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All comments by Peter Hasenson
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Fritzi and Paul Gordon’s daughter, Nona Summers, learnt to play bridge at a charity bridge day, sometime during the early 1990s I seem to recall. She had, she told me later, always resisted learning bridge as she had seen the effect the game had had on her parents!! Anyway, she was late for the ‘bridge creche’ and on arriving announced that she was not worried as she felt sure she would pick the game up quickly. “My mother was a champion player,” she said. My friend who was hosting told me later that he gave his usual reply to such a comment, “Of course she was!” “No really” replied Nona, “My mother was really good” “OK well what was her name?” “Fritzi Gordon!!”
Oct. 22
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I would love to know the source of your (mis)information.
Oct. 22
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What was the lead? A trump!?
Oct. 10
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The kind of bridge I prefer to play is the type that was on offer twenty or more years ago when strong club bridge was on offer most nights of the week, comprising almost exclusively non-pro-am partnerships. Those were the days when vast numbers of top players turned up in partnership for national and international events. The European Pairs in The Hague, Netherlands in 1997 was particularly enjoyable as was the last great World Pairs Championship in 1998 in Lille, France when over 600 pairs competed, the best of the best playing with each other (except for the odd pro-am partnership) over seven days to see who really were the best partnerships around.

These days…
Oct. 1
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Meanwhile there are still only 40,500 registered members of China Bridge Federation!!
Oct. 1
Peter Hasenson edited this comment Oct. 1
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I have also added a picture - Dimmie Fleming is in the middle but can anyone identify the other people?
Sept. 30
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@Gordon: It appears they did pre-war as noted in the following and all subsequent reports up to and inclusing 1939.

Mr. Manning-Foster elected First President.
Bridge Magazine July 1932 p 109-111

Tuesday, June 7th, an official luncheon was given by the Dutch Bridge League at a famous restaurant at Meerrust, the Lake District of Holland.

The President of the Dutch Bridge League Mr. A. J. Lucardie, in the course of his speech, suggested the formation of an International Bridge League. He said it would be a good opportunity for the six countries represented to meet and consider the proposal, and he also suggested that as England was the leading Bridge country of the world, the British Bridge League should take the lead in this matter at the start.

The Secretary of the British Bridge League replying, said, that the British Bridge League and its President would always give sympathetic consideration to any scheme for the betterment of Bridge and for competitive play and International matches, provided that it was always done upon a strictly amateur basis.

It was decided that a meeting of Captains together with the representative from Hungary and the Secretary of the British Bridge League should be held on Friday morning to discuss the matter.

At this meeting it was agreed to go forward with the idea and it was decided to call the organisation the International Bridge League, that the Headquarters of the League and its Secretary should be established in The Hague, that the League should permit the affiliation of purely amateur leagues and associations only.

Upon a proposal by Dr. Melville Smith, it was agreed that one League only from each country should be represented in the International League and that any League applying for affiliation must prove its amateur standing.

It was further agreed that the governing body of the International Bridge League should consist of a President and as many members as affiliated bodies, one member to be appointed by each affiliated league or association.

Further, that the President should be appointed annually from a different league or association.

Upon the proposition of Mr. Lucardie, Mr. A. E. Manning-Foster, President of the British Bridge League, was unanimously elected as first President of the International Bridge League. Mr. Lucardie said that England is the leading country in the Bridge World and Mr. Manning-Foster had done an enormous amount for Bridge players and that he was looked up to the world over. He thought it only right that the President of the British Bridge League should hold the office. Mr. E. Pollock (Austria) said that no better choice of a President could be made. He knew the feeling of the Mid-European States and knew that the International Bridge League would have its finest and undoubted chance of success provided Mr. Manning-Foster accepted the Presidency. He said that England was always looked up to and if she took the lead in these matters she was never suspected of running a purely local organisation. The other foreign representatives also spoke in eulogistic terms of England, her Bridge, her Bridge League and its President.

The aims and objects of the League are:-

(a) To work for one International code of laws.

