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Fun Stuff
007's Game in Moonraker

007 plays bridge against the evil multi-millionaire Sir Hugo Drax in Ian Fleming's "Moonraker." In the story, M asks Bond to investigate Sir Hugo's substantial winnings at M's favorite bridge club. There, Bond discerns that Drax is a cheat. When dealing the cards, Drax peeks at the card reflections in his polished cigarette case.

When playing with M, Bond fixes the deck against Drax in the final deal of the session:

Meyer -- Drax
65432 76532 AKQJ
T9872   AKQJ
JT9 Bond AK
-- S-- KJ9

Bond, South, deals and opens 7! This is passed around to Drax, who doubles. Bond naturally redoubles.

Bond ruffs a diamond in dummy, finesses Drax's clubs, ruffs another diamond, and finesses clubs again. Now Bond's hand becomes good, and Drax is apoplectic.

This deal is based on the Duke of Cumberland deal from the 19th century. The Duke of Cumberland, son of King George III, supposedly held Drax's cards during this rigged deal against hustlers:

The Duke T98765432 East
AKQJ   T9876
AK South QJ
KJ97 S5432 --

The Duke led a low club against 7C. He was then enticed to bet £20,000 that he would win at least one trick... and lost.

Bridge-loving Celebrities


Billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett has a reputation of a die-hard player. He began playing competitively with his friend Sharon Osberg in the early 1990s, and the two have been playing ever since. 1 Osberg is a former Wells Fargo VP and two-time world champion (Venice Cup, 1991 and 1993).

In the late 1990s, Buffett also hooked his friend Bill Gates onto bridge. The two began playing online together, and still play in tournaments.

Buffett has likened bridge to investing, saying that both involve making intelligent decisions based on available information and probabilities. Buffett, Osberg and Gates play online at OKbridge (where Buffett's player rating is comfortably above average), and in ACBL tournaments.

In 2005, Buffett, Gates and Osberg launched a bridge program for public schools. Buffett and Gates donated $1 million in funding. 2 Unfortunately, the program has ended since then.

In 2006, Buffett began sponsoring his own biannual tournament, the Buffett Cup, which pits American experts against their European counterparts. The tournament is played every other September. The 2010 tournament was available to kibitzers on the Internet at Bridge Base Online.



Tennis legend and winner of 59 Grand Slam titles. On the topic of bridge, she has been quoted as saying "No matter where I go, I can always make new friends at the bridge table."



WWII General and 34th President of the United States. Eisenhower had a reputation as an excellent bridge player.



Charismatic star of "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago", Omar Sharif also enjoyed a long career as an expert bridge player and columnist.



Special Agent 007 chalked up 7C redoubled in Ian Fleming's novel "Moonraker." (See next article)

Snoopy's Finest Card Game (Trump That, Red Baron!)
Snoopy's Finest Card Game (Trump That, Red Baron!)

Most Bridge players are not aware that Snoopy and his creator, Charles M. Schulz, were Bridge enthusiasts.

Members of the public did not understand the Bridge that appeared occasionally in the strips, but they put up with this little quirk in the makeup of the beloved cartoonist, who died in February 2010.

In May 1997. four consecutive strips featured Bridge hands, and the American Contract Bridge League made Snoopy and Woodstock honorary life masters. Schulz was delighted. His strip that appeared on Nov. 7 centered on the Bridge deal shown in the diagram.

The same layout appears in Ely Culbertson's ''Gold Book,'' first published in 1936, allowing a pleasant speculation. Did the Bridge exploits of World War I's greatest fictional flyer find their way into the archives of the great Bridge authority two decades later? Or was it the other way round?

In the first frame Snoopy, in flying gear, is sitting on a doghouse decorated with suit symbols. In the second he is engaged in a game with three small helmeted friends. The third shows the diagram, and Snoopy correctly interprets his partner's mumbled bid as a raise to three no-trump.

The reader is left to guess that a spade is led and can see that South has eight tricks. If he routinely attempts to set up a ninth trick in clubs he will almost surely fail. The defenders will establish spades and make at least five tricks in the black suits.

At this point duty calls. ''Sorry, men,'' Snoopy says. ''We'll finish that hand when I return.''

He and the doghouse take to the air, and he boldly faces a barrage of anti-aircraft fire. He is in great danger but succeeds in returning to base.

''Flying Ace Snoopy reporting, mon capitaine,'' he says.

The capitaine, one infers, is not pleased.

''Yes, sir. Everything went bad,'' says Snoopy. ''Perhaps the captain could tell me what I did wrong.''

The chastened flyer returns to the bridge game, where the troops have been patiently waiting.

''He said I should have led a low heart to the queen.''


Quotable Quotes

Overheard at the Bridge Table:

Player:  "Sorry, partner, I had a card misplaced"

Partner: "Only one?"

"I favour light opening bids.  When you're my age, you're never sure the auction is going to get back to you in time"

Oswald Jacoby

"It's not enough to win the tricks that belong to you.  Try also for some that belong to your opponents"

Alfred Sheinwold

"If I did everything right, I wouldn't be playing with you!"


Doctor: "Do you get much exercise?"

Patient: "Only when I sit East-West"