Bridge & Humor: The Foblies of Fechter

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True stories about Bobby are legion and unforgettable. His wife, Libby, mother of his eight children and who …

By Ana Roth
On 25 February, 2016 At 10:16

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The Item – 11 Oct 1987

For decades one of South Carolina’s most colorful, successful, and competitive bridge players has been Bobby Fetcher. Bobby is a recently semi-retired insurance executive which divides his time between Columbia and Myrtle Beach, and he divides most of his spare time between bridge and golf. In his misspent youth, he was a pool hustling card shark; however, marriage and the responsibility of eight children settled him down somewhat.

True stories about Bobby are legion and unforgettable. His wife, Libby, mother of his eight children and who still has the look of a teenager, is the heroine of many of the tales of Bobby. I have mentioned in this column that bridge players might be a little out of the ordinary. This is especially true of Bobby Fechter.

It seems that some years back, Bobby played in an Atlanta bridge tournament with Libby’s knowledge and consent. Lib stayed in Columbia with some number of kids. The Sunday game ended later than was expected so Bobby decided to spend the night in Atlanta and to return to Columbia on Monday. Bobby, as always the ever thoughtful husband, decided not to awaken Libby correctly assuming that she would know that he had returned when she saw him.

When Bobby arrived in Columbia, he went directly to work and returned home in time for dinner Monday evening. When he arrived home Libby, as always the attentive wife, was in the driveway waiting for him. Unfortunately also in the driveway was stacked every bridge periodical, bridge book, golf magazine, bridge trophy, golf trophy, bridge card, and golf card that Bobby had accumulated through years of successful tournament play All of these items had been well doused with lighter fluid or some other equally flammable substance.

Her words of greeting were, “Bobby Fechter, I hate bridge; I hate golf; but most of all, I hate you!” And with that, she struck her match and set the entire pile ablaze. Later, after much sweet talk, Bobby was partially forgiven and allowed to enter the house where he noticed that a few of his bridge prizes, those that were sterling silver (that’s right — in the old days it was not unusual for bridge prizes to be sterling goblets, trays, etc.), were still in their places on the shelves. When Bobby said, “Libby, you forgot something,” her reply was, “Bobby Fechter, I was angry. I wasn’t crazy.”

Here is an example of the Fechter style from a Myrtle Beach tournament. His partner was Eddie Myers of Sumter, and their opponents were Syd Levey of Fresno, Calif. (then the President of the American Contract Bridge League) and Syd’s fiancee. Sharon David. I am mortally certain that you would not have bid Bobby’s hand as he did. Bobby was North and Eddie was South:

South was dealer. East-West hands are immaterial except that East had A9 of clubs. The bidding went.

West North East South
Pass 1 Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass 5 Pass 6
Pass Pass Pass

You will notice that Bobby bid everything he didn t have and never mentioned what he did have West understandably led a diamond, the unbid suit, and Eddie was able to discard his spade and heart losers on the good diamonds. You will notice that without the diamond lead, Eddie would have no entry to the board and would have had to lose a spade, a heart and a club. Syd left the table shaking his head and wondering about the so-called southern hospitality.

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