Home > Masterpoints & PQP’s > Masterpoints > Margaret Bourke – Emerald Grand Master

Margaret Bourke – Emerald Grand Master


It was sometime during the 2014 Summer National Women’s Teams event that Margaret Bourke became Australia’s fourth Emerald Grand Master (EGM), after Bob Richman, Paul Lavings and Pauline Gumby. Of note is that she is the first non-Sydney based EGM.

After two years away from Australia, Margaret began playing Bridge in earnest in 1971, having learnt the game with her older brother in 1968. Her first partnership of note was with Meredith Woods and they made the Victorian Interstate Women’s Team in 1973. When Meredith was unavailable to play the following year, Margaret formed a partnership with Lidia Kilvington (later Beech) that lasted for 27 years. However, Margaret represented Australia with Ailsa Tandy and Paula Schoor before she and Lidia qualified for the 1988 Australian Women’s Team, a feat they repeated many times in the ensuing 13 years.

One of the things that helped Margaret become an EGM is that she has always loved to play the game – just riffle a deck near her. Also, she is a great partner: those not mentioned above that she has played at the International Level include Felicity Beale, Jillian Hay, Dagmar Neumann and Sue Lusk and at the ANC with Arjuna De Livera and David Hoffman.

Another of her traits is that she has always wanted to improve: indeed, I present her with more difficult versions of the problems that appear in the Daily Bulletins at these championships and she gets most of them right. However, like all good players she is not above playing for a defensive error when there seems little technical hope of making the contract:, as this example from a 1990’s PABF Championship shows:

Nil Vul
N Dealer
A J 8 5 3
J 2
K J 3 2 5
A 8
K 10 9 7 6 4
9 8
A 9 6 4
[ 1 ] Q 2
A 10 6 5 4 3
Q 10
K 9 2
K Q 7
8 7
Q J 10 6 5 4 3

West North East South
  Lidia Beech   Margaret Bourke
  1 2 Pass
Pass Double Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
All Pass      

The same contract was reached at both tables. West led the nine of hearts. Both East’s took the trick with the ace of hearts and returned a heart, taken by the king.
Against Felicity Beale and Diana Smart, the declarer continued with ace and another club and Felicity had little trouble in defeating 3NT by leaving the round suits untouched for the rest of the play.
After winning the second trick with the king of hearts, Margaret saw there was little genuine hope for the contract and instead tried a psychological play. She deliberately ran the queen of clubs, expecting that that East would win the trick with king of clubs and return a heart. When East did just that Margaret was able to discard the ace of clubs on the queen of hearts and the impossible game was made.

I am sure everyone will join me in congratulating Margi on becoming an EGM.

Tim Bourke