Obituary: Irving Rose

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The Independent Online
Irving Rose was one of Britain's most talented and colourful bridge players.

The game was always a major part of his life. He came from a bridge-playing family; his father, Louis Rose, had won all the major Scottish events at one time or another. Although all Irving wanted to do was to play bridge, his father had other ideas and he was sent to Glasgow University to study medicine.

Irving, however, devoted most of his time to the game, entering competitions under an assumed name so that his father did not find out. The would-be medical career was abandoned by mutual consent after a year and Irving switched to accountancy. All the time he felt that he had to move to London - the city that was the centre of the British bridge scene. Eventually he made the move and, while working as an accountant during the day, spent most of the night playing bridge. This led to his sleeping in the office and the suggestion that he find alternative employment.

Some unproductive years followed - he managed a betting shop for two years, spent a year in the South of France playing rubber bridge (he spoke a fluent, colloquial French with a powerful Glaswegian accent) and then, finally, Irving Rose found what suited him best - he became the manager of the bridge room at Crockford's Club and, later, at the Eccentric Club. In these positions his geniality and popularity made him a great success.

The trouble with playing high-stake rubber bridge is that it encourages one to gamble in other things. For Rose it became a compulsion and matters deteriorated. A move to Hong Kong did not help either and finally he saw the light, returned to London, joined Gamblers Anonymous, and switched to life assurance instead of bridge club directorship.

This had no adverse effect on his tournament bridge career. Rose represented Britain six times in the European Championships (playing with me, a bronze medal on his first appearance in 1967) and in 1981 he won a silver medal and qualifiied to play in the Bermuda Bowl World Championships, as well as winning all the major domestic events at least once.

Although his wife, Annette, was not a bridge player, her mother (Honor Rye - later Flint) was a British international and her stepfather, Jeremy Flint, was one of Britain's leading players for several decades.

His final career move came when a syndicate decided to open a new bridge club and Irving was persuaded back. Indeed the club was named after him (TGR - The Great Rose). Although he was no longer gambling, the late nights and the stress of management told on his health and he left to convalesce in South Africa, where later he died.

Alan Hiron

Irving Rose, bridge player: born Glasgow 16 February 1938; married 1981 Annette Rye (one son); died Cape Town 17 May 1996.

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