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All comments by Peter Hasenson
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Brian Mervis
BM April 1985

On 29th October, 1984, the South African, Brian Mervis, died suddenly from a stroke at the age of only 34.

He came to London with his partner, Gus Calderwood, after the 1976 World Team Olympiad in Monte Carlo; and they went on to represent England in Camrose matches, and to win the Common Market Teams Championship in 1981.

I had the pleasure of playing in a team with him for a few years, and rarely have I met someone who enjoyed life more or extracted so much from it. Whatever else was happening, he was determined to be happy and endeavoured to make those round him feel the same way.

He was a talented player with a penchant for the slightly eccentric. Once we played together for a match in a Caransa tournament, and on one hand he overcalled a strong no trump with two clubs. I alerted and, on enquiry from my opponent, informed them that the bid promised thirteen cards. Mervis’ kibitzer had trouble keeping a straight face because that was what he held: a complete Yarborough!

It always seems especially sad when someone who had so much more to offer life and bridge dies so young.
April 19
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SJWBC ‘Crew Members’

Akram Zaman,
Alan Manch,
Alex Cochrane,
Andrew Collins,
Andrew Sobell,
Annie Goldray,
Annie Nussbaum,
Barry Marshall,
Caroline Saye,
Chris Daniels,
Chris La Fontaine,
David Edwin,
David Goh,
David Kingsley,
David Levitt,
David Sanders,
Dennis Bernard,
Ernest Lawson,
Frances Green,
Freddie North,
Geoffrey Breskal,
Ronnie Breskal,
Hashim,
Ian Panto,
Joe Walvish,
Joey Marshall,
John Lewis,
Judy Lawson,
Ken Graham,
Kenny Hamer,
Lazi Beresiner,
Lou Kerman,
Lou Kosky,
Malcolm Harris,
Manny Camara,
Mariusz W,
Michael Gold,
Myrtle Gilbert,
Natalie Sharpe,
Nicky Yasnik,
Norman Bloomfield,
Norman Selway
Peter Hasenson,
Ray & Nat Hillman,
Richard Sampson,
Richard Selway,
Roman Smolski,
Salim Khan,
Sidney Kingsley,
Terry Goldman,
Terry Lewis,
Tim Dean,
Tony Salmon
Tony Woolf,
Unal Durmus,
Victor Koss
+ Others
April 18
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How you get to 7NT is another matter!

Ax
Axx
AQxxxxx
J

Txxxx
J9
Kx
AKQx

Hand from Lady Milne this past weekend.
April 18
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More If…

If
By Shrubhill Pipet
British Bridge World May 1933

If you can hold your tongue, when all about you
They’re making reckless bids and getting ‘set’
If you can laugh, when fortune seems to flout you,
Saying “The hoodoos haven’t got me yet”

If you have learnt, in situations tricky,
To meet real dangers, yet ignore what’s sham
If you can pull a bluff, when things look sticky,
Or take a thousand ‘set,’ to save a slam

If you can frame your plans with resolution,
Not rash, not timid, just the happy mean
¬And, when you sense the Rocks of Distribution,
Can steer your forces skillfully between

If you can halt, when hostile guns are troubling
If you can charge, and yet know when to swerve
If you can double - and refrain from doubling
And, being doubled, still can keep your nerve

If you can bid, in accents calm and level
‘Twixt all emotions hold the balance true
When others in their haste invoke the devil
If you can give that kibitzer his due

If, when you lose the game, as when you win it,
You neither boast, nor sulk ‘neath fortune’s frown
Yours is the pack and every trick that’s in it,
And friendliness shall reign, when you sit down.

————————-

If
By Wm Talley Elliot
The Bridge World, New York

If you can play your hand when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust your partner when he doubts you,
But make allowance for his doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting;
Or being set too much, don’t blame your hand,
Or being baited don't give way to baiting,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too bland;

If you can play - and not make play your master;
If you can win - and not make gain your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:

If you can bear to hear the bids you've spoken
Twisted by Fate to make a trap for fools,
Or watch opponents win with each rule broken,
And deal and play and still abide the rules;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on a Grand Slam bid and lost,
And smile, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:

If you can Force your partner and he passes,
Or deny, and see him still bid high,
And see the score the other side amasses,
And do not criticize or even sigh;

If you can play with fools and still continue
To calmly watch your partner wreck his play,
If adverse bids and Overcalls don’t irk you,
If it's always something pleasant that you say:

If you can fill the unforgiven minute
With sixty seconds worth of fair play done,
Yours is the deck and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a freak, my son!


————————-

New Year Resolution - A Suggestion and an Inspiration
By Herbert Steier (With apologies to the shades of a greater Poet)
Contract Bridge Journal January 1950

If you lose points, but not your sense of humour
When at each deal a Yarb’rough come to you:
If wryly you admit your grossest bloomer
And sympathize when partner makes one too;

If you play duplicate and come in “Second”
Yet shake the victor’s hand with full acclaim,
You are the kind of member whom we reckoned
An asset to the Club that plays the game.

