“There’s nothing like these North American Bridge Championships in Europe,” he says.
Paul, who started playing the game when he was 15, runs eight sessions of club bridge a week in the southwest suburbs of London. “I love teaching newcomers,” he says. He highlights his “Learn Bridge in a Weekend” seminar, which never fails to produce new players who continue to play in club games.
He stresses social interaction as the game’s strength. “I’d rather know your name than your system.” He carries that philosophy through in all the games he directs. “You can play any system you want as long as the opponents know your name.”
Finding a local game is key to his club players, Paul says. “Nobody cares about masterpoints – it’s not even a topic of conversation. In fact, if somebody reads you’ve moved up in rank, they pull your leg a bit.”
What impresses Paul the most about the NABC is the “gobsmackingly amazing aggregation of brilliant players.” Furthermore, he observes, the really good players are always gracious, and he cites fellow Brits Andrew Robson and David Gold as examples. “Robson, Gold … graciousness personified!”
Paul is playing with countrymate Brian McGuire, who is a veteran NABC goer. They played in the Vanderbilt play-in match, and failed to play in. Now they have their sights set on the Silodor Pairs which starts today.