"Graeme Robertson is truly one of the success stories of the EBU's youth bridge setup. First spotted as a rough diamond by Youth Bridge Co-ordinator Alan Shillitoe in 2005, Graeme has come through the various junior squads to become one of the leading lights of junior bridge in this country.
Graeme first developed an interest for the game when he was taught the basics by his grandparents at a young age. His development continued at Bedford School, where he was coached by his teacher, the late Mike Vogel. In 2006, Graeme led the his school team to victory in the Schools Cup, and a year later he added the U19 Pairs trophy to his burgeoning list of achievements. After leaving school, Graeme moved on to study maths at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University. He immediately broke into the university bridge team, but his first two years coincided with Oxford University's golden generation - the likes of Edward Jones, Ian Angus, Joe Clacey and Greg Moss - and Cambridge struggled. Graeme was appointed captain in his third year with the missive of turning the club's fortunes around. With a tight-knit, hard-working squad of players, Graeme led the team to glory over Oxford in both the annual Varsity Match and the Portland Bowl, making it one of the most successful years for Cambridge in living memory.
Graeme's best times at the bridge table have come on the international stage. He was first encouraged to attend England U20 Squad training weekends whilst still at school. He initially struggled to gain recognition, and was bitterly disappointed to be overlooked for the U20 Europeans squad in 2007. However, he came back stronger, and was a vital part of captain Michael Byrne's U20 team from 2007 to 2010. Graeme's first squad partner was James Paul, a fiery youngster from Reading who Graeme remains close friends with to this day. They made their debut together in England's famous Channel Trophy win in Utrecht in 2007. Needing maximum VPs against Belgium in their final match, they put together a fine run of 57 imps in 4 boards to grab victory by the narrowest of margins. Together they finished 6th in the U20 European Pairs competition in Wroclaw in 2008, but that was to be their last international performance together, with James feeling that the partnership had gone stale.
Graeme's next partner was Mini Paske, a younger but more experienced member of the squad. Mini was the kind of partner you dream of having - punctual, polite and precise. Graeme won his first Peggy Bayer in partnership with Mini in 2009. However, they endured a disappointing campaign in the Europeans in Romania later that year, and only qualified for the World Championships in Philadelphia the following year via a late drop out. In their final event in Michael's U20 squad, Graeme and Mini travelled to the USA in October 2010 with high expectations, determined not to allow a repeat of the previous year's disappointment. After cruising through the group stages, and dispatching Hungary in the QFs, the team produced one of the all the time greatest comebacks in bridge history in their SF against the Netherlands, overturning a 60 imp deficit in the final set of 16 boards. Unfortunately, they fell at the final hurdle, losing to Poland in an intense final, and taking home the silver medal.
Graeme was now ready to make the step up to the U25 squad, where he formed a partnership with Mini's older brother, Ben Paske. Things started well, as they were part of the teams that won England's first U25 Channel Trophy in over two decades in 2010, and the 2011 Junior Camrose. However the U25 squad lacked the structure, leadership, training and enthusiam that Michael Byrne and Alan Shillitoe had brought to the U20 squad, and the team fell apart shortly before the 2011 U25 Europeans. Graeme was forced to form a new partnership with one of his heroes from his school days, Edward Jones. Graeme had no time to be starstruck, as he played every set of the competition under the captaincy of David Gold. The team finished with a very respectable top 10 finish given the circumstances leading up to the event, but Graeme vowed to come back stronger 2 years later. Alas, it was not to be. In Graeme's final event as an England junior, reunited with his old partner and close friend Mini Paske, back in Wroclaw at the scene of some of his fondest bridge memories from 2008, the team flattered to deceive and finished well below where they had hoped. A rather sad and quiet end to an under appreciated career.
Graeme now lives in North London and works as a software engineer in Enfield. He struggles to completely grasp everything that goes on in life, but he loves sport, and in particular cricket. He still plays various national bridge competitions up and down the country, and is considered one of the friendliest players around, so be sure to go and say hi to him."
Graeme wrote this biography in October 2013. Since then he won a bronze medal in the 2014 European Under 25s Pairs Championships, was co-recipient of the 2013 Young Player of the Year award, having previously won the award in 2010, and winner of the 2014 Young Pair of the Year with Tom Paske. In 2016 he won the Point-a-Board event at the National Teams Congress.
Last updated: January 2016
Major International Selections
World Youth Team Championships: 2010
Junior European Championships: 2009 2011 and 2013
Junior Camrose Selections: 2011 2012 and 2013
Peggy Bayer Trophy Selections: 2008 and 2009
National Teams Congress winner: 2016(PAB)