I now play regularly at four clubs. I am decided to launch us at the Stirling (Men’s) surroundings of the Hexham Bridge Club.
secretary at Wadebridge and press rep. for Bridge Club. Now don’t be silly, sexism I am happy to report that none of its char-
Cornwall. hadn’t been invented yet! ming members play like an overbidding
I enjoyed the following hand, played We agreed Henry would bid à la bishop!
against strong opponents: Culbertson and I would bid as per Victor
Mollo. We explained to each other the
intricacies of our systems. And so we were Gerry Loxley, Leicestershire
Love All. Dealer North. ushered into the august presence of the
´ QJ town’s senior and most important citizens.
™ AKJ75 Sometimes pigs do fly. Some three and a
t KJ96 bit hours later two rather bemused and
® 10 6 grinning young men stumbled down the
´ A73 ´ 10 9 5 4 steps of the County Club clutching seven
™ Q832 W
™ 10 9 6 shillings and six pence (371/2p) in their
t 8542 S t A7 sticky little hands. They had defeated the
® 75 ® 9843 might of Stirlingshire.
´ K862 Mind you, I cannot remember being
™ 4 asked to play again!
t Q 10 3
Simon Partridge, ALTHOUGH neither of my parents had
any interest in cards, I had an uncle who,
North South Northumberland at family parties, especially at Christmas,
1™ 1´ got everybody playing Chase the Ace or
3t 6NT Newmarket, and at an early age, 7 or 8, my
All Pass interest in cards was fixed.
Later, at the local church I attended,
West, apparently sitting over a spade suit, there would often be whist drives held in
did not lead the ace, but played a diamond the church hall and at the age of 13 I began
to her partner’s ace. A club was returned to play whist.
and there was a thin chance of making the At 17, I left school and started work as a
slam if West had the queen of hearts. I laboratory assistant at the Leicester
took my three diamonds and five club Colleges of Art and Technology (now
tricks and at trick nine West, now holding DeMontfort University) where I was first
´A and ™Q-x-x-x, was fatally squeezed. introduced to this strange form of whist
She discarded a heart and the slam was where one hand was laid on the table –
made. A triumph for reckless bidding, I WAS born on 30th September, 1936 in they called it ‘bridge’. This was mostly
perhaps? Redditch, Worcestershire. I cannot really played by chemistry and pharmacy
remember when I first played bridge, but, students during their lunch break and,
as a child, during the post-war period, I was being quite interested, I regularly watched.
David Richardson, introduced to many card games such as One day there were only three players
Pontoon and Newmarket, especially available and I was asked: ‘Do you play
West Yorkshire around Christmas time, where matchsticks bridge?’ I replied: ‘No, but I play whist.’
were used as the currency of gambling. ‘That will do,’ came back the reply. That
SO long as I can remember, bridge has It was later, in the 1960s in Lagos, was my first introduction to bridge.
always been part of my life. I was no child Nigeria, during the wet season, that I began Later, while serving with the RAF in
prodigy but during the war, father away at to take an interest in bridge with the ceiling Malaya, I met another three looking for a
sea, I was dragged round various Aunties’ fans at the Apapa Club circu lating the fourth and played for about four months
houses, and watched my mother play muggy air and often exposing the cards, before returning home in November 1957.
bridge with her ‘four’ – so I learnt to play sometimes to my advantage, as they were I then returned to my job as a laboratory
after a fashion. After school, I played a bit dealt. It was at this club that I had a near- assistant and played only occasional
in the Navy. Introduction to duplicate was religious experience when partnering the bridge until 1962.
unorthodox to say the least. Bishop of Ibadan, clearly an avid poker Up to this point I had only played
Domiciled in Scotland, I became player, in a game of bridge and losing the rubber bridge but in 1962, having become
acquainted with a young solicitor, Henry, equivalent of £20 to two visiting Irish friendly with my local grocer, at some time
who had just joined the family firm in priests. A few years later my work took me in the conversation bridge came up and
Stirling, called Welsh & Robb (no jokes to Hong Kong, where I experienced the when he discovered that I played, I was co-
about the name, please – they were a civil ising influence of duplicate bridge opted into their group. His plea to join
highly respectable firm). played in the austere surroundings of the them amused me when he said: ‘One of
Now mother had taught me to play American Club. our four has gone to America and we’ve
Acol; Henry’s father had taught him to Nowadays, I enjoy playing duplicate been so desperate to get a fourth, we’re
play Culbertson. Our respective parents bridge on Thursday evenings in the pleasant trying to teach one chap’s wife to play.’
34 English Bridge October 2011 www.ebu.co.uk