13-03-09 12:33 Age: 10 yrs

Surprising Journey to Love of Bridge

Published in What's On + Where To Go

As a Sydney pharmacist in her 20’s with an obsessive crush on actor Omar Sharif, Helly Kemp was worlds away from his glamorous life of show business and international bridge. But believing that dreams must come true, Helly simply changed her profession to snowfield correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald in 1967, did world wide ski promotions for Qantas in 1968 and moved to London, becoming our girl in Europe for Australian Magazine New Idea.

Helly Kemp in the early days with actor Omar Sharif

With this background and her own press agency, it was now easy to meet and befriend Omar. I knew nothing about bridge when I met Omar, Helly says. But he was very kind and allowed me inside the private gaming room at London’s Dorchester Hotel, where major matches were played for great amounts of money. I was very privileged for this was hallowed ground where mortals did not tread! Soon Helly’s obsession with Omar was overtaken by her lifelong obsession with bridge. Two years ago, she opened her boutique Café Bridge Club on Lake Tinaroo, with regular sessions for members and visitors on Wednesdays plus other sessions arranged by phone as required. Helly has just finished developing the totally new bridge teaching method, The 35 Steps, inspired by the title of the classic Hitchcock thriller The 39 Steps. The 35 Steps is a graphic cheat sheet, which has a powerful visual impact, allowing beginners to comprehend the overall concept of bridge at first sighting, thus cutting the learning curve in half. It is a laminated, full colour, single page teaching aid for beginners and an aide-memoire for that occasional ‘blonde’ or ‘senior’ moment of intermediate players and is very affordable as A3, A4, A5 laminates and laminated fridge magnets and computer mouse pads, Helly says. It has been displayed in Sydney’s Grand Slam Bridge Centre and on their website and is now in the February-March issue of the Australian Bridge Magazine and has its own website, www.the35steps.com.  The 35 Steps is used by teachers Lesley Fraser and Rebecca Delaney at the Cairns Bridge Club, whose president, Ken Miller, calls it a wonderful, ingenious bridge aid for beginners. For more information phone 4095 2130 or email info@the35steps.com.