|John Terence REESE|
Terence J. Reese nacque il 28 agosto 1913 ad Epsom, una città una ventina di Km a Sud di Londra, ed è stato uno dei più grandi giocatori di tutti i tempi, forse il più grande degli anni '50 e certamente il più grande scrittore di Bridge che abbia mai calcato la scena mondiale.
Egli fu senz'altro aiutato dall'aver imparato dai suoi genitori, entrambi fortissimi giocatori di Whist, i fondamentali del gioco quando aveva solo 7 anni, ma la sua abilità nel gioco con il morto, che lo rese famoso in tutto il mondo, travalica le normali capacità umane.
Terence studiò al Bradfield College e al New College di Oxford e il suo primo compagno di bridge fu il futuro Primo Ministro Norman Macleod con il quale vinse il suo primo Torneo Nazionale.
Dopo un anno scarso di lavoro convenzionale, si dedicò completamente a quello che sarebbe stato l'amore della sua vita, diventando un professionista del bridge.
WBF Grand Master, vincitore della Bermuda Bowl del 1955, secondo nell'Olimpiade a Coppie del 1962, vincitore dei Campionati Europei a Squadre del 1948, 1949, 1954, 1963 e del World Par Contest del 1963, ha riportato molti prestigiosi piazzamenti in tutti i principali campionati e tornei internazionali ed ha vinto una ventina dei più importanti titoli nazionali, fregiandosi di 8 Gold Cup e di altrettante Master Pairs.
Negli anni che vanno dal 1948 al 1965 formò una mitica coppia con Boris Schapiro con il quale collezionò una portentosa serie di successi, fin quando ai Campionati Mondiali di Buenos Aires del 1965, furono accusati di segnalarsi con la posizione delle dita il numero delle carte di cuori.
Più tardi la British Bridge League li riabilitò, ma questa accusa determinò la fine del sodalizio con Schapiro, anche se i due rimasero per sempre buoni amici.
Solo nel 1970, alla non più giovane età di 57 anni, si sposò con Alwyn Sherrington che gli sopravvisse.
Commentatore radiofonico e televisivo, articolista, prolifico ed insuperabile scrittore di bridge, pubblicò il primo volume della storia del bridge che trattava del sistema dichiarativo Acol (ancor oggi lo standard britannico) e oltre 100 altri testi specialistici.
Dotato di una formidabile capacità di concentrazione e di un'innata astuzia, appariva ai suoi avversari come un bridgista bionico.
Fu anche direttore del mensile British Bridge World dal 1955 al 1962, articolista dell'Observer, dell'Evening News e di altre importanti riviste specializzate.
Considerato uno dei padri fondatori dell'ACOL, Terence elaborò anche un suo sofisticato Sistema Dichiarativo "The Little Major" con il quale gareggiò ai massimi livelli.
Amante anche degli scacchi, del backgammon e del poker, nell'ultima parte della sua vita Terence abbracciò con entusiasmo il golf a cui dedicò molto tempo ma, continuò a giocare a bridge, sempre benissimo, fin quando non si spense a Hove il 29 gennaio 1996 all'età di 83 anni.
Terence fa anche parte della ristretta cerchia delle personalità elette nella "Hall of Fame" britannica.
John Terence Reese (1913 – 1996) was a British bridge player and writer, regarded as one of the finest of all time in both fields. He was born in Epsom to middle-class parents, and was educated at Bradfield College and New College, Oxford, where he studied classics and took a double first.
His father, the son of a Welsh clergyman, worked in a bank until he transferred to his wife's family catering business. Reese said "I played card games before I could read".
As a small boy, when his mother "issued the standard warning about not talking to strange men, my father remarked that it was the strange men who should be warned against trying to talk to me".
His mother Anne ran a hotel near Guildford, and with it a bridge club, so Reese played in the earliest duplicate matches, around 1930. Whilst at Oxford he met some serious bridge players, amongst whom were Lt.-Col. Walter Buller, Iain Macleod and Maurice Harrison-Gray, the strongest player in the country at that time. Reese wrote his first book under the patronage of Hubert Phillips in 1937, and started working for Phillips' magazine within a year of graduating. From that point on, his profession was contract bridge as a player and writer.
Reese joined the ARP a few months before the war, and was never inducted into the armed forces. He ended up working in the factory of Pedro Juan (a fellow bridge player), which manufactured black-out curtains. When a Ministry of Labour inspector turned up to check on him, a hasty phone-call was needed to get Terence into an office surrounded by ledgers.
Reese had some hobbies; even those he pursued with typical commitment. He was always a cricket and chess enthusiast. After World War II he made a book on greyhound racing; later he became an avid football fan, reputedly supporting Queen's Park Rangers, whose ground was next door to the White City Stadium, a home of greyhound racing. He played various other games for money, especially canasta, poker and backgammon, and wrote books on them.
Reese edited the British Bridge World from 1956 to 1962, and was married to Alwyn Sherrington in 1970.
As a bridge player, Reese won every honor in the game, including the European Championship four times (1948, 1949, 1954, 1963) and the Bermuda Bowl (effectively, the World Team Championship) in 1955. He was also World Par Contest in 1941, World Par champion in 1961 and was placed second in the World Teams Olympiad in 1960, and the World Open Pairs in 1962. He also represented Britain in the Olympiad 1960 and the Bermuda Bowl 1965, and in five other European Championships. He won the Gold Cup, the premier British domestic competition, on eight occasions.
Reese last played international bridge in the 1970 European Championship, but his career as a bridge writer continued unabated. In his later years, Reese played little competitive bridge, preferring backgammon as an alternative.
