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Anyone wishing to discuss playing bridge at the Athenaeum should contact John Neilson at johnneilson@blueyonder.co.uk. 
Online duplicate pairs evenings have now started in partnership with the Lansdowne Bridge Club, with sessions running weekly on Wednesdays from 7.30 pm on RealBridge. Athenaeum players and their guests are asked to be online by 7.15pm. Athenaeum members wishing to play in these online sessions should contact John Neilson at johnneilson@blueyonder.co.uk.
Inter-club duplicate pairs tournaments in person are currently suspended due to public health advice re minimising the spread of COVID-19.
When regular Athenaeum duplicate bridge evenings resume, please arrive by 18.30: play starts promptly at 18.35.

2021 Club Matches

Athenaeum vs. MCC
14th January 2021.
The Athenaeum has played its first match of the year - an entertaining online evening of 20 boards against the MCC. The Athenaeum pairs were John Neilson & Donald Singer, Michael Oppenheimer & Bill Shanahan, Pascal Ricketts & Geoffrey Lloyd, Catherine Rice-Evans & Rex Goad. The MCC pairs were Simon & David Alterman, Elliot & Beverly Black, Paul Singer & James Meynell, Shiv Datt & Daniel Flowers. Congratulations to the MCC team who were ahead by 6 IMPs in each half, thus with an overall win by 12 IMPs.

Out and about: 2020

Success for Athenaeum member Paul Thornton in Premier EBU event

Congratulations to Athenaeum member Paul Thornton who took 3rd place with his Cumbrian partner Dave Harrison in the recent 2020 EBU Premier Life Masters Pairs event. This event is reserved for Premier Life Masters and partners who rank very highly in the EBU’s National Grading Scheme. 

News Archive

This page has information and news of interest to the members. For a full list of forthcoming events, see "Calendar" on the menu and for a list of results see "Results".

2020 Duplicate pairs evenings with Lansdowne Club

Close results in duplicate pairs evening session
9th December 2020:  Twelve pairs from the Athenaeum and Lansdowne Clubs enjoyed 16 boards in their latest duplicate pairs joint evening session using the RealBridge online system. First and second places went to Lansdowne pairs Dennis Abele & Isabel Torres on 60.8% and Pamela Reiss & Dominic Flint on 60.3%. Third place went to Athenaeum pair Andrew Harris & Jane Plumptre on 58.3%.

Strong win for Larry and Mary Baker in duplicate pairs evening with Lansdowne Club
2nd December 2020: Congratulations to Larry Baker and guest Mary Baker on their clear win with 67.9% in the second online joint duplicate pairs evening with the Lansdowne Club. Eight pairs and their guests from each club enjoyed 16 boards played using the online RealBridge system.

Athenaeum pair John Neilson and Donald Singer were in second place on 62.0%, with Lansdowne pair Pamela Reiss and Dominic Flint a close third on 61.6%.

Fine win for Pamela Reiss and Dominic Flint in first online duplicate pairs evening in partnership with the Lansdowne Club
25th November 2020: Duplicate pairs evenings have now re-started. They are being held as an online partnership with the Lansdowne Bridge Club, with sessions running weekly on Wednesdays from 7.30 pm.

Fourteen pairs – seven from the Athenaeum and seven pairs from the Lansdowne Club and their guests, including one joining from Madrid  – played 16 boards, for many the first duplicate evening using the RealBridge system, which combines play with the opportunity to see and talk to all players.

Congratulations to the winners Pamela Reiss and Dominic Flint who were well clear of the field with an impressive score of 73%.

Many thanks to Gitte Hecht, our excellent Tournament Director for these duplicate pairs evenings on RealBridge. 

Last updated : 15th Jan 2021 16:08 GMT
2020 Club Matches

2020 MCC Bridge Society Mixed Swiss Pairs Event
The Athenaeum team of Geoffrey Lloyd, Catherine Rice-Evans, John Neilson and Paul Thornton were among the field of 64 players in 16 teams taking part in the annual MCC Mixed Swiss Teams Competition which was held on 11th October 2020. The event was held as an online tournament in view of public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Athenaeum team scored 62 Victory Points, winning 3 of their 6 matches. The competition was won with 90 Victory Points by the team
of Pamela Reiss, Dominic Flint, Dean Swallow & Carlos Dabezies. For details, click here

Athenaeum win v. House of Lords
In an entertaining match played on 26th February 2020 over 24 boards, it was the Athenaeum's turn to make home advantage tell in this year's fixture against the House of Lords, with a victory by 68 IMPs.  
The Athenaeum team was Geoff Lloyd & Pascal Ricketts, Catherine Rice-Evans & Rex Goad, Donald Singer & John Neilson and Paul Thornton & Jane Plumptre. Representing the House of Lords were James Cooper (also of the Athenaeum) & Tessa Blackstone, Hazel Byford & Malcolm Caithness, Archie Hamilton & Tim Blackstone and Ruth Henig & Richard Cumming-Bruce.

