Source: Ron Klinger WEB-site

Look around the world of bridge in search of someone who is at the top of the tree as a player, teacher and writer and you will find perhaps half a dozen candidates. One of them, and only one, is outside North America, which is why he is not as well known as he oughttobe.

His name is Ron Klinger, and his residence is in Sydney, Australia, long the home of some of the world’s best players. I first met him two decades ago when I took an expert team for a Down­Under tour and encountered a young lecturer in law who was describing the play for large audiences with intelligence and wit.

Soon afterwards he abandoned academic pursuits, which may have been a loss to the law but was certainly a gain for the bridge community. He rapidly turned himself into Australia’s Mr. Bridge, the equivalent perhaps of Charles Goren in his heyday in the forties and fifties. However the parallel is inexact, for Goren had many collaborators and Klinger is a one­man band

Like Goren, Klinger made his name familiar to the bridge public by a string of impressive playing performances. He has lost count of the number of major titles he has won, and enumerating his international appearances is not much easier. Down­Under, as Up­Over, every expert wants to carry the flag in foreign parts and fierce selection battles occur annually. He is almost always in the thick of it, and is one of the most successful players of his generation.

Specifically Klinger has played five times in the Far East Championships, winning the Teams in 1970 and the Pairs twice, in 1985 and 1987. On a wider scene he has played in six of the biennial Olympiads-the bridge misnomer for an Olympic-and at three consecutive ones, in 1976,1978 and 1980, he won the Bols Brilliancy Prize: for the best­played hand in 1976, and for his bridge journalism on the other occasions. Since there are hundreds of candidates for this prize his string is not only remarkable but unique. In the Bermuda Bowl, in which the representation is by zones, the South Pacific is represented by Australia and New Zealand In this event Klinger made his second appearance in 1989, in Perth, and the team reached the semifinals before losing to the American defending champions after a hard fight.

For occasions such as this Klinger has created his own ‘Power’ system, which is a clever blend of the old and the new. Most of the opening bids follow the recipe that Dr. Paul Stern devised for the Austrian team which won the first world championship, played in 1937. An updated version, ‘New South Wales’, was popular in Sydney in the sixties and seventies. Klinger has taken some elements and added hypermodern two­bids and relays, a mixture that he does not offer to his students and readers. It is reserved for his partners, who are required to have good memories.

In a 13­year stint as Editor, starting in 1972, Klinger madeAustralian Bridgeone of the world’s best bridge magazines. At the same time he began writing a series of successful books on the game. One of them, 100 WINNING BRIDGE TIPS, has proved very popular in the United States and as these lines are written, he is at work on a sequel. He personally published many of the original Australian editions of his books using an early desk­top publishing set­up.

He is, as I know from hearing him, a superb teacher, and regularly projects his knowledge of the game to large groups in various parts of his continent. Like all the best bridge instructors, he provides his students with prepared deals to illustrate the lesson. This involves not only careful planning but also laborious work as I know from personal experience.

When a vivacious lady named Suzie became his bride in 1974 she immediately found that bridge would have a big impact on her life. The money in the kitty was just sufficient either to take a honeymoon or to publish his first book (it proved a great success). Suzie attends to all the administrative details that her husband’s work entails. Their children, Ari and Keri, join in much of the family travel, and if they miss some schooling, the parents promptly turn themselves into substitute teachers.

I began by saying that Klinger is a top player, writer and teacher. But he is also a commentator, game director, editor, publisher, game inventor, group travel co­ordinator and tour guide. What else is there? Time will tell.

Alan Truscott

January 1991


Ron Klinger – Bridge master

Reporter:Sarah Knight

Presenter:Bernadette Young

Most women’s idea of the perfect man would be a Robbie Williams or Hugh Jackman, or one of those hunks in Seachange, but who does 720’s Sarah Knight knock doors down to meet?

Ron Klinger, an international bridge player and teacher.

Our self-confessed bridge groupie caught up with Ron Klinger, who was in town for a series of lectures and workshops.

He told Sarah that you don’t have to be a super genuis to play the card game.

"The flair is for logic and concentration – the game is essentially a game of logic, you are given problems which you try to solve," he explained.

"Similar to 500, a trick taking game, each of the players are dealt 13 cards, play in partnership and communicate with your partner by bids and you try to describe the values of your hand and nature of your hand. And you are only allowed 15 words to do that. You can use a number from 1 – 7 or the club, spade, diamond, heart, or no trumps, pass, double, re-double and if you can add "sorry partner" that wont hurt," Ron laughed.

In the game of bridge your partner is very important and Ron thinks that a good partner needs to be enthusiastic, keen to do as well and to be ambitious.

"Temperament is an important thing, you don’t want someone across from you who is critical," he added.

"A lot of people think that it is an old person’s game – once you start playing you will feel sorry that you didn’t start sooner," he said.

And if you feel like taking the game up, Ron suggests a couple of books.

Bridge with the Blue Team by by Pietro Forquet and Card Play Technique by Nico Gardener and Victor Mollo.