Reese also had a second career as a bridge author and journalist, a career that lasted throughout his life. He was one of the most influential and acerbic of bridge writers, with a large output (over fifty books), including several books which remain in print as classics of bridge play. He was also the long-time bridge correspondent of The Lady, The Observer, the London Evening News and the Evening Standard.
He was one of the first to adopt the Acol bidding system (named after the Acol Bridge Club in North London), which became the prevailing bidding system in Britain and some other parts of the world. He co-authored the first textbook on Acol with Ben Cohen in 1938. Its various editions gave a certain unity to what was otherwise a rather free-wheeling bidding system. His later adaptation of Garozzo and Yallouze's book on the Blue Club and his book on the Precision Club were widely used by devotees of strong club systems, and by their opponents as references.
The great success of Reese on Play (an outstanding text on dummy play and defense) was followed by an even more ambitious work. The Expert Game was the book which really made his name. As the title suggests, it dealt with card play at the highest level, including some ideas that were novel at the time, for instance, inferences from events that did not occur, and the principle of restricted choice. Examples of bridge logic abound in Reese, for instance, a player who overcalls but does not lead his suit is likely to lack one or two key honors; this concept is often called 'the dog that did not bark in the night' (after Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's Silver Blaze). Another form of logic can be seen in 'If it must be so, assume it is so'. His examples of counting (and other ways of drawing inferences from the bidding and play) spread such ideas from a coterie of masters in London (or New York) to a much wider group of nascent experts. For at least twenty years after this book was published, one could be sure that virtually every top-class player had studied it minutely.
Reese also had the distinction of creating several new genres of bridge book. The most significant was the 'Over my shoulder' genre, where the reader is taken through the master's thinking as the bidding and play proceeds through the hand. Play Bridge with Reese was the model for several such works. Develop Your Bidding Judgment was another such work.
Later, Reese made use of the growing library of hands from international competitions to create interesting quiz-type books, where the discussion was usually on the verso of the page which presented the problem. Famous Hands from Famous Matches was the first of these, followed by Famous Bidding Decisions and Famous Play Decisions, all written with David Bird. In his career as a writer, Reese had a number of co-authors, mostly highly competent players and writers, yet all his books were in his inimitable style. Another of his bright ideas was to raid the stock of hands in bridge magazine bidding competitions for interesting and instructive hands. What Would You Bid? was the result.
Reese also wrote books on casino gambling, canasta and backgammon.
Click here for information about "The Buenos Aires affaire".
Terence J. Reese (1913–1996) fut longtemps considéré comme le meilleur joueur du monde et la manière dont il gagna ce contrat ne fit qu’accroître sa renommée.
Dès sept ans, il jouait au bridge, à quatorze, il disputait des tournois. Doué, intelligent et sûr de lui, il figurait déjà parmi les meilleurs avant la seconde guerre mondiale.
Il faisait alors équipe avec Iain MacLeod, futur ministre, et tous deux contribuèrent, avec Maurice Harrison-Gray, Jack C. H. Marx et S. J. Simon, à mettre au point le système anglais, l’Acol.
Reese remporta une vingtaine de titres nationaux, quatre titres de champion d’Europe (1948, 1949, 1954 et 1963) et un titre de champion du monde (1960) par équipe, un titre de champion du monde par paires (1962), sans compter la Bermuda Bowl, déjà évoquée, ainsi qu’une multitude d’autres épreuves prestigieuses, comme le World Par Contest (1961).
Après une série de revers au début des années 1960, et devant la montée des systèmes artificiels, Trèfle Romain et autres, il mit au point le sien, The Little Major (la Petite Majeure), avec Jeremy Flint. Relativement complexe et sans cesse remanié, ce système rebutait son partenaire d’alors, Boris Schapiro, qui finit par refuser de le jouer ! La carrière de Terence Reese fut malheureusement brisée par « l’affaire de Buenos Aires », ville où se déroula la Bermuda Bowl de 1965, sans doute le plus grand scandale qui ait ébranlé le monde du bridge.
Au début du match entre la Grande- Bretagne et les États-Unis, les joueurs américains B. Jay Becker et Dorothy Hayden remarquèrent que Reese et Schapiro tenaient leurs cartes de façon peu naturelle, avec un nombre variable de doigts, écartés ou non. Ayant informé Alan Truscott autorité mondiale du bridge (qui épousera d’ailleurs Dorothy Hayden plus tard !), tous trois constatèrent une certaine correspondance entre la position des doigts et le nombre de Coeurs détenus par chaque joueur.
Convaincus de la culpabilité de la paire, le capitaine de l’équipe anglaise, Ralph Swimer, et le président de la fédération britannique, Geoffrey Butler, entérinèrent un communiqué de la Fédération Mondiale donnant la victoire à l’Argentine et aux États-Unis dans les deux matches remportés par la Grande-Bretagne.
Reese et Schapiro furent interdits de compétition internationale pendant trois ans. La Fédération Anglaise jugea en revanche les faits insuffisants pour les déclarer coupables, sans toutefois rendre public le dossier d’accusation. Pour se défendre, Terence Reese rédigea un ouvrage, Story of an Accusation (Heinemann, Londres, 1966), où il nie toute fraude. Alan Truscott publia ensuite le sien, The Great Bridge Scandal (Yarborough Press, New York, 1969), où il maintient ses accusations...
Suiteà l’affaire, Schapiro décida de ne plus jouer qu’en partie libre et ne revint qu’épisodiquement à la compétition, dans les années 1980. Aux Championnats du Monde de Lille, en 1998, il remporta ainsi, à 88 ans, le titre en Paires Senior ! Quant à Reese, il se retira définitivement de la compétition en 1968, pour se consacrer à la littérature du bridge.
Auteur prolifique, il a signé une trentaine d’ouvrages et cosigné une cinquantaine d’autres. Certains sont devenus des classiques, tout particulièrement The Expert Game.
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