If you can realize that other players,
Though not so good as you, will try as hard,
Although in spite of all your earnest prayers,
They will discard that all-important guard;

If you will understand that Backward squeezes,
Grand Coups, Throw-Ins and other plays of fame
Are things where normal folks’ ambition ceases –
¬Folks who are yet an asset to the game.

If you can keep your head when all around you
Heated discussions take their fervent course;
When half a dozen kibitzers surround you,
Who partner’s views whole-heartedly endorse;

If you don’t wince when partner trumps your master,
If you despise sharp penalties to claim,
If you can smile when stricken by disaster,
We want you here because you play the game.

If you eschew the habit of defining
Your preference by frown or nod or shake;
If you can keep your voice from underlining
The scope and meaning of the bids you make;

If you don’t chortle over every blunder
For which your weak opponents are to blame;
And if your patience is not torn asunder
When your weak partner ‘chucks’ a stone cold game.

If you will help to get a table started
With three palookas - and not show disdain;
And play a friendly game, not heavy-hearted
“Oh what’s the odds, I’ll soon cut out again?”

If cutting you gives everybody pleasure,
Your censure causes everybody shame,
You are the kind of member whom we treasure; -
We want you here because you play the game.
April 5
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I very much doubt the Bodleian has the world's greatest collection of bridge books - that honour surely goes to the Tim & Margaret Bourke collection at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne. Indeed it may even be only the third best collection in UK as I know of two others that comprise over 6,000 books.
April 3
Peter Hasenson edited this comment April 3
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Joel Tarlo and Jonas Lyons were the founding partners of Tarlo Lyons a firm which later amalgamated with Aukin & Co to form Tarlo, Lyons and Aukin. In 1969 the partners were:

Joel Tarlo…………Charles Aukin
Jonas Lyons………..Louis Tarlo
Brian A R Hobson……Hetty L Lyons
Sidney Ford………..Geoffrey L Isaacs
B Cyril Lazarus…….Terence I Mundy
April 2
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Except that some players play and rule and even occasionally direct!
March 28
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Tony Sowter played in the BB for GB twice, finishing 5th-8th on both occasions:

1981 - John Collings, Paul Hackett, Steve Lodge, Tony Sowter, Rob Sheehan, Irving Rose, Gus Calderwood (NPC)

1991 - Tony Forrester, Andrew Robson, Graham Kirby, John Armstrong, Roman Smolski, Tony Sowter, Sandra Landy (NPC)

He also played twice for GB in the European Championships, finishing runner-up the first time and winner the second.

1981 - John Collings, Paul Hackett, Irving Rose, Rob Sheehan, Tony Sowter, Steve Lodge, Terence Reese (NPC), Gus Calderwood (Coach)

1991 - Tony Forrester, Andrew Robson, Graham Kirby, John Armstrong, Roman Smolski, Tony Sowter, Sandra Landy (NPC), David Burn (Coach)
March 26
Peter Hasenson edited this comment March 26
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In my book, any event that has more entries than it did 10 years previously is doing just fine thank you
March 23
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I like the last line…

“Always remember

There are three categories of bridge player.
Those who can count and those who can't.”
March 21
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http://www.ebu.co.uk/biographies/colin-simpson

Obituary by Kitty Teltscher

“Colin Simpson was a giant of a man, physically and mentally. He played in every tough high stake bridge game available and inevitably emerged a winner. Colin was born in England and his family moved to Scotland where he was educated. As a student at St Andrews he developed an interest in bridge and very quickly became top class. He came to London in the ‘60’s and started playing at Stefan’s Bridge Circle against some of the top players of his era, including Sam Lev, Alan Manch and Zia Mahmood. His optimistic outlook and affable manner made him highly popular wherever he played. Irving Rose, who was manager of St James’ Bridge Club, said that Colin, in his opinion, was the best card-player of his day.

”In addition to his prowess at bridge, Colin had an impressive career in the police force, special branch. In 1982 he came to the world’s attention when he was guarding the Israeli Ambassador to the UK who was attacked by a terrorist and shot in the head. Colin gave chase and shot the assailant at considerable personal risk as the assailant was aiming for him. Colin said after this happened he went back to headquarters and handed in his gun. In typical Colin form he was back on duty next day. He said with amusement that there was no counselling on offer in those days. Colin went on to be the bodyguard to Willie Whitelaw, with whom he developed a firm and long lasting friendship.

“Colin enjoyed over 40 years of marriage to Juliana, a sophisticated and very attractive French woman. They both enjoyed bridge and golf as well as skiing and travel.

”After retiring from the police force, Colin switched to duplicate bridge where he once again proved his enormous talent by coming fourth in the Olympiad at Maastricht in 2000. He was the mainstay of the British Senior Team, which qualified to play in the World Championship in Sao Paulo in 2009. Colin’s teammate Ross Harper said he was the nicest man he’d ever met. The team won the gold medal, so Colin finally earned the well-deserved title of World Champion."

Biography from 2015

Colin was born in London in 1948 but spent his childhood in Scotland where he learnt to play bridge at school and subsequently at university.
He returned to London to join the Metropolitan Police where he worked for over 30 years almost exclusively as a detective in counter terrorism.