This clause led to some discussion as some of the representatives understood that the International Bridge League would frame its own international code of laws, but the British Bridge League representatives said that the British Bridge League would not agree to the framing of new laws for Bridge.

The Secretary of the British Bridge League said that after all that had been said of England and the Portland Club, and that the fact that all the countries represented at the meeting used the Portland Club laws, he thought it would be a mistake to attempt to interfere with these, and that the British Bridge League would not agree to any attempt to interfere with them, as they are recognised throughout the world. All were unanimous on this point and held the same views.

(b) To work for one International Code of rules for competitive play and matches.

© To organise a yearly competition, International, Inter-League or other form of competition. To work for the improvement of the game of Bridge internationally. That the International Bridge League shall be upon a strictly amateur basis.

Mr. W. E. Kroesen, Snellinsstr.17. The Hague, was elected Hon. Secretary.


The Nederlandsche Bridge Bond is to be congratulated upon its enterprise in making the first attempt to organise an international tournament. The Tourney was a great success and the experience has been both to the organisers and players, a very excellent guide for the conduct of future events of this nature.

Teams representing the Leagues of the following countries took part:-

Austria, Belgium, England, Germany, Holland and Norway.

The President of the Dutch Bridge League, Mr. A. J. Lucardie, welcomed the players at the reception held at the Kurhaus, Schevemngen, on Saturday, June 4th. The Secretary General of the British Bridge League, in the unavoidable absence of the President, responded on behalf of the visitors. The teams were as follows:-

Austria. Dr. Paul Stern (Capt.), E. Pollock, L. Urvater, S.Fleischmann.
Belgium. C. Repeliaer (Capt.), M. V. D. Wigngaert, W. Maurice, W. Braionniei.
England. Dr. Melville Smith (Capt.), Alex. T. Hasler, Mr. and Mrs. Sefi, C. B.Yule.
Germany. Kurt Bendix (Capt.), K. Berger, Robinow, and Frau Jacobowitz.
Holland. E. G. Goudsmit, F. W. Goudsmit, E. Einhorm, G. Borel, J. R. C. v Bemmel Suyck.
Norway. Joh. Brun (Capt.), T. Sommerveld, J. Grooshelmer, R. W. Gunderson, E. Onsager.

It was agreed that of these teams Belgium, Germany, Holland and Norway were fully representative, and also that in Austria it would be hard to find a better team than the one present.

Play started at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 4th, and the match was run on a very involved Dutch version of the “Howell” movement, and award of match points. All these complications were entirely unnecessary as eventually the contest resolved itself into each country playing a match of 260 boards in duplicate. Under the Dutch system of the award of match points, it is curious to note that it would have been possible for one country to beat all the other countries in their duplicate matches and yet to take last place.

The Austrian team won the contest by winning four of their matches. They lost only to Norway. Holland also won four matches, losing to Austria. Norway lost to England and Holland. England lost to Austria, Holland and Belgium, Belgium lost to Austria, Holland and Norway. Germany lost all matches.

The contest was not only a test of Bridge, but also of physical endurance. On the first two days play started at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. There was one hour's break for dinner, 7-15 to 8-15, and play continued until 2 a.m. The strain was so great that at 1-15 on Monday, the German woman competitor collapsed and play could not be continued until she recovered sufficiently to play the last few hands of the session. This incident led to n meeting of the captains the following day and it was decided to reduce the boards by five each session. Even so, this reduction was really not enough, as it only reduced the actual hours of play by one.

Austria deserved their win. They are undoubtedly very fine players. They claim to use no system, but this is only in their imagination. During the course of play with them we discovered that they did not open “One” without a strong hand, and that they really were playing the One-over-One. Only one country, Belgium, used any artificial bidding. They used the Vanderbilt Club, but although they gained by it at the start of the contest, they lost ground towards the end.

The standard of play was very consistent, for although there were twenty-five matches played, each of 260 boards, no country lost to another by a greater margin than 3,300.

