When did you start playing bridge?
Both my parents played at home and I first learnt from
them. I didn't start playing a lot until I went to
university at Cambridge. There I was led astray by,
amongst others, Robin Barker, who will be familiar to
many readers now as a senior EBU tournament
How often / where do you play?
I don't play much club bridge, but during the week I
play in the London Super League, which has a spring
and autumn season, and in Surrey County events over
the winter months. At week ends, I play in EBU events
around the country, maybe twice a month, and most
years travel abroad to play at least a couple of times.
Do you always play with the same partners / teammates?
In the major teams events I usually partner Frances
Hinden and our team-mates are Jeffrey Allerton and
some combination of Andy Bowles, Jon Cooke, John
Howard, Chris Jagger and Peter Lee. In pairs events I
like to play with a variety of people.
I expect them to be well prepared, to give their best
and to be courteous to our opponents.
What do you do for a living?
I worked in the city initially as an analyst, moving on
to Fund Management and then finally as a trader
specialising throughout my career in junk bonds and
distressed debt. I gave up the rat race about eight years
ago and retired. Now I just do a limited amount of
professional bridge work.
What are your favourite bridge books?
When I was starting out in bridge, books were an
important part of my learning process, since I didn't
have any formal lessons. Terence Reese wrote some
excellent books; The Expert Game is a favourite of mine
but I think the less well-known Play These Hands with
Me is very good as well.
For defence I think Hugh Kelsey's Killing Defence
February 2015 English Bridge
and More Killing Defence help you move on to a
different level. Marty Bergen's Better Bidding with
Bergen opened me up to a host of new ideas.
I have also enjoyed David Bird's Abbot series that
seamlessly marries high-level bridge content with
What are your hobbies?
I have a passion for fine wine. I am lucky enough to
have a cellar at home which stores a couple of
thousand bottles to make sure I don't go thirsty! The
rest are scattered around the country in various
warehouses. I am a member of a small wine appre ciation
group that allegedly meets to taste a few times
a year. I am also a keen cook and enjoy going to good
I also do a lot of travelling, spending a month in
Japan last year (less than a week was playing bridge!)
and in the autumn nearly a month covering Chile from
top to bottom.
What do you like and what would you change in
By far the biggest challenge in bridge, as I see it, is
increasing participation at all levels of the game.
Despite the nominal increase in EBU membership due
to Universal Membership, the number of people
playing in EBU competitions continues to decline year
on year and many clubs in the South East run with half
the number of tables that they did a few years ago.
Allied to this is the relatively small number of young
people who are taking up the game. We haven't yet
reached the situation in the US where the average age
of an ACBL member is over seventy but we are heading
that way, and it reminds us that it is a global problem.
It's a difficult issue and the solution is far from clear.
I like that bridge is constantly developing and
evolving as a game. During every session there are
always subtly different situations arising and points to
talk over. The social element is important too, I have
spent many a long night in hotel bars talking about . . .
well, something! r
GRAHAM OSBORNE's national successes include winning the Gold Cup and the Premier League.
Playing for the England Open Team he has won the Camrose twice. International successes include
two bronze medals in the European Mixed Teams and most recently 2nd place in the prestigious
NEC tournament in Japan. Graham is also on the coaching team for the Junior squads.