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ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT BRIDGE CLUBS

Posted 16 July 2019   Author Young Chelsea   Category Obituary

 

Andrew Thompson (30 November 1949–21 June 2019)

Update: 15 August 2019

A wake for Andrew Thompson has been organized for Thursday 22 August 2.00pm–4.00pm at the Wimbledon Village Club which is at 26 Lingfield Road, London, SW19 4QD.

 

 

Andrew Thompson (30 November 1949–21 June 2019)Andrew Thompson (30 November 1949–21 June 2019)

 

We are very sad to report the death at the age of 69 of Andrew Thompson, a succesful and well known tournament player whose name graces the Young Chelsea honours boards. (He won the YC’s flagship event, the Marathon, in a threesome with Keith Loveys and John Reardon in 1979 and again in 1980.) Our sympathies go to his family and friends.

 

His funeral will be at 2.30pm on Tuesday 23 July at Telford Crematorium, Woodhouse Lane, Red Hill, Telford, Shropshire, TF2 9NJ and after at the Swan Inn, 4 Lower Bar, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 7BQ.

 

 

[The following is reproduced from the English Bridge Union website, with permission.]

Andrew Thompson—an Appreciation (by Ian Payn)

 

Andrew Thompson, a perennial on the tournament scene for fifty years has died, aged 69. He had been ill for some time, confined to Edgbaston Hospital.

 

His father was a doctor and his mother was from the Orkney Isles. Andrew attended St Paul’s school, where he was a contemporary of Alan Woo. How his education progressed thereafter is unclear, but the early seventies saw him enter the world of bridge in a big way, being one of several in the circle of Joe Amsbury. Early Gold Cup victories and International appearances (mainly partnering John Reardon) cemented his reputation. He gained another reputation as well: he was often unreliable—he might book to play in two teams in the same event, he might have two different partners for an evening’s duplicate. Indeed, one evening at the Young Chelsea he rang up to speak to me at 7.29. He apologised and said that he was stuck in South Croydon and consequently would not be able to partner me that evening. I assured him this was no problem. Just as I was about to ring off, he said, “By the way, could you see if you could find Freddy Herd and tell him? I’m supposed to be playing with him, as well.” In the days when the first and second rounds of the Gold Cup were played in large venues, two teams at Hove Town Hall were looking at their watches, wondering where Andrew was: he was, of course, playing at another venue altogether.

 

Life was too short to get annoyed about this sort of thing—it was just what Andrew was like, part and parcel of being a friend of his. It seemed somehow churlish to get upset about someone who was such good company, and who was such a terrific player when he eventually arrived at the table. After a spell teaching at the newly set‑up West of England Bridge Club with his friend from the Amsbury stable, David Carlisle, Andrew returned to London—his mother’s house in Chiswick—and led a life that seemed to revolve around playing bridge, mainly at the Young Chelsea and London Duplicate Club, where I first met him, and we fell into an easy friendship.

 

It helped that we had another shared interest, Golden Age Detective Fiction. For a while Andrew was a member of the Edgar Wallace Society and stood unsuccessfully for the office of Treasurer. He was a lifelong Liberal, and would canvass for the party, come rain or shine.

 

Andrew was known to all his friends as The Professor. Something about his manner and dress suggested an academic background, and if he never really gained the dizzy heights of professorship, I can’t see that it matters all that much.

 

For a long time his regular partner was Tony Clark. If I can offer a travel tip, it would be this: don’t sit in the back of a car going through Paris with Tony Clark driving and The Professor navigating. This, as The Professor himself might have put it, is more than flesh and blood could reasonably be expected to stand. Later Andrew enjoyed playing in various tournaments with Mike Fletcher (their itinerary seemed to be based on where they fancied going on any given weekend), and more recently with Rob Lawy or Dan Crofts.

 

Andrew liked a quiz (woe betide the quizmaster who got an answer wrong), he liked a cigarette (happily not for the last couple of decades) and he liked a drink. That sounds to me like a fairly normal person. His eccentricities were not extreme and did not prevent him being one of the most extraordinarily gifted bridge players that the country has ever seen. As recently as 2008 he was due to go to play in the World Seniors Championships in Beijing. A last‑minute illness, alas, prevented this, but in the period since then he has been a prominent feature across the tournament scene, perhaps not standing on the winner’s podium as he so frequently had in the past, but not too far away from it, either.

 

His memory for bridge stories was excellent. Now they are gone forever. But those who knew him will never forget him. And if some of the stories about him are not for the faint‑hearted (don’t get me started on the row in the Star Kebab House on the Earl’s Court Road) they will be told and re‑told for the foreseeable future.

 

Andrew Thompson—The Professor (1949–2019)

 

ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT BRIDGE CLUBS