Former president FW de Klerk is a man of international prominence: He was instrumental in negotiations which brought a final end to apartheid, he was the man to sign off on the release of former president Nelson Mandela, he was the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize – and a handful of references also point to him as a bridge player.
Most references to bridge and FW de Klerk are scarce, scattered throughout books (like Vulnerable in Hearts: A Memoir of Fathers, Sons and Contract Bridge) and articles (Eisenhower’s Other Title: Bridge Player in Chief; NY Times, 2009) with a brief mention and, unfortunately, little background.
I finally received an e-mail from the FW de Klerk Foundation through Brenda, personal assistant to Mr de Klerk, that clarifies.
The official response appears below – and I’m glad to be able to confirm that we both share an admiration for the great game of bridge!
“Mr De Klerk used to play a lot of bridge at university level but neglected it afterwards. He was never a fully committed contract bridge player and never read a manual on bridge. However, he still reads bridge columns wherever he can find them, and he is a great admirer of the game.”
In September 2019, we saw the World Bridge Team Championships taking place in Wuhan, China.
Right now, circa January 2020, the area of Wuhan has made news for an entirely different reason: A serious outbreak of a type of Coronavirus which appears to have originated in Wuhan – and has rapidly spread to other areas of China and other parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.
Wuhan has been hard hit by cases to the point where there is a reported shortage of test kits for the Coronavirus.
There has been a lot of travel for bridge players (and non-bridge players) to affected areas, especially with bridge players representing their country in the event and heading back home.
It’s a dangerous condition to anyone, and becomes even more dangerous if you have a compromised immune system by default: Showing symptoms like a fever or cough means you should have yourself checked.
I’ve previously written about immune systems and bridge for the daily BBO Prime Column. It rings eerily true now, and remains important. Click to read 7 Important Facts About Immune Systems and Bridge.
Information about the Coronavirus and the associated symptoms can be found at this page from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Remember: Being informed is staying safe.
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