Donald Rumsfeld Helps Launch “Diabolical” Mobile App;
Joint Venture Brings Card Game to the Public for Charity
One of Winston Churchill’s secret diversions during the Second World War is being revived for the twenty-first century, the makers of a new mobile gaming app have announced. Dubbed Churchill Solitaire and called “the most diabolical version of solitaire ever devised” by its makers, the game has been approved by and licensed from the Churchill estate. Churchill Heritage Ltd. represents the Churchill family for the use of Sir Winston’s name and image in commercial endeavors, with the monies raised being distributed to good causes associated with his life and legacy.
Players can download Churchill Solitaire for free on their iOS mobile device, such as an iPhone or iPad, and purchase more deals so they can compete against others and gradually ascend the ranks to become Prime Minister.
“The legacy of Winston Churchill is now being explored in many forms of new media, ranging from his entire archives now being digitized and made available to schools and colleges, to all his published works being available in ebook, and an award-winning app,” said Gordon Wise, agent at the London-based Curtis Brown Group representing Churchill Heritage. “Churchill Solitaire is an exciting new aspect of this process, engaging new generations with his life and career. We have been fascinated by the way this unique version of Solitaire has been passed among some of the highest people in international affairs, and very impressed at how it has been brought to life for a new generation by Donald Rumsfeld and Javelin [the App developer] in this dynamic and original digital form. Sir Winston once wrote, ‘To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies.’ Churchill Solitaire should be one of them!” Wise added.
Rumsfeld noted that he was first given the rules of the game by Andre de Staercke, a young diplomat who became a protégé and confidante of Churchill’s after he escaped his native Belgium during World War II. Decades later, de Staercke taught the game to Rumsfeld, when Rumsfeld served as ambassador to NATO during the Nixon administration. The former Defense Secretary is donating his share of profits to charitable causes that support U.S. veterans and the families of the fallen.
“When I learned the game from my colleague at NATO, Andre de Staercke, I found it to be one of the most entertaining and strategic card games I’d ever played,” said Rumsfeld. “I suppose there are not many people at my advanced age involved in mobile apps,” the octogenarian former Secretary of Defense added. “But I’ve found Churchill Solitaire keeps a mind sharp. And besides I’ve enjoyed beating the young folks who have tried to keep up with my score.”
Churchill’s passion for the card game Bezique is well known and documented, but evidence that he played this unique form of solitaire appears to rest entirely with de Staercke. The Belgian diplomat, however, was a friend of the Churchill family whom the late Mary Soames regarded as trustworthy.
“Churchill Solitaire is incredibly addictive, requiring cunning, patience, and occasionally good luck,” said Keith Urbahn, a partner at Javelin, the Alexandria, Va. digital and communications agency that oversaw the creation of the app. “We’ve worked hard to replicate the game as Churchill would have played it—and believe the final version does justice to one of the greatest leaders in world history.”