Flashback (Time Travelers)
During the 2006 Summer NABC in Chicago, a few people questioned me about a photograph that appeared on the front of the June Bridge Bulletin as part of a montage of black and white photographs from days long gone.
The author, second from left, with Michael Rosenberg, Louis Shenkin(far right) and Kenneth Thomson of The Times of London (far left) The photograph shows Michael Rosenberg and me being presented the Sunday Times Cup by two men. On the left was a top man from the Times newspapers. On the right was my late fater, Lous Shenkin, who was filling the cup with champagne. At the time, he was chairman of the British Bridge League. The year was 1976.
Michael was 21 and had been playing bridge for only a few years. I was 25. We had formed a partnership and had done well in Junior bridge and graduated to playing for Scotland. The Sunday Times was the leading invitational pairs event of its time, and 16 pairs worldwide were invited to play. We were incredibly fortunate to get an opportunity to play in this much-revered tournament.
Brazil`s Gabriel Chagas was there, as worn French superstar Paul Chemla, Italian legend Benito Garozzo and film star Omar Sharif. My old friend, Irving Rose, played with Terence Reese. Many countries were represented in the field.
The event took place in the Churchill Hotel in London. It was one of London`s premier hotels, and all players had to wear evening dress. I wore a red smoking jacket I had purchased earlier at Gieves & Hawkes, one of the leading tailors in London`s Savile Row. Michael wore a black tuxedo.
We had played well and in luck and were fortunate when we needed to be. The following deal was to be one of the key boards of the tournament. It was played against Israelis Julian Frydrich and Eliakim Shaufel, members of the team that finished second in the European Championship and third in the Bermuda Bowl.
|N Q 9 6 3 |
Q 10 6 4 3
A Q 3
|W 10 8 7 2 |
K 8 6
Q J 4 3
| ||E 4|
J 9 5 2
J 10 9 7
A 9 6 2
| ||S A K J 5 |
5 4 2
K 10 8 5
|Pass|| 2||Pass|| 2|
|Pass|| 4||All Pass|| |
I led the 2, and Frydrich won the 5 in hand. At trick two, he played the A. I played the king. Frydrich thought for 10 minutes before abandoning the heart suit and losing his way in the play.
At every other table, declarer made his contract (some with an overtrick) by way of three heart tricks, four spade tricks, a heart ruff in hand, two diamond tricks and sometimes a club to boot.
My play of the K was one I had read in a book by Reese, who advised that if everything looks right for declarer, try to deflect him from the proper course. Had Frydrich made his contract, the Israeli pair would have won.
I flew back to Scotland the next day to work in the family rug business. We were having a major show for customers from all over Scotland. The television cameras arrived at the carpet show, and I did a short interview for Scottish Television. As a result of our win, Michael and I received an invitation to play in Philadelphia at the bicentennial celebrations.
Michael Rosenberg facing plays the dummy during the 1976 Sunday Times International Pairs. On his left is Leon Tintner from France, then Barnet Shenkin, on his left Leon Yallouze also from France.Michael enjoyed his visit, moving to the U.S. within a couple of years. I followed after 20 more years in the rug business. For each of us in our own way, this event was a catalyst for our future lives. Seeing the photo again brought back many fond memories.