Eric Crowhurst

1937 - 2012

by Pat Dowdeswell

Eric achieved great success in bridge. He played five matches for England in the Camrose Trophy and coached the national women’s team in the 70s. He was in teams that won the Gold Cup in 1971 (and were runners-up in 1977), the Hubert Philips Bowl in 1979, the Crockford’s Cup in 1980, the Spring Fours in 1980, 1981 and 1991, and the Autumn Congress Teams in 1965. He won the Two Stars Pairs in 1967 and the Life Masters pairs in 1969 and 1972. He became a Grand Master in 1975, the thirteenth player to reach this rank, and in 2007 became a Premier Grand Master when that rank was introduced.

At county and club level he won most of the trophies at least once and also served on committees. He was made a life member of Berks & Bucks County Bridge Association.

He wrote several books and was always thinking about developments to make bidding more precise.

The ones that are most well-known are Precision Bidding in Acol (1974) and Acol in Competition (1980). The first check-back convention bears his name. He wrote regular articles for newspapers and magazines here and in the US. He helped the game develop through his lucid explanations of Acol theory and through teaching. He was always willing to offer advice, if asked, and it was common for opponents meeting Eric for the first time to confess that his books were their “bible”.

At the table, Eric was a joy to play with both for his partner and the opponents. He was very calm, had a good sense of humour and rarely criticised; he would never take advantage of weaker opponents’ mistakes. Sadly Eric had not been able to play bridge for the last few years as Parkinson’s Disease took its hold.

Eric lived most of his life in Reading. After Leighton Park school he went to Southampton University where he started playing bridge seriously and formed some lasting partnerships. After qualifying as a chartered accountant he worked in Reading for Simmonds (later Courage) Brewery; when the brewery closed he went solo, continuing working into his late 60s.

Outside bridge, Eric was a keen follower of sport, especially football and cricket. He was a season ticket holder with Reading FC when they were based at Elm Park. He often took the opportunity to watch Sussex playing cricket at Hove, sometimes this happily coincided with his trip to Brighton to play bridge in the summer teams.

Eric was devoted to his family: his wife Anne, daughters Emma and Susan and, more recently, his grandson Sam.


by Patrick Jourdain

The Telegraph, May 2012

Eric Crowhurst of Reading, who has died aged 75, was one of Britain’s leading bridge authors.

For the Encyclopedia of Bridge, he did the analysis of over 600 common suit combinations. He authored a dozen bridge books, including the standard reference book for Acol, Britain’s most popular bidding system and was a prolific magazine contributor. Crowhurst invented two conventions bearing his name which are in common use today.

As a player Crowhurst represented England in five Home Internationals, all wins, in partnership with Alan Wardman, in the period 1968 to 1973. They won the Gold Cup in 1971. Eric was also a losing finalist in 1977.

Crowhurst was born in Crawley, educated at Leighton Park School and Southampton University, qualified as a Chartered Accountant, and worked for many years for Courage Brewery in Reading. He married Anne in 1976 and they had two daughters.

Camrose Trophy selections: 1968 1969 1972 and 1973

Gold Cup winner: 1971

Crockfords winner: 1980

Spring Fours winner: 1980 1981 and 1991

Brighton Four Stars Teams Winner: 1979

Autumn Congress Two Stars Pairs Winner: 1967

The Hubert Phillips Bowl Winner: 1979