Thankfully at that time I had not heard of the famous ‘Bennett’ murder which took place in 1931 in America when a furious wife, incensed at her husband’s bidding and play at bridge, pulled out a revolver and shot him dead. If I had I would have no doubt have intervened to preserve the peace. Yet despite this unfortunate introduction to the game, I later took it up and like thousands of others find it hard to get through a week without a bridge ‘fix’.
I have played the game in kitchens, in gardens, in ballrooms, on boats, on my computer and of course in bridge clubs. My partners’ ages must have ranged between 9 and 90 as does the membership of my local bridge club. Despite the best endeavours of my parents, it is a very sociable game which is why I made the change from chess to bridge. I much prefer the bustle of the bridge club with the banter between hands to the library-like silence of the chess club broken only by the ticking of the many chess clocks.
I well remember my first ever visit to the local bridge club and wondering what to expect as I approached. With a few hundred yards left to walk, I suddenly froze. What if everyone wears black tie? But I need not have worried. I soon discovered that the game is very cosmopolitan and not at all stuffy.
Listening to my parents those fifty or so years ago, I learned that the worst bridge player they knew was ‘Gladys’. During one game my Dad’s play apparently went a bridge too far. My mother rounded on him venomously ‘I hope that when you die, you find yourself playing an endless game of bridge with Gladys as your partner!’ My father replied ‘As long as we are playing in the clubhouse at the golf club and I can see you eternally playing the 18th hole I will be content!’