A WORLD champion bridge player, once regarded as one of the finest players in the world, has died.

Sandra Landy won the world championships twice and the European championships five times over an extraordinary playing career.

Bridge is a card game for four people playing in pairs, in which the partner of the player who declares trumps lays down their cards face upwards, for the declarer to play them.

The Hove resident, who was 78 when she died, represented Great Britain in 11 world championships (winning in 1981 and 1985) and 16 European championships (winning five times).

Like many of her generation Sandra learnt bridge – a game of tactics, bluff and memory – from her parents, both of whom were county players.

When her mother died, aged 17, Sandra became her father’s playing partner and liked the game because she could play inside in the warmth.

After leaving Hove County Grammar School for Girls she went on to read mathematics at Oxford University, where she was the first woman to play for the university bridge team.

She later played for Cambridge University where also studied, where she met her husband, fellow bridge player Peter Dyer.

In addition to her international successes, Sandra won all three main domestic knockout competitions, the Gold Cup (in 1984), Crockfords (in 1976) and the Hubert Philips (in 1994).

She also played at the Avenue Bridge Club in Hove and represented Sussex.

After becoming a computing teacher and retiring as a head of Brighton University’s information systems division, Sandra joined the English Bridge Union (EBU) as a project manager, where she spearheaded the governing body’s national learning programme in Aylesbury.

Her colleague at the EBU, Sue Maxwell, described her as an extraordinary woman.

She said: “Sandra was a very strong-minded person which is what made her a brilliant bridge player and administrator. She was an extraordinary woman, probably the most intelligent woman I’ve met in my life.”

Sandra’s death has made waves across the international bridge community with tributes from as far as Switzerland.

Mark Horton is a well-known bridge journalist and expert player.

He said of Sandra: “She excelled in every aspect of her involvement in bridge.

“She was a legend in her own lifetime – and the legend will live on.”

Retiring again from the EBU in 2001, after the death of her husband in 2005 she decided to move back to Hove, where she enjoyed cooking.

She leaves behind daughter Joanna and son Richard, and three grandchildren.