14-03-09 11:43 Age: 10 yrs

Helly recalls the events that led to THE 35 STEPS

Published in the Australian Bridge Magazine FEBRUARY-MARCH 2009

Helly with Omar Sharif in 1969

Helly Kemp, from the Cairns Highlands, has created THE 35 STEPS, a new product for those learning bridge – see the ad on the inside front cover.                                          

Helly recalls the events that led to THE 35 STEPS

When Omar Sharif introduced me into the world of bridge in 1969, little did I suspect that he had set into motion a chain reaction which would culminate 40 yeas later in my developing The 35 Steps.

I knew nothing about bridge when I met Omar. But he was very kind and allowed me inside the gaming room at London’s Dorchester Hotel during major tournaments with international masters like Terence Reese et al. I was very privileged, for this was hallowed ground where mortals did not tread! Other journalists and the public were in a separate viewing room.

These were exciting, inspirational days and having caught the bug, the London School of Bridge – then London’s largest bridge club – became my second home, with Nico Gardner’s daughter Nicola being my instructor. As a freelance journalist, I would often finish work at noon and play both afternoon and evening sessions five days a week. Later through family and business commitments I neglected bridge for many years, but the addiction held fast and I always returned.

It was not until two years ago, however, when I opened my social CAFÉ BRIDGE CLUB, that I colour coded and handwrote The 35 Steps on the huge club whiteboard. And even intermediate players’ reactions were so positive that I decided to print the steps commercially. Soon the word spread to other clubs and players, now making the VISI-GUIDE a sought after teaching and memory aid.