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Bridge & Humor: Victor Mollo (1909 – 1987)


Victor Mollo was born in St Petersburg, into a wealthy Russian family. He was 8 years old when the Revolution broke out. He and his family escaped to Finland, using forged Red Cross papers. They finally ended up in London.

Like many before and since, he neglected his studies and devoted himself to bridge. He was employed in the European service of the BBC, and began to write books and articles on the game of bridge. At the time of his death he had written 30 books and hundreds of articles. His life style was quite extraordinary. He would play rubber bridge at his club each afternoon, enjoy a gourmet dinner and wine with his wife, (the Squirrel at the Griffins Club and his eagle-eyed proof reader), then work all night until 6 am, when he would take a brief sleep.

He occasionally competed at Duplicate bridge, winning four national tournaments, but much preferred the cut and thrust of rubber bridge. He is perhaps best known for his Bridge in the Menagerie series, and was recognized in his day as the most entertaining writer on the game.

Card Play Technique – The Art of Being Lucky, 1955, co-written with Nico Gardner, is regarded by many as the best book ever written on Declarer Play. It begins as follows:

Fortune only smiles on the brave. She positively beams on the skilful, versed in the technique of wooing her. For to be lucky is an art which can be mastered like any other.RR de Mollo

R.R (Rueful Rabbit): Experience over many years showed that it saved endless trouble to fall in with partner’s wishes. One was still cursed afterwards, of course, if it went wrong, but not so vehemently and not for so long. BiM p105

H.H (Hideous Hog): Brilliance comes to me naturally, and I can claim no credit for it. p113

R.R: One gets used to abuse. It’s waiting for it to come that is so trying. p 90

THE ART OF LOSING There is too much stress everywhere on the art of winning and not nearly enough anywhere on the art of losing. Yet it is surely the more important of the two, for not only do the losers pay the winners, but they clearly enjoy doing it. Were it otherwise they would have stopped playing – or taken to winning – long ago. V.Mollo BiM, p11



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