Bega Valley Bridge Club (Inc.)
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10 Question Quiz

Can you answer the following?  Scroll down for answers.

Q1. This tennis star uses bridge games as opportunities for relaxation.  When she travels, she likes to find nearby bridge clubs and join in.  She once said, 'No matter where I go, I can always make new friends at the bridge table.'

Q2. This famous cartoonist was an avid bridge player who often depicted bridge players in his comic strips.  One of his characters was named an Honorary Life Master by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL.)

Q3. This late comedian was an avid bridge player.  For several decades, he played daily at the Hillcrest Country Club. He said, 'Bridge is a game that separates the men from the boys.  It also separates husbands and wives.'

Q4. From 1965-1970, this actor played the inept Agent 86 in 'Get Smart.' His role as a bridge player is less well-known although from the 1990s onwards he ran frequent games at the Playboy Mansion (yes, Hugh Hefner played bridge too!) Who was he?

Q5. The bidding goes pass by you, 1 heart by left hand opponent, double by partner, pass by right hand opponent. What's your bid?

Q6. Which American President was considered an expert at the game?

Q7. What does the bridge maxim "Eight ever, nine never" mean?

Q8. In which century was a game known as Bridge first played?

Q9. If the declarer leads from the wrong hand, which defender can accept the lead?

Q10. Which world champion lent his name to important bidding concepts such as transfer bids and a game-forcing major-suit raise?

Here are the answers:

Q1. Martina Navratilova

Q2. Charles Schulz

Q3. George Burns

Q4. Don Adams

Q5. Bid your best suit, even with 0 points

Q6. Dwight Eisenhower

Q7. When you have 8 cards in a suit, finesse for the Queen. When you have 9 cards in a suit, play Ace and King hoping to drop the Queen

Q8. 19th.  Whilst there remains dispute as to whether the game was first played in India or Egypt, and whether the substance of the game drew most heavily from Whist, Plafond (France) or Biritch (Russia)- it is known that the game was first played in London and New York for the first time in the 1890s.

Q9. Either defender, but they cannot consult each other.

Q10. Oswald Jacoby

Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif (1932-2015)

Actor, international playboy and avid bridge promoter Omar Sharif, born Michel Dimitri Chalhoub, died at a Cairo hospital on July 10, 2015.  The cause of death was a heart attack, he was 83.

While Sharif is best known for his Oscar-nominated turn in Lawrence of Arabia and his performance in Doctor Zhivago, his true love was bridge.  “Acting is my business,” he once said, “bridge is my passion.”

The Egyptian-born Sharif represented the United Arab Republic bridge squad in the 1964 World Team Olympiad, and was the playing captain of the Egyptian team in the 1968 World Team Olympiad.

Once ranked among the 50 best players in the world, he formed the Omar Sharif Bridge Circus to perform exhibition matches before such spectators as the Shah of Iran.  Asked once why he spent so much time at bridge when he could have been making movies, he answered, “The real question is why I spend so much time making movies when I could be playing bridge.”

Sharif co-wrote a syndicated newspaper bridge column for the Chicago Tribune for several years.  He was also both author and co-author of several books on bridge and licensed his name to a bridge video game; initially released in 1992, Omar Sharif on Bridge which is still sold in Windows and mobile platform versions.

He organized the Omar Sharif Bridge Circus in 1967 to showcase bridge.  The Circus was a travelling tour of bridge players that promoted the game via exhibition matches.  The team included Leon Yallouze, an Egyptian bridge pro, and Claude Delmouly, a French expert, as well as Benito Garozzo, Pietro Forquet and Giorgio Belladonna of the Italian Blue Team.

In 1970, Sharif and the circus went to London’s famous Piccadilly Hotel for an 80-rubber match against British experts Jeremy Flint and Jonathan Cansino.  The stakes were £1 per point - huge stakes even by today’s standards (about $1.55 per point).  The purpose of the event was to present bridge as a rich, exciting spectacle and to break through into television to bring the game within the reach of millions.  The Circus ultimately won the match by 5,470 points, but Sharif still incurred a net loss after paying all related expenses.

The Circus, under the management of Mike Ledeen, caravanned through Canada and the U.S. in 1970-71.  Sharif’s team joined with the Dallas Aces for a seven-city tour - Chicago, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, St. Paul-Minneapolis, Dallas, Detroit and Philadelphia.  In each city, a team of local experts participated in the exhibition.

In 1975, sponsored by the Lancia division of Fiat, Sharif and members of the Italian Blue Team faced off in four challenge matches against American teams.  Sharif’s team won in Chicago, but was defeated in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

The Omar Sharif World Individual held in 1990 offered the largest total purse ($200,000) in the history of bridge.

Sharif authored “Ma Vie au Bridge,” co-authored a syndicated bridge column for decades, first with Charles Goren and later, Tannah Hirsch.  He was also the hand analyst for the Epson worldwide bridge contests.

Sharif was a regular in casinos in France and a huge gambler and he once lost a house in a game of bridge.  The heavenly £4.5 million mansion which, according to legend, he lost in a high-stakes game of bridge just days after he bought it in the decedent heyday of the 1970s.

Nestled in a 7,000 metre sq. complex built out of a volcanic quarry on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, the mansion, named Casa Omar Sharif because of its apparent connection to the Hollywood star, offers sweeping views, a private pool, lavish furnishings and private tunnels through the unique surrounding landscape.

Sharif, then one of the world's most desirable actors, is said to have fallen in love with the property while he was on the island filming The Mysterious Island in 1973 and bought it on the spot.

