Page 0062

AUG_08_EB_p62 Hoffman 16/7/08 11:50 am Page 58

A day in the life of . . . Martin’s Top Tip

Martin Hoffman Count the hand – then the bidding

will tell you how to play!

THIS tip applies to all play situations,

Martin Hoffman is reputedly the best pairs player in the world, but is especially useful when you have

a two-way finesse:

and has enjoyed a long string of successes both in the UK and abroad.

He was also the winner of ‘Master Bridge’, the 1982 Channel 4 TV tournament contested N/S Game. Dealer East. Pairs.

by bridge stars such as Omar Sharif , Zia Mahmood and Rixi Markus. ♠ KQ6

♥ 10 7 5

♦ KJ65

I USUALLY wake up around 7am. I have played the game before, I won. The same ♣ AQ2

never needed much sleep, but I do need a thing happened when, some time later, a ♠ J8432 ♠ 10 9 5


good breakfast, which I usually prepare friend asked me to play rubber bridge with ♥ 8 W E

♥ KQJ964

myself. I am an avid reader of the news, so him at a local club. Success spurred my inte- ♦ Q93 S ♦7

I take my time over coffee and cereals, and rest, and I set to learning the game by ♣ J943 ♣ 875

♠ A7

read the newspaper. I enjoy this ritual but watching great players such as Terence ♥ A32

I will also read any other newspaper that Reese at play. When I won my first dupli- ♦ A 10 8 4 2

comes my way later during the day. cate, I was ready to pack in the diamond ♣ K 10 6

Having found out what’s new in the trade and take up a job as a bridge host.

world, I settle down to writing. Thirteen of Mainly, I am still doing that. Nowadays West North East South

2♥1 2NT

my books have been Audrey and I divide

Pass 4NT All Pass

published, and there is our time between 1

Weak, 5-9, six-card suit

always at least one London and Lauder-

more in the pipeline. hill, Florida, but the Once West leads a heart and you win

Terence Reese, my pattern of the day is East’s jack with your ace, you cannot

friend and first editor, the same. I may afford to lose the lead. Don’t guess the

position of the ♦Q: cash all your black-

used to say that I could sometimes have lunch

suit winners first, and note that East

not write without help at home first, but I shows up with three cards in each. As

from my wife, Audrey. soon set off for the East opened 2♥, he must have six

I think that was put- club for an afternoon hearts and so can have only one dia-

ting it a bit strong! But of rubber bridge. I mond. Cash your ♦A in case the sin-

maybe Audrey is right often walk there, as gleton is the ♦Q, then finesse against

West for two overtricks!

Photo: Elena Jeronimidis

when she says that, left that is one physical

to my own devices, activity I do enjoy.

my books would all Once at the club, I the UK, the US, India, Iran, France, Austria,

be written in a few play for the house: Germany – wherever they happen to be

days since I rattle off it means I only receive from, as long as they are pleasant people

hands at the speed of half of my winnings, and don’t mind paying my fees! I am

lightning! but I don’t have to pay table money or available for rubber and duplicate, club and

I know I tend to do that, but then bridge worry about paying for food. This arran- congress events everywhere in the world.

is my life, though I fell into it by chance. I gement suits me: my game is a lot sharper This does not leave much time for family

was born in Czechoslovakia, and, aged 15, if I am not risking my own money! life, but Audrey is very supportive and does

was liberated from Buchenwald by the That’s not to say that I don’t like a bit of not mind keeping herself busy teaching

US Army who made me their mascot. My gambling. In fact, when I was younger, I bridge and playing tennis or golf. We don’t

family had died in the Holocaust so, after was heavily into betting on the dogs; I have children, but are lucky in that we could

two years in rehabilitation, I went to live eventually lost huge sums and was very always play parents (now grandparents) to

with a family in Finchley and worked as a lucky when the bookies wrote off my debts. our friends’ offsprings. I really enjoy the

diamond cutter. It was not a bad life: at a Nowadays, dog racing is still one of my company of children and love telling them

time when a policeman was earning £5 a passions but I keep control of the size of stories and keeping them entertained.

week, I brought home £45! In spite of the my bets and limit the number of my visits Although they tend to go off me as they

money, and satisfactions such as meeting to the track, where I go with my friend grow up, they have well repaid my interest

the then Princess Elizabeth – for whom Moeshe. I can often be found at the in them. It was because of my friendship

my company made an engagement ring – Betting Office in the morning, though, with their little girl that my Finchley family

working conditions were not healthy, and studying the form for a couple of hours. took me in and gave me a start in my

after eleven years I was ready for change. Most of my time, however, is spent play- English life, and later, another little girl was

The family with whom I lived was keen ing bridge. I only ever play professionally, key to another rewarding friendship, with

on card games, and I picked them up easily. and am not worried by the standard of my her parents, Judy Dench and Michael

When one day I was asked to play in a whist partners. I am not worried by their nation- Williams. Lovely people – but what a shame

drive, I said yes and although I had never ality either: I have partnered players from they did not play bridge!

58 English Bridge August 2008


  1. Page 0001
  2. Page 0002
  3. Page 0003
  4. Page 0004
  5. Page 0005
  6. Page 0006
  7. Page 0007
  8. Page 0008
  9. Page 0009
  10. Page 0010
  11. Page 0011
  12. Page 0012
  13. Page 0013
  14. Page 0014
  15. Page 0015
  16. Page 0016
  17. Page 0017
  18. Page 0018
  19. Page 0019
  20. Page 0020
  21. Page 0021
  22. Page 0022
  23. Page 0023
  24. Page 0024
  25. Page 0025
  26. Page 0026
  27. Page 0027
  28. Page 0028
  29. Page 0029
  30. Page 0030
  31. Page 0031
  32. Page 0032
  33. Page 0033
  34. Page 0034
  35. Page 0035
  36. Page 0036
  37. Page 0037
  38. Page 0038
  39. Page 0039
  40. Page 0040
  41. Page 0041
  42. Page 0042
  43. Page 0043
  44. Page 0044
  45. Page 0045
  46. Page 0046
  47. Page 0047
  48. Page 0048
  49. Page 0049
  50. Page 0050
  51. Page 0051
  52. Page 0052
  53. Page 0053
  54. Page 0054
  55. Page 0055
  56. Page 0056
  57. Page 0057
  58. Page 0058
  59. Page 0059
  60. Page 0060
  61. Page 0061
  62. Page 0062
  63. Page 0063
  64. Page 0064