When did you start playing bridge?
Very briefly at school but I really learnt in my last
year at university - though sadly stopped within
three years due to work.
How often / where do you play?
I play about thirty-forty days a year. Gold Cup,
Spring Fours and perhaps the Easter Festival, and
then any major international open event like the
European Open Championships, the Trans nat ion
als and the Rosenblum. The Cavendish is now
a 'must play' as it is in Europe.
I also try and play one French tournament like
Deauville or Biarritz alongside the Iceland Bridge
Festival. I'll play much more when the kids are at
Do you always play with the same partners /
team-mates? What do you expect of them?
We are a group of about eight or nine, mainly
Norwegians. They are very much my friends as
well. We mix around quite a lot as our style of
playing the game is quite similar.
My expectations are no different from what
one would expect from any friend or professional
from another field. Zia, for example, is really
insightful and good fun when we go through the
hands. All the players find plenty of time to
practice bidding on BBO before tournaments
and there are inevitably tough bidding problems
thrown around from the US Nationals.
What do you do for a living?
Investment manager, but I also advise charitable
foundations on their investments.
What are your favourite bridge books?
I have to be honest: I rarely read any. They usually
describe hands or problems that come up once
August 2015 English Bridge
every eighty boards. However, Professional Slam
Bidding by Krzysztof Martens is a remarkable
book for presenting new ideas on advanced slam
What are your hobbies?
Too many, I'm afraid. I'm a wine geek, love
literature and cinema, table tennis and high
stakes poker - but most of all I love studying and
discussing financial markets.
What do you like and what would you change in
I most love the fact that it's a difficult and social
game. Chess is too dry, Go is too difficult, and
poker is intrinsically boring. I love most of all
turning up at any major tournament and know ing
so many people whom I like.
The game needs advancement and promotion,
both financially and through schools etc. but it's
an uphill struggle. The young prefer other stimuli
than those on offer around a bridge table.
What's the bridge success closest to your heart
It has to be the second win of the Open Teams at
the Reykjavik Bridge Festival - quite fantastic.
Artur Malinoswki described the team as 'Simon
and his Friends'. I played with Boye Brogeland,
the only pro on the team, and Marianne Harding
played with Odin Svendsen.
Marianne is now my regular partner in mixed
events, Boye has taught me more about the game
than anyone could imagine, and Odin has similar
insane taste in literature, cinema, food as I. We
just all felt so good after the event, particularly
because of beating Tor Helness and two other
world champions, Erik Sælensminde and Per
Austberg, in the key match. r
SIMON GILLIS has an impressive record in both domestic and international
competitions. In the UK he has won the Gold Cup once and the Brighton
Teams twice. Abroad he has won in Deauville and (twice) in Iceland, and in
2014 he came second in the World Open Pairs B Final in Sanya.