The contest was divided into twelve sessions, and it is interesting to note that although the League team eventually lost to Austria and Holland, the two leaders at the end of the ninth round, England was leading Austria by 200 points, and at the end of the eleventh session Holland was only 375 points ahead of England. Unfortunately, we did not rise to the occasion and lost to both these countries by a narrow margin.

Great praise is due to Mr. A. J. Veresteeg, the tournament manager. The organisation was carried out in a most capable manner, quietly and efficiently. He was the essence of tact and there were many piquant situations with which he had to deal.

The Dutch press gave great publicity to the event and both Morning and Evening papers gave full details.
At the conclusion of the contest the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant gave pen pictures of each of the teams.

Of the English team they said:- “The English Team are charming people and very fine players, well up to international standard, and with more experience of stern competitive Bridge they will be hard to beat.” An artist from this paper also spent one busy afternoon sketching the League team Captain and this appeared in the paper the following day. One of the English players also came in for much congratulation in the press and in the room, inasmuch that although a contract of “Three Hearts” was bid at every table on a particular hand, he was the only one to make it, and this against best defence. We hope later to give hands from this match.
Sept. 27
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I applaud the ACBL for both posting this on BW but more importantly for its open dialog with its membership on these matters. I would like to think that ACBL has set the standards in these respects and other NBOs will follow suit in future.
Sept. 19
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In 1939, Jack Marx thought of the idea of using a two club response to a one no-trump opening to enquire about length in the majors. He wrote about his ideas and gave copies of these notes to friends but the outbreak of World War II prevented publication. When the first English post war bridge magazine, Contract Bridge Journal, was launched in 1946, his ideas finally appeared in print.

Almost certainly unaware of this, legendary American expert George Rapee devised the same concept and after explaining his ideas to his partner, Sam Stayman, put them into practice. Stayman wrote an article in The Bridge World (USA) April 1945 espousing these theories and clearly crediting his partner. This was the first published work on the convention. But the name Stayman stuck and Sam will forever be immortalised by bridge players worldwide.

Transfer Bids
Writing in a Swedish periodical in 1954, Olle Willner, a renowned bridge theorist, introduced the concept of transfer bids. Two years later, Oswald Jacoby wrote in a similar vein in The Bridge World and named the convention ‘Jacoby Transfer Bids’. It is highly improbable that he was aware of the earlier article.

With thanks to Alan Truscott who provided the research material
Sept. 16
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Bridge on the Television
By George Baxter
BBW September 1937

A hand of Contract Bridge makes an excellent feature for a Television display, and two highly successful experiments have been carried out. The method of procedure is that the hand to be played is shown on a large board, and its possibilities are summed by the expert, who acts as compere; the players are then introduced, and they bid and play the hand from a duplicate board in the ordinary way; at the end of the hand the microphone is transferred to the table, so that viewers can listen in to the post-mortem, which is con¬ducted by players and compere. There is, contrary to superstition, absolutely no decep¬tion in the whole affair; the players have not seen the hand before, and they bid and play extemporaneously.

For the first experiment, Mrs Gordon Evers and Kathleen Salmons were opposed to A Wolfers and Terence Reese, Hubert Phillips acting as compere. The preliminaries are not without humour, during which Hubert takes up his stand beneath Mr Leslie Mitchell, and they exchange platitudes on lines which are familiar between radio announcers and technical experts. The hand, which was chosen, was one from the first Schwab Cup match.

