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Valerie Cummings

June 14, 1942 – October 13, 2012

Valerie Cummings, a top class player in open and women’s bridge, passed away on Saturday, October 13. In recent years Valerie had cut out most of her serious bridge and focused her life on her children, James, Catherine and Michael, and her grandchildren. Valerie had many friends in bridge circles and outside. She will be sorely missed.

A feminist, Valerie was a staunch believer in complete equality for women and men in all aspects of life. I would from time to time tease her by holding a door open for her or pulling a chair out for her. She hated that.

Valerie thrived on teams events or IMP-scored events, where she had an outstanding record over four decades. In Women’s events she came second in the Butler Trials in 1970, 1990, 2002, third in 1975 and won in 1982, 2001 and 2003. She won the Women’s Individual in 1980, the Spring National Women’s Teams in 2002 and the National Women’s Teams in 2003. Valerie also won the Interstate Women’s Teams, in 1974, 1979, 1990 and 1999. She was the non-playing captain of the victorious New South Wales Women’s Team in 2000.

Valerie also tasted success internationally. In the Far East Women’s Teams, she won in 1975, came third in 1983, fourth in 2002 and third in 2003. She also represented Australia in the 1976 World Women’s Teams Olympiad. At various times in her life Valerie would have been rated the #1 woman player in Australia. She would have hated that, too.

Valerie’s bridge and successes were by no means limited to women’s bridge. Her aggressive approach to bidding and her accuracy in declarer play and defence stood her in good stead in open company. Valerie won the Gold Coast Congress Teams, one of the toughest events on the calendar, in 1981, 1983 and 1986. She also won the Grand National Open Teams three years in succession, 1999, 2000, 2001, and repeated the success in 2004.

Aside from her national and international achievements, Valerie won frequently at state level. She was a member of the NSW Women’s Team in 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1990 and 1999 and was non playing captain in 1997 and 2000. Valerie captained the NSW Open Team in 1993. She won the Women’s Pairs in 1990, the Mixed Pairs in 1973 and 1977 and the State Open Teams in 2001.

Valerie also gave her time at an administrative level convening the NSW State Events for many years.

Ron Klinger