No bridge too far in national title win

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PLAYING the hands dealt them proved to be spot on for card aces Bob Hunter and Ron Moodie.

The pair from Leven Bridge Club were on ‘sparkling’ form recently when they picked up the Diamond Trophy for winning the Scottish Senior National Pairs Championship in Prestwick.

It was not their first success but it is their best to date and was all the sweeter for being a David and Goliath scenario, with them pitting their skills against many Scottish international players and grandmasters.

Bob, who lives in Pittenweem, explained that the country’s top players at the big city bridge clubs are able to hone their skills by playing against equally good opponents two to three times a week, which is why it is such an achievement for a pair from a much smaller club like Leven to win a competition at this level.

Bob and Ron met as young teachers back in 1973 – Bob retired as principal teacher of history at Bell Baxter High School, Cupar, in 2005 while Ron was depute rector at Kirkcaldy High School before he retired – and their friendship and nearly four decades playing as a pair is an undoubted advantage in a game where you are ‘communicating’ with your partner through contracts and bids.

The variation of contract bridge they play is duplicate bridge, which involves the same deal of the cards being played at each table over the course of a competition, removing the chance element and increasing the skill level.

“We knew we were doing well but you never know if you’re doing quite well enough until the end of the day,” Bob said.

They also have two other national titles to their names - the Autumn Pairs and the Farquharson Tropy - and are three-time winners of the Central District Pairs Championship, which covers Fife, Perth and Kinross, Dundee and Tayside.

Bob reckons the enduring appeal of bridge is that you are always learning.

“It’s a game where getting older is not a disadvantage,” he said.

•For more information about the club see