Magazine article The Spectator

Total Recall

Magazine article The Spectator

Total Recall

Article excerpt

Top bridge players have a spooky ability to recall thousands of hands, often from many years back. This doesn't mean they have comparable powers of recall in other areas; indeed, sometimes it seems it's only with cards that their memories come alive. I remember once having dinner with the great Bob Hamman. I decided to move the conversation away from bridge and on to his personal life. He couldn't remember the year of his marriage, how he proposed, or even where he was when his first child was born - until he suddenly exclaimed, 'Oh yes! I was in my club. I held the ace of spades, five small hearts . . .'

Or take Espen Erichsen. Recently, I invited him round for social bridge; the next day, he could recall every card played - but not the names of the other players. What really left me dumbstruck, though, was something that happened a few days later. I'd come across a scrap of paper on which I'd jotted down a slam I played about two years ago, including some comments Espen made at the time. …

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