Last updated : 14th Jan 2021 22:33 GMT
2019/2020 Interclub duplicate tournaments

Joint first place for Doble & Milner and Goad & Rice-Evans in February 2020 inter-club tournament
16 pairs competed over 21 boards on Tuesday 18th February in the latest Athenaeum Club duplicate series bridge tournament of the 2019-2020 series. First place was shared on 63.9% by pairs Nan Doble & Mike Milner and Rex Goad & Catherine Rice-Evans. Third place went to Ric Cresswell & Michael Pater on 62.3%. Congratulations to all the winners. Many thanks to Gitte Hecht who was our excellent Tournament Director.
Ric Cresswell & Michael Pater now share the lead for this year’s Sir Basil Hall Trophy.

Strong win for Pater & Cresswell in January 2020 interclub duplicate pairs
18 pairs competed over 22 boards on Tuesday 21st January in the first Athenaeum Club duplicate series bridge tournament of 2020. Congratulations to Michael Pater & Ric Cresswell who finished in 1st place with an impressive score of 71.0%. Second place went to Virginia Lynch & Diane Burley with 59.7% and 3rd place to Chantal Girardin & Elsa Nelson with 58.5%. Many thanks to Gitte Hecht who was our excellent Tournament Director.

Tie for first place in November 2019 inter-club duplicate pairs
In a closely contested match, sixteen pairs competed over 21 boards for the November Athenaeum inter-club pairs tournament – the top 6 pairs were separated by less than 5 points. Congratulations to visiting pairs Shahzaad Natt & Richard Herner and Elsa Nelson & Randa Snow who shared first place with a score of 60.3%. Athenaeum member Paul Thornton and his guest Tessa Blackstone were in 3rd place with 57.5%.You can see full results and hands from the evening on the Results tab in the menu on the top left of the webpage.
The next Athenaeum inter-club pairs tournament is on Tuesday evening 21st January 2020. For more on how to enter the tournament and information about the associated Sir Basil Spence Challenge Trophy, see the Inter-club Duplicate section on the website.

Close battle in October 2019 Athenaeum inter-club duplicate bridge tournament
A strong performance by Athenaeum member Catherine Rice-Evans and her guest Rex Goad won them the October Inter-Club duplicate pairs with a fine score of 63.8% over 21 boards, the second event in the 2019-2020 Athenaeum inter-club series. Athenaeum player Laurence Baker and guest Mary Baker finished in second place on 61.9% with Athenaeum pair Geoff Lloyd and Pascal Ricketts a close third with 61.4%.

First results in 2019-2020 Athenaeum duplicate bridge tournament series
Athenaeum pair John Neilson & Donald Singer led the field with a score of 63.5% over 21 boards in the September inter-club pairs, the first event in the 2019-2020 Athenaeum Inter-Club duplicate pairs tournament series. O & C pair Sandie Grant & Soheila Munroe finished in second place on 61.7% with Athenaeum player Charles King-Farlow and his guest Stephen Gare a very close third with 61.5%. The evening's results are the first to contribute towards the next annually presented Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy, which is awarded for the best average for the 5 highest scores in inter-club duplicate tournaments from September to July. No more than 3 of the scores may be with the same partner. The winner must be a member of a St James's or kindred club.

Last updated : 5th Dec 2020 16:57 GMT
December 2019 Athenaeum Pivot Teams Evening

An entertaining Pivot Teams Event was held at the Athenaeum on 17th December 2019. Twelve teams of 4, including guest teams from the Oxford and Cambridge Club, the RAC and the Reform Club, competed over 20 boards during the evening. The event was won by Athenaeum players John Neilson, Donald Singer, Bill Shanahan and Michael Oppenheimer with 49 IMPs. There was a very close contest for second and third podium places, with second placed team Jane Plumtre, Charles King-Farlow, Nita Wheeler and Andrew Harris scoring 39 IMPs and third placed team Geoff Lloyd, Pascal Ricketts, Lis Long and Michael Atkinson on 38 IMPs. Many thanks to Paul Thornton who directed the evening so expertly.  He has subsequently reviewed the scores and noted that the NS and EW hands on board 16 may have been switched during the evening. He has concluded that voiding this board would not materially affect the outcome.