………………..Sx x x
………………..Hx A 10 x x
………………..Dx A J x x
………………..Cx A K Q

Sx A K Q x x x………………Sx J x x
Hx x x……………………..Hx K Q J x x x
Dx K x……………………..Dx x x
Cx J x x……………………Cx x x

………………..Sx x x
………………..Hx x
………………..Dx Q x x x x
………………..Cx 10 x x x x

N-S were vulnerable, and North was the dealer. The bidding was:¬-

Mrs Evers Wolfers Miss Salmons Reese

1 Dx 1 Hx 2 Dx 2 Sx
3 Dx 3 Hx 4 Dx 4 Hx
Dbl Pass 5 Dx Dbl
Rdbl All pass

Against the contract of Five Diamonds reboubled Wolfers led the King of Hearts; by taking the Diamond finesse, and discarding her two Spades on the long Clubs in Dummy, Mrs Evers made the grand slam, which in duplicate scoring would give her side a score of 1,700 on the hand 400 for Five Diamonds redoubled, 500 bonus for a vulnerable game, and 400 for each overtrick.

It will be seen that the ladies completely outbid the men on the hand. South’s take-out of Four Hearts doubled into Five Diamonds was very well judged, and West's double was perhaps incautious; the defence would have saved the two overtricks if Wolfers had led a Spade instead of a Heart.

When this hand was played in the Schwab Cup, in Room I Culbertson played in Three Spades and made it, the English bidding having been stultified by an opening bid of One Club by Beasley on the North hand. In the other room Mrs Culbertson bid and made Five Diamonds, so that there was a swing of 780 to America.

For the second occasion on which Bridge has been televised, Mrs. Evers played with Lady Peacock, and their opponents were Harrison Gray and S J Simon. The hand chosen was one from this year’s Pachabo Finals.

………………….Sx Q J 1 0 x x x
………………….Hx K x x
………………….Dx K x x
………………….Cx x

Sx A x x…………………….Sx x
Hx none……………………..Hx Q J 10 x x x
Dx A x x x x…………………Dx Q J x
Cx K x x x x…………………Cx A 10 9

………………….Sx K x x
………………….Hx A 9 x x
………………….Dx x x
………………….Cx Q J x x

N-S were vulnerable, and North was the dealer. This was the bidding:¬-

Lady Peacock Simon Mrs Evers Gray
Pass 1 Hx Pass 2 Dx
2 Sx Pass Pass 3 Cx
3 Sx 4 Dx Pass 5 Dx
Pass Pass Dbl All pass

The bidding is rather interesting. North has a useful hand, but does not open because of her lack of honour tricks; East ignores this point; North can now enter the bidding on the second round, and Simon, having opened on rather a weak hand, passes the Two Spade bid; however, Gray takes further action on his two-suited hand, but Lady Peacock, who, as Hubert Phillips remarked, takes a lot of stopping once she gets started, continues with Three Spades. Having a fit for both his partner’s suits, Simon decides to venture Four Diamonds; Mrs Evers continues to hold her peace, and Gray should perhaps have passed the Four Diamond bid, but he decided to have a shot at game; Mrs Evers, having passed throughout on a very useful hand, naturally doubled.

The Spade Queen was opened, and Gray won with the Ace. After long consideration he played King, followed by a small Club; he chose to play the suit in this way, as he suspected North of having a singleton, and did not want to give her the chance of trumping a winning Club; as it was Lady Peacock trumped and led a Spade, dummy ruffing, the Diamond Queen was now run, and North; winning with the King, made the correct return of her last trump; Gray now had still to lose a Spade and a Club, so that he was two down, losing 300 points. The ladies were thus again victorious.

I watched this hand played from a Public House, which has a Television set, and found it very clear and enjoyable. The only defect is that the cards are not very easily seen, and it is best therefore to take down the hand on a piece of paper during the preliminary dis¬cussion. The players name the cards as they play them so that, if this is done, it is very easy to follow what is happening. The usual time for these displays is 9.15 pm; they make a very pleasant introduction to the evening game.
Sept. 15
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Captain Ewart Kempson
By Hubert Phillips
BBW March 1935

