August 2017 English Bridge
ordon Rainsford has been England's Chief
Tournament Director for nearly five years
and is a familiar face at many of the major
tournaments played in this country. He sometimes
manages to play a little too! Gordon has been
appointed the new General Manager of the EBU,
replacing Barry, so let's quiz him about his bridge
and his plans for the role:
When did you first take up bridge?
I played rubber bridge at home with my family
when I was a teenager living in Kenya, and
remember supplementing my pocket-money
playing with my grandmother against her friends. I
played for a few years when I was at school in the
1970s but then stopped completely until I was in my
mid-thirties. I knew that when I took up the game
again it would take over my life, and it has.
How did bridge become a career rather than a hobby?
It sneaked up on me gradually! Helping to run
small bridge clubs, trying to teach people to play
and eventually running the Young Chelsea Bridge
Club before joining the staff of the EBU.
Tell us about the highs and lows of your time as Chief
It's a pleasure whenever players tell us they've
enjoyed one of our events and thank us. The
international cheating scandals a couple of years
ago were a low point for the world of bridge. And I
do find it disheartening when members resort to
moaning on social media rather than informing us
of problems we can do something about.
What does the General Manager do?
I'm in charge of the staff at Aylesbury and, with
their help, I hope we can be as effective as possible
as a membership organisation. I'm responsible for
the entire organisation including members, clubs,
counties, competitions and internationals and
answerable to the board. I'll work closely with
Donna Wright, the new Chief Executive of EBED,
liaising with her and the EBED staff about
education and teaching matters. Another part of the
GM's job is Data Protection Officer and, with new
legislation coming into effect next year, it is likely to
occupy me a fair bit at the start.
Have you any particular visions for the EBU ?
I'd like to work towards members, volunteers and
staff all feeling the EBU belongs to them and we
should all be working together to promote this great
game of ours. I'll try hard to listen to everyone -
even if I can't always agree with every point made!
How do you like to spend your free time?
My partner Arnaud & I like to travel and our
most recent long trip was to Cuba last Christmas.
I've also been to various European places in the last
few years in my capacity as a European Bridge
League TD and Arnaud often comes to join me for
a few days at the end of the event - we've seen
Tromso, Prague and Budapest like that, and expect
to spend some time in Florence shortly,
I watch quite a lot of things on the television,
usually recorded series such as the Nordic Noir
genre, or we watch box sets all in one go. Versailles
is a current favourite, and it's where Arnaud is from.
What are your highlights as a bridge player?
Winning the Guardian Trophy with Paul Martin,
and winning the Premier Life Masters Pairs three
times in a row with Dom Goodwin. Dom & I were
also in a Young Chelsea team that won the Garden
Cities trophy a few years ago. Maybe I'll get time to
play a bit more again now! r
And Please Welcome . . .