Paul Barden

I took up competitive bridge as a postgraduate student, mainly in partnership with Jonathan Mestel. We had the good fortune to win the first EBU event we entered; the 1988 Corwen Trophy. I developed a parallel interest in double-dummy solving and composition, and wrote a program which did its best at double-dummy analysis with the computing power then available. That proved to have been a useful way to have spent my time when a bridge friend, Chris Chambers, invited me to apply for a job as a quant in the City - my interviewers were more impressed by the program than by my academic qualifications.

I spent the next decade playing mainly the game of finance, though I made the coffee breaks more interesting by hiring all the mathematically inclined bridge players I could attract. And for this millennium I added young children to my portfolio. But in 2011 my wife was diagnosed with cancer so I left work to make the most of the last year of her life.

It was Jon Cooke who got me playing bridge again, at our local club in Cambridge, and this year I returned to the Corwen with him and won it again. I'm playing teams mainly with Jonathan Mestel - each partner is teaching me modern scientific bidding in his own way. My childcare responsibilities make it difficut to play as much as I'd like, but I do have plenty of time to think about the game. It seems to me that while practice and experience are important, it's quality rather than quantity which matters. My advice to myself is to strive to play my best every time I sit down at the table.

Camrose Trophy Selections: 2015