John Manning

1925 -1998

Dr John Manning, author of the manual which has become the authoritative work on duplicate bridge movements, has died at the age of 73. Ron Budden), of Sussex, writes:

It is with the deepest regret that we heard of the sudden death of Dr Manning who, over the past 37 years, has contributed much to English bridge and the county associations of Northamptonshire and Sussex. This was recognised in 1994 when he was presented with the EBU's Dimmie Fleming Award.

John started playing bridge in 1961 when he was employed as Head Statistician by the Shoe and Allied Trades Association in Kettering, Northamptonshire. ln that year, a bridge club for men was started at Wellingborough which he joined with Len Lucock, a colleague from SATRA. In the following year, bowing one suspects to a certain amount of domestic pressure, john and Len opened a mixed club in Kettering and it was John's experience of directing there that led him to develop the theory of arrow switching in pairs events. The theory was accepted by the EBU and in 1979 John's paper on the subject was published in the Bulletin of the Institute of Mathematics and its applications.

A county association was formed m Northamptonshire in 1962 and John served as a member of its management committee for 21 years, 17 of which were spent as a delegate to the EBU. A popular director of many county events, he also became the County Tournament Secretary; for the last ten years of this office his wife Eileen joined h1m as County Secretary. John's mathematical work and his bridge interests came together again you need to know Fourth Suit Forcing -Part 2 I If your NT rebid is 15-16 then you might even consider opening 1NT to avoid problems later in the auction. If you have a 3-5-4-1 hand and regularly bid your four-card suit on the second round of the auction instead of supporting partner with three cards it is certainly going to affect later calls in the auction. Rule One is to know your method and then to prepare the auction accordingly. 4th Suit can be the first move in going for a slam. It has the advantage of keeping the auction at a low level John Manning master of bridge movements when SATRA acquired their first computer and this was used out of hours to score county events. John then wrote a program for computer dealt hands and these were produced for the EBU by the SATRA Computer Service until the work was taken in-house.

John retired in 1986 and he and Eileen moved to Seaford, Sussex, joining the Eastbourne and Avenue bridge clubs and subsequently Lewes. In 1990 he was elected to the Sussex county management committee, became an EBU delegate again and was commissioned by the EBU to write a new Movements Manual to replace the out of print Farrington book. The new version, published in 1993, is found in most British clubs and has become an authoritative work, worldwide.

John and Eileen, both Premier Life Masters, have represented Northamptonshire and Sussex in county competitions. John's other main interest was natural history. In Northamptonshire he set up a nature trail in Wicksteed Park and in Sussex he worked as a volunteer at the Seven Sisters Centre and for the Sussex Wildlife Trusts, spending time recently updating records for the Sussex Botanical Society. John kept up to date, if not ahead of times. His website had been in operation for some time, linked to Aylesbury and he had become the internet information centre for the Sussex county association.

He will be sadly missed, not only by his family, but by the members of the EBU and friends from far afield.