Hubert Phillips


Hubert Phillips is still remembered by people in the UK who heard him many years ago on radio quizzes. He was born in 1891, took a first class degree in History at Oxford, served in the army throughout the First World War, taught Economics at Bristol University and was Director of Extra-Mural Studies, Secretary to the Liberal Industrial Enquiry and secretary and advisor to the Liberal Parliamentary Party.

He was well known by several pseudonyms, including Dogberry of the News Chronicle’s magazine page, and Caliban of the New Statesman, and he was compiler of thousands of mathematical and inferential puzzles as well as of crosswords, quizzes and ciphers. He was also a prolific writer of epigrams, parodies and satirical verse.

Among his many publications are Caliban’s Problem Book, The Complete Book of Card Games, The Penguin Hoyle, Brush Up Your Wits and My Best Puzzles in Mathematics. He also published over a hundred crime-problem stories and a novel, Charteris Royal

He was also an accomplished player of contract bridge, captaining England in 1937 and 1938.

The Phillips Hubert Bowl

Past Winners of The Phillips Hubert Bowl

This challenging bridge event constitutes a wonderful and almost ideal bridge tournament for new and novice bridge players , whose previous experience has been at the Rubber and/or Chicago bridge table. This award is provided so that such bridge players have the opportunity to become introduced to the game of duplicate, as well as an excellent event for all tournament players. Green Points are awarded for matches won in all rounds.

All the Matches are played on the full pivot principle such that one plays one-third of the match with each of one’s team mates as a partner. Teams must include at least one man and one woman, and all members playing in a match must play in partnership with all three other members of the team. At no time may an all-male or all-female team be playing.

Scoring is by aggregate with honors counting. Seeding is instrumental in the establishment of the tournament, so that every team entering is guaranteed at least one match before meeting a seed.

All the Matches are of 30 boards up to and including the quarter-final, except that 24-board or 27-board matches may be played in Rounds 1–3 by mutual agreement.


Mr. Hubert Phillips was a key figure in the very early days of the transition from the days of the game of Whist to the era of Duplicate Contract Bridge. He joined forces with the bridge authorities in England to establish an authoritative organization and body to govern the game and to promote the game in England. As such he was also instrumental in setting the stage for the very first Anglo-American bridge match for the historic competition known as Buller versus Culbertson (Lt. Col. Walter Buller, England, and Mr. Ely Culbertson, USA), two prominent bridge organizers from two different continents and with two different approaches.

Mr. Ely Culbertson's team won by 4,845 total points over 200 deals. Mr. Ely Culbertson partnered his wife, Josephine, and his other pair comprised Theodore Lightner and Waldemar von Zedtwitz. Later in the match Mr. Ely Culbertson played with Theodore Lightner, and his wife played with Waldemar von Zedwitz. This was the more successful line-up. The other three members of Lt. Col. Walter Buller's team were Alice Evers, Cedric Kehoe and Nelson Wood-Hill

His imagination knew no boundaries and he was also the very first person to introduce bridge players to the game via the new medium of television. He organized the very first BBC broadcast in the year 1936, and he also appeared personally in the telecast. The content included a discussion of the hands, the bidding thereof and the viewing of the play by the experts of the day, who were guests of the show. This medium was indeed in its infancy and the viewership was meager to very limited.

As a bridge author, a bridge writer, a bridge correspondent, bridge organiser he competed extensively with, or against, Mr. A.E. Manning Foster. Mr. A.E. Manning Foster was a national and professional player of cards from the era of Auction Bridge and before the transition to the new game of Duplicate Contract Bridge. Each of these gentlemen, in their mutual competition with each other, established and founded a bridge magazine (British Bridge Magazine was founded by Mr. Manning Foster).

And each gentleman, without much prompting, decided to establish a duplicate bridge organization. Mr. Hubert Phillips founded The National Bridge Association in 1933. Both organizations were unified after the second World War. In the publication of Mr. H. St. John Ingram, of 1952, under the heading of Personality of the Month, contained in the Contract Bridge Journal of February 1952, it states that Mr. Hubert Phillips also 'organized and founded The English Bridge Union and The Duplicate Bridge Control Board'.

Mr. Hubert Phillips donated the Hubert Phillips Bowl for the English Mixed Teams Championship, which has been continued from the year 1937, and this event is the only bridge event in the United Kingdom, which is scored with aggregate scoring. The event was discontinued in the years from 1939 until 1946 owing to the war.

All in all Mr. Hubert Phillips authored or co-authored approximately 170 books on mathematical problems, puzzles, and bridge. He assisted a certain John Terence Reese in becoming a bridge author and a professional bridge player. Mr. Hubert Phillips earned quite a decent income with his writings and publications. However, after years of success he, as the report states, he became addicted to the mathematical games and also to the aroma of the alcoholic beverages served within his environs, which led to a certain reduction of his fortunes.


Following is a list of his books and publications. Any additions, corrections, or contributions are greatly appreciated.


