OCT_08_EB_p54 Simpson Tip.qxd 15/9/08 9:46 am Page 50
A day in the life of . . . Colin Simpson’s Top Tip
Even if a contract seems impossible
Colin Simpson to make, don’t ever give up!
This is a lesson I learnt the hard way,
playing high-stakes bridge. On the
In the last decade, Colin Simpson has amassed a record number of wins at national deal below, I was able to put it to
and international events. He has represented England in three European Champion- good use:
ships and a Bermuda Bowl, and reached the semi-finals at the 2000 Olympiad.
♠ A Q 10 4
USUALLY my day starts at around 7.30am. though I might have an occasional game ♥ AK32
I like pottering around in the morning – at the local duplicate club with my wife.
♣ A 10 7 6 5
one of the luxuries of being retired. Usually we do what most people do: watch ♠ KJ7 ♠ 98652
Life was not so relaxed in my working television if we stay in, go out for meals (I ♥ Q98 N
days. I joined the London Metropolitan do enjoy good food), or go to the cinema. ♦ J 10 8 7 6 5 S ♦ Void
Police in 1971, after spending a few years One film we saw not long ago is the latest ♣ Q ♣ KJ98
at various Scottish universities where I did Indiana Jones and I must say I was a bit ♠ 3
not learn much apart from playing bridge. disappointed: Harrison Ford would cut ♥ J 10
In 1973, I moved to Special Branch, where I a fine figure of a man as a bridge player, but
worked for almost thirty years as a detective as an action hero he looks rather past it.
in counter-terrorism, an activity that often One great interest I share with my wife I was South, playing in 5♦ – a
involved personal danger. is travelling. We have contract that had seemed eminently
In 1982 I was assigned been as far away as reasonable when dummy came down.
to protect the Israeli China, Peru and the I won West’s lead of the club queen,
ambassador in London, a Galapagos Islands, and cashed dummy’s ace of spades, ruffed
a spade and led the ace of diamonds
duty that led to my be- have recently come back
to get the (very!) bad news.
coming the only police- from a wonderful trip to
Nevertheless, I carried on. A heart
man ever to shoot a Egypt which included a to dummy was followed by a spade
terrorist on English soil. short cruise on the Nile ruff, then another heart to dummy
On that occasion, I was as well as a balloon and a heart ruff gave this position:
shot at, but lucky not to trip over the Valley of
be hit. The ambassador the Kings. Readjusting ♠ Q
was not so lucky, and was to everyday life has not ♥ 3
Photo: Giorgio Jeronimidis
seriously wounded. proved easy! ♦ —
♣ 10 7 6
When I was working, Still, I look forward to
♠ — ♠ 9
free time was short and my next commitment: ♥ — N ♥ 5
I played almost exclusi- representing England in ♦ J 10 8 7 6 S ♦ —
vely rubber bridge for the Seniors at the Mind ♣ — ♣ KJ9
high stakes. A rare foray Sports Games in Beijing ♠ —
into duplicate was competing in the World (article next month). There will be some ♥ —
Pairs with Martin Hoffman in 1982. We team practice sessions for this, and I will ♦ KQ9
reached the final, but it was only after I also be honing our bidding system with
retired in 2000 that I started entering trials David Price over the internet. Not that our I led a club. West had to ruff and
and forming regular partnerships – first system is very complicated: four-card return a diamond, so I won and re-
with Gunnar Hallberg and now with David majors, strong no-trump and weak twos. peated the process for a very grati-
Price. I am proud that my international Complex bidding systems, in my view, rely fying result – especially since the deal
record with both of them is at least 0.5 on memory rather than judgment, and occurred in a £50 Chicago game.
IMP positive on every board. can therefore decrease the effectiveness of As I said in my tip . . . never give up!
Even though I now have more time for other aspects of one’s game. It all saps
playing bridge, I don’t overdo it. I always your brain power, just like spending half
have lunch with my wife, Juliana, and play an hour trying to think of a way to eke out
rubber bridge twice a week in the after- an overtrick in a routine contract. The Hacketts’
noon at TGR’s near Marble Arch. Another My philosophy – no doubt the result of
couple of afternoons a week are spent play- having always been a rubber and teams bridge column in the
ing golf, and that’s about all the exercise I player – is to play simple hands quickly, Sunday Express has moved
get these days. The times when I played and conserve my energy for the really
rugby (at university and later for the police) difficult deals. My partners may not
are long gone!
Unless I am taking part in a tourna-
always approve of the outcome, but at
least they’ll still be awake at the end of the
ment, I never play bridge in the evening, session . . .
50 English Bridge October 2008 www.ebu.co.uk