Last updated : 5th Dec 2020 16:58 GMT
2019 Club Matches

End of year match against the RAC
The Athenaeum were hosted by the RAC on 4th December 2019 in a 24 board match played in the RAC's elegant Terrace Room. The RAC were ahead by 28 IMPs at the interval. Despite a spirited second half recovery by the Athenaeum players, the home RAC team retained their lead to win by 10 IMPs. Our team was: Catherine Rice-Evans and Rex Goad, Geoff Lloyd & Pascal Ricketts, John Neilson & Donald Singer, and Michael Oppenheimer and Mary Baker.

Closely balanced match against MCC
The Athenaeum were hosted on 14 November 2019 by the MCC. The match, played over 24 boards, was very close. The Athenaeum recovered from a 7 IMP deficit after 12 boards to be all square with one board to go, the MCC winning the final board and match by 6 IMPs. Our team was: Catherine Rice-Evans and Rex Goad, Geoff Lloyd & Pascal Ricketts, John Neilson & Donald Singer, and Michael Oppenheimer and Bill Shanahan.

Away match against Oxford and Cambridge Club
The Athenaeum were hosted by a strong team from the Oxford and Cambridge Club on 17 October 2019, losing by 97 IMPs. Our team was:
Geoff Lloyd & Catherine Rice-Evans, John Neilson & Donald Singer, Keith Robertson & Pascal Ricketts, and Michael Oppenheimer and Bill Shanahan.

2019 MCC Bridge Society Mixed Swiss Pairs Event
A strong field of 128 players in 32 teams enjoyed 42 boards of bridge as a series of 7 board matches on 13th October 2019 in the Long Room and Writing Room at Lord's in the annual MCC Mixed Swiss Teams Competition. The Athenaeum team of Geoffrey Lloyd, Isobel Pollock-Hulf, John Neilson and Donald Singer won 2 of its 6 matches, with a stronger showing in the second half. The competition was won by the team of James Martin, Ian Budden, Sonia Zakrzewski and Gareth Birdsall. For details, click here

2019 Centenary Cup
The Centenary Cup for teams of 8 players was once again hosted by the Royal Automobile Club  on 14th May.  9 teams competed for the trophy, the Reform Club running out winners with +98 IMPs.  The Athenaeum team comprising Messrs Llloyd & Cooper, Ricketts & Thornton, Shanahan & Oppenheimer and Singer & Neilson finished 7th on -27 IMPs, a disappointing result though by no means a disaster.  The results can be found here

Away match against Carlton Club
The Athenaeum were hosted on 25th April 2019 by the Carlton Club. Spurning the Klinger dictum of abstinence before bridge, a pre-match dinner was enjoyed by both teams, followed by a convincing win by the Carlton by about 90 IMPs over the 24 boards played.  The four Athenaeum pairs were Emma Kinloch & Tamsin Lewis, Geoff Lloyd & Pascal Ricketts, John Neilson & Donald Singer and Michael Oppenheimer & Bill Shanahan.

House of Lords turn the tables.

After losing by a single IMP at the Athenaeum last year, the House of Lords made home advantage tell in this year's fixture on 27 February 2019, romping to victory by about 80 IMPs.  As well as a highly competent quartet of peers, the HoL team was boosted by the presence of top players virtuoso James Cooper (also of the Athenaeum) and Kitty Teltscher (we are assured rumours of "tapping up" are without substance).  The Athenaeum team was:
Geoff Lloyd & Tamsin Lewis
Pascal Ricketts & Paul Thornton
Donald Singer & John Neilson
Hazelanne Lewis & Keith Robertson

Last updated : 27th Feb 2020 11:58 GMT
Winner of 2018/19 duplicate series
Winner of 2018/19 duplicate series

Athenaeum member Pascal Ricketts (left) winner of the 2018/19 duplicate series, receiving the Sir Basil Hall Trophy from Athenaeum Bridge chair John Neilson.

The trophy - a splendid Edwardian silver bowl - was purchased courtesy of a generous bequest from the late Sir Basil Hall, Treasury Solicitor from 1975 - 1980.

See left for more on the Athenaeum duplicate bridge series and the Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy.

Last updated : 5th Dec 2020 17:09 GMT
2018/2019 Interclub duplicate tournaments

Fine win for Shanahan and Oppenheimer in July 2019 inter-club pairs

Athenaeum pair Bill Shanahan and Michael Oppenheimer led the field with an outstanding 71.8% in the July inter-club pairs, the final event in the 2018-2019 Athenaeum Inter-Club duplicate pairs tournament series. A further Athenaeum pair – Hazelanne and Paul Lewis – finished a strong second with 66.1%. Rex Goad and Colin Freeman completed the top 3 places with 58.3%.