He is married to Juliana and they are approaching their 35th wedding anniversary.

Work commitments precluded much tournament bridge but he always found time for his first love, high stake rubber bridge. In 1970s he was lucky to play with many of the best players including Rixi Markus and Irving Rose but his first international achievement was with his mentor Martin Hoffman, reaching the final of the World Pairs in Biarritz . Other international successes included St Moritz , the South Africa Championships and the Caransa in Amsterdam .

Colin has won all the major English competitions including winning the Lederer Invitation seven times. He also has numerous Camrose caps with three different partners.

In 2000 he was a semi-finalist in the Olympiad in Maastricht where he and Hallberg were the second best pair on the Butler Rankings behind Bocchi and Duboin. This resulted in an invitation to the prestigious Cap Gemini Tournament. After a disappointing 2001 European Championship, the next time he played internationally was in 2004, gaining fifth place at Malmo with new partner, David Price. They qualified for the Bermuda Bowl in Estoril.

Unfortunately David and Colin failed to qualify for the Bermuda Bowl after the Europeans in 2006 at Warsaw. But more was to come.

2008 saw a change when the partnership won the Gerard Falkner Seniors Trophy. They then became a part of the England Seniors team in the European Championships in Pau coming sixth equal. Later in the year, they were part of the Seniors team at the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing and reached the Quarter Finals.

The England Seniors team took part in the 2009 World Championships D'Orsi World Seniors Bowl in Sao Paulo, Brazil winning Gold. This was the first time the Bowl had been won by a team other than the USA. He was also part of the England Seniors team which won the European Championships in 2014, and the England team which reached the quarter-finals of the D'Orsi Trophy at the 2015 World Bridge Championships.

Colin has been a near ever-present in the England Seniors side over the last seven years.

In 2015 he won the Premier League.

Whether it was because he was involved in a shoot-out with terrorists when he was a detective, or because of his love of rubber bridge, the French magazine Le Bridgeur in a biography described Colin as un tueur de lapins. His other hobbies are golf and good food.

The Diamond Award: Colin was given the EBU's Diamond Award in May 2017 for his excellence and success over a sustained period for England's international teams.

Read Colin's, A day in the life of… - October 2008

Major International Appearances

European Championships: 2001 2004 and 2006
Bermuda Bowl: 2005
World Olympiad: 2000
Senior European Championships: 2008 2010 2012 and 2014*
D'Orsi Bowl: 2009* and 2015
Senior World Olympiad: 2008 and 2012

* = 1st place

Camrose Trophy Selections: 2001 2002 2004 2005 2006 2010 2013 and 2016

Teltscher Trophy Selections: 2008^ 2009^ 2010^ 2011 2012 and 2013

Crockfords winner: 1981 2014 and 2016

Premier League: 2015

Spring Foursomes Winner: 2000

Brighton Four Stars Teams Winner: 1997

Autumn Congress Two Stars Pairs Winner: 1992

The Hubert Phillips Bowl Winner: 2001

Tollemache Cup winner: 1989 2003 2004 2005 and 2006

Player of the Year Championship: 2015/16 - 6th=

^ - selections for GB/Patron's team
March 20
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One of his favourite quotes was a line from within Ice Station Zebra when Rock Hudson explained to Patrick McGoohan that: ‘We operate on a first name basis. And my first name is Captain’. RIP Colin.


The Day I Raided the Acol Bridge Club
By Colin Simpson (Retired Policeman)

In approximately 1973 the Acol Bridge Club was owned by Tony Huddy, the owner of a mini-cab firm. The local police station, West Hampstead, received a number of anonymous letters stating that illegial poker games were being played there. Something therefore had to be done.

The way an investigation of this type was carried out would be an observation of the premises and when evidence had been gathered a warrant to search would be applied for and a raid take place.

The only Met police officer who could play bridge to a high enough standard was me, a very new recruit. After a briefing by the local Chief Superintendent and £200 from Scotland Yard imprest, I was sent off to play rubber bridge at Acol and hopefully be invited to play poker. Over the course of two weeks I played rubber bridge for £1 or £2 per hundred most days and was invited to play poker at the weekends. The poker game was illegal as the house took a percentage of each pot.

On my evidence a warrant was granted and a raid of the Acol took place at about 1 am the following weekend, during the course of the poker game. The names of the players were taken but no further action. The principles were processed to appear at court later where they pleaded guilty and were fined £500 and police costs. An amusing incident is that I played at the club under a false name. When the raid took place the PC who took my name didn’t believe me!

Although I was offered many other gaming observations over the years, the bad feeling that the Acol incident generated stopped me from taking them.
March 20
Peter Hasenson edited this comment March 20
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On the second had you appear to have the bidding upside down! Surely E opened and S overcalled 1NT
March 20
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The draft minutes of the last meeting are already on web:

http://www.ebu.co.uk/documents/minutes-and-reports/selection-committee/2018/27-february.pdf
March 20
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Well played and congratulations Fiona and Sally.
March 17
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Well played and congratulations Peter and Simon.
March 17
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