Bridge At Ruff's Club, 1951, Publisher: Batchworth Press, ASIN: B0000CHZJA

Bridge is Only a Game, 1959, Illustrated by Pearl Falconer, a booklet of 96 pages, Publisher: Max Parrish, London, England; also Bridge Is Only A Game, 1961, Illustrated by Pearl Falconer, Publisher: Max Parrish, London, England, LC: 61002198, ASIN: B0007J3DQ2

Bridge With Goren: Fifty Illustrative Deals Devised and Analysed by Charles H. Goren, 1960, Publisher: Citadel Press, ISBN: B0007IX9US, ASIN: B0007IX9US, OCLC: 1482876, LC: 61009939

Bridge With Mr. Playbetter, 1952, co-author Terence Reese, Publisher: Batchworth Press, ASIN: B0000CIFHX

Brush Up Your Bridge, 1939, Publisher: David McKay Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, ASIN: B000XVGTEC, LC: 39032497; also Brush Up Your Bridge, 1939, Publisher: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London, England

Brush Up Your Bridge with 25 Drawings By Ward, 1939, Publisher: David McKay Co., ASIN: B000L2N7HA

Commentary on the Laws of Contract Bridge, 1935

Contract Whist, 1932

How To Play Bridge, 1945, co-author Terence Reese; also How To Play Bridge, 1958, Publisher: Max Parrish, London, England, ASIN: B000CP1LUQ; also How To Play Bridge, 1970, Publisher: Ptarmigan, ASIN: B000PD7LEU

Making Bridge Pay: How to Win at Rubber Bridge, 1962, Publisher: Max Parrish, ASIN: B000OIJNK6

One Hundred Contract Bridge Hands, 1932, Publisher: Faber and Faber Limited, London, England, LC: 32015289

The Complete Book of Card Games, (The Sports and Pastimes Library), 1945, with Bernard C. Westall, Publisher: H.F. & G. Witherby Ltd., ASIN: B0007JKQA8l; also The Complete Book of Card Games, 2006, with Bernard C. Westall, Publisher: Read Books, ISBN: 1406799491 / ISBN-13: 9781406799491

The Elements of Contract, 1937, co-author Terence Reese; also The Elements of Contract, 1948, Second, Revised Edition, co-author Terence Reese, Publisher: Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, England, LC: 49003438

The Pan Book Of Card Games, 1960, Publisher: Pan Books, ISBN-10: 0330201751 / ISBN-13: 978-0330201759

Thorne's Complete Contract Bridge, 1948, (A new edited edition. Completely rewritten by: Mr. Hubert Phillips), Publisher: Eyre and Spottiswoode, ISBN: B0007KFRAG, ASIN: B0007KFRAG; also 1958, Publisher: Eyre and Spottiswoode, ASIN: B000GKSHP4

Two Hundred Hands From Match Play: An Annotated Casebook for Contract Bridge Players, 1934, co-author Bernard C. Westall, Publisher: Thomas de la Rue and Co., Ltd. , London, England, ASIN: B0010OBDXI

You Can Play And Laugh, 1934, Editor: The British Bridge World, Publisher: Faber and Faber and T. De La Rue & Co., London, England, LC: 34020246, ASIN: B00089BZ3E


An informative passage regarding the achievements of Mr. Hubert Phillips can be found in Die grosse Humboldt-Enzyklopädie der Kartenspiele compiled by Mr. Hugo Kastner and Mr. Gerald K. Folkvord, page 74, and which excerpt is included as follows in the German language. This passage describes his contribution as the developer of Contract Whist and the rules and guidelines he set forth for the scoring.

Contract Whist: Diese hochinteressante Spielform wurde in den dreissiger Jahren des 20. Jahrhunders von Hubert Phillips entwickelt. Sie bildet den direkten Übergang zu Contract Bridge, aber ohne Dummy (Strohmann). Das Wertungsblatt ist durch einen waagrechten Strich in zwei Hälften geteilt. Stichpunkte für einen Kontrakt werden unter dem Strich geschrieben, und zwar untereinander, Punkte für Überstiche (über den Kontrakt hinaus) oder für das Abwehren einer Kontrakterfüllung über dem Strich. Die Partei, die zuerst 10 Punkte unter dem Strich erreicht, gewinnt die Partie. Danach beginnen beide Parteien wieder bei null Punkten. Sollte nun die andere Partei gewinnen, spielt man ein drittes Mal. Wer zwei Partien gewinnt, gewinnt damit auch den Rubber. Bei der Auktion wird nach den vier Farben (Treff-Karo-Couer-Pik) noch 'ohne Trump' eingeschoben. Die Maximalansage ist daher 7 OT (ohne Trump), d.h. alle 13 Stiche ohne Trumpffarbe. Wer nicht glaubt, das ein angesagtes Gebot zu erfüllen ist, kann den letzten Spieler kontrieren ('double'), das Spiel zählt dann doppelt. Nun kann die Gegenseiter rekontrieren ('redouble'), was den Wert des Spiels vervierfacht. Ein höheres Gebot macht jedoch alle diese Ansagen obsolet. Eröffnet wird von dem Spieler, der links vom ersten Gebot in der Kontraktfarbe sitzt.


A ruft 1 Coeur, B passt, C erhöht auf 2 Coeur, D, A und B passen. Nun spielt
B aus, da Herz zuerst von A angesagt wurde.

Die Wertung ist under dem Strich 3 Punkte für jeden erfolgreichen Stich des Kontrakts, 4 für ohne Trump, über dem Strich 2 Punkte für Überstiche. Kontra and Rekontra verdoppeln unter dem Strich und bringen für jeden Überstich 5 oder 10 Punkte über dem Strich. Bei Abwehr eines Kontraktes punktet die Gegenseite über dem Strich: 10 für jeden Unterstich, 20 bei Kontra, 40 bei Rekontra. Für den Rubber werden 50 Punkte Prämie ausgeschüttet.

Vergessen Sie nicht: "Whist is very English, very old, very simple and very great."

End of the quoted passage.



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