The evening's results complete the scores for the annually presented Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy, which is awarded for the best average for the 5 highest scores in inter-club duplicate tournaments over the year. 

Congratulations to Pascal Ricketts, who is winner of the 2018-2019 Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy, with an average score of 59.8%. Bill Shanahan’s achievement in the July pairs promoted him into second place at 59.0%, with Rex Goad a close third at 58.2%.


Strong win for Ricketts and Galletti in June 2019 inter-club pairs

Athenaeum members contributed 5 of the 6 players in the top 3 pairs in the June inter-club event. Pascal Ricketts and his guest Ian Galletti, from the Otford Club in Kent, were 10% clear of the field with an outstanding 70.6% score over 21 boards, ahead of Charles King-Farlow and Keith Robertson in 2nd place. Michael Oppenheimer & Bill Shanahan were 3rd. 

Congratulations to MCC players Joan Halpern and Gary Diamond, the only pair to bid a grand slam: 7 on Board 24.

The evening's fine score has promoted Pascal Ricketts to the top of the leaderboard for the 2018/2019 Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy, ahead of Rex Goad and Geoff Lloyd.

Last updated : 18th Dec 2019 20:49 GMT
2018 Club Matches

Veteran Athenians bag champers in 2018 Xmas Pivot Teams
The ever youthful Athenaeum squad of Dorothy and Richard Whittington, Hazelanne Lewis and Ellie Ferguson convincingly won the Club's popular Xmas Pivot Teams event with +72 IMPs.  Once again we had a the maximum 11 teams competing, 7 home teams and guest teams from the Oxford & Cambridge, RAC, Reform and Savile Clubs.  The Savile rallied strongly after dinner to finish 2nd on +51 IMPs, with Messrs Oppenheimer, Shanahan, Neilson and Singer 3rd on +29.  

There were many fine bidding sequences, though disappointingly, no pair managed to bid the cold 6 on Bd 6.  Indeed only 2 pairs found the 5-4 heart fit, all others playing in 3NT.  After 2NT from S, N should bid 3 (transfer to ), intending to bid 3NT after 3.  S should jump to 4 over 3, showing 4-card support and a maximum, and N can now ask for Aces

A game of two halves
The Athenaeum entertained a strong team from the Oxford and Cambridge Club on 25 October 2018, losing by 74 IMPs after being in contention at the interval. Our team was:
Pascal Ricketts & Geoff Lloyd
John Neilson & Donald Singer
Keith Robertson & Bill Shanahan
Richard Collins & David Morriss

Last updated : 18th Dec 2019 13:32 GMT
Winner of 2018 Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy
Winner of 2018 Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy

Presentation of 2018 Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy to the winner Michael Pater by Athenaeum Bridge chair Geoff Lloyd.

Last updated : 18th Dec 2019 13:26 GMT
Winner of 2017 Sir Basil Hall Trophy

In a very close contest the 2017 trophy went to Michael Kaye with 60.6%. Runners up were Pascal Ricketts on 59.5% and Bill Shanahan on 59.0%.

Last updated : 18th Dec 2019 21:06 GMT
Athenians Succumb to Late Swing

The MCC played host to an Athenaeum team-of-12 on 9th November 2012, winning a close fought match by 17 IMPS.  The visitors used their height advantage to good effect to gain a slender 1st Innings lead.  However the home captain called for the heavy roller during the (extended) drinks interval, and some erratic Athenaeum bidding allowed MCC to squeak home.  Many thanks to MCC for a splendid fixture; the return match is eagerly awaited.

Last updated : 18th Dec 2019 20:38 GMT
Winner of inaugural 2011 Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy
Winner of inaugural 2011 Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy

James Cooper (left), winner of the Athenaeum's 2010/2011 duplicate bridge series being presented with the Sir Basil Hall Challenge Trophy by England captain, David Burn.  The trophy - a splendid Edwardian silver bowl - was purchased courtesy of a generous bequest from the late Sir Basil Hall, Treasury Solicitor from 1975 - 1980.  How appropriate that the inaugural winner should himself be an Assistant Secretary within the Treasury Solicitor's Department!

Last updated : 19th Dec 2019 12:55 GMT
Buttons undone!

The Athenaeum team scored an unexpected victory in the first round of the 2011 Leslie Dodds Cup - the knock-out competition for teams in the London Business Houses Contract Bridge League.  Our opponents were Buttons A, one of the League's strongest teams.  Our team comprising Catherine Rice Evans, Keith Robertson, Rex Goad and Paul Thornton gained a 24 IMP advantage on the first 12 boards, which we defended successfully throughout the second half.

Last updated : 18th Dec 2019 13:14 GMT