Source: English Bridge Union
Andrew Robson is best known for his daily Bridge column in The Times; he also runs a highly successful Bridge Club in South West London (employing, amongst others, David Bakhshi). See www.arobson.co.uk for more details.
Andrew is married with two young daughters, Hannah and Mimi. He and his wife Lorna live in Putney.
A trained schoolteacher, Andrew’s ability and love of teaching the game has seen him head many seminars around the country. Indeed he is leading a Northern Lecture Tour in September this year, just prior to leaving for Istanbul.
Andrew nearly lost his life a few years ago in a serious hill-walking accident in the Lake District . Airlifted off the mountain, he was in hospital for two months and in a wheelchair for much longer. For his brave recovery, he received the rarely given Sportsman of the Year" award in 2001.
Oh – I nearly forgot – what about Andrew’s Bridge-playing. He learnt about aged 10 with his brothers (he has two younger ones, James and Rupert, neither of whom play any serious Bridge these days) under the initial tutelage of his parents (whom he now teaches at his Club). He pored over Bridge books as a teenager – particularly remembering Culbertson’s Red Book which was in the school library – being particularly interested in card-play.
Into his Twenties and Andrew begun a Junior Bridge partnership with John Pottage (who has since stopped playing), with whom he won the Common Market and World Championships, both in 1989. When he turned 25 and Junior Bridge was a thing of the past, England ‘s number one player Tony Forrester asked him to play. Their partnership was to last seven years and saw many trophies lifted. The highlights were winning the European Championships in 1991 (remarkably the only time he has played in the event), the prestigious Cap Gemini and the Sunday Times-Macallan.
Since the partnership with Forrester was disbanded, Andrew has played a fair amount with the legendary Zia Mahmood, with whom he won the Cap Gemini two further times, David Bakhshi, with whom he won the Gold Cup in 2002, and latterly Alexander Allfrey, fellow team-mate in his back-to-back Gold Cup win in 2003. He has also played extensively in the US – with Rita Shugart – and was the first Briton, with team-mate Forrester, to win a prestigious Major (he has now won two).
Bridge is a game of ups and downs, and he remembers playing Indonesia in the mid-90’s and going for 3400 in Three Spades redoubled (you work out how many down!) on one hand and making Five Clubs doubled on the next with some fine technique:
By far Andrew’s most heartbreaking moment, however was when, after leading the 2004 World Individual for a session-and-a-half, he was overtaken on the very last board by Italy’s Norberto Bocchi (Andrew was holding a flat Yarborough, and watched his partner fail to take his ace, ace-king, to hold 3NT to one overtrick). His opponents notched up 11 tricks, and Andrew had to settle for Silver.
Andrew’s Bridge ambitions do not revolve solely around his playing goals – although he would love to win a World Championship (or an Olympic Gold medal). He reaps great satisfaction from reaching out to hundreds of new players via his teaching, giving them countless pleasure and, to date, seeing at least ten marriages result! Apart from teaching at his South West London Bridge School, Andrew also travels the country hosting Master Classes and Charity Bridge events, where he tries to impart his optimism for Bridge, and the importance of playing in the right spirit: Bridge is a wonderful game; but it is only a game.
When not Bridging or with his young family, Andrew loves to escape on his mountain bike (although his mountain climbing days are now over – unable to walk long distances after his accident). He also enjoys golf, and has a 16 handicap.
10 things you really should know about Andrew
We asked Andrew some rather different questions and these are his replies:
Who would you like to be stranded on a desert island with and why?
The temptation is to say Julia Roberts or Andie Mcdowell. But for the long journey ahead, perhaps I should choose an easy-going person who could spend hours philosophising about the world. Say Bill Bryson.
If you could come back as an animal what would it be?
A goat. As a mountain-loving Capricorn, what else?
What would be your ideal job?
I have it. Very different aspects – teaching, writing and playing – within the game I love.
If money was no object, tell us about your dream holiday?
Mountain biking in an undiscovered part of the world – provided my companion was better than me at bicycle maintenance.
Who do you most admire and why?
Christopher Reeve and Lance Armstrong, both for not giving up when faced with horrendous ravaging of their bodies.
What book are you currently reading?
The Great Bridge Scandal, by Alan Truscott.
What CD is in your car?
The Hungry Caterpillar – booktape for little people.
Which 4 famous people (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party?
Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci, Churchill, Eddie Izzard (for light relief)
What is your ideal night out (or in)?
Good meal (plus wine), then dancing outside in the moonlight to a live jazz band.
Tell us something about you that few other people would know?
Andrew is a World Champion at tennis too – winning (with team-mate Derek Patterson) the tennis tournament at the 1989 World Junior Team Championships