April is here and Easter is late this year. I hope you are having a nice time with Spring having arrived very early and some gorgeous weather already.
This Thursday 4 April is our regular Mentor / Mentee night. It is also lovely to see so many of previous years intermediates playing regularly and doing well on regular Thursday evenings.
Thursday 11 April and 18th April Duplicate Bridge will take place on both days. The weekly start time has been queried. It is now a sharp start at 6.45pm but we would like everyone seated in good time before then so the Director can sort the movement.
Thursday 25 April is Open Pairs where members from other St James and invited clubs are welcome to attend without needing to come with an RAC member. Cost for RAC members is still £5 and guests is £10. This always includes tea,coffee and nice biscuits and a Professional Director.
Sadly there is no Sunday bridge this month.That is because the day it would normally be on is the London Marathon day. Apart from London being very busy with multiple road closures, the club does not have any rooms available since they are all booked out for post marathon Charity events. The Sunday before is Easter Sunday and hence also not suitable so we are reluctantly cancelling this month. It will be back on 26 May
Advance dates for your diary:
The Ernest Lawson trophy will this year be held on Thursday 13 June. This is our annual Mentor/Mentee trophy and is 1 week later than normal. The date change is because some mentors are playing in the match v The French club on 6 June hence the mentor /mentee night will be moved in June to 13 June. Further details nearer the time but all mentors and mentees please save the date although obviously all other pairs are welcome to play but not eligible to win the cup.
Summer lunch for Pall Mall bridge Circle being held at Woodcote Park is on Sunday 14 July. This, on request, is back on Wimbledon mens' final day. There will be a delicious buffet lunch with lovely wine and company and the ability to play bridge and watch the tennis in a gorgeous setting. Further details to follow but get the date in your diaries now.
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Sally (on behalf of Bridge Activity Committee RAC Pall Mall )
The RAC Bridge Circles met yesterday at Woodcote Park for their yearly friendly competition. This year the match was won by the Pall Mall team, I.e. Terry and Barbara, Charito and Pauli, Helge and John K. and Tony playing with the Captain, Marina. It was a most enjoyable afternoon of bridge and the Pall Mall players were later entertained to drinks in the Hurricane Bar. Well done, guys
On 5th February a RAC team, valiantly led by Pauli Laumen, played an away game against the Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club and beat the hosts by a score in excess of 40 IMPs. Her teammates were; Roy, Pascale, Tony, Pearse, Mark Sally and Paul Found.
On 6th March a RAC team will play an away match against the MCC. Presently the team is Michael, David Mannouch, Tony, Robin, David Glass, Lester, Paul Weston and Marina. Watch this space!
Congratulations to the eight RAC Intermediates who won their Pairs event against Hurlingham on November 16th at Pall Mall. The winning score for the RAC was +10 IMPs played over 24 boards. Captained by Roger Wolf, the RAC pairs were Isobel Pollock-Hulf, Stuart Carroll, Henry and Fiona McWatters, Ina Wolf. Our team led by 23 IMPs by the half-way point and dinner, only to see Hurlingham reduce our winning margin to 10 IMPs by the end of evening. A return match at the Hurlingham Club was kindly offered for next summer. Special thanks to Marina Chaning-Pearce, our Match Secretary, and Anne Catchpole, our bridge instructor, who provided organisational advice prior to the match
On 5th December, in the most convivial atmosphere, the RAC played the last friendly match of the year against the Athenaeum and won by 92 IMPs. The team included Colin (Captain), Tony , Pascale , John C., David W. Martin, Ross and Marina. Pair of the match were David W and Martin -well done guys!
The Bridge Circle has lost a shining light: our friend Ross died on Sunday 17thMarch after a brief, devastating illness very bravely borne.
Such a reserved man that only on Friday I discovered his first name was Clifford, Cambridge and MIT educated, sporty cyclist, linguist who conversed with our Italian and French opponents in their own language, accountant, investor and farmer. But we all knew that he was an excellent bridge player and a real gentleman; as another friend put it, everybody’s favourite partner.