At the end of Ewart Kempson’s recent book - his account of the Fourth Annual Bridge Contest between representative teams from North and South - is the mysterious caption “Thus ends my Swan Song.” What this means will not be clear to all his readers; in fact, it is anything but clear to me; but I cannot help relating it - however reluctantly¬ - to the statement I think I have seen some¬where that Ewart is soon to retire from com¬petitive Bridge. I can only hope that, should such be his intention, he has already recon¬sidered it. For one thing, I want to see his very experienced quartette of Novocastrians - ¬or whatever his fellow-barbarians call them¬selves - playing in the Invitation Tournament at Southport. For another, I am anxious to fix up a 100 board match between that same team and the British Bridge World. I cannot help feeling that Ewart’s victories last year and this are in part due to the fact that he has played not so much against teams as against quartettes of brilliant individualists, and that the well-practised machine, of which I am a part, might - I only say might - put up a better show. These considerations, how¬ever, are comparatively irrelevant. The main point is that if Ewart retires from match-play, the game will lose one of its most vivacious and most sportsmanlike exponents.

For Ewart Kempson is one of that small but select fraternity of Bridge writers who are not afraid to pit themselves in match-play against the best opposition they can find. It is not difficult to become on paper one of the leading authorities upon such a game as Bridge, for the newspaper expert bids and plays with all four hands on the table, and with unlimited time in which to decide what to do. Moreover, in the rarefied atmosphere of his study - or is it more correct to say, studio? - he is purged of that flux of human emotions:
“horror and hate and scorn and fear and indignation”
which is inevitably a factor in the psychological interactions of the card¬table. Ewart, like the humblest of those who have learned Contract under his guid¬ance, knows what it is to sit opposite a partner whose capacity to interpret a Slam signal has been marred by a heavy lunch; or to put in - well knowing the risk involved - ¬a daring psychic which so completely jams the wires that that same partner is driven ultimately to rescuing him from his one makeable contract. And because he has a deep practical experience of this human element of the game, he can always write intelligently and with humour and without being pompous or bitter.

I think he is probably the most studious of our leading Bridge authorities. He told me once that he reads about Bridge every night before he goes to sleep, and certainly he has a quite exceptional knowledge of what has been written on the game. His card technique is very good. I do not approve altogether of his principles of bidding. Like those of Walter Buller, with whom Ewart has played so many matches, they are spectacularly successful against weak opposition, but can, in my opinion, be defeated by an intelligently planned counter-attack. But his play of the cards on occasion is as good as can be seen anywhere. Take for example Hand No. 53 of the recent North-South match. Here, Ewart and Edward Mayer, sitting North, both found themselves in the same Six Spades contract - a very difficult one to play. Ewart made the contract with the aid of a perfectly set-up squeeze, and Mayer failed by one trick. It is true that Ewart had, as he modestly remarks, the advantage of a double by one of the adversaries. But doubles in Slam con¬tracts are so often made with a view to confuse, that this advantage is really a very slight one.

As I write this sketch, I am anxiously look¬ing forward to the receipt of Ewart’s new book. I expect that, like its author, it will be im¬pudent, provocative, and fundamentally sane. Like Walter Buller, Ewart loves to pontificate in print. It pleases him to parade that half¬humorous egomania which leaves his slower-¬witted readers guessing. He lures them on into laughing at him, and then he laughs at them. Fundamentally, I should think he is one of the most modest of men; this, added to high spirits and natural charm of manner has made him one of the most popular figures in the world of cards. That is why I hope that this legend of his Swan Song is no more than the cackling of geese.
Sept. 15
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Captain Ewart Kempson
By Bernard Westall
BM June 1966

The sad news of the death of our dear Editor, Ewart Kempson, has been received with deepest sorrow not only in England but in all parts of the world where Bridge is played.

Ewart was one of the last personalities left of that small band of distinguished Auction Bridge players who in the early thirties transferred their allegiance to the new game of Contract. I first met Ewart when I was running the British Bridge World Team with the late Hubert Phillips, and played many matches with him and against him in those early days when teams of four matches were only beginning to emerge.

