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Opener (Hand E) Responder

Beyond the green baize

♠54 ♠ AQ632

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♦72 S ♦ 643 This column features interesting people you might meet at a local bridge club.

Contributions welcome!

♣AJ42 ♣ KQ9

Opener Responder

Robert Gasser

1♥ 1♠

2♣ 2♦

2♥ Pass

With a minimum opening and nothing to

add to what he has already said, opener

reluctantly rebids the five-card heart suit.

There is one sequence which allows the

fourth suit to be bid at the one level:

Auction (i) Auction (ii)

Opener Responder Opener Responder

1♣ 1♦ 1♣ 1♦

1♥ 1♠ 1♥ 2♠

I recommend that 1♠ in (i) is natural,

showing four spades. It might be neces-

sary to find a 4-4 spade fit if opener has a DR ROBERT GASSER is a regular at to being hired as film locations.

4-4-0-5 or 4-4-1-4 shape. Responder may Summertown Bridge Club, Oxford, Robert Gasser well remembers how

be quite weak for this bid, but it should be where his charming and cheerful manner much he enjoyed working with the late

played as forcing for one round. In (ii), 2♠ make him a popular member. He has John Thaw (with Robert in the picture

is the conventional fourth suit bid. not been playing there all that long: above) and the rest of the cast in the town

although he learned to play bridge in his that Colin Dexter, creator of Morse, (also

One last useful principle undergraduate years at Oxford Univer- a regular ‘extra’ in the series), dubbed the

sity, he gave up the game for about forty ‘murder capital of the world.’ Robert’s

I will end with another useful principle: years because of family and work com- walk-on roles in Morse brought him his

mitment, and has only gone back to only speaking part – as the Chancellor of

playing club bridge two years ago. Once Oxford University in Richard Attenbo-

In any auction in which the fourth a week is enough for Robert, but he rough’s film Shadowlands, in which he

suit is used, the sixth bid makes the keeps his bridge wits sharp by practising delivered a speech in Latin!

auction game forcing. with the computer software his daughter Asked about his best and worst

gave him as a Christmas present. ‘I enjoy memories of his involvement with film

a friendly atmosphere,’ says Robert, ‘and making, Robert remembered talking to

I don’t think people should be fanatical the late Sir John Gielgud on the set of a

Opener (Hand F) Responder about bridge, but at the same time I Morse episode as one of the highlights.

♠ 54 ♠ AJ9632 prefer it if the game is taken seriously – The worst moment came right at the

♥ AK763




♥ 94 and I do like to win!’ start of his film ‘career’: during the

♦ 72 S ♦ A4 Robert, who before retiring was the shooting of Young Sherlock Holmes,

♣ AJ42 ♣ KQ9 bursar of Brasenose College, Oxford, had produced by Steven Spielberg in 1985, a

an unusual hobby before bridge beck- scene required a main square in Oxford

oned again: he specialised in Hitchcock- to be covered in snow. The effect was

Opener Responder type appearances in several episodes of achieved by smothering the area with a

1♥ 1♠ the famous Inspector Morse series. ‘It special foam, while the falling flakes

2♣ 2♦ wasn’t what you might call acting,’ says were simulated by five tons of bits of

2♥ 2♠ Robert, ‘but it was great fun!’ paper pumped out by hoover-like

3♠ 4♠ Robert’s involvement with Morse was devices. ‘It all worked very well,’ sighs

the consequence of another hobby of his: Robert at the memory, ‘but clearing all

Responder is looking for doubleton spade acting as the liaison between filming and that paper was a bit of a nigthmare,

support, but cannot jump to 3♠ over 2♣ as broadcasting companies, and what was especially since I had not realised that it

that is not forcing. So he uses the fourth suit unofficially known as the ‘Oxford Filming would be my job to make sure there

and then bids on: 2♠ is the sixth bid and Consortium’ – a group of colleges, would be no trace of it left at the end of

makes the auction game forcing. Now there libraries and theatres which had agreed the shoot!’

is plenty of space to compare notes. February 2008 English Bridge 41


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