He was a Committee member for several years in various roles. He took over the organisation of tuition classes for the beginners; expanded such teaching to masterclasses held by prominent English national players; was a most precise and concise Treasurer;and for many years the organizer of the Devonshire Cup, a unique competition in the bridge world. His last game was in fact played for the Devonshire on 12thFebruary after which he went home and never came back. I spoke to him for the last time at the end of February, when he rang in some way to say goodbye.
His many British and foreign friends will miss him more than words can convey. Our hearts and thoughts go to his life partner Kate.
Marina Chaning Pearce
Please see also ‘Memories of Ross Cope’ in Hand of the Week.
Ross’s funeral service will be at Golders Green Crematorium on 4th April 2019 at 2.30 pm.
Congratulations to the eight RAC Intermediates who won their Pairs event against Hurlingham on November 16th at Pall Mall. The winning score for the RAC was +10 IMPs played over 24 boards. Captained by Roger Wolf, the RAC pairs were Isobel Pollock-Hulf, Stuart Carroll, Henry and Fiona McWatters, Ina Wolf. Our team led by 23 IMPs by the half-way point and dinner, only to see Hurlingham reduce our winning margin to 10 IMPs by the end of evening. A return match at the Hurlingham Club was kindly offered for next summer. Special thanks to Marina Chaning-Pearce, our Match Secretary, and Anne Catchpole, our bridge instructor, who provided organisational advice prior to the match.
We played our annual match against the MCC in the pavilion at Lords and lost by 33 imps. The MCC have a strong contingent of regular duplicate players and no matter whom they select to face us have always managed to come out on top in their match against us. Perhaps this year it is reasonable revenge for RAC members doing so well in winning and coming second in their prestigious mixed teams competition. The MCC are excellent hosts and it is a delight to walk into Lords and make our way to the top floor room overlooking the pitch. This year dinner took place in a refurbished room where the photos of past MCC Presidents, which had adorned the walls for decades, were moved aside and replaced by an assortment of interesting cricket paintings and drawings.
The 2018 Ros and Bob Bowman Championship Pairs event went to the wire and any of the leading 5 pairs going into the final round could have won. We are delighted to report that Marina Chaning Pearce, our committee match secretary, and her partner Terry Smith crossed the line as worthy winners by one victory point with Andrew Kisiel and David Glass finishing in 4th place. The standard of play was excellent and the competition was played in the correct spirit of fierce competitiveness and good manners at the table. Marina and Terry got off to a good start by winning the first session of 24 boards. Michael Bailey, our committee chairman, and his partner Emma McCormack came from behind to win the second session and finished in 7th place. The banqueting team provided a splendid high tea at the halfway point and Nicole did a superb job as Tournament Director.
One of the most eagerly anticipated events in the London Club’s Calendar for October every year is the Open Swiss Teams, organised by the MCC Bridge Circle and held in the MCC’s famous Long Room. It always attracts a full house of keen amateurs; this year 34 teams in total.
RAC members have always been to the forefront in participating in this event, but this was the best year yet for RAC teams. The event was won by the RAC Morgan team – Marina Chaning-Pearce, Terry Smith, Ross Cope and Paul Weston. The final round was a remarkable turnaround. Morgan needed 17 victory points (maximum possible 20 points per round) to overtake the leaders, RAC Rolls Royce plus one – Andrew and Brigitte Kisiel, Pralab Barua together with Geoff Lane. 17 points in one round is a tall order, but RAC Morgan rose to the challenge, scoring the maximum 20 points and so coming first, with RAC Rolls Royce a distinguished second.
In addition, thanks to the powers of modern electronic scoring it is possible to attribute scores, not just to teams of four but also to the individual pairs making up each team. The keen student of the results (published online by the MCC) will find that the overall best pair was Lester Pereira and David Manooch of RAC Elite, closely followed by Ross Cope and Paul Weston of RAC Morgan. So, a double first and second for RAC members both in the teams and in the pairs rankings
Our thanks to the MCC who organise the event superbly. Form an orderly queue for next year!
We played our annual match against the Hurlingham Club, with our opponents having home advantage. However this year we played as two teams of 12 and I am delighted to report that we ran out winners by 32 Imps. Both teams fielded strong partnerships and we won due to some steady play over 24 boards, supported by a couple of chunky scores in the first half, arising from overbidding by our opponents, successfully doubled.