But, it is said the star of Doctor Zhivago only owned the house for a few days before he lost it in a game of bridge to an Englishman called Sam Benady, the property developer responsible for the mansion's construction.

Mr Sharif, then 82, had a worldwide reputation as an excellent bridge player but did not realise that Mr Benady was himself the European bridge champion.

The interior of the house features exposed wooden beams and lava formed rock, which is in contrast to the whitewashed walls.  Today, holidaymakers are invited to stay in the house at a cost of £4400 a night.

In later years, his waning health and cash flow forced him to relinquish certain pleasures.  He stopped living in the luxury hotels of Europe.  He also gave up bridge, gambling, breeding racehorses and squiring beautiful women.

"It's very bad to underperform, as it were, like in bridge," he told the Guardian in 2004.  "The reason I quit bridge is because I wasn't as good as I used to be.  And now it's the same thing with girls, so why the aggravation?"

"The Great Mildura Adventure"

Bega Valley Bridge Club 2018 World Champions

This poem tells the tale of a big adventure taken by the Bega Valley Bridge Club when they decided to enter the International Bridge Championships which, on that particular year, were held in Mildura, Australia.

The decision was made to enter the quest, said President Jann our leader

For we’re as good as any at bridge; including the best from Mildura.

But risks are so great, we’d be way too late stressed Rob, it’s out of the question

We’ve no funds to go, with interest rates low, not taking account of inflation

Rob don’t be a drag, said Mary real mad it’s not like we’re playing for sheep stations.


And so, they pondered the best way to travel, with options diverse and quite grand

From flying, to driving and even bi-cycling, but none could agree on a plan.

We’ve got an idea said Colin and Ken who boasted of timber a plenty

We’ll craft a team boat, and yes it will float, to sail us all down the Murray.


The next big task was selecting a cast who’d play on the day with great honour

Since none could agree on who it would be, we’ll all take a turn, said Rhonda.

They piled on board, all anxious, none bored, just itching for Jann to start sailing

But first safety drills, life boats and sick pills, oh hell said Andrew, there’s no smoking.


The big day arrived, and Bega contrived to be the best team of all nations

There were Scottish and English and girls who were Turkish, and others of mixed creations

The room was tense with much suspense, their heads felt like big bowls of porridge

Don’t worry said Paul, who’d answered their call to secret in wine with his luggage

I’ve got a hip flask, you just have to ask, it’ll help you to keep up your courage.


First hands were dealt, and Vern sorely felt, he’d only been dealt with twelve cards

Annette, chic in blue, was missing one too, said Brian “This is such a charade”!

Don’t worry said Ross, I don’t give a toss for bridge rules and regulations

We’ll make up our own with queues, codes and calls that go against all conventions.


The auction began….. the room was hushed…… the only sound being of tension They sweated and sighed would they be denied, a chance to win the first auction

Their foe stared them down with a menacing frown, serving bids with false intentions

Then Ron winked as planned, Anne called a grand slam, then played like Serena Williams.


The Director was stern as their bids caused concern to a foe who were all in a stew

Kath groaned it’s hard, I’ve been dealt with bad cards, and Julie knew not what to do

Ron doubled, Chook chuckled and Martin was troubled, and Ruth just couldn’t stop giggling

Chris argued his turn, and Liz, rarely stern, said stop it, refrain from your bickering.


They all took their option to enter an auction; quick sips from the flask were ongoing

Alas it transpired, thoughts tumbled and tired, booze only to raise Rhonda’s chatting

Oh give it a rest, cried Pip in distress how can we perform at a premium

Shoosh everyone cried, we’ll be disqualified, hey Mark will you give Rhonda Valium.


Then came the last round, and Bega was found in first place despite some suspicion

Bridget and Malcolm wreaked terror unwelcome, outsmarting foes into submission.

Eric was troubled, no trumps or to double? Thoughts stuck and clouded by terror

Far out ol’ buddy, drawled Tom kinda loudly, “No, Trump’s sure is a big loser”.


The contract was found, a decision made sound, Paul C to play with our Rhonda

But none could agree where Paul was to be, so Jann took his place looking sombre.

Playing was fast, they were up to the task and doubled and slammed with no mercy

And then they were done, the game was won, and the girls stood making a curtsey.


Journalists pounced when the Director announced us winners without hesitation

And now the surprise … she read out the prize … the club had won a sheep station!

People were thrilled, the wine nicely chilled and Champagne flowed into the night

But where is Paul C asked Jann of Vickee; oh… he’s indulging in Turkish Delight.


At last they departed; new friendships had started, with many they knew to be lasting

Alas at the port, they swiftly stopped short, so shocked their boat was not floating.

The charred remains of their once mighty boat made fire the culprit most likely

The cops looked for clues, including the loos; they think it was caused by a ciggie.


How will we get home, they cried all alone, we’ve never had this kind of trouble

Oh stop all that foolery lets hock all our jewellery, said Rob his latest thought bubble.

Get lost, the girls cried, we’d much rather died, than part with our treasured possessions

But all did agree with Nancy you see……who offered to buy their sheep station.


With fame now claimed and money well gained, they chartered a bus back to Bega

Where crowds lined the streets, procession complete, with a band of bridge players from Tura

The Mayor stood tall a town key for them all, we promise your Club our promotion

For we surely agree, all people you see, know your club is the pride of our nation.


Happy Christmas Everyone

Fay Steward