The name may not be familiar to many of the present generation of bridge players, for he never gave his name to any conventions. Nevertheless, he was one of the game's leading theorists, helping to develop and publicize the concept of fourth suit forcing, being directly responsible for what he termed out-of-the-blue cue-bids (1 - 2NT - - 4! agreeing hearts and showing a club control) and originating directional asking bids. Nowadays these ideas are taken for granted but they were completely new in the 40's and 50's and, as is always the case when revolutionary ideas are put forward, scorn was poured upon them by many of his contemporaries.
Norman won the De La Rue International Par Contest in 1957; Crockfords in 1956 and 1957*; and the Gold Cup in 1946, 1954 and 1958. It was in the 1958 final (at a critical stage) that Norman (not a player who would lightly abandon his convictions) opened one spade with xxxx AKQJx Ax xx. Lacking the reversing values he knew that one spade was correct. his team-mates did not approve - but they still won.
A prolific writer, his Theory of Bidding (1957) is still well worth reding, and his later book on squeeze play is excellent. He was a regular contributor to Bridge Magazine, and its competition editor from 1948 until its merger with British Bridge World in 1964 (when I inherited his role).
Norman had come to bridge via an odd route. Like several of his contemporaries, dancing featured strongly. (Plum Meredith and Skid Simon were balletomanes, Pedro Juan was a tango expert, Nico Gardener was a ballroom dancer). Norman, if hearsay is to be believed, featured as an acrobatic dancer at the Coconut Grove, and this was followed by a distinguished and often hazardous service in the Army during the 1939-45 War.
I first met norman in the 1950s when he was the club secretary at Lederers. We played successfully in team of that era, although never as partners. It was not until 1970 that I got to know him well, when he taught with me at the London School of Bridge. We talked a lot and, having dismissed each other's political viewpoints as completely insane, switched to discussing what really mattered - bridge hands. I shall miss him.
* - he also won in 1948
by Alan Hiron, reproduced from Peter Hasenson's 'British Bridge Almanack'
Camrose Trophy selections: 1946 1953 and 1958
Gold Cup winner:1946 1954 and 1958
Crockfords Cup winner:1948 1956 and 1957