Our team comprises 3 teams of four as follows:
Michael (Captain) – David Ma Dorette – Robin
Andrew – Brigitte Terry – Barbara
David G – Lester Ross – Paul W.
One of the social highlights of the Bridge Calendar is the Café Bridge played on the 8 October. Forty pairs play 30 Boards and walk to each of the five venues on Pall Mall. The Carlton, In & Out, Reform, RAC and this year’s organising club the Athenaeum. Scores are transmitted on quality software to the Organisers and results are instantly available It is sociable and ends with drinks and dinner. It was won this year by Arun Suri and our own Tony Scouller with the huge score of 69.4%, they owned up to a lot of good luck! The club, we are pleased to note had five pairs in the top ten. In 2019 the event will be run by the Reform Club. Entries are limited so when details are published get in!
Our annual match with Olgiata Golf Club was played this year at Pall Mall, with 8 player teams competing over 40 boards for a handsome cup. RAC was represented by Marina Chaning-Pearce, Terry Smith, Paul Weston, Ross Cope, Andrew Kisiel, David Glass, Tony Scouller and Lester Pereira
Olgiata are one of the two strongest teams we play against, and had recently been promoted to Serie B in the Italian National league. (Serie A teams are all professionals). For the last five years they have beaten us soundly. However, our team had put a lot of work rehearsing for the match, and we went into the match with fingers crossed.
Although RAC took a lead in the first session, Olgiata proved too strong in the later sessions and finished ahead by 48 imps. However, for RAC, there were clear signs of progress: the overall score was a major improvement over the previous three years, and one half of the squad achieved an overall positive score. Again, the result came from a few ‘match deciders’, to use Tony Scouller’s phrase.
Our hospitality was greatly praised by our guests, as was Nicole’s directing, which involved her using her Italian language skills to fine effect. Overall, we will keep our fingers crossed for next year in Rome.
We played our annual match against Woodcote Park yesterday afternoon and fought a competitive contest and just like England v Croatia in the World Cup it was a match of two halves. At half time Pall Mall enjoyed a well earned narrow lead of 5 Imps but, after much eating of sandwiches and cake washed down with tea and coffee, we fell into a slumber and lost the second half by 22 Imps, giving WP victory by a net 17 Imps.
Extra time, just as with England, may not have changed the result!
Tony Scouller will no doubt be tut tutting as 12 Imps out of our 17 Imps deficit arose from a missed 6NT bid on our side but we fielded some scratch pairs in our 8 which we all know makes bidding and play more tricky, compared with our opponents who wisely selected more established partnerships.
There will always be another year, as with England, except they have to wait two for their next big tournament whereas we will be playing again one afternoon at WP next July!
This match Team of 8 was played on the above date. Scored as two separate teams Red and Blue the movement made sure that all pairs played against each other. A good dinner ensured a sociable evening and a competitive match. Team Red did not excel for the first half but were saved by Blue. Down at the half RAC recovered all but 6 imps for a small loss. The teams were Terry / Marina Ross/Paul, Dorette/ Robin and Tony /David G. The cards were lively but B21 was the centrepiece and effectively decided the match. It is the subject of HOW and I refer readers to it.
AUTOMOBILE CLUB DE FRANCE - PARIS
The RAC A team of 8 played splendidly in Paris and won by about 60 imps over 40 boards. This is the first time we have won in 5 years and the trophy is waiting at my home to be carried (actually driven!) to Pall Mall to be displayed in the trophy cabinet. It was a really enjoyable occasion and our hosts worked hard to make us feel welcome. The return match has already been agreed for 7/8 June next year.
The B team of 4, which I captained, managed to lose our match by 13 imps which on another evening we could easily have won. -1700 and -1100 on two boards where we overbid and they doubled vulnerable, although we did find the 3 slam bids which no other 4 in the room did.
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View match progressions Devonshire 2019 Final Results.pdf
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The Club has a second club house, at Woodcote, Epsom, Surrey. Another bridge section operates there independently.
DUPLICATE on 1st, 3rd, 4th & 5th Monday evening each month; and CHICAGO on the 2nd Monday each month. For more information: www.bridgewebs.com/royalautomobileepsom or RAC Woodcote 01372 276311