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Hugh Kelsey

Hugh Walter Kelsey (1926 - 18 March 1995) was a Scottish bridge player and writer, best known for advanced books on the play of the cards.

Kelsey was born and died in Edinburgh. He won the Gold Cup, the most prestigious British competition, twice, in 1969 and 1980. He represented Scotland twelve times in the Camrose Trophy, played between the constituent countries of the British Isles. He was the non-playing captain of the Great Britain women's team in the 7th World Team Olympiad held at Seattle in 1984.

However, he was most famous and will be remembered as a writer. He wrote some fifty books on the game, mostly aimed at intermediate to advanced players. It is a measure of their quality that many of them were still in print more than a decade after his death. Two of his books, Killing Defence at Bridge and Advanced Play at Bridge, were listed by the Official Encyclopedia of Bridge as "mandatory requirements for a modern technical bridge library". Adventures in Card Play by Kelsey and Géza Ottlik (Gollancz, 1979) is regarded by many as the most advanced book on the play of the cards. It introduced and developed many new concepts such as backwash squeeze and entry-shifting squeeze. Bridge experts surveyed by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) in 2007 ranked it third on a list of their favourite books, nearly thirty years after its first publication.

Kelsey was bridge columnist for the Edinburgh newspaper The Scotsman, wrote many articles for bridge magazines, and was general editor for the Gollancz Master Bridge series. He was the International Bridge Press Association Personality of the Year in 1993.

Kelsey was a resident of Edinburgh when he died there on 18 March 1995, presumably from "repeated cardiac problems", in the words of Alan Truscott citing his son George. He was survived by his wife Flora, two sons, and two daughters.

The Scottish Bridge Union holds an annual Hugh Kelsey Tournament. This is open to all those in Scotland who are currently receiving lessons.

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