Barnet Shenkin

Irving Rose 1938-1996 by Barnet Shenkin prev/next

Irving Rose
Irving Rose

Born in Glasgow Rose moved at an early stage out of University and to make his living playing bridge. In these days you could only make money at rubber bridge and Rose liked to play for the highest stakes possible. Rose was an intuitive bridge player with natural flair. He played quickly and always backed his own judgement and table feel perhaps over the percentage that he knew.

Rose won many Championships. He placed third in the World Olympiad in 1976. He knocked Rosenberg and myself out the British team by doubling Michael in 2C at a late stage of the trials with just 3 trumps. He was second in the European Championships in 1981. Playing with Rob Sheehan he finished 4th in the World Pairs in Las Palmas after leading for most of the way. Unfortunately they moved to the wrong line and had to play the strongest players again. Rose played also frequently in partnership with Terence Reese and Jeremy Flint.

As a partner with me we usually did well. Our best result was winning in Taiwan. Here Rose was feeling very poorly and had to lie down and we finished 8 boards ahead of our teammates Forrester and Sheehan!

Irving overcame a gambling addiction and married Annette the daughter of Honor Flint. They had a son Adam. When I visited London I frequently stayed at their home in Putney. He became the manager of an upmarket rubber bridge club in London. They called it TGRs. This was for “The Great Rose” Top bridge players,businessmen and celebrities had it top of their list to visit on their trip to London.

Hamman played frequently there and enjoyed it. Zia toiled there to earn a living in the big game.Jimmy Cayne CEO ofBear Stearns and Warren Spector played there.At that time Bear Stearns was a very successful Company.

Rose was the perfect host. Charming, witty and friendly to his visitors he made them all welcome. He also had a lot of input to running the Macallan Pairs Tournament the Worlds most famous Bridge Invitational.

One year he and Sheehan were playing in a tournament in Dubai. They won a prize of a gold ingot and a Mixer in a large box. The question was how to get the ingots through customs. Rose agreed to take Sheehan’s for a small fee When they got to customs Rose Immediately showed the officer the mixer expecting to be waved through. The officer looked at him severely “Anything else”? Rose stammered taken aback “I have one gold ingot”.

On examination of his suitcase a second gold ingot turned up. “What is this the customs” official asked. Rose replied immediately “They must have been breeding”.

Rose was an expert on cockney rhyming slang which came to him quite naturally. He also had the ability to say quite outrageous things in company and get away with them because he was Rose.

Rose was a friend of many and a great friend of mine, he was a real character in a game where today there are unfortunately so few top players able to combine competitive spirit with a friendly and endearing manner to their surroundings.