Prlogo por Juma Tamariz, Estudio introductorio por Reinhard Mller, Traducio por Rafael Benetar, Laura Avils Editorial Frakson, Libros De Magia, Madrid 1992".

Laura Avles is still in selling and producing magic books, see: www.librosdemagia.com.


And the manuscript about Hofzinser for the German Cardworkshop is still obtainable.
Edwin, schreiben Sie mir bitte eine Nachricht mit Ihrer Anschrift an meine e-mail Anschrift.

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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/15/04 09:04 AM

The Spanish edition sounds like it is worth having.

Presumably your Hofzinser manuscript was prepared for the El Escorial gathering. I tried to e-mail you privately about it but your address is not visible in your posting.
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