Walter Buller, the enemy of conventions, fought a noble but doomed battle for what he called British Bridge. His earliest and strongest supporter was Ewart Kempson. All the members of Walter Buller’s team were fine Bridge players but, as the modern generation will understand, they were gravely handicapped by the announcement that they were playing no system of any kind. Ewart was man enough to admit that, whatever his personal prejudice, Contract Bridge could only flourish providing that some basis of understanding could be agreed upon by strange partners before play commenced.

What distinguished Ewart more than anything else as a player was his modesty in victory and his cheerfulness in defeat. His sense of humour, too, was one that was all his own and these qualities combined to make him a grand companion as well as a wonderful partner.

Ewart’s pre-war predecessor was Manning-Foster, himself a great name in the world of Bridge. Ewart, however, as Editor of the Bridge Magazine, while carrying on the Foster tradition, introduced something new into the journal. His “Animal Crackers” showed his love of animals combined with a dexterity in giving the photographs some bridge relevance. It also caused the magazine to be printed upon expensive art paper.

It is little more than a year since the Bridge Magazine and the British Bridge World amalgamated. This union was particularly welcome to both Ewart and me for it gave us an opportunity once more of collaborating and resuming a warm friendship that had been interrupted for all too long. In the early thirties I played some of the first bridge matches against Ewart in North versus South matches as well as in the Walter Buller series. These were the great days of emergent Contract and the North of England in particular was lucky in its champion.

Ewart knew for some months that his tenure of life was short. It was typical of the man that not only did he carry on his work as Editor with his usual enthusiasm but maintained until the last his wonted gaiety of spirit. A very gallant gentleman has passed away.
Sept. 15
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And now for something different…


The great Irving Rose playing with Barnet Shenkin in the 1988 Staten Bank pairs held:

Barnet opened one spade. Heinrich Berger, next to call, stuck four hearts on the table. What could Rose do? 4NT would have been RKCB. So he bid 4 Spades and awaited a double so he could then run to 4 NT! But the double never came and 4 spades became the final contract!

The lead was 6 clubs.

Barnet, South, held:

Yes, you guessed it, East held:

And Barnet made +450.

Easy game!!
Sept. 15
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How can it possibly be slammish in Hearts!?
Sept. 14
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I am not sure that the result of this poll will settle anything other than to prove that more BW members feel it should be one way or the other. Surely this matter is worthy of far greater in depth research.
Sept. 13
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I would rather blast 7 spades then bid 4 spades to play! Clearly North is to blame for his lame 4 spade bid.
Sept. 7
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@Patrick: You have clearly a) Never hosted in a club, or b) played rubber bridge!
Sept. 5
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@Richard: Never underestimate the denseness of the densest partner :)
Sept. 5
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@Karen: Sami is not, however, the oldest living Middlesex Tollemache winner. That honour goes to the brilliant Peter Swinnerton-Dyer who was part of the victorious 1963 team which comprised Maurice Harrison-Gray, Albert Rose, Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, Kenneth Barbour, Jim Sharples, Bob Sharples, Richard Preston, Ralph Swimer, Dorothy Shanahan, Jane Juan.

Sir Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer, 16th Baronet KBE FRS (born 2 August 1927), commonly known as Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, is an English mathematician specialising in number theory at University of Cambridge. As a mathematician he is best known for his part in the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture relating algebraic properties of elliptic curves to special values of L-functions, which was developed with Bryan Birch during the first half of the 1960s with the help of machine computation, and for his work on the Titan operating system.

He was a Fellow of Trinity College, Master of St Catharine's College and vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1979 to 1983. In 1983 he was made an Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's and Chairman of the University Grants Committee and then from 1989, Chief Executive of the Universities Funding Council. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967 and was a KBE in 1987. In 2006 he was awarded the Sylvester Medal.

Swinnerton-Dyer was, in his younger days, an international bridge player, representing the British team twice in the European Open teams championship. In 1953 at Helsinki he was partnered by Dimmie Fleming (the only occasion a woman played on the British Open team): the team came second out of fifteen teams. In 1962 he was partnered by Ken Barbour; the team came fourth out of twelve teams at Beirut.
Sept. 4
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