Magazine article The Spectator

Star Quality

Magazine article The Spectator

Star Quality

Article excerpt

BRIDGE clubs can be intimidating places. All too often, normal rules of polite behaviour are left at the door; it's not unusual to hear someone abusing their partner within minutes of meeting them.

Fortunately, however, not all clubs are like that. Howies* in Stanmore, Middlesex, is one of the exceptions. Set up by my old friend Howard Cohen, it's exactly what a bridge club should be: welcoming and wellrun. And it offers the lot: lessons, rubber bridge, duplicates.

Howard himself is a legendary figure in the bridge world. He has a warm, expansive personality, and in the days when he played for high stakes he was famous for his fearless (even reckless) bidding. He used to play with the likes of Zia Mahmood, Boris Schapiro and Tony Friday, and black-andwhite photos of such celebrities line the walls, giving Howies a far more starry, international feel than you might expect from a club in the outer suburbs. …

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