On 29th October, 1984, the South African, Brian Mervis, died suddenly from a stroke at the age of only 34.
He came to London with his partner, Gus Calderwood, after the 1976 World Team Olympiad in Monte Carlo; and they went on to represent England in Camrose matches, and to win the Common Market Teams Championship in 1981.
I had the pleasure of playing in a team with him for a few years, and rarely have I met someone who enjoyed life more or extracted so much from it. Whatever else was happening, he was determined to be happy and endeavoured to make those around him feel the same way.
He was a talented player with a penchant for the slightly eccentric. Once we played together for a match in a Caransa tournament, and on one hand he overcalled a strong no-trump with two clubs. I alerted and, on enquiry from my opponent, informed them that the bid promised thirteen cards. Mervis' kibitzer had trouble keeping a straight face because that was what he held: a complete Yarborough!
It always seems especially sad when someone who had so much more to offer life and bridge dies so young.