The Lederer Memorial was first played in 1945 as a tribute to Richard Lederer. It was originally an inter-county competition, but soon became a challenge event between London’s Bridge Clubs. Richard Lederer was a leading international player who ran his own club and he contributed greatly to the development of English bridge in its formative years. He won the Gold Cup three times in the 1930s.
The cartoon at the top is taken from his book Lederer Bids Two Clubs, written when he was Bridge Editor of The Sunday Referee.
The name of his son, Tony, the first President of the LCCBA (the former name of the LMBA), was added to the dedication in 1977 by his widow, Rhoda Barrow Lederer, one of the leading bridge teachers of the time.
During the 1970s, teams from outside the capital were often invited to play, and in 1977 a Glasgow quartet (including Victor Silverstone and Willie Coyle) won the competition. Over the following years an international flavour was introduced and overseas teams have included Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, North America, Norway, Poland and Sweden. A VuGraph room was introduced in 1990 and the VuGraph match has been shown live on the Internet for over ten years via Bridge Base Online.
The Lederer Memorial Trophy is one of the strongest tournaments held in England. It is hard to think of a single star of English bridge since World War II whose name does not appear on the list of winners.
The event was hosted for many years at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club (then based in Barkston Gardens). In 2013, the Lederer was played for the first time at the RAC and the event expanded to accommodate ten teams rather than the usual eight.