Vale Dr Ian McCance – 1927-2023
The Australia bridge community lost a giant with the passing of Dr Ian McCance on 5th January, aged 95.
Ian first represented Victorian in the open teams as a 29 year old and would be a constant in the team for many decades. By his mid 30s he was also captaining the state team. He has the unique claim to having won the Australian National Championship Open Teams as a player, a player/captain and a captain in a period spanning 1966-2011.
Ian won the Victorian Open Teams (Pennant) more than ten times, the Victorian Mixed Pairs with Felicity Beale on seven occasions, and the Victorian Open Pairs five times – with five separate partners.
Ian’s leadership was apparent in that he was called upon to captain many teams. In addition to captaining the Victorian Open Team, he also captained the youth team and the womens team. The 1984 youth team captained by Ian, included Bill Jacobs, Simon Henbest, Andrew Mill and Ian Thomson. It won’t surprise anyone that they won the national championships.
In addition to leading many Victorian teams to national success, Ian also won the Australian Open Butler Pair and the Australian Open Individual. Ian played for Australia in the world championships, debuting in the 1968 Olympiad in partnership with Fred Altman. They defeated the mighty Italian Blue team 18-2, but narrowly missed the semi-finals after Dick Cummings collapsed and had to be taken to hospital late in the tournament.
Ian captained the Australian team in the 1980 Olympiad, a team which included some of the greatest Australian players of all time – Tim Seres, Dick Cummings, Seamus Browne, Roelof Smilde, Ron Klinger and Paul Lavings.
Bridge was in Ian’s DNA. His father Norman was a champion player and one of the founding members of the VBA. He wrote a bridge column for the Argus newspaper for many years. Ian’s sister, Ailsa Tandy, and their mother Dot, qualified together to play on the Victorian Open Team in 1961. Ailsa won her first Interstate Women’s Teams in 1958 and her last in 1991.
Ian is the author of The Setting Trick (2008) which was short-listed for the IPBA Book-of-the-Year prize. He was elected a life member of the Victorian Bridge Association in 1985 and is remembered as a man of great integrity.
Ian was a leading physiologist who lectured and undertook research at Monash University, producing many peer-reviewed papers. He was the editor of the leading Australasian physiology journal. He once commented that he could have progressed further in his career if he hadn’t spent so much time on bridge … but he was quite comfortable with his choices.
Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of the Life of Ian McCance at the Wilson Chapel, Springvale Botanical Cemetery, 600 Princes Hwy Springvale on Monday 23rd January 2023 